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People Out Loud: Pondering…

dixonBy Dixon Bledsoe

In writing a story about a special young lady with a rare condition called Pitt-Hopkins syndrome, it became clear to me just how tough it is for parents of children with significant and unique challenges. For those of you caring for kids with autism, Down ’s syndrome, ALS, MS, CP, or any other syndrome, disease, or debilitating condition, I can only say “bless you.” For those who know parents or caregivers faced with the daunting task of watching over their special charges, provide them with a break.  A break to see a movie, to read a book, to have a quiet dinner out with friends, or to take a bubble bath. Their work is seldom easy, never-ending, and represents just a part of what their lives otherwise entail, since there are spouses and families involved, work demands, other children faced with a sibling requiring a lot of attention, financial challenges, and their own emotional needs that often go unfulfilled. While we watch our kids learn to use the bathroom, get ready for the big dance or game, drive away to college, and mve into their own homes and have children of their own, many families with special needs children face a lifelong commitment.

Eminent domain is a legal process in which a public authority has the right to take property from others, ostensibly at fair market value, for the greater good, such as building a school, a bypass or community center. There is a possibility eminent domain may be invoked to put a reservoir in the Drift Creek/Victor Point area to service the needs of a water district some eight miles to the north. This is no easy task trying to figure out what does and doesn’t make sense.

In the West, water and water rights are sacred, and the West is facing historic droughts. But taking farm land that has been in some well-respected families for decades (if not a century) to create benefit for other farm families outside of that particular locale is at first glance troubling. Doing so, and at taxpayer expense, is even more troubling. How does the water get from the Drift Creek/Victor Point area to service people over by Monitor? How many times does eminent domain need to be declared to create a route for the water to be transported? Who pays? How many families are disadvantaged and how many people will benefit? Is it fair to harm one group of farmers for the benefit of another group? My dilemma is that I know people on both sides, and I like and respect them very much. So many questions on this one.

A petition has been circling regarding the Norman Rockwell The Four Freedoms murals on the Masonic building. The building may come down and the murals destroyed. The city of Silverton’s Urban Renewal Agency (URA) recently voted to offer $4,000 of its funds (collected publicly for promoting tourism and economic development) to help re-create the murals adjacent to the Seven Brides building.  One side wants to keep the murals downtown, although an ideal spot has not been located. The other side wants to move them to the Seven Brides location, that has space to accommodate the murals. The building is outside the downtown area but in the  URA district.  Another issue not easily solved.

In an ideal world, perhaps the murals would stay downtown to be on Vince Till’s walking tour. One building posed as a solution is too small, trees would have to be removed, and cars would block public viewing in some instances.  The murals would have to be reduced from their grandeur size to tiny depictions. Having murals outside of the downtown is not exactly unprecedented, as the art at several businesses attest.  In a vote this week to “reconsider” the distribution of the funds (it failed 4-2), a councilor voted not to reconsider when it appears he meant to vote yes. A 3-3 vote would have still killed it. A heated discussion before the vote wrangled over protocol and procedures regarding whether the agency needed to have a motion to reconsider something that already passed. Of course you have to make a motion and receive a second to reconsider something already passed. Student councils probably know that.  But the question needs to be asked – “Is it fair to keep murals only on downtown businesses, or should other businesses inside the URA boundaries also benefit from the popular attractions?” Is there more to the story? My guess is yes. Is there an easy answer? Probably not.

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