I cannot recall the last time someone ran for office on a platform calling for low-paying jobs. They all say they want "living wage" jobs. Duh. Voters deserve specifics. What is Jodie Barram's definition of a "living wage"? I can tell you that EDCO's definition of a "living wage" and the AFL-CIO's definition of a "living wage" are not the same. So, what's Jodie Barram's definition?
As for enterprise zones and tax breaks for businesses, again we deserve specifics. Does Barram support minimum standards (number of jobs, duration of business in an enterprise zone, union and/or prevailing wage construction) in exchange for tax breaks? Does she support "clawback" provisions if an employer who gets a tax break fails to deliver? Voters deserve to hear what candidates specifically want to do if elected. We deserve details, not platitudes.
Editor's note: The "living wage" required for business to qualify for the enterprise zone's tax break, according to the "Agreement for Oregon Enterprise Zone Extended Abatement," is 150 percent of the Deschutes County average annual payroll rate, or $56,624.
It is interesting to note the number of individuals in Bend who support a four-year university without apparent thought to both the positive and negative consequences of adding a university to this area. The debate has focused on location. Obvious positive effects will be the convenience for local students who wish to attend OSU and the high-paying jobs for professors.
To visualize the negatives, one only has to travel to Corvallis and attempt to park near the university. On a typical day, you will find it difficult to find parking. Also, you will notice the area near the campus suffers from traffic congestion. The number of apartment buildings that have intruded into established neighborhoods will be readily apparent. I am not convinced that OSU is willing to realistically deal with these challenges in Bend. Those who think that the negative impact will be confined to the west side of Bend are probably wrong, as cheaper land for apartments is more readily available on the east side. This will compound traffic problems.
The question that needs to be asked and answered is do the positive impacts of the university outweigh the negatives? If the university caps growth at 5,000 students, I believe the impact will be significant. However, Dr. Ray has indicated he hopes the university will grow to 10,000. Why would a university want to stop growing at 10,000? Some will eventually push for 20,000 or 30,000 and want a stadium with a capacity of 40,000.
We are a tourist-orientated town where many of the political decisions are made to benefit the non-citizens who visit us. Now, we are considering a university expansion that could result in thousands of students in our parks, on our hiking trails, in our neighborhoods and driving on our streets. Most will be good neighbors, but it will continue the de-personalizing of Bend into a city with a population of anonymous individuals and continue rapid growth with very predictable negative impacts.
I just finished reading your story investigating the cause of the Two Bulls fire. I was actually enjoying the read and found it very informative until I reached the part where you and the neighbors' opinions became part of the story and were reported as fact, which is clearly you and the neighbors' OPINION. I am not a big target shooter myself but the majority of people I know that live here in Central Oregon are very responsible when going target shooting and recreating in the outdoors. They pick a safe spot and clean up after themselves. The statement of Target Shooting "Aka Getting wasted and blowing things up" is really pretty lame reporting and is a broad stroke stereotyping of people who are responsible in the outdoors. You would think that someone who champions social justice like yourself (see Erin's bio) wouldn't be a proponent of creating such stereotypes. I also find it interesting that Les Hudson has determined the cause of the fire, blaming it on shooters. Shouldn't we allow the professionals time to determine what really caused the fire by gathering evidence/facts? It's pretty obvious that Les doesn't like the fact that people recreate adjacent to his $2 million, 100-acre ranch. Will he stretch any excuse to further the agenda of closing the land so that it remains quiet? Maybe for his personal enjoyment? Wouldn't a more realistic solution of targeting (no pun) the few bad apples that make poor choices be smarter than just completely closing the land off to the public? A few hidden game cams would easily reveal who the offenders are. If I were to guess, Les Hudson could probably afford a couple $70 game cams, set them up then check them once in a while and report license numbers/identities to the authorities. Wouldn't this be a more effective way of protecting the land that he claims to care so much about than just labeling everyone drunken buffoons and lobbying to close the land off for all except a privileged few? Erin, regarding your question about ATVs just cruising around spewing sparks into the forest. Were you serious when you wrote this? Do you know anything about ATVs? When was the last time you witnessed an ATV spewing forest fire-starting sparks all over the place? Or is this just your way of sensationalizing the situation? Maybe for the purpose of achieving an agenda of making a certain user group look stupid and reckless? The solution? Close the land to certain user groups! Right? Erin, do you know anything about the people that recreate out in those woods and have been for generations in responsible ways? Do you realize that many of the users you claim are tearing up the land are in fact elite athletes that participate in a variety of sports including professional bicycling, nordic skiing, dual sport single track riding and competition shooting (some at the Olympic level)? Do you realize that these people don't fit your cute little stereotype of knuckle dragging redneck land wreckers? In fact, these people steward this land and these trails and care very much about it and its future. Maybe if you cut back on binge watching dramadies and actually got to know a little about the diverse group of humans that call this beautiful awesome place home you wouldn't write such an ignorant piece.
Got to love the Bend mentality. Put a dam on the river? It's an eyesore and has to be removed to "restore the river to its natural, free-flowing state." Put a whitewater park on same said river that will make the place look like some Midwestern theme park? What are we waiting for?
—Double Standards Can Be Fun
Oh, the 4th of July fireworks of childhood! Growing up in farm country in Eastern Nebraska meant a slam-bang, fried chicken, chocolate cake day with grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins having a heck of a good time. My dad was a traveling salesman in the Midwest and always planned his journey through the reservations of South Dakota to buy copious amounts of real fireworks for our family celebration. It was all safe and fun and no one got hurt. Our parents somehow seemed to be aware of how to manage things. One of the last years we lived near the family farm there was an exciting event where one of the Roman candles slipped off its platform and ran amok through the legs of my Aunt Gail. She was a rather hyper lady to begin with and the dance she did to escape that flaming wand would have been a wonderful video. One of the very best fireworks memories ever!
Letter of the Week
BJ - Now that's a YouTube video that I'd like to see! Thanks for sharing. Stop by our offices and we will happily share a $5 gift certificate to Crow's Feet Commons for your Letter of the Week!