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Letters, Feb. 13

Proposed annexation

With little knowledge by Ashland’s citizens, the Ashland City Council and Planning Department approved a 250-unit apartment complex on Highway 99 outside of Ashland just north of the railroad underpass, and approved annexing the land into the city. This approval was overruled by the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals in 2021, but the council plans to amend Ashland’s annexation rules and try again.

This project throws out the window Ashland’s annexation criteria and the transportation and housing general plan, painstakingly studied and prepared at great cost. Ashland’s master plan puts workforce housing in the Transportation Triangle (within Clay, East Main, Tolman Creek and Ashland Street), where there is adequate land for 250 units, and much better access to shopping, services and buses. This annexation would generate 2,500 vehicle trips daily. Access to Highway 99 appears to be at the partially blind curve above Anderson’s Auto Body.

Annexation throws out the window 40 years of Ashland planners’ and councilors’ work to keep the town small, compact and liveable. There is no need for annexation or a huge complex north of town. The general plan provides for workforce housing without annexation.

Art Buck


Buy electric garden tools

Warming weather means garden chores. Sharpening tools is a project, as is researching/shopping for replacement tools (hedge trimmers, line trimmers, chippers, mowers, blowers)

Quiz time! The six most prolific air pollutants are: nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter (these travel deep into your lungs). In the ’70s, strategies to clean up valley air focused on cars and trucks thanks to federal emission standards. We still have problems with air pollution due to how we transport ourselves, produce and consume food and care for our properties, plus wildfire smoke. Air pollution symptoms include watery eyes, breathing, coughing, respiratory and cardiac illnesses.

What does this have to do with garden tools? Let’s say you decided to purchase a new lawn mower. Are you going with a 2- or 4-stroke gas-powered or electric? Which type contributes less to climate change, to illnesses, to smog? Gas-powered garden/repair tools are not regulated for fine particulate matter and smog-forming chemicals.

One hour with a gas leaf blower is equivalent to driving a 2017 Camry for 1,100 miles. Electric tools mean lower maintenance and easier storage. Hire someone to do yard work? What type of tools do they use? Happy shopping!

Louise D. Shawkat