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Bury Resort Street plan

Burying the electric, cable TV and other utility lines that currently run overhead along Resort Street downtown certainly would make this important arterial more attractive.

And the timing, at least in theory, is right, with the city preparing for a $2.3 million project next year that will rebuild the street and sidewalks, and install benches and plants. That money comes from the state.

Holes, suffice it to say, will be dug regardless.

But the price of burying the utilities is simply too high for city residents to bear.

Appealing the TMP

The Forest Service, in common with most bureaucracies, strives to convince us, as members of the public, that it truly cares what we think about its actions.

Witness the cavalcade of meetings and open houses and, of course, “public comment periods” which proliferate, like dandelions, whenever the agency is up to something in the woods.

Just recently a lot of Northeastern Oregon residents have reacted to the Forest Service’s putative interest in public opinion with healthy skepticism or, in many cases, with outright disgust.

We understand why.

Wegener’s comment on Knight’s religion out of bounds

Kyle Knight’s religion has as much to do with his current dispute with other members of the Baker 5J School Board and Superintendent Walt Wegener as his hair color does.

Which is to say, nothing at all.

That’s why part of an email that Wegener sent on Sunday to Knight and the four other board members is both inappropriate and unnecessary.

Laws and tragedy

There’s much we don’t yet know — and might never know — about the killing of Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla.

What seems clear from the limited information that is available, though, is that Martin should be alive today.

With the great advantage of hindsight — and even accounting for that scarcity of facts — we can conclude only that the episode that ended with George Zimmerman fatally shooting Martin in the chest with a handgun need not have started.

Which is not to say Zimmerman committed a crime.

Censure Knight? No way

The dysfunction that has infected the Baker School Board hasn’t devolved to reality TV standards.

But it’s still troubling.

Most particularly because the grievances that prompted the discord are not serious enough to warrant such a reaction.

Taxes and tire studs

It’s about time the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) recognized that winter, and never mind the calendar, doesn’t end on March 20.

Or, more to the point regarding the state’s studded tire removal deadline, on April 1.

Frankly we figured ODOT wouldn’t need to be reminded of this discrepancy, considering the agency’s employees are out there plowing the passes during “spring” storms.

It could be worse

We don’t like to see Baker City forego $57,000.

But when the alternative could take a larger bite from the city’s budget, we at least understand.

The $57,000 in this case is money the city could, in theory, collect from Seven Iron LLC, the company, owned by Billy Cunningham, that has managed the city-owned Quail Ridge Golf Course for close to a decade.

Keep in public

If the Baker School Board talks about director Kyle Knight during its meeting Thursday, the discussion should be open to the public.

And that’s not just our opinion.

It’s Oregon law.

Tinkering with Travel Plan

If the definition of compromise is a decision that makes everybody angry, then the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest’s Travel Management Plan (TMP) is worthy of its own dictionary entry.

Many local residents, among them ATV riders and four-wheeling enthusiasts, contend that Wallowa-Whitman Supervisor Monica Schwalbach has decided to ban motor vehicles from too many forest roads — about 3,600 miles from a network of almost 6,700 miles.

But other critics, including the Hells Canyon Preservation Council in La Grande, argue that Schwalbach wasn’t aggressive enough in restricting motor vehicle access to protect riparian areas, reduce the spread of noxious weeds, and curb harassment of elk.

From a purely mathematical standpoint, Schwalbach’s choice seems reasonable.

The Wallowa-Whitman’s road system is, if we can indulge in understatement, ample.

Good goals, city

In perusing the Baker City Council’s list of goals we were pleased about what we didn’t read.


It’s not that our elected representatives oppose adding jobs to the city’s economy, of course.

But we’ve become tired over the years of listening to public officials prattle on about creating jobs as though this were a task for which cities are well-suited.

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