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Letters, Feb. 26

Opinion does disservice

Thursday’s guest opinion does a disservice to the many Ashlanders who opposed the remodel of the Japanese garden in Lithia Park.

Among the numerous people Doug Munro cites as being involved in the plan, none of them represented the general citizenry or considered taking the pulse of the community on this large-scale project. The APRC’s reaction to the issue of a donor having undue influence on the use of Ashland’s public park was as if the subject was a savage attack on Jeff Mangin personally, which of course it isn’t. Other generous donors’ projects did not involve the removal of 100-year-old trees, and Ashland is a Tree City.

In recent years it’s been the issue of removing trees that has aroused the opposition of the community repeatedly, for example, the repaving of the Plaza and the proposed removal of the old cottonwood tree off of lower Clay Street. Now the city is also proposing to pipe a section of the TID canal, which will require the removal of about 275 more trees. There are some of us who may value a heritage tree as much as a Japanese garden, especially since green space in Ashland seems to be vanishing at an alarming rate.

And, by the way, what happened to the nearly quarter million-dollar contract for the 100-year plan for Lithia Park ? Was this remake going to proceed without waiting for the conclusion of that?

Munro also failed to mention that at the last APRC meeting, about 25 of the 30 citizens who spoke on the subject opposed the removal of the Douglas fir trees.

Avram Chetron


Uproot is better

Having a local chicken and pork producer sell wholesome meats in our local markets adds significant value to our town, will become a model for farms devastated by legalization, and provides significant environmental upside for Ashland and the county at large.

There is no local option at the market for pork or chicken. None. Mostly, I’ve found imports from truly large operations run with little regard to animal welfare or environmental impact. Uproot’s very name is derived from resistance to factory farming while selling extremely fresh, sustainable meats to our collective tables — while only a mile out of town.

I’ve read their permit applications, public statements and runoff control plan. As a farmer I am extremely impressed by their concern for the rehabilitation of the acreage: using permaculture ethics like recycling waste to regrow the pasture and feed hillside plantings.

Additionally, the Uproot operation can serve as a wider economic model for small farmers in the county. We have an overabundance of unemployed farmers and derelict growing infrastructure. Uproot is the answer and we should be attracting and supporting any operation willing to rehabilitate the land with sustainable management techniques that feeds our children.

Preventing Uproot’s continued rehabilitation of the fire scar and grow is cutting your nose off to spite the face. The unfortunate case of an historic easement, broken gate, terrace, and neighbors words over dust clouds have somehow become the town’s environmental sacrificial lamb.

We should do better. Uproot is better.

Kelly Ross


Impose strict standards

I have followed the discussions about having Uber/Lyft since the service was first proposed.

I have seen many articles about the benefits of Uber/Lyft. I have seen no articles about the local taxi services. There are three in Ashland. They are locally owned and they need the support of the local community.

There is much talk about shopping locally in Ashland especially around the holidays. Why are there no articles or promotions about using local taxi services when people need those services?

There were complaints when Mayor Stromberg vetoed at least temporarily the council’s decision to invite Uber/Lyft to come to Ashland. I feel the mayor’s points are valid and need to be explored further and fully. I can understand when visitors come to Ashland and are used to using Uber/Lyft in other cities, they can’t understand why the service isn’t available here. But Ashland is unique. It is special.

Promote the local services. If Uber/Lyft want to come to Ashland, let it be on our stricter safety codes and rules. Uber/Lyft shouldn’t be dictating what Ashland can do. The company managers are most likely only interested in profit and expansion, not in the people who live and work in Ashland and love what Ashland is.

Edith Montgomery


Don’t cover the water

Regarding the Ashland Water Department’s plan to pipe the 2-mile stretch of open water (estimated cost: $4 million), I will attempt to raise the project team’s awareness on behalf of the wildlife that frequents our treasured canal.

This riparian trail and the wildlife are, for many, the reason we love Ashland. How fortunate to live surrounded by wildlife and large trees! If the project moves forward, the project team has identified 286 trees for removal, many established Douglas fir and ponderosa pine.

Have you ever experienced the canal at dawn or dusk and spied a mother bear and her cubs playing in the Ashland canal? Or, imagine being on a sun-dappled trail witnessing three evening grosbeaks drinking water in unison. Or coming upon a doe lying peacefully in the cool water. Or watching western screech owl parents teach their juvenile owlets how to hunt in a riparian setting. Truly awe-inspiring!

The water project team called wildlife “an attractive nuisance,” and said the wildlife will just seek other water sources elsewhere.

Why the grim attitude toward wildlife? How much is this riparian treasure worth? It’s priceless! Let’s celebrate what makes Ashland unique — don’t cover the water!

Leigh Hood


Clean Energy Jobs Bill

Science has proven that we still have time to affect the grossly negative effects of climate change.

The arguments in favor of the Clean Energy Jobs Bill are scientifically based. They have withstood much scrutiny, measurable tests backed by empirical evidence we all can strive to understand. We are living the effects of climate change.

The arguments against the bill are politically motivated and not dependable, unlike the evidence in favor of the bill. “Believing” in politics is a little bit like believing in the weather, good luck with that. Accurate weather forecasts are made just before the storm, maybe cutting down on mistakes but really missing the point.

This is not a debatable issue. It’s happening and we need to accept the facts and get our act in gear. We have time. But because we waited so long the necessary action is imminent. There is no time to waste on political motives. Live and let live is completely dependent on our actions now. Just believe that you are helping to make the earth a naturally safer place for your children and grandchildren. Don’t you wish your parents did that for you?

Tom Saydah


Editorial half right

Friday’s Ashland Tidings editorial got it half right, declaring (twice!) that the source of the problems with our marijuana industry is how badly the state legislature screwed up on the implementation of the citizen’s referendum on legalization.

So, does the paper propose that the legislature fix the problem? Of course not! Instead, we are urged to support a new marijuana police force for Southern Oregon. Oh, great, here we go again. A waste of money and time, a creation of new misery and dangers. We have learned nothing.

Michael Bianca


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