City had to return gift

By Baker City Herald Editorial Board September 16, 2013 08:40 am

 


It’s always difficult to reject a gift.

Especially one given posthumously.

But we agree with the Baker City Council’s decision last week to return to the family of the late Anthony Silvers the property he bequeathed the city upon his death in 2012.

 

We’re comfortable with councilors’ choice for a couple of reasons.

First, the decision in no way diminishes the legacy Silvers left to the city. The property he bequeathed is in fact the smaller part of that legacy. Silvers, a restaurateur, landscape architect and home designer, also gave the city investments worth $800,000, with the proviso that the city use the interest earned on the gift to plant and maintain streets that line city streets.

The benefits of that gift will go on for centuries.

Second, the property on Clifford Street that Silvers gave to the city can’t be converted to a “public use and benefit,” to use Silvers’ words, easily or inexpensively.

City officials have discussed using the Silvers property as an annex to the Central Park, which is just across the Powder River.

But that would require building a bridge, tearing down two homes and other work for which the city hasn’t any spare dollars.

Also, some neighbors told councilors they don’t noise and other effects from the park coming to their side of the river.

Perhaps the city could have solved these problems within the five-year period that Silvers attached to his gift. But we believe giving the property to his family was the right, and respectful, choice.