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Letters, Sept. 18

It could have been Ashland

But for the grace in direction of ill-fated winds, the horrific devastation that befell Talent and Phoenix could easily have been Ashland. By now, even the doubters among us must realize this.

The pain that accompanies such loss will never disappear for our many neighbors in the Rogue Valley. Now, it is ever more incumbent upon us to emerge from whatever bubble we have settled ourselves in and become proactive about future fire danger in our town.

Most mornings I dog-walk the upper side of Lithia Park on Glenview, a lovely stretch. But often I glance over at the hillsides across the park, remember the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, and lament to myself that I hope a fire never comes over that ridge.

We Ashlanders love our trees, and I know that the town will never become treeless. Many of us have improved the perimeters of our homes to maximize protection from fire. But since our terrain will likely remain what it is, how do we defend ourselves from what happened to our unfortunate neighbors?

There has been ongoing discussion about outsourcing our fire department — including all first responders — or possibly joining with area providers under a protection umbrella. Comments have been made about the relative expense that we incur for fire protection in relation to our small size and about paying for a service that is only “occasionally” used. I would suggest that now this issue cannot be clearer: If we support a well-equipped Emergency Services Department that has adequate personnel, the better its response will be if a catastrophe occurs.

I have some first-hand knowledge of the importance of those emergency services. In early March, in the middle of the night, I had to make a 911 call for an apparent COPD attack experienced by my husband. Paramedics arrived quickly and assisted him immediately with skill, professionalism and empathy.

Shortly after they had departed to take him to the hospital, I heard a knock on my door; it was one of the paramedics. He said that they were not sure if it was COPD; they were worried about a cardiac event and were taking him to the cardiac unit at Rogue Valley. Their instincts were correct, as he was actually having a serious heart attack. Had they not made that call, he might not have survived.

The importance of fire/medical service in Ashland is even more compelling now. We are privileged to live in a beautiful place, one that if burned to ash would break our hearts and forever alter our lives. We need to support this essential local service and publicly commit to prioritizing its cost, especially to safeguard us in the event of fire. Just like health insurance that we don’t use if we remain healthy, if we one day need heart-bypass or cancer treatments, we will be grateful we have maintained that protection. The long-term health of our community is equally important.

Marianne Werner


Vote for Terrie Martin

Jackson County needs a county commissioner who is dedicated to exploring the needs of the county, who will be willing to ask the tough questions to make sure county budgets reflect the needs of our entire county.

A vote for Terrie Martin of Phoenix is an important vote for better representation and for more voter input in governance for Jackson County. We need Terrie Martin as Jackson County commissioner, a rural progressive and second-generation local business owner, who will expand the perspective of the county board of commissioners, which has been too narrowly focused for too many years.

Join me in voting for Terrie Martin for county commissioner on Nov. 3.

Laura Baden


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