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Hells Canyon Journal
Halfway, Oregon
May 29, 1996     Hells Canyon Journal
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May 29, 1996

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Page4 Hells Canyon May29,1996 ....... COMMUNITY COLUMN 20 Clues to Rural Community Survival A 20-item listing of"clues" to community survival was sent my way the other day by the Heartland Center for Leadership Development in Lincoln, Nebraska. I feel that these ~clues " serve as a good reminder to all of us living here. in the Panhandle and are worth sharing over the next couple of weeks with you in the Community Column. So, the 10 clues for this week are... Evidence of Community Pride Successful communities are often showplaces of community care and attention, with neatly trimmed yards, public gardens, well-kept parks. But pride also shows up in other ways, espe- cially in community festivals and events that give residents an excuse to celebrate their com- munity, its history and heritage. Emphasis on Quality in Business & Community Life People in successful commu- nities believe that something worth doing is worth doing right• Facilities are built to last, and so are homes and other improve- ments. Newer brick additions to schools are common, for ex- ample, and businesses are built or expanded with attention to design and construction detail. Willingness to Invest in the Future Some of the brick and mortar investments are most apparent, but these communities also in- vest in their future in other ways. Residents invest time and en- ergy in community betterment, for example, and they concern themselves with how what they are doing today will impact on their lives and those of their children and grandchildren m the future. Cooperative Community Spirit Successful rural communities devote more attention to coop- erative activities than to fight- ing over what should be done and by whom. The stress is on working together toward a com- mon goal and the focus is on positive results. They may spend a long time making a decision and there may be disagreements along the way but eventually, as one resident put it, "stuff does get done." Participatory Approach to Community Decision- Making Authoritarian models don't seem to exist in these communi- ties, and power is, in fact, delib- erately shared. People still know who you need on your side to get something done, but even the most powerful of opinion lead- ers seem to work through the systems -- formal as well as informal -- to build consensus for what they want to do. Realistic Appraisal of Future Opportunities Many of the communities have already learned an impor- tant strategic lesson, namely building on your strengths and minimizing your weaknesses. Few small communities believe that they are likely to land a giant industry. Many of them say they wouldn't want one if it came along, fearing that too much reliance on one industry would be unhealthy in any event. Awareness of Competitive Positioning The thriving communities know who their competitors are and so do the businesses in them. Everyone tries to emphasize lo- cal loyalty as a way to assist local businesses, but many busi- nesses also keep tabs on their competitors in other towns -- they don't want any of the home- town folks to have an excuse to go elsewhere. Business and community leaders worry about what they don't have locally and wonder how many people are drivingto Hells Canyon Journal 145 North Main St. P.O. Box 646 Halfway, OR 97834 Phone: (541) 742-7900 Fax: (541) 742-7933 Publisher - Steve Backstrom Editor. Pat Garrigus Staffi David Baker, Coco Forte, Donna Higgins and Shannon Suzanne Correspondents: Marjorie Baker, Gus Garrigus, Isla Graven David Light and Sybyl Smith The Hells Canyon Journal is published weekly for $15.00 (Baker County) or $18.00 (other areas) by Hells Canyon Publishing, Inc. Periodical postage paid at Halfway, OR 97834. USPS Number: 002-953. Postmaster: Send address changes to Hells Canyon Journal, P.O. Box 646, Menlber of file ()~:gOfl Newspaper Publishers Association t by Sarah Louvar Community Coordinator other towns to get it. Knowledge of the Physical Environment Importance of location is un- derscored continually in local decision-making, as business and civic leaders picture their community in relation to oth- ers. Beyond location, however, communities are also familiar with what they have locally. The kind of agriculture, which is de- pendent on available natural re- sources, is an important factor in the local economy. Active Economic Develop- ment Program An organized and active ap- proach to economic development is common in the successful com- munities, and it involves both public and private sector initia- tives, often working hand in hand. Private economic devel- opment corporations are com- mon, either as an arm or an outgrowth of a chamber of com- merce or commercial club. Deliberate