Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

A new idea for North Powder

To the editor:

I am writing in response to Jim Smeraglio's recent letter (March 14 Baker City Herald). We, too, have considered the value of developing a community that offers affordable housing with nearby conveniences. We have, in fact, proposed such a development in North Powder on our 25 acres just off the freeway, where the Idaho Timber mill site used to be.

Our RV park development would feature our park model RVs which provide about 700+ square feet of living space. People would have the option to own/lease business/office space in the mini-mall, which would take the form of smaller versions of our park model cabins with false fronts and a wooden boardwalk, like something out of the Old West. The complex would include a community events center which could host "old time" barn dances featuring local and visiting musicians. There would also be a community barn with stable spaces and an RV park for people traveling with horses. There would be a shower house and laundromat as well. We also envision a community garden and greenhouse. A walking path would be on the outer perimeter of the property.

In other words, we would like to create a somewhat self-contained community that would have its economy bolstered by business pulled in from off the freeway. The Old West theme is congruous with North Powder's identification with the Oregon Trail, which originally went right through town. The shops could include quilt/fiber arts shop, log furniture, old-time photography, a gallery that features local artists, an iron worker, and the like. An old-fashioned soda shop would also be a compatible addition.

We may also have some rental "cabins" that would provide additional lodging for events, skiers, and the like.

Please let us know what you think about our idea and if you would like to be a part of our project. We would welcome other ideas as well. We can be contacted at 541-856-3232 or at lorich@rconnects.com . This matter will be discussed at the next City Council meeting in North Powder at the Wolf Creek Grange (next to the post office) Monday, April 30 at 7 p.m.

Rich and Lori Daniels

No change needed in the forest

To the editor:

An organization of four, Citizens for Open Forests, circulated a petition that shortly gathered over 6,000 signatures, stipulating "no more road closures in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest." We had help from committed individuals and organizations. Our message to the USFS remains the same.

"Open forest" has served Eastern Oregon very well over the years. Closing the forest will have the greatest impact on local residents. The remaining roadbeds from the heyday of logging are heavily utilized by all recreationists, most notable, gathering of winter firewood. Loss of an "open forest" is a significant change. If the new plan is implemented, motorized use of any of the deserted old roadbeds not on the Forest Service map will be illegal. The implication is, you are traveling cross country if the road isn't on an official map. The historical, cultural and economic impact will be felt by everyone in Eastern Oregon.

I'm sure many people think all I do is sit on my four-wheeler and wreak havoc on public domain; quite the contrary. Roaming public domain on these miraculous machines comes with retirement. A good deal of our time is spent gathering 20 cords of firewood every summer. Historically, we have traveled about in various vehicles, horseback, and watched our feet trek into numerous high lakes. We struggled with a two-wheel drive pickup for many years; not much good during a winter elk hunt. Finally a four-wheel drive Scout. My husband spent as much time wrenching on that relic as we did enjoying the great outdoors. We pretty much, did and do, it all. I will not take a defensive stance for my enjoyment and enthusiasm where it concerns ATVs.

The USFS has a selected alternative for the Travel Management Plan. If implemented, this plan will practically destroy not only my lifestyle, but countless others'. Everyone needs to encourage strong opposition to the selected alternative that obliterates open forests and thousands of miles of roads. Nothing has changed, the only alternative is No. 1, "no change."

Wanda Ballard

Baker City

Don't increase the debt limit again

To the editor:

"The fact that we're here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. Leadership means 'The buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit."

The above quote is from Mr. Obama in 2006 while a junior Senator from Illinois. He was correct in his assessment of increasing the debt ceiling.

Please contact your Congressional representatives and ask them to support the President by voting no on the next bill to increase the debt limit and to support a current bill to require the U.S. government to balance the budget this year. It may be the most important letter you ever write.

Tom Van Diepen

Baker City