The Forum: Letters to the Editor

January 2015 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

Garden Christmas a success

The Oregon Garden has just experienced its most exciting December yet, with the second Christmas in the Garden event. We are so happy to share with you that our attendance almost doubled from last year, with 22,587 people visiting. Thank you to each person who came and helped make Christmas in the Garden a magical experience – we had guests from throughout Oregon, Washington, California, British Columbia and even from Pennsylvania and Illinois. We know an event of this scale would not be possible without the support of the community and would like to thank you all. We would also like to thank every one of the volunteers who gave their time and assistance during the busy holiday season – we couldn’t do this without them.

Over the past few months, volunteers have donated more than 1,100 hours for Christmas projects! We also would like to thank Canyonview Camp and Silver Falls Public Library for providing children’s activities during the event. Next year we hope to partner with many more community groups. When guests visited, they were treated to 300,000 lights, a traditional German Christmas market, photos with Santa, carolers, children’s activities and more, as well as a festive and welcoming downtown. Throughout the event, we experienced families starting new traditions and even saw a few couples get engaged in our Candy Cane Tunnel.

Sponsors are a very important part of this event. We would like to thank our generous sponsors Linn Benton Tractor Co., Wave Broadband, Pepsi, Withers Lumber, Dallwig Brothers Building Supply, Portland General Electric, the City of Silverton and the Oregon Garden Foundation. With such unexpected growth, at times we were overwhelmed with the families excited to experience the event. With this came traffic and lines, and we would like to apologize for any inconvenience that might have caused.

We worked hard to make improvements, and will have more staffing and shuttling options in place for 2015. We would also like to thank Roth’s Fresh Markets, Robert Frost Elementary and the City of Silverton for allowing the use of their parking lots. We hope everyone who came enjoyed Christmas in the Garden. We are so excited about the event’s potential, and what it could mean for years to come. We have some exciting plans for 2015 and hope you and your family will join us!

Christine Diacetis, Mary Ridderbusch-Shearer and Brittney Hatteberg

Time to move on

The recent Silver Falls School District school bond was defeated and now the district is trying to figure out what it can do to help our youngest students. There has been plenty of time, well over 20 years of research and public input on what should be done.  There have been multiple surveys, forums, task forces and more to figure out how to solve the problem of a failing Eugene Field building.

Each time one of the ideas has been presented in the form of a bond, the community has rejected it. It’s now up to our elected officials of the Silver Falls School Board to make the decision … and figure out how to do it without a bond. For that reason, I support the idea the board was discussing in its last meeting:
· Re-purpose Schlador as a 6-8 middle school utilizing existing classrooms  and supplementing with modular buildings
· Move K-2 to Mark Twain with necessary improvements for the change in students ages
· Have third grade join the fourth and fifth graders at Robert Frost
· Sell Eugene Field as soon as possible
· Use the reserve funds to address the maintenance needs at the rural schools.

Those things, coupled with the $2.5 million in recently awarded grant money to take care of projects at Butte Creek and Scotts Mills, keeping up on maintenance, and spending money wisely, will go a long way in repairing the community view of the board and it will lend to a better chance of passing a bond to properly renovate the Schlador campus in 5 to 7 years.  I do not support going for another bond in May or even November of 2015.

The voters have rejected bonds for several years now, for a multitude of reason including: it’s about the money, it’s about the heritage, it’s about resentment, it’s about fairness, it’s about not being the right/perfect plan, it’s about the leadership and the list probably goes on…

If there is a third bond attempt in 24 months, the voters will most definitely see it as a sign the board is not listening. Then, the bond gets voted down and where are we?  Right back where we are now: looking for another solution, repeating the cycle. Again… I understand there is a group of trying to put a package together for a bond.  I commend them for wanting to be part of a resolution.  But I believe a bond right now would further damage the board’s image in the community.

Leslie Martin,

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