Develop vs Conserve — Letters for May 25, 2022


Siuslaw News Letters to the Editor

(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.)

Develop Vs. Conserve

I am so sad that more trees are coming down, and eventually all of them, for — I guess — a high-density subdivision of expensive homes between Kingwood and Oak streets on 35th. This is not the MUPTE community, affordable housing on Oak, which, I think, is also going to take out a huge swath of trees, but maybe not so huge as this.

Has an environmental impact assessment been conducted with regard to the canopy of those trees, the winged and legged residing there, the change to the air quality that will result from the loss of all those trees and the water absorbing/fire retarding mulch on which they stand?

I wanted to tell you how lovely the frogs are at night when they sing, how many different kinds of birds live in those trees, and that there are still deer in those woods ... and I wanted to urge you to try for some conservation rather than just the wide orange stripe that is going to be a road connecting to 37th Street.

Maybe you can’t for the road, but some roads are designed with medians for wildlife. And then there will be all those houses, the subdivision itself. It was quite ironic to hear the Tree City Proclamation in celebration of trees knowing what was going on where 37th Street has been wrestled from the woods west of Oak Street.

I am sure all the trees will come down eventually, for home lots. Too bad there can be no consideration of the shade that brings the breezes and the rain that keeps our town cooler and greener than locations a few miles away.

It is so heartbreaking to watch this all happening. I feel so powerless to have any impact at all. I must say something, even if it falls on deaf ears and blind eyes determined to reap the perceived maximum cash value from contracts and the land.

Of course, this is an example of the interconnectedness of all the issues of the day: Climate change, development that serves the rich and privileged and does little to help the disadvantaged and struggling members of our community, and more. It is divisive, not inclusive. Since the town of Florence denies that there is a problem with climate, it’s easier to fail to see the connection between wholesale destruction of trees for profit and the benefit of a few. There is a collusion going on that is not new, but should be challenged at this point. It’s too late to keep doing things the same old way. We need to think of new ways to build. Including conservation methods should be on the table.

I don’t know why the city does not make an effort to develop lots that are already clear, perhaps by buying the land from the owners with some of that clearing contract money. I wish we could see the wisdom of small-scale community style development where people can live, work and play in proximity, allowing for more pedestrians, bike paths and neighborly relationships.

Anyway, with every beep beep beep of the machinery rolling backwards in order to take another swing at the trees ...With every deforestation comes something that takes away from the very reason it’s happening. It’s happening because people want to live here because it’s so pleasant and lovely and verdant and temperate. Yet making these crowded subdivisions with their large, cookie cutter houses and no trees makes a very unpleasant neighborhood.

By the way, I actually looked at Chapters 1 and 6 and 7 in the Florence City Code to try and find something to address in this letter. I found this: “High Density Residential (HDR): The High Density Residential District is intended to provide a quality environment for high density, urban residential uses together with other compatible land uses determined to be necessary and/or desirable.”

Please start doing development with conservation in mind, because we know that mature trees are necessary and desirable for a quality environment.

 Ivy Medow — Florence