Opinion, Analysis, Discussion

Letter: True capitalism isn’t the problem; enforce the laws in Douglas County

November 19, 2014 — 

Socialism fuels local drug war

I was disappointed (a frequent occurrence) when, on the front page, the paper blamed capitalism for the drug problems here in Douglas County. The header of an article written by Jessica Prokop blamed capitalism for the increase in drugs on our streets.

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Editorial: Attend hearings on Pacific Connector pipeline project

November 19, 2014 — 

If you care about the economic future of Douglas County then it is a good idea to mark Dec. 9 and 10 on the calendar.

On those days the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold two local hearings on its recently released environmental impact statement on the Pacific Connector pipeline project.

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Letter: Show appreciation for Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center employees

November 18, 2014 — 

Recognition for VA staff

With all the negative publicity surrounding the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and while awaiting new leadership, I would like to propose an Employee Recognition Day for all the employees of the hospital to show a change of direction. Low morale and bad leadership do not last forever.

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Guest column: Our generation must respond to climate change

November 18, 2014 — 

My parents were members of the Greatest Generation. After spending all four years of the war in the South Pacific, Dad had five bronze battle stars and two commendations. When I asked what he had done to earn them, his response was always, “My job.” My mother never complained of the shortages on the homefront. It was what you did. When faced with an existential evil, you sacrificed.

Today we are faced with an existential evil, but we are not rising up in unison as we did then to respond. Are we lesser people? No. We are simply faced with a threat that has crept up on us slowly. We are the frog in the pot of water that does not recognize the slowly rising temperature. We are being cooked, but we don’t see the danger. Folks with a vested interest are convincing us that we are in a Jacuzzi, not a cook pot, and working hard to keep us placid. And, in truth, all of us want to believe that the threat is bogus because the reality is terrifying.

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Letter: Current O&C plan provides no ecological or economic balance for Douglas County residents

November 18, 2014 — 

Wyden’s O&C plan won’t help

An Oct. 30 letter writer was correct: balance is necessary when managing public lands. However, if he’s really interested in policies that support children and education, Ron Wyden’s O&C bill is not the one.

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Letter: No need to sacrifice rich history to grow local economy

November 18, 2014 — 

Find better RV park location

The Douglas County Parks Department is planning to develop a Recreational Vehicle Park around the environs of the former United States Coast Guard Station, now a museum, at Winchester Bay.

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Letter: Republicans must use time wisely

November 18, 2014 — 

What will 2016 election bring?

I’m an Independent voter. In the last election, I voted for three losing candidates.

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Letter: Where’s the love of our country in ‘transforming’ and ‘remaking’ America?

November 17, 2014 — 

Disregarding due process

Now I’m not sayin’ our young President is a narcissist, but may I at least ask when his third autobiography is due out?

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Letter: It’s time for political representatives to work together on behalf of their constituents

November 17, 2014 — 

Dreaming of a little teamwork

I dreamed that all our senators and congressmen in the west actually worked together to fight as a team. I’m a little tired of each one happily sending out propaganda statements about how hard they’re woring for us, when the entire west is methodically being damaged by federal policies assaulting our once productive range lands forests, mining and rivers.

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Publisher’s Notebook: Our disabled citizens need workplaces like Sunrise

November 16, 2014 — 

The plan was not for me to be a single parent to an autistic adult son.

But life rarely goes as planned so we go with the flow, or … as Forest Gump reminded us, “Life is a box of chocolates. You never know what you’ll get until you bite into one.”

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Editorial: Funding needed for feasible health college in Roseburg

November 16, 2014 — 

Anyone with money to invest who cares about the future of Roseburg has an opportunity to make a difference.

A long-anticipated study on the feasibility of establishing a private health college in Roseburg was recently completed. It concludes the project is viable.

