Letters 12/23-12/30 | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon


We've heard a lot in recent news about the future of Troy Field — from the Bend-La Pine School District's decision to sell the property, to speculations regarding commercial development of the site, and anticipation of neighborhood opposition to the loss of the historic field. But what we haven't heard much about —and should, to be informed stakeholders in this land use decision-making process — is the full environmental history of the site.  

Several weeks ago, the Bulletin published an article on the heels of the school district's announcement of their intent to sell Troy Field ("The Future of Troy Field," Nov. 1, 2014). The article provided a brief overview of the environmental remediation activities conducted at the adjacent parcel (the former Bend Troy Laundry and Dry Cleaning facility), including the removal of roughly 41,000 pounds of solvent-contaminated soil prior to construction of the municipal parking lot. The article also noted, "Despite proximity to Troy Field, the extent of contamination fell short of the park, DEQ records show."

As a former environmental-regulator-turned-writer, this particular statement caught my eye. Why? Because at the time, I was in the midst of conducting a review of the DEQ remediation files for the former Troy Laundry as part of an independent creative writing project, and had discovered for myself that Troy Field was never sampled — even though samples taken along the property boundary all tested positive for perchloroethylene (aka "PCE" or "perc"). Nor did the scope of the investigation ever include the bedrock directly beneath all that contaminated soil. And for anyone who has ever worked with the investigation and remediation of contaminated sites — particularly those involving highly volatile and mobile chlorinated solvents like PCE — the implication that toxic releases respect property boundaries seems either foolishly optimistic or willfully uninformed. The fact is this: DEQ records do not show contamination beneath Troy Field because nobody ever looked.

That's not to say that Troy Field is an environmental hazard — in fact, the site conditions may not pose a particular threat to future land-use proposals, but one doesn't know unless one looks. PCE, by nature, tends to volatilize upon release (think nail polish remover when the cap is opened), and because its molecules are much more dense than water, it tends to sink and disappear, quickly finding its way through soils and utility corridors to bedrock fractures and pore spaces, moving and dispersing until it either finds ground water and travels on, or reaches equilibrium in the unsaturated zone.  If enough remains, it can continue to contaminate, moving through pore spaces and accumulating in buildings, much like radon gas.

Bend Troy Laundry conducted dry cleaning activities at the Kansas Avenue location for nearly seven decades, and mishandled enough chemical during its life span to significantly contaminate onsite soils. Did it stop at the soil? Unlikely, but perhaps. Bedrock below the site is only 6-8 feet beneath the surface. If we imagine the subsurface resembling a cake, the investigation and remediation activities conducted to date included scraping off the worst icing from a portion of the top, and replacing it with new icing. But what seeped into the surrounding cake and icing still remains to be seen, as does its potential impact on the future use of Troy Field.

—Mary Heather Noble


Pope Francis has not only shown himself to be no dummy, as Popes go, but has possibly pulled off the greatest marketing coup in history with his recent comments alluding to animals being allowed in Heaven. And he has certainly opened a can of worms, in my opinion. As a former Catholic — I believe "lapsed Catholic" is the commonly used term — I remember that in parochial school we were told only people baptized as Catholics could enter Heaven. Does this mean, then, that animals would have to be baptized as Catholics to be able to get a ticket inside the pearly gates? If so, think what this will do for membership in the Catholic Church going forward. Given the number of animal lovers and pet owners on the planet the church could find its numbers exponentially exploding. Of course folks like myself, and those belonging to other religious denominations, would be scurrying like crazy to make sure we can all go to heaven with our pets and animal friends. I always thought it extremely disingenuous for one group of people to be preaching that only their group could get into Heaven and if you want to go you better join our group or yadayadayada. But it seems like all the other denominations do this as well, and it's kind of funny that denominations such as the Southern Baptists don't even consider Catholics to be Christians, but rather pagans, as the Catholics pray to statues and are idolaters in the Baptists' opinion. Anyway, you don't need to be a Biblical scholar to know that there are 10 commandments and if everyone lived by them the world would be a pretty nice place with no war and most likely no disease, as the infinite amount that has been spent on hating our neighbor and trying to kill him throughout history could have been spent on eradicating disease and making sure everyone has a nice life, etc. Sometimes you wonder why God didn't stop after he made the animals, instead of continuing on to make humans. But he probably knows something we don't so I guess it's a moot question. Anyway, it will be extremely interesting to find out how men of the cloth from other religious denominations weigh in with regard to animals going to Heaven. Any way you look at it, it was a stroke of absolute brilliance on the part of the Pope.



United Senior Citizens of Bend (USCB), now located at Bend's Community Center (BCC) since relocating from Bend Senior Center, will cease to exist as of this December 31.

In addition to very limited parking, compared to that available at Bend Senior Center, BCC has insufficient space for some of the programs USCB offered while still at Bend Senior Center. As a result, USCB's expenses have consistently exceeded its revenue. For just one example, because of insufficient space at BCC, USCB could no longer offer free income tax preparation.

The last year USCB was at Bend Senior Center, the donation received for free income tax preparation exceeded $6,000. That service is now still offered at Bend Senior Center, and the donation for same are now received by tax-supported Bend Park & Recreation District, which owns Bend Senior Center.

USCB is the nonprofit organization that years ago started Meals-On-Wheels and Dial-A-Ride, which USCB successfully ran until turned over to other entities. And USCB is the organization that raised and paid the funds that built Bend Senior Center.

The above facts are the WHY for the BITTER part of BITTERSWEET of USCB's dissolution. But this is the season when we are supposed to be joyous. So of the BITTERSWEET, there is some SWEET.

The SWEET: As of this December 31, all the remaining assets and programs of the USCB will be transferred to Bend's Community Center. Thus, all the programs and services of BCC and USCB will continue at BCC — including daily meals, dancing, a library, foot clinics, pocket billiards, Mexican Train dominoes, BINGO, etc.

So in the spirit of this season, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

—Earl Williams and Elaine Swanzy


I would love to see "The Boot" given to Sunriver Resort for kicking out a loyal, local business [Bellatazza] that customers actually like and replacing it with a faceless, out of town chain [Starbucks]. Very disheartening.


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