Get involved; Suicide series opens talking; Stem Team important; Totally dismayed; Impact on recycling; Be involved before complaining; Thanks from library — Letters to the Editor, April 3, 2019

For better or worse, we have a representative government

Get involved

Counselor Woodbury was a hero Monday night at the city counsel meeting when his vote made the proposed mural on the Central Lincoln Public Utility building a reality.

After years of work on this project it was almost lost. The Public Art Committee had met the requirements of city codes and it would have been wrong to deny the mural at this late date.

We all like different kinds of art and there will be more opportunities to have a variety of art in the future.  Get involved and work with the committee. Towns grow when they make an effort to get out of the box. Florence has made huge changes these past years and it has all been for the better.

Thank you, also, to Counselors Green, Preisler and Woodbury for forward thinking and action.

—Nancy Rickard


Suicide series can open our communities to talking

First, I want to thank the Siuslaw News and its collaboration with the Cottage Grove Sentinel, The Creswell Chronicle and Newport News-Times  for taking the time to talk about a complex and hard topic: “suicide. 

This is an important topic that should be talked about.

My personal touch with suicide happened in sixth grade when my older brother, Ben, who was in the eighth grade, choose to take his life. I wish that I would have known he was in so much pain. I didn’t understand the signs. 

I still grieve everyday for his loss and wonder what he would have been like in high school; what kind of career he would have chosen. He’d have been a great dad and I think about the positive things he could have been.

But I also think about how his actions have shaped me and how I have become as a result of it.

For those who experienced this suicide within your family, friends and community, you’re not alone and our stories are unique. Honor that person and remember them.  It is ok to greave in different ways and stages. Do what works for you.

I want everyone to know they are loved, no matter what — even when we disagree. And if you are having a hard time, please talk to someone, make art, write — whatever it takes to express your feelings.

For those who shame people about this topic and say “You’re going to hell” for those thoughts, please take another look at this topic and don’t judge; you’re not in their shoes.

Thank you for the opportunity to share and for opening up our communities to this discussion and in understanding that we are more connected than we think we are.

—Jo Beaudreau


Stream Team program teaches important lessons

Thanks for the Siuslw News’ two-part series about the amazing Stream Team program (“New Direction For Stream Team,” March 20 and 23.)

The information brought a measure of much needed relief. Just prior to reading your articles, I read “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming,” by David Wallace-Wells. The book describes the series of disasters that confronts us due to climate change. Evidently, the terrible wildfires and smoke filled skies last summer are just the beginning, and much worse is yet to come.

The author points out that the extent of climate induced misery depends on how we, as human beings, respond to the challenges we face — challenges that will only increase the longer we do not act effectively. Several reviewers of the book noted that they felt discouraged after reading and taking a look at the likely future, as did we. We felt helpless in the face of such a massive global event, an event that many have labeled an extinction event.

What can one do?

Then there was an answer. The Stream Team, local Tribes, the Watershed District, STEP and ECO, children, adults and seniors, along with property owners, teachers and scientists, all working together toward the end of learning about and treating thoughtfully the environment.

Thank you for your articles. Thank all of you for the work you are doing and have done, and for giving us a little bit of hope in the face of the dark times that loom just ahead.

Jim and Jane Pittenger

—Coos Bay

Formerly of Florence

Totally dismayed by vote

I attended the meeting Monday night at the FEC to hear the discussion on the proposed mural on Highway 126 as you enter Florence. I was totally dismayed when the City Council vote a “yea” instead of a “nay.”

But this morning I stand corrected on my thoughts; I thought they were voting on having that particular mural put up when, in fact they, were voting as to whether it met code.

The mural selected by the Public Art Committee is a hodgepodge of many “things” sort of recognizable — and many not so — in my opinion. It will also be very distracting to many as they drive by and try to figure out just what did they see.

It is not something pleasing to the eye by any means and I have to wonder, when there are so many things in and around our fair city that really would represent it, why did they select this of all the 123 applicants’ submissions?

If you really want to see some type of painting that would be both pleasant and pleasing to the eye and more in keeping with Florence surroundings, take a few minutes and go into the lobby of our Oregon Pacific Bank and view a beautiful painting.

