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Letters 2/3-2/10 

PILOT BUTTE STATE PARK AND BIKES

Pilot Butte State Park is one of Bend's jewels. It is up to us to protect it from misuse, so that generations to come can enjoy this beauty. However, it is with great dismay that I write this letter. Recently, bicycles have begun to use the base nature trail and the unauthorized vertical "trails." This is concerning because of the potential for erosion and other damage. Bend has a multitude of biking trails. Is it too much to ask to keep Pilot Butte nature trails accessible only to foot traffic? Bicycles can still enjoy the pleasure of using Pilot Butte by traveling on the paved surface. If this issue is important to you, please contact Oregon State Parks and Recreation. Let's keep this gem as unscathed as possible.

—Mary Kravitz

CALL TO ACTION

Opportunities for higher education in Central Oregon (CO) are limited today. In turn, that limits the ability of local high school grads to stay in CO and it limits the ability of CO to attract companies that are part of the new economy (software, etc.).

The OSU-Cascades expansion is an opportunity to change that situation, but right now OSU expansion is a Trojan horse for the citizens of Central Oregon. The amount of funding from the State of Oregon for the OSU-Cascades expansion is laughable compared to what it costs to build a university campus. OSU's current plan is one that sticks you, the residents of Bend, with the majority of the costs.

What are those costs that OSU will not pay? The cost for expanding transportation systems, water and sewer systems, and more. Even the cost for housing those students will fall to you in the form of higher rents and house prices—because the State of Oregon has failed to allocate the money required to build a real campus. Remember too that OSU is exempt from paying property taxes and won't be paying for the upkeep of the required infrastructure like those potholes all over town.   

Let's not blame the OSU officials for the half-assed joke of a plan that they are promoting. They are doing their best to get by with the limited resources allocated by the State. The current funding is so low OSU can only afford 300 parking spaces for 1,900 people, and dorm rooms for a small percentage of the students. Ridiculous!

Instead of blaming OSU, contact your elected state representatives if you care about having a quality four-year university in Central Oregon. Yes that's right—Knute Buehler, Gene Whisnant (House Higher Education committee), Tim Knopp (Senate Education committee)—are all at work in Salem right now! Write them, better yet, call them. Go to the State website and look up their contact info. We could pay for it with a portion of the Oregon State kicker refund. Even 10 percent of the kicker refund is twice the amount OSU-Cascades currently has to build a campus with.  

With adequate funding OSU can afford to pay the costs they would otherwise offload to you and me. So contact those reps now. You just elected them—now it's time for them to return the favor!

—bigFinger

FALLEN TREES

With the hullabaloo over the fallen cougar (and the guilt I now have after I agreed with ODOT or Fish and Game, or whoever killed the cougar) I'd like to offer my deepest thoughts regarding the many fallen trees and their potential for removal. I say stop the insanity, these reminders of our past must be allowed to stay put! Are the trees really at fault? NO. Were these giants not standing tall long before development ruined their fragile root systems? Maybe! Were these and can these magnificent conifers continue to be home to our abundant yet dwindling wildlife including cougars, raptors, skunks, porcupines, magnificent ground squirrels and more, double HELL YES!!

As for the greedy newcomers or homeowners who were foolish enough to build anywhere near the majestic, living breathing souls, well, shame on them. I'd think a public flogging is in order. I had a neighbor who wanted to plant multiple trees in his yard thereby allowing for more things to be in the trees and I simply said, "Hell no, not in my backyard, I gotta sleep sometime."

I've gone to great lengths and completed additional research on trees and have found that they are a great source of shade (we all need it) and believe it or not they actually produce (make) oxygen (air). Crazy, who knew?

Anyway, I'm now tired but would like to point out that I have in fact checked with the Governor's live-in sustainability expert and have verified that the big winds were caused by none other than neighborhood/global climate change. This proves that the landowners must be at fault.

I think it is high time that we push our City Council to immediately convene and form a couple of committees to investigate the pro's and con's of the potential removal. This could be one of those teachable moments, or are they passé? This needs to be done now. NO, this MUST be done now.

Pay attention City Council, if you don't I'll protest something.

THE TREES MUST STAY!

—BigMike

IN REPLY TO "WE DO NEED AN EDUCATION" (2/4)

Thank goodness! A different take on an important subject, and not about beer.

—Jenny Patterson via facebook.com/sourceweekly

IN REPLY TO "FIELD OF DREAMS" (1/28)

It would be a mistake to put it under cover, with commercial or even public buildings. Once the open space is gone, it will never be the same. That is obvious of course, but somehow I am hoping good community use can be made of that space.

—ReelyOld via bendsource.com

IN REPLY TO "TIRED OF NEWCOMERS"

Reminiscent of the "Oregon Ungreeting Cards from the '70s." "Last year 273 Oregonians fell off their bicycles—and drowned," "Want a sun filled exciting vacation? Go horseback riding in Wyoming," and "Oregonians don't tan—they rust."

At the time, Tom McCall, then governor, had the border signs changed to "Welcome to Oregon—Enjoy your Visit."

In five years, the median cost of housing went from $26,000 to $83,000. Nuff sed.

—James R. Pfaltzgraff

CORRECTIONS

In last week's SIDE NOTES, we misrepresented the plaintiff in the legal challenge against KC Development Group, LLC. The plaintiffs are Tom and Dorbina Bishop.

In last week's review of Bistro 28, we misstated photographer. The photos for that story were taken by Harrison Helt. We regret the errors.

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