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People Out Loud: Ponderings and politics

Dixon BledsoeBy Dixon Bledsoe

I was fortunate to work with Susan Goschie Denny last year on a fundraiser for Silverton Area Community Aid. The event was a remarkable success, raising $48,000. What impressed me most was Susan’s energy, intelligence and ability to get you to do something and make you think it was your idea.  Susan passed away in April and left a lot of friends and family heartbroken but thankful for the time they had with her. To the Goschie family, her husband Dick Denny and a lot of admirers, my heartfelt sympathy for your loss. She was a good one.

Being a political junkie of sorts, I am often asked about my thoughts on candidates, ballot measures, two-way streets and replacing Eugene Field. A disclaimer of sorts – I am registered as one of a growing number of independents, which is finally coming in vogue because of gridlock. It also means people from either side need to move toward the middle to be of any interest to us this fall. That is the comical things about politics – in order to win a primary, you have to appeal to your party’s base and then pretend to be balanced in the fall. What I find offensive is a string of eyesore signs as I head to Salem, urging people to vote against our current District 18 Rep. Vic Gilliam and for David Darnell who promises to vote “Like a Republican should.” Darnell would be a vote for continued gridlock and in this district, against the grain of Rep. Gilliam’s constituents (pun intended because many are farmers).  Kudos to Vic for listening and voting for what is best for his district, regardless of which side of the aisle he sits on. That is why we have had some success at the state level when the federal level is so fractious. That is the Oregon way.

I am strongly in favor of replacing Eugene Field and the reasons are numerous. Eugene Field is a money pit as well as dangerous. It is surrounded by Highway 214, the most heavily used street in our town. I think people would be surprised at how many people who have worked or work in that building, including kids, get sick.  The play area is pathetic, the gym is suspect, the mezzanine has been condemned and there are not enough outlets or room for ports in the rooms to hook up to modern technology. Check out the heavily used basement. Ugh. It is time.

Two-way streets have been a bit perplexing for me. Having seen both two-way and one-way streets in action, there is some merit for both. For me the answer is simpler – I trust the Silverton police chiefs (current and past) and the fire department’s rationale for keeping the one-way system –  safety and traffic flow. One accident in the downtown and we would have gridlock. Further, the costs of studying the merit of returning to two-way streets and then subsequently converting back to them is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Couldn’t that money be better spent bringing down our high water rates or system development charges? Or better yet, create some reserves?

My heart goes out to the Fournier family who lost everything in a fire this month. What a devastating thing for this family of seven. Fortunately, this is Silverton, and we will help facilitate the slow recovery process.  Donations are encouraged and at this point the best drop off point for cash or checks is the front office of Eugene Field, where the family has students.  Silverton Area Community Aid is ready to help. Can you?

Thanks to the Silverton Chamber of Commerce and the  businesses for the  beautiful flower baskets in the downtown. The Chamber still needs contribution to this wonderful cause. Call 503-873-5615.

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