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Editorial: Roses & thorns

November 14, 2014 — 

ROSE

Public service pays off

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Letter: Winston’s Douglas High School presented a fine tribute on Veteran’s Day

November 14, 2014 — 

Veteran Tribute was remarkable

The Douglas High School Music Department’s Veterans Tribute on Tuesday evening Jacoby Auditorium at Umpqua Community College was awesome!

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Letter: ‘Majority rules’ is part of our democratic system

November 14, 2014 — 

Not fair? Really?

Many local “red-leaning” voters already feel aggrieved and resentful about being outvoted by “blue-leaning” counties. We don’t need The News-Review’s publisher, Jeff Ackerman, throwing gasoline on the “It ain’t fair!” bonfire. (Publisher’s Notebook, Nov. 9.)

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Letter: Gun purchase clearance in Oregon should occur within three days

November 14, 2014 — 

Know the gun laws of Oregon

I was in a gun shop the morning of November 8 to pick up a shotgun the dealer had ordered for me. After 45 minutes, the dealer was told I could not have the gun until December 22. There was no denial or reason given. I have been through this before, so I told the dealer I would be back after three business days had lapsed. The dealer said fine.

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Letter: Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center staff praised, morale low

November 12, 2014 — 

Look at misuse of power issues

I came in good faith to Roseburg for a great management job opportunity at the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The Nutrition and Food Service staff is a group of hard-working employees. They work as a team and get their kudos from each other, not their Chief.

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Letter: High hopes for new direction from recently elected Douglas County commissioner

November 12, 2014 — 

Beginning of good things

It’s no secret that Douglas County has a huge drug and alcohol problem; statistics don’t lie. I’m delighted that Douglas County chose a commissioner who’s prepared to address this. He’s seen the studies showing connections between high unemployment/economic instability and substance abuse.

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Editorial: Ford’s Pond decision a win for Sutherlin

November 12, 2014 — 

While no official vote was tallied, the decision by the Sutherlin City Council Monday night to move ahead on a plan that revolves around Ford’s Pond was a sound one.

At issue was whether the city should use a purer form of treated wastewater to store at Ford’s Pond as part of a broader, nearly $21 million, batch reactor system blueprint. The batch reactor system plan is in response to Oregon Department of Environmental Quality assertions regarding the city’s failure to meet environmental regulations regarding wastewater.

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Guest column: Going beyond a day of honor and recognition for veterans

November 11, 2014 — 

November 11 is one day out of the year that we pause collectively as a nation to celebrate the service and sacrifice of our military, veterans and their families. I am proud that we mark the day with patriotic parades and ceremonies in communities across the state from Astoria to Ontario, Portland to Klamath Falls, and Coos Bay to Bend.

This year, we will not add any new names to the state’s Afghan/Iraqi Freedom Memorial Wall in Salem — a first since it was dedicated in 2006. But we still remain a nation at war and we must always remember that the work we do is because of those few who have chosen to actively protect our freedom — and always at a cost.

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Letter: Focus of pride should be on fairness and acceptance

November 10, 2014 — 

On Apple CEO: Proud to be gay

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, recently came out and declared that he is “proud to be gay.” Whereas I believe that Cook’s declaration is a good thing in terms of furthering acceptance in diversity, I often find myself bemused with assertions of personal pride in being something that one had no personal choice in.

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Letter: No pets policy is a deal-breaker for some who seek home rentals in Roseburg

November 10, 2014 — 

Pets are part of the family, too

After four previous trips to Roseburg, my husband and I decided this is where we wanted to retire. We loved the “feel” of the town; just small enough and just big enough, with friendly, outgoing people and so much to do outdoors all year long. We couldn’t wait to get here, find a place to live and start our new life.

But I want to share about something else that’s important in my life: my dog Watson. Watson is a purebred Australian Shepherd. He’s a blue merle, tri-colored, long legged bundle of energy and love. We rescued Watson and count it all joy. He has taught us patience, and about that adorable unrequited love a dog has for “his” human. He’s full of joy and small for his age, coming in almost 10 pounds smaller than his breed. Watson’s “before” life was not good. He didn’t know much love, if any. We taught him to play, to feel free, and also to feel cared for and loved. You see, Watson was caged most of his life, until we were lucky enough to adopt him.

