In Response To, the Bulletin's Editorial About Troy Field.
The Bulletin chose to describe Troy Field as "an empty lot in downtown Bend, covered in grass." Thousands of people would have to strongly disagree with their description. Troy Field has already been vetted and has been found to meet the criteria for historical sites. Through 113 years of Bend's growth and development, our community has come together on Troy Field for celebrations, significant events, athletics and entertainment.
It pre-dates the historic residential, the historic schools, and the historic churches. The community field helped shape the downtown core. It has always been the location for the community and public.
The Bulletin says that "lovers of Troy Field" should just raise the money for Troy Field. Troy Field, as we have gradually found out, is wrapped up in politics and development ideas, which the public entities are centered around. This has made everything much more difficult and slow to accomplish things.
Since the majority of our citizens seem to be supporting Troy Field, Why aren't the city officials listening to them? It is time to finally have Troy Field recognized historically and for it to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Our Public Lands: Looking Back, Looking Ahead
From the national level to the local level, it is a tumultuous time for our public lands. From the privatization threats that continue to plague our national parks and forests, to the fight over what the future looks like in our own backyard national forests, the future is full of uncertainty for our public lands. Not exempt from these issues is our own backyard forest; the Ochoco Mountains.
Last year, the Forest Service laid out its latest iteration of a long-standing plan for 135 miles of ATV trails through the heart of the Ochoco Mountains. Renowned for their solitude and scenery, this ATV proposal has sparked an unprecedented level of local and statewide opposition. State agencies, environmental groups, hunting and fishing organizations, and private citizens have weighed in in opposition and continue to fight for the wildlife, clean water, and quiet recreation within the Ochocos.
This public process, where competing uses and values are debated and balanced, is the heart of public lands and why they are important. After all, the Ochoco National Forest is owned by all Americans, and as part-owners, we all get to have a say in how they are managed.
Unfortunately, when it comes to our public lands, too often the thumb is on the scale for activities like logging, mining, grazing, and energy development, over other values like public access, recreation, clean water, and wildlife. A message of increased extraction was exactly what the Bundy brothers and their armed brethren were preaching when they forcibly occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge last winter, denying by force that the American public had any claim to national public lands at all.
Last year, a Political Action Committee put forth a natural resource plan for the Ochoco National Forest and all other public land within Crook County. The plan sought to prioritize logging and extractive uses over clean water, wildlife, and low impact recreation. The plan was assembled by a closed committee without diverse stakeholder representation or public support. It is exactly the opposite of how good public lands decisions should be made.
We need to recognize that central Oregon's sustainable economic engines are directly linked to our quality of life and recreational opportunities. It is time to reject efforts to return to the destructive logging practices of the last century. Instead, we should be looking towards the future; a future that recognizes the importance of protecting water quality, wildlife, wildlife habitat, and quiet recreation.
The proposed Ochoco Mountains National Recreation Area would protect old growth, restore fish and wildlife habitat and maintain the public's right to responsibly enjoy the Ochoco Mountains for generations to come. The Ochoco Mountains National Recreation Area proposal would balance fuels reduction, wildlife protection, and recreational opportunities.
The Ochocos are at a crossroads, and the path it takes is an important one. Will we choose to maintain the Ochocos as a place of solitude and beauty, or will it become a playground for motorized recreation and extractive industry, making our backyard more devoid of those truly wild places? With all the threats our public lands will face in the Trump administration, we will need to be vigilant in the defense of our public lands, including the Ochoco Mountains. The towering ponderosa pine forests, sparkling streams, and remarkable wildlife make the Ochoco Mountains one of the most magnificent places to visit in Oregon.
In Response to, Rider's Luck (1/26)
My heart goes out to individuals with disabilities. Bend spends more money on bike lanes than wheelchair accessibility.
— Mimi Love, via twitter.com
In Response to, Rider's Luck (1/26)
CET in conjunction with the City of Bend need to have two positions in their Maintenance/Public Works departments dedicated to clearing bus stops and the nearby sidewalks. The same guy who washes buses and does light maintenance in the bus garage should be paid more for this extra responsibility of shoveling snow and chipping ice off the pavement during storms. If clearing roads is a top priority for the safety of drivers, then so are sidewalks for the disabled, walking public, and bus passengers. The big question is always, "How to Pay For This?" We have to educate the local public, especially in regards to Oregon's resistance to sales tax. If Bend had a small sales tax dedicated to the transit system and other priorities then we would not have to worry about a citizen's potential to access the bus, never mind ride the bus. Take a look at Washington, Colorado and other states to see how they fund their transit programs. I personally would prefer a small local sales tax to fund transit and make it better. Let the materialistic people who shop for crap pay for transit, and then reduce our income and property tax in proper proportional scale. The bottom line will show higher revenue for public services.
LETTER OF THE WEEK
Mark: The Source endorsed the proposed gas tax, Measure 9-105, last year, and would likely do it again in the interest of improved roads, and hopefully increased access for those who use other forms of transport in our city. Come on down for your gift card to Palate!
—Nicole Vulcan, Editor