Measure 49 would protect Baker

October 15, 2007 11:00 pm

To the editor:

We live in a state where somebody realized that unrestrained growth threatened rather than enhanced our quality of life.

A Republican farmer and Republican governor saw the "sagebrush subdivisions, coastal condomania, and the ravenous rampages of suburbia" as a threat to the entire state. Sprawl costs more to serve, and forces reliance on a car as the only viable source of transportation, increasing taxes to fund roads and utilities and also increasing pollution and traffic. Sprawl turns beautiful vistas of farms and mountains into subdivisions.

When SB10, and later SB100 were enacted, it was the will of the people, through their elected representatives, to preserve resource lands for future productivity and direct population growth toward cities and towns. Out here in Eastern Oregon we may not have the most productive farmland, but it sure is pretty.

People on the east side don't like Oregon's land use laws because they didn't grow up with west-side sprawl. Imagine if Baker County experienced growth like the west side, with Idaho's land use laws. We'd have to change Baker City's motto to "The unremarkable suburban town that looks like all the other suburbs in the Pacific Northwest." When folks in Eastern Oregon bought land 30 years ago, did they think "I'd like to divide this property into 250 ranchettes," or did they want to live in the country? Before you answer, ask your neighbor who bought his property 10 years ago if he'd like to see all those houses, and all those suburbanites complaining about farm stink while he is still farming, as he intended?

Oregon's laws give us the opportunity to participate in a discussion on what direction we want to take regarding urban, suburban and rural growth. For more than 30 years, we have had that opportunity, while Idaho has watched the Treasure Valley go from productive farmland to 50 miles of suburbia. If that's what you want for Baker County, vote against Measure 49. If you want Baker County to be a nice, rural community with a real quality of life, please vote YES on 49.

Evan MacKenzie

Baker City