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Letters, April 22

Yes to Greater Idaho

Many Oregon counties outside Willamette Valley feel financially and politically disenfranchised.

Idaho supports the timber industry to keep forests from becoming tinder boxes. Idaho regulations respect rural industries and livelihoods. Oregon is the fourth most expensive state to live in per World Population Review (2022), while Idaho is ranked 32nd.

WalletHub ranks Oregon 25th in highest overall tax burden versus Idaho’s rank of 40th.

CNBC ranks Oregon 35th in “best states for business” with Idaho as 16th best.

Since Oregon decriminalized possession of illegal drugs, it now ranks second worst in the nation for addiction and last (50th) in the nation for access to treatment. This is worse, according to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health, than in 2019 when it ranked fourth in addiction and 47th in treatment.

The legalization of cannabis has resulted in rampant grows, both legal and illegal, depleting already stressed water supplies in drought conditions.

The Greater Idaho proposal should be favorably considered. It may well never be passed — but the counties voting in favor will send a strong message to our state Legislature that many are unhappy with what “they” are doing to our state.

Sharon Emsley

Grants Pass

Trouble in paradise

“Private Property, no trespassing, road closed to vehicular, foot, and bicycle traffic due to vandalism, dumping, human waste, camping, fires, abandoned vehicles, etc.”

Thus reads the sign signaling the demise of a treasured rural resource just outside Ashland city limits to the north. The upper portion of Jackson Road has been closed by the new landowner who had the road legally “vacated”— for good reason, judging by his sign.

Gone the pastoral scene with baby goats, the cows who sometimes roamed the road, and the vast vegetable fields of Fry Family Farms. No more the casual walk up the hill with only the wind and peace and quiet, a respite from the noise of the city.

There is also the issue of access in case of emergency, such as fire or flood. The city of Ashland included all of Jackson Road in its recently published evacuation plan. So what happens if the property owner is out of town and the gates are locked?

It is our hope that he will have compassion for the walkers and bicycle riders who have used the road for years and allow them to continue. Metal gates would suffice to keep out vehicular traffic.

Jessica Bryan

Ashland