We are great dog owners and we take that responsibility seriously. Watson is well mannered and well cared for, and he is the reason why we cannot live in Roseburg. We never dreamed we wouldn’t be able to rent a home in this town because we have a dog. Our hopes of living here are gone. After looking for five days, seeing 30 rentals and getting 30 “no” answers, we’re leaving without that opportunity. You see, we will not abandon Watson to achieve that.

Our hope is that owners would re-evaluate those blanket decisions and understand that the pet is family. Watson would’ve loved to live here, too.

Charlotte Rose-Lawton

Reno, Nevada

Letter: Dump site fees encourage illegal littering in Douglas County

November 10, 2014 — 

What free dump?

The Oct. 26 editorial by The News-Review’s publisher was quick to critique other people’s spending habits while he wants the county to charge people who haul their own garbage to the dump. This apparent self-appointed Garbage Czar hasn’t told us how many new employees, bureaucrats, vehicles and offices this will require for the central dump site and every county transfer site. Over time, this would cost more than developing a new dump site. Just what we need is more government telling where, what, when and how to live and spend our money they want. I have lived through no free dump in the past, and had two vehicles full of garbage dumped in a creek, and bags of chicken guts, heads, feet and feathers in the hay field.

Quite frankly, I don’t care what other counties charge. Perhaps our Garbage Czar would be more comfortable moving there, so he wouldn’t have to concern himself about rubbish. Otherwise, he should publish his address, so when we have to pick up garbage off of our rural property, we can bring it to his house and he can pay to take it to the dump.

Gerald Eifert

Roseburg

Editorial: Veterans’ stories demand coverage of VA health care

November 9, 2014 — 

As we approach Veterans Day for 2014, the awareness of veterans issues for The News-Review editorial board may have never been higher.

We’ve always known how important it is to honor those who’ve put their lives on the line for this country. We’ve regularly told the stories of what our veterans endured — or even enjoyed — during their military service, whether during World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm/Shield or the more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Exemplary service during peacetime, award winners, and military personnel with unique talents have also been featured on the pages of The News-Review. Today’s edition introduces two local veterans who served during Operation Desert Storm/Shield. They and their colleagues from that era will be celebrated Tuesday during the Douglas County Veterans Day Parade in Roseburg.

Recognition for this group of veterans who served in the 1990s is well-deserved.

Today’s edition also features our annual Salute to Veterans special section. Friday’s front page celebrated veteran William Congleton of Glide as he and others jogged through the scenic Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus.

It was no ordinary run. Congleton lost a leg in Iraq 10 years ago. At that time, we reported on his injury and followed his journey from the battlefield to a hospital in Germany and back to American soil.

On Friday, we were able to celebrate Congleton’s return to fitness as he ran through the campus on a prosthetic leg, offering him mobility he once thought he’d never have again.

We’ve relished the opportunity to share these stories — unforgettable moments in veterans’ lives — with our readers. We appreciate the veterans who’ve chosen to speak with our reporters and editors, and those who have written stories for us.

We intend to continue this tradition because veterans are significant in our community and throughout the country.

That significance — culturally, economically, socially and tied to the health of our community — explains why so many headlines this past year have included veterans. The focus, however, turned to the care of our veterans at the nation’s VA hospitals and clinics, including the VA Roseburg Healthcare System.

The stories of veterans’ bravery and sacrifice, and sometimes, death, are why we won’t stop reporting the news and commenting in editorials on the state of care in the VA health care system. While we have a strong group of veterans supporting and encouraging our continued publication of stories regarding the VA, others have expressed dismay at the ongoing front-page news.

As the nation prepares to rightfully celebrate veterans, we want to remind our readers that we’re not looking for salacious headlines. We report the good news, along with the bad.

