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Noise problem fixable, temporary

Editorials

Miles Field's days are numbered, and the amphitheater will be better

Southwest Medford residents annoyed by noise from a recent outdoor concert, take heart. It's only a matter of time before Miles Field is no more.

The city of Medford plans to build a new baseball stadium in a new sports park south and east of Miles Field's present location. The existing facility will be torn down; Wal-Mart has proposed a new Supercenter on the property.

Many local residents have issues with Wal-Mart, but loud music in the parking lot isn't one of them.

That said, a few observations about the recent complaints:

First, Medford police admit they dropped the ball by not quieting the musicians when complaints came in during the concert Sept. 28. They could and should have asked concert promoters to turn down the volume.

— Second, Miles Field was never designed for musical events. Baseball games don't create a noise problem because the stands face toward the freeway and away from nearby residential neighborhoods. But setting up amplified bands to face the grandstands directs the sound in the opposite direction.

Crowd noise is less disturbing than amplified rock music in any case.

City planners would do well to situate the new stadium in such a way that noise is directed away from residences. Or, better yet, don't allow concerts.

Which brings us to our third point: The planned amphitheater at the Jackson County Expo is the obvious future home for concerts of this type. Extensive negotiations with Central Point residents and city officials resulted in design changes to ensure sound from the amphiteater is not disturbing to residents.

Finally, some noise at some times is simply a fact of life in a city the size of Medford. In this case, the noise was clearly excessive, but we would hate to see rules that required silence at all times.

Noise from football games at Spiegelberg Stadium, for instance, wafts over the same area as noise from Miles Field, although it's less likely to invade people's homes. Should we end high-school football games?

We don't think anyone would suggest that. In the meantime, police should pay closer attention to Miles Field concerts.

A job well done

Eagle Point High School Principal Mari Brabbin has fielded some hard balls during the nine years she has served as an Eagle Point administrator.

Last year a fire destroyed Eagle Point Middle School, forcing students to share halls with high school students. The double-shift arrangement was highly criticized.

More recently, Brabbin was among district administrators given a pay raise after contentious contract negotiations with union employees nearly led to a strike.

Along the way, Brabbin stayed focused. She overhauled the Eagle Center Advising Program, which has helped students receive more than &

36;1.7 million in scholarships. She also oversaw creation of Options, an alternative school that includes classes for teen parents, and a work partnership with the former Veterans Administration domiciliary in White City.

Now all the hard work has paid off. Brabbin has been named a recipient of a National Education Award, one of 61 Oregon educators to be so honored since 1990.

The Eagle Point School District should feel lucky to have Brabbin on its management staff. Congratulations, Mari.