It was also expressed at the meeting that the PAC was looking at many more spaces in Florence to add murals. I appreciate good art work, but I shudder to think what Florence is going to look like with more “progressive” graffiti-type murals instead of murals more representative of our area — which I thought was the original idea.

As I said at the meeting, I know I have seen much better graffiti on railroad boxcars.

—Tony Cavarno


Having an impact on recycling plastic

The Plastic Roundup went very well on Saturday, March 30, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall.

More people brought more plastic, and it was properly cleaned and sorted — for the most part. We had more volunteers, and more people got out of their cars and helped with whatever finishing touches were needed for their contributions to be accepted. 

There were some laughs, and folks acknowledged they were learning. 

More people said they were trying to buy fewer plastics, and more people said they were writing to manufacturers and other interested parties asking for easier-to-read recycling data, along with easier-to-remove adhesives. 

Hooray!! We are having an impact!

Thank you to everyone who saved, cleaned, and sorted their plastic, and then brought it to the roundup.

We who planned and executed the event emerged tired but exhilarated by your engagement.

—Ivy Medow


Pay attention, be involved before complaining

To those complaining that the process for selecting the mural for the PUD building wasn’t transparent, and to those talking negatively about the folks involved in the final decision — If you didn’t follow what was going on in our community regarding the mural by reading the newspaper, or subscribing to the City’s e-newsletter, or visiting the City’s website at least occasionally, or attending a meeting, or actually being directly involved...then please at least read the Guest Viewpoint in the March 30 edition of the Siuslaw News ( written by Harlen Springer, Public Art Committee Chair. Init, he does the homework for you and outlines exactly how the mural was selected.

For better or worse, we have a representative government. As a result, voters elected someone who, as a part of their duties, assigned/selected/confirmed a volunteer to be on a committee. As with most committees in a government such as ours, that committee may make decisions regarding their area of responsibility — up to and including how to spend tax dollars when  within established laws and/or guidelines.

I’m not aware of any evidence of malfeasance by any of the decision-makers in this instance.

Those who don’t like the mural... that’s fine; not everyone likes every piece of art in this community. But those who are unhappy with it have no one to blame but themselves for the fact that the mural got approved without their input. There was more than one opportunity to voice opinions and many failed to participate. That’s not an art issue; that’s a civic responsibility issue.

The moral of the story:

Pay attention.

Provide timely input.


Participate in the process to effect change if you don’t like the way things are being done. Or run for office. Sitting on the sidelines complaining isn’t the kind of action that makes a difference.

—Dolly Brock


Thanks to community for library support

I wanted to write and say thank you for the article published in the Saturday, March 30, edition of the Siuslaw News (“Showing Love For The Siuslaw Public Library.”) That article, about the temporary community art panels at the library, was a great tribute to the many community members who took the time to share their thoughts and art with the whole community.

People of all ages gave time to make something beautiful out of an act of vandalism.

In addition to the richly deserved thank-yous that already appeared in the article, I would like to thank the full Library Art Display Committee for its commitment to the library and to volunteering for public art. This group was instrumental in brainstorming a pop-up display that covered unsightly plywood and they put in the work needed to make sure something beautiful went up quickly.

Thank you, also, to members Maggie Bagon, Nicole Campanella, Joan Delano, Meredith Draper, Julie Golden, Cathy Lang, Julie Peake, Akos St. Clair, Moira Sadovy, and Jerry Schneider. Once the project was planned, Jerry also took the time to visit each local radio station and get the word out in a hurry. The wonderful Jo Beaudreau of BeauxArts Fine Art Materials and Gallery was characteristically generous with her valuable time. She also supplied the materials and guidance that made the project possible.

Our “honorary” committee member Stephanie Schneider gave much of her time and work to facilitate the creation and hanging of the panels.

Finally, thank you to everyone who has taken time to help create or view these special pieces of public art.

It has been a true gift to read and see what you wanted to share. I hope everyone will have a chance to view this amaz-ing art before the windows are replaced on April 9!

—Meg Spencer

Library Director

Siuslaw Public Library


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