Letters 2/15-2/22 | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

In Response to, Where's Walden? Hundreds Picket Rep. Walden's Bend Office (2/14)

Why won't Greg Walden have an in-person town hall in Bend? Thousands have been requesting one and even picketing for one. Instead he had ones in supporter towns with populations of 1,000 or less.

— Linda Balsiger, via bendsource.com

Come to Bend, Greg, we need to talk.

— William Van Buskirk, via bendsource.com

It is time to Stand up for Trees — With a Comprehensive Tree Ordinance to protect trees in Bend.

It has come to my attention that Bend does not protect Heritage Ponderosa Pines or any trees if your property is less than one acre. Currently Bend does not have a Comprehensive Tree Ordinance that protects trees from rapid growth and increased density. It is my understanding that the City has tried since 1994, to establish some sort of Comprehensive Tree Ordinance that will protect trees and community forests but it has never been fully adopted by the City Council. It appears that our community doesn't have a long-term vision for trees or anyone within the City consistently advocating for trees.

Sisters, Redmond, Sunriver, and Madras are all considered Tree City, USA, but Bend lost its status in 2012 because it has not been able to meet the standards. Most communities of our size have Tree Preservation Ordinances and value their inner city forests, tree communities and green infrastructure. I have lived in Bend for 37 years on the westside and in the past two years over 20-plus big, large healthy heritage Ponderosa pines (over 30" in diameter and 90 feet tall) have been removed from our small neighborhood.

Even big heritage Ponderosa — 100-plus – year-old trees – 90 feet tall on City land on unimproved right-of-ways are subject to being cut down for the sake of density. There has to be some sort of balance between density and heritage Ponderosa pines. I never imagined that our neighbors or the city would want to cut these down, as we are so privileged here to have them in our inner city.

Our neighborhood in the past has always been much cooler due to the forest canopy. With concerns about climate change and the ever increasing summer temperatures – it seems to me that the City would want to keep Heritage Pines and trees as natural cooling agents as the city continues to grow and heat up. Plus mature Ponderosa trees remove substantial amounts of CO2 from the air.

I believe we are currently at a "tipping point" for trees in Bend — with the new State's Urban Growth Mandate for density with the new Urban Growth Boundary — and no protection for trees in the inner city — it appears that density will prevail and our inner city tree canopy in time will be lost. I have asked the city to let me know how many trees are being cut each month in the city and they stated that they don't collect this data so they don't actually know.

I understand that the City Council has lots on their plate – and I also believe that the protection of at least Heritage Ponderosa Pines – should be on their agenda for the near future. The City is mapping out their goals for the next two years and their decision on their goals will be set by the end of February. If you are concerned about the loss of so many Heritage Pines and trees in Bend – please take action today and contact the City Council immediately.

A group of concerned citizens and professionals have joined together to create a Urban Forestry Advisory Board to the City, to encourage the City to create a Comprehensive Tree Ordinance, to protect Heritage Ponderosa Pines and to reinstate Tree City USA.

Let your Voice be heard for Trees.

— Mary Ellen Deckelmann, MA

In Response to, Recent Articles Covering Immigration.

My grandfather Albert Joseph Bialek came to the United States from Poland (Galicia) in 1910. He had just completed his service in the Austrian Army and Poland at that time was divided into three spheres of influence by Austria, Prussia and Russia. Upon being discharged, he returned to his father's farm. Officers from the Austrian Army made an attempt to reenlist him but tradition dictated that he could remain at home so long as he was sorely needed on the farm. Immediately after the officers departed Albert's father gave him his brother's travel documents and instructed him to immigrate to the United States. His father knew that war was coming and he didn't want to lose his son to it.

It took me longer to locate my grandfather on the passenger list because I had forgotten he was traveling under the name Jan and not Albert. Given the fact that Albert entered the United States under the name Jan Bialek and later burned his immigration papers, it is evident he was by definition a "illegal immigrant." He went on to become a very hard-working brick mason and law-abiding citizen raising 12 children with the help of his Polish wife Mary (nee Mazan) and the rest (as they say) is history.

Just as Cleveland (Ohio) is a city of neighborhoods so is the United States a country of immigrants. In fact, all the major cities of America (at one time) served as incubators for immigrants to not only become accustomed to the ways of this country but also to intermingle with each other (often prohibited in their native homeland). It's a shame that the inner cities were handed over to the absentee landlords following World War ll. Just imagine how much stronger and united our country might have been had this unofficial tradition continued. Gentrification is not the answer. Preventing immigration is not the solution. Intense vetting is acceptable during these challenging times but to unfairly deny one person access to the United States makes us all orphans again. As a popular song goes: "Let me in, immigration man."

— Joe Bialek


Joe, thanks for your insight. Come on in for your gift card to Palate! I'll leave you with this quote from Warsan Shire's (a Kenya-born, Somali poet raised in London) "Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth": "No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark."

- Nicole Vulcan, Editor


Comments (1)
Add a Comment
View All Our Picks
For info on print and digital advertising, >> Click Here