(Editor’s Note: Viewpoint submissions on these and other topics are always welcome as part of our goal to encourage community discussion and exchange of perspectives.)
A Vision for Development
I empathize with Ivy Medow’s Letter to the Editor, “Develop vs. Conserve” on May 25. It is heartbreaking to see any of our beautiful resources lost to development. However, we do need to grow as a community to thrive and survive.
I, like Ms. Medow, was thinking our community needs a public development plan for our region that balances between development and conservation. Then I remembered we already have one in the Siuslaw Vision.
A few years ago, a group of concerned Siuslaw Region citizens worked hard over a two-year period to create the Siuslaw Vision. They surveyed Siuslaw Region residents asking how they envision our community in 2025. Due to COVID a couple of years have been lost which most likely will move the mark from 2025 to 2027. Siuslaw Vision developed a list of the following characteristics from the 1,200 responses:
• We’d share a love for our heritage & history and respect our region’s natural beauty & resources.
• We would be a welcoming community for all people
• Business would choose to operate here
• People would feel safe here
• Family wage jobs would be plentiful
• There would be affordable housing for all who live in our region
• Our education system would be recognized for its quality and high graduate ration
• Our children would grow up, find careers, and grow old all without leaving our region
• We would have community centers teaming with activities to support our diverse population
The Siuslaw Vision Committee, using the survey results, compiled a list of actions our community needs to take to create the vision of our future community. The actions they recommended are:
• Establish an affordable & reliable transportation system to Eugene and Yachats
• Increase health & human services
• Support local workforce retention
• Promote creation of jobs through local business retention and recruiting new businesses to the region
• Develop affordable & safe workforce housing
• Install fiber optics lines throughout the region
• Adapt zoning laws to support innovation in housing & business development
• Promote the arts
• Provide quality & affordable infant and childcare programs
• Develop community centers that serve all ages and population of the Siuslaw Region
Using the framework of these results, a strategic development plan for our region can be created. The public development plan needs to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and bound by time.
People can read the Siuslaw Vision Report at www.siuslawvision.org.
These findings and results came from a broad representation of our region. Meaning, most of us agree this what we want our future community to look like.
Since this is what we agree upon, let’s work together to create this vision for our region.
We can do it if we focus on what we agree on rather than having our focus diverted by what we don’t agree on. I think we can reasonably say that the world is a crazy place currently. We can’t change the world, but we can change our region. Change need not be bad if change is a part of an agreed upon planned outcome.
We do need to change our focus if we are to achieve this vision for, if we don’t, our region will pull further and further apart and, as a result, it will be our children who will suffer. Change requires action and participation. Talking about it is not enough nor is blaming our elected officials. Let’s put down our signs, stop the rhetoric that is pulling us apart and work together to create the community we envision.
Graham Ross — Florence
Thoughts on School Shootings
Thinking out loud.
I remember the Thurston High School shooting in 1998. It was the day of my mother’s funeral. Myself and other family members graduated from Thurston.
My niece was the last to step out of the cafeteria as the shooter stepped in and opened fire.
For many hours, we did not know her status. I almost asked the funeral director if he had ever held a service with 400 in attendance and not one family member present. We found her O.K., and all attended.
Columbine was next.
If the media did not give the shooters attention, would they stop? I don’t have the answer. Your thoughts?
Rob Shepherd — Florence
Conserve and Learn
In regard to the letter by Ivy Medow on May 25, I just want to say how perfectly it is stated and that I agree completely and could not have said it any better.
I too am so dismayed over what is going on with the destruction of our forests and wildlife at the expense of the almighty dollar. You would think, after hearing what is going on in the rest of the world with the destruction of the rainforests, etc., that we would have learned to not do the same thing.
I was shocked several years ago when I noticed the clearcutting going on along Highway 101 in the Winchester Bay area. I thought there was a law preventing clearcutting, so I called Coos Bay County office to ask about it and the tons of piled up cut down trees accumulating there.
I was told they were all going to be shipped to China at a very hefty price. He sounded proud of the fact so much money was being made and had no concern over the environmental effects. So no apparent concerns over the impact to the salmon stream below, or the mud flows, or the animals that died as a result, as well as the toxic sprays they used.
That drive, before the cutting, was a cool, shaded pleasant drive. Now that clearing has created no shade to keep the surroundings and pavement cool and is adding to the climate problem. And people wonder why summers are getting so hot and dry here?
People who do not care about the environmental impacts have all kinds of excuses such as replanting (which takes too long to restore), that the animals are not important, building the economy at all cost, etc.
We do not seem to have to proper people in power or this would not be happening.
Jean Perry — Florence
It’s Not the Gun
I have to voice my opinion before all the antigun protesters start demanding a ban on firearms. I’ve been hunting for 50 years, served in the military and belong to a gun club. I have never seen a gun load itself, aim itself or fire itself. These all require an individual to perform these tasks.
It’s not the gun; it’s the shooter.
There must be stricter guidelines over who can purchase or own a gun. Just a routine background check doesn’t work anymore. Perhaps the individual’s medical history should be investigated, along with their criminal record. I know this violates HIPPA, Medicare and who knows what other laws a lawyer would bring up in court, but it’s something to consider.
The fact is guns don’t kill people. People kill people.
You wouldn’t give a loaded gun to a seven-year-old just as you shouldn’t give one to an emotionally handicapped person.
Perhaps three individuals who are not relatives and at least one law enforcement officer need to sign a permit before a gun is issued?
Don’t take guns away from responsible citizens, just keep them out of the hands of the unstable.
Francis J. Straley — Florence