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Letters, Feb. 19

Impressed by Uproot

Being on the board of directors of the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market and a farmer in the valley for 30 years, I was asked along with Terri White of Runny Mead Farm and Peter Salant of Salant Family Ranch and meat producer, to take a tour of Uproot farm. Uproot is a member of the Growers Market and we felt it was important for us to check out the farm and rumors that have been arising.

Upon entering the property you could see why neighbors might have some concern. There was a building going up, under construction, with open trenches and lots of mud. Being on a hillside and in a burn scar, one would be concerned. I also noted that the entire runoff was being taken care of with grassy berms and catch swales, and a plan to move forward. There was a state official there from the Agriculture Department working on a Confined Animal Feeding Operation. The CAFO program mitigates the problem of waste water by pumping it back to the fields. We asked him some questions about the farm and he was very impressed by the owners Krista and Sonia, for taking ownership of the problems they are having and trying to deal with them in the best way possible.

I have been irrigating out of Talent Irrigation for 30 years and I know for a fact that Talent Irrigation District does not tolerate any pollution into their ditches. It is clear to me that this is not happening. Chickens and hogs are being moved to different areas of the 20-plus acres of their property and they are staying away from riparian areas. The owners have very good knowledge of the business and laws of animal husbandry.

We also took a look at their cannabis grow site. We could see why the neighbors across the valley could be upset. Like most neighbors in Jackson County who live next to or in sight of a grow site, there is a problem. The owners are aware of this problem and are planning on cleaning that area up, taking down greenhouses and replanting that area.

Like any new farm, many plans are tried, some work and some do not. This valley needs new farmers and ranchers, and they need to be given time to implement these plans. It does not all happen overnight. These women, Krista and Sonia, have the heart and spirit to succeed at what they are doing despite the many challenges. We, the neighbors in this community, need to support them in any way we can.

Steve Fry

Fry Family Farm

Stick to the issues

This letter is in response to the recent controversies regarding the proposed redesign of the Japanese Garden in Lithia Park, the Ashland Canal project and City Hall.

I am concerned at the negative and vicious personal attacks that have grown more prevalent at public meetings, in social media and in the paper. I feel compelled to write in the hope that with all of our city concerns we can stick to the issues and withdraw from the negative and mean-spirited attacks on individuals, city employees, elected officials and volunteers.

These personal attacks do not help the public process to find solutions. In the end, I am concerned that these actions will prevent future donors from coming forward with donations or prevent individuals from running for public office or serving on city committees.

Historically our town has benefited from the philanthropy and community service of many individuals and needs their support in the future. Ashland has an art museum, a city pool, and most recently the Guanajuato mural due to the generous donations of Bill and Florence Schneider, the Meyer family and the Thaldens.

hese donations are just a few of the many gifts given to the city, community hospital, university, etc. by private citizens for the betterment of our community. We have people who have tirelessly served our community with hundreds of hours of volunteer time, thoughtfully looking at the issues and recommending solutions.

We may not always agree with the outcomes, but it does not warrant slandering people’s integrity. There are many important issues facing our town and we will be a better community if we can approach these issues collaboratively with an open mind.

Mary Gardiner


I’ll be missing you

I was wondering when Gary Powell from KS Wild would be arriving at my door.

It was always January when he showed up (sometimes after dark given the time of year) with his arms full of KS Wild T shirts and news of one of its campaigns. I knew I was going to gently get my arm twisted to increase my KS Wild donation. Sometimes, he offered a gift of some wild mushrooms. I started with a firm no but always ended up adding a couple of dollars to my monthly sustaining donation.

He was great at what he did, canvassing for an environmental group that works to protect our forests, rivers and public lands. He always, always had a smile on his face, he always remembered my name if I saw him around town, he always put a positive spin on challenges facing the world, the country, our community and the people living here.

I will miss Gary’s knock at the door and his smiling face.

Regina Ayars


Garden designers know

On Memorial Day weekend 2004, our Ashland son, daughter-in-law and two of our Ashland granddaughters stopped briefly under the large tree (Tree of Heaven 1989 Tree of the Year) at the North Main entrance to Lithia Park at the foot of the Shakespeare stairs to let our granddaughters and their mom out to walk into into the park. Our son stepped out of the car for a moment before getting back in to go park it. In that brief instant. two very large limbs fell, crushing the front end of the car and breaking the windshield.

Had the granddaughters, their mom and dad still been in the car, the limbs would have crushed the front passenger section where they were sitting, trapping and seriously injuring, possibly killing, both adults and two young girls inside. Subsequently the city of Ashland removed additional limbs from the aged, distressed and dangerous tree.

Let this not happen again. Deciders: Arborists and professional garden designers know when to let trees go and when and how to create for everyone a safe and beautiful Japanese Garden and to provide beauty for everyone.

Sandi Risser


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