Letters to the Editor 04/21/2022 | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Letters to the Editor 04/21/2022

RE: A Farmer's Plea to Change Water Laws, Guest Opinion, 4/14

I recently read the "Farmer's Plea to Change Water Laws" and I think this is the main issue facing Oregon and specifically Deschutes County in relation to water.   The letter from Megan Keller-Rode is so well written and precise to the specific issues facing not only Oregon but many states in the West.  The fact that they grow organic food to support 90 families in a CSA format is commendable. They are not only providing nutritious food for families, they are helping reduce chronic illness in our communities. I believe these farmers are the unsung heroes of our time. I have belonged to a CSA for decades, and it is a joy and privilege to participate. I do not play golf and I do not have a second home, but I did haul water for eight years and I used drip irrigation for decades and designed my landscape to use minimal water. 

I have always called Central Oregon "the land of negative moisture." I hope we all think about our water consumption. I believe Megan's letter deserves a priority consideration from the state of Oregon and local counties regarding the sensible arguments she makes.

I believe on a state and local level we can all work together to get our priorities straight. Let's help these farmers making the world a better place and facilitate the good work they do.

—Vikki Hickmann

Letters to the Editor 04/21/2022
Feast your eyes on some dreamy spring freshies! This week's Instagram of the week goes out to @i.m.thefreerider. We hope they were able to take advantage of that winter playground. Thank you for sharing and tagging us! Share your photos with us and tag @sourceweekly for a chance to be featured as Instagram of the week and in print as our Lightmeter. Winners receive a free print from @highdesertframeworks.

RE: There is Nothing to 'Pop' Take Me Home, 4/7

If James Keane is right that there is no real estate bubble in sight like there was in 2008 then at the very least, if prices do not retreat, we just experienced some staggering amounts of inflation for residential real estate. Many people will be priced out of owning a home in Bend for years to come. Although there may not be as many underqualified buyers this go around, we do have a general rate of "temporary" inflation that has not been seen since the early 80s. Raising interest rates to fight inflation is one of the most reliable tools used by economists around the world. Take a trip down memory lane and google historical mortgage rates. The low rates we have experienced in the last 10 years under 5% are an aberration.  Back in the early 80s, the last time inflation was over 7%, mortgages did not drop below 12% until the end of 1985. The mortgage rates maxed out in January of 1982 at almost 17.5%!

Many experts believe that the Federal Reserve is behind the curve in dealing with inflation (people are saying DT). Massive stimulus to save the day in the event of an inflation-caused/recession caused by massive stimulus is problematical. Just for fun, see what happens to 30-year mortgage payments on a $500,000 loan on a median-priced home of $750,000 when you go from 4% to 7% then 10%. I will save you the trouble: It goes from $2,387 to $3,327 then to $4,388 at 10%. Just for laughs, the mortgage payment at 17.5% is $7,332. At least that makes the $5,400 a year property tax on that median house seem small. Maybe inflation will magically turn around soon and the Federal Reserve can throttle back up the printing press, 24/7, but maybe it won't. 

—Tom Ponte

Water conservation during a drought

In a multi-year drought, in a region of the state which is already arid, it is time to pass an ordinance against watering lawns. I think we must conserve water for food and food-based agriculture. Water conservation ordinances that block water usage for lawns leads to xeriscaping and rock gardens replacing lawns. Not only are these landscaping options less thirsty, they are also beautiful, unique and in line with the surrounding natural landscape.

As a renter, such an ordinance is necessary, because we renters are contractually obligated to care for the landscaping. The fines for not doing so are hefty, about par with the costs of irrigating the lawns during the summer! But it isn't about the money, it is about the environment. If I owned my home, I would just let the lawns die, but this is not a choice I have, unless I wish to offer up my security deposit for the sake of water conservation. Given rents in this region, who has the extra cash? Definitely not my household.

Looking at the water use profile for our residential, one-family home, it is easy to see how dramatically the irrigation in May-September increases our water consumption! From about 182 cubic feet to over 500.

Please strongly consider enacting some form of water use reduction this summer. I feel it is important to get ahead of the curve on this issue. Our snowpack is down, reservoirs are down, and river flows will be down as well. We need to stop pretending that there is a limitless supply of water to create a green oasis in the high desert.

Thank you for addressing the issue of water conservation in our community.

—Emily Gibson

Letter of the Week:

Emily: While we were planning to cover the topic of lawns well before we received your letter, it was well timed for this Earth Day issue! And you brought up a point we had not thought of previously: How owners of rental properties can play a part in reducing consumption by stripping those mandates from leases voluntarily. Great idea. You get Letter of the Week. Come on by for your gift card to Palate.

—Nicole Vulcan

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