Letters, Jan. 28
Tell the governor
A 229-mile natural gas pipeline is proposed to run through private and public land in Southern Oregon. This project could pollute nearly 500 waterways and affect hundreds of landowners. It will decrease the property values of adjacent landowners. (By the way, the use of eminent domain to benefit a private foreign corporation is on shaky legal ground and is widely unpopular.)
A rupture is quite likely, based on experience with existent pipelines, and so the danger of forest fires will be increased. I urge all Oregonians to let Gov. Kate Brown know that the Pacific Connector pipeline is a bad idea for many reasons in addition to the increased greenhouse gases that result from extracting, transporting and burning this fossil fuel.
Garden and trees
A friend told me about the Japanese Garden site visit several days ago, so we walked up so I could see what the fuss was about. As we approached, a magnificent red shouldered hawk flew right in front of us and landed in one of the nearby sycamore trees.
I had never seen this hawk before, but had read in the Tidings that a pair lives in this area of Lithia Park. Red shouldered hawks thrive in woodland edges where they can roost high up in a tree and then dive down on their prey. The tall Douglas firs provide the perfect vantage point for the hawks to plan their hunt. I hope that Parks and Rec commissioners consider the complex web of trees with their entangled roots, birds mating and hunting, and those of us hoping for a harmonious solution. It’s hard for me to imagine that the magnificent Douglas firs cannot coexist with a new Japanese Garden.
Town hall or pep rally?
As I was leaving Greg Walden’s Medford town hall a week ago Friday, I heard one of his supporters say, “Why do all those liberals show up? Don’t they know this is a Republican town hall?”
In the parking lot, someone else said (just before getting into a truck with a “MAGA” bumper sticker), “Why do all those Democrats hiss when Greg talks about all the good stuff he’s doing?” The organizers banned hand-held signs, including the green “agree” and red “disagreee” signs (each the size of a bumper sticker) some of us would have held up to respectfully let the congressman know how we felt about his statements, leaving us no way to express disagreement than to boo or hiss.
So, why do liberals show up? It’s because we care about the future of our country and our planet, and we assumed that a congressman would want to know about the opinions, needs, and desires of all his constituents. If that assumption is incorrect, then the event should have been called a Republican pep rally, not a town hall.
Uproot Meats concerns
I am writing — heart in hand — to oppose the Jackson County Planning Department’s provisional permitting for Uproot Meats. My husband and I live in the Mountain Ranch development, not contiguous with Uproot Meats, but downhill.
Denise Krause of Uproot Ashland has provided detailed, thorough and expert testimony regarding the dozens of issues that make this project problematic. Here are some additional thoughts.
1. Like most of my neighbors and the wider Ashland community, I embrace good, locally grown food, including meat that is humanely raised and slaughtered. What I don’t embrace is the siting of the Uproot Meats project — on a steep slope contiguous with homes and long-standing businesses, making what is billed as a “small operation” high-risk.
2. I am disturbed by the inexperience of the project’s owners, more so as the siting increases the stakes. Who pays for the mistakes the owners of Uproot Meats will inevitably make?
3. I am equally disturbed by Uproot Meats’ actions to date, pushing the envelope of their provisional permit, proceeding without the necessary permits, testing the goodwill of neighbors, and more. Perhaps the pigs and chickens will be ethically raised, but will the operation be managed ethically?
4. Everything we are seeing and experiencing with climate change tells us to expect the unexpected. What if extreme drought forces Ashland to tap regularly into the TID, which borders Uproot Meats — ripe for contamination? Or, given Uproot Meats’ hillside stripping, what if extreme rain (also possible) sends fecal matter and more to those living downhill? Might there be an “unfortunate event” that puts Ashland in the national headlines?
5. I find the provisional permitting process, to date, unacceptable. It seems that the Jackson County Planning Department did not have nearly enough information at hand when it granted Uproot Meats tentative approval. They left the investigative task to the community. In the face of a serious (if not catastrophic) impact, it’s hard not to hold the county accountable. Is this responsible government?
The word “uproot” means to pull a plant or tree, including its roots, out of the ground and/or to move someone from their home or a familiar environment. Is uprooting what we want for Ashland?