Better cell coverage important for rural residents

I attended the Planning Commission meeting of Jan. 21 to try and understand what is going on with putting a cell tower in town, and also the extent of the coverage to the Baker Valley outside the city limits. I personally do not see any problem where it was intended, being quite some distance from private housing. From my take, this cell tower is intended for use by the interstate travelers as the location is nearest to I-84. My view on this and to Verizon, AT&T and others, is why not build a tower or two, maybe more, a bit farther out in the country on open fields, or hills surrounding the town, to access the people who have trouble using cellphones while living out in the country. Northeastern Oregon is one of the least accessible areas for cell service to a lot of people on both sides of the freeway corridor. Most of the hill country to the west of Baker City, including Sumpter and points eastward, southward and northward, are not very compatible to cell service. On the eastern side of the freeway to the western edge of the Wallowas is another dead spot. I was hoping to get information at the meeting on how to get better access to any of these carriers’ services. There is more than an abundance of open land, both public and private, that can accommodate these towers, and for public safety would be greatly appreciated.

As I travel I-84 between Baker City and Boise there never seems to be a lack of cell coverage. And the closer one gets to Boise, cell towers become more frequent. So, the few of us who do enjoy the sparsely populated areas, our cell coverage becomes non-existent when traveling outside the city limits. It’s not too terrible unless one happens to have an accident.

As for the cell “tree” at 70 feet, it didn’t look that bad to me. Our home in Baker Valley has a landline which works most of the time, but we also rely on cellphones, and that is not always available.

Phillip Reindl

Baker City

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