Transition of Power to a Younger Generation of Leaders Young leadership is the rule more than the exception in thriv- ing, rural communities, where people under 40 often hold key positions in both civic and busi- ness affairs. In many cases;these young people grew Upin the town and decided to stay or returned after college. In many other cases, they are people who have decided to make a life in the community, even though they grew up elsewhere. HoMing Their by Jennifer Bosworth As local economies undergo rapid changes, and develop- ment opportunities become increasingly high-tech, can rural communities retain jobs and maintain "their popula- tion bases? Do closing manu- facturing plants and military bases signal the beginning of the end for many rural com- munities? County population esti- mates released in March by the Census Bureau suggest that rural communities are holding their own. While only 38 percent of rural counties saw population increases" from 1985 to 1990, the last five years have seen that number rise to 76 per- cent. The majority of the top 50 population-gaining coun- ties in the 1990 to 1995 period were classified as rural. Ana- lysts suggest modest popula- tion increases in rural areas will continue in coming years, as service industries and re- tirees seek cheaper locations. Trends also suggest that community economic develop- ment choices and circum- stances play a critical role in population losses or gains. Communities taking proac- tive economic development steps have enjoyed the great- est economic growth and population increases. Planned transitions to light manufacturing and service industries have helped many communities counter popula- Own tion losses resulting from the decline of heavy industries or the closing of military bases. Some communities, fearing that traditional measures cannot sufficiently compen- sate for falling populations, have "created" alternate popu- lation bases. In recent years, a number of communities have lobbied for and built pris- ons as a source of jobs and to boost population figures. For other communities, improving infrastructure may prove to be a less dramatic means of ensuring population stability or growth. If rural communities get the support they need, advances in te, le- communications technology will allow rural areas to at- tract businesses and .indi- vidual entrepreneurs• "Tele- commuting" increasingly makes it possible to remain connected from even the most remote locations. While the" last decade's rural population trends look promising, it is clear that forward-thinking and innovative communities stand the best chance of cre- ating and retaining jobs and assuring the quality of life necessary to maintain their populations. ', [EditOr's note: Jennifer Bosworth is the managing editor of Economic Develop- ment Digest, a monthly publi- cation of the National Asso- ciation of Development Orga- nizations (NADO) Research Foundation. Reprinted with permission.] Urges "No" Vote on Clean Stream Initiative Dear Editor, The Baker County Re- source Coalition met Monday evening, May 20, to further evaluate the potential impact of the so-called Clean Stream Initiative. Guest speaker was Mr. Mark Pollot, chief consul for Constitutional Law, of Boise. The initiative, which states, "The waters of the State of Oregon shall be protected from water pollution caused by livestock," could more ap- propriately be called the Live- stock Exclusion Act. Given the DEQ declaration that streams with temperatures exceeding to be fenced to exclude live- stock. All lands, both public and private would be affected. Pollot evaluated the initia- tive as "an attorney's dream come true and a land owner's worst nightmare," for two main reasons. First, impor- tant terms used in the docu- ment are not defined. And further, "any person may com- mence a civil action.., against any person ... for actions al- leged to be in violation of this act. " Holly Sullens, who briefed the group on contents of the initiative, pointed out that "livestock" includes chickens, sheep, pet horses and most other animals as well as cows. farms as well as commercial ranches and farms. Dean DeFrees, president of the Baker County Resource Coalition told the attendees, "Our chore is to bring in every possible no vote on the mea- sure this fall and to raise money to inform urban dwell- ers that this law would cost them plenty and provide them nothing. " The Baker County Re- source Coalition, created in 1991, includes the many natu- ral resource-dependent orga- nizations and persons who have banned together in sup- port of the natural resource industries. Those interested in joining in this effort to de- fend our western culture should call Connie Colton at 523-4077. 64 degrees Fahrenheit are The initiative, if passed, Jasper H.. Coombes polluted, lands near most would therefore affect many l/ttce President, BCRC Oregon streams would have private residences and hobby Richland Oregon