Our commitment is to demanding that VA leaders be honest, transparent and accountable to the veterans they serve. Providing thorough, high-quality, accessible, affordable, innovative health care to veterans is our expectation. It’s what they deserve for serving our country and protecting our freedom.

Publisher’s Notebook: Election proves again how red Douglas County is

November 7, 2014 — 

I tiptoed out Election Night just to get a better feel for the political climate in Douglas County. I’m from California, where the political climate is mostly … blue, with intermittent haze.

My chaperone for the evening was my friend Mike Winters, who has been keeping a seat warm on the Douglas County Commission until Tim Freeman takes office.

Mike will be getting back to his own landscape business soon and I suspect he’d rather whack weeds than budgets anyway.

Besides, it’s going to be legal to grow and smoke pot in a few months and I see nothing but opportunities for guys like Mike. Landscaping is being redefined as we “speak.”

“Pull that corn the hell out of there and plant some AK-47!”

In fact, I’m trying to come up with a business opportunity for us; maybe print the paper on hemp: “The News-Review: Read It, Smoke It, Forget About It.”

A “prescription” to the paper will be $2,000 per week.

The one thing Election Day made clear is that Douglas County is a red dot in a blue ocean. If the election was left up to us, Art Robinson would be on his way to Washington, D.C., we’d have a new governor and pot would still be illegal.

In other words, it doesn’t matter what we think. We don’t live in Portland, or Eugene, or Salem, so we may as well shut up and smoke weed all day.

Mike took me over to the county “election central” for a bit and we got there just in time for the first results.

They really need to do something with that room, though. I thought I was in a holding cell and they didn’t even have cookies.

Next stop was that Irish pub on Jackson Street. They had the big screen up and a nice crowd was hooting and hollering every time a U.S. Senate seat went red.

“Need help moving, Harry?” someone yelled, referring to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who will not be leading the Senate much longer.

I actually know Harry Reid. I’ve known him since before he became a political powerbroker and was just a senator from the Silver State.

He’d always want to talk politics and I’d always rather talk about the time The Mob planted a bomb under the hood of his car, when he was on the state Gaming Commission.

You didn’t mess with The Mob in Las Vegas back in those days, as Tony Spilotro discovered the hard way.

Amid all the hooting and hollering I reminded a few folks nearby that nothing is likely to change in D.C. The president still has the authority to veto anything the new GOP majority proposes and they don’t have enough votes to override his veto.

So Americans can expect pretty much the same polarized and dysfunctional political system we’ve come to know and love.

Congress has a worse public opinion rating than Roseanne Barr’s re-runs, but we keep electing them to office (incumbents only lost three seats in the Senate and 12 in the House) because it’s never our guy, it’s the other guy.

America’s youth seemed to take a pass this election year. The turnout of voters 18-29 was just 13 percent, while 43 percent of those 45 to 64 cast ballots.

Old people still rule.

Either that, or younger people know something the rest of us don’t.

I bumped into the sheriff Election Night. He actually showed me a photo he took on his cellphone of his ballot, proving that he voted “no” on legalizing pot. One of the candidates (Kerry Atherton) said Sheriff Hanlin supported the measure and Hanlin just wanted me to know that wasn’t the case.

He was wearing his uniform and it struck me that it might be nice to be a sheriff one day. It’s an elected post and I have a few campaign slogans in mind.

“A TASER IN EVERY GARAGE.”

“VOTE FOR ME AND I’LL PEPPER SPRAY YOUR NEIGHBOR.”

The night wrapped up earlier than Election Nights used to, back in the day when you had to get dressed to vote. I filled out my ballot in my boxer shorts this year, just so I could say I did.

I think I was home by 9, just in time to see the Talking Heads sign off on the 24-hour news. There was a digital map of reds and blues and it was a good night for the reds, unless you lived in California or Oregon.

When I got up the next morning things felt pretty much like they felt the morning before. I couