Protect forest health
The U.S. Forest Service should conduct any post-fire logging salvage projects from last summer's Chetco Bar and Miller Complex fires, here in Southern Oregon, with a process that does what is right for the health of the forests, watersheds and local communities.
Selective thinning that creates safer environments near homes, communities, campgrounds and existing roadways is a step in the right direction. Any larger scale efforts should focus on selective thinning and restoration of existing timber harvesting plantations that experience higher severity fires.
What should not happen is logging off older growth forests that experienced relatively low-severity fires, which in fact regenerate the forests and watersheds. Clearcutting, carving new roads and logging off old-growth trees eliminates critical wildlife habitat, causes widespread soil erosion, greatly harms watersheds and fisheries and actually creates fire hazards. This is unacceptable. Putting folks to work helping make our homes safer and our forests healthier will help our communities heal in more ways than one. We have one shot to get it right and we need to ask the Forest Service to step up by doing just that.
Bad road design
The death of a 7-year-old child is casually laid at the feet of the driver and “was not due to road-related issues”, according to Gary Leaming of the Oregon Department of Transportation.
I beg to differ. All drivers are imperfect — designing roads to lower risk and account for obviously dangerous intersections like Lakeview/140 is ODOT’s job. Leaming doesn’t seem willing to take any responsibility for bad design — “it’s not always the road ... how many drivers ... really know what the rules are ...”
Now a child has tragically and avoidably died at an intersection that could easily have been made safer.
I drive this every day, and while it doesn’t have Kershaw’s cross-traffic, people are constantly braking hard, swerving around in the shoulders, dead stopping in the eastbound lane, waiting for multiple west-bound vehicles to clear. The Lakeview intersection pavement has plenty of skid marks to testify to the close calls — a center turn lane would correct that.
ODOT needs to stop drinking its own Kool-aid and start using common sense to think through designs. Safety should be the first consideration, and right now, ODOT's plans for 140, including a highway-speed roundabout, fail the common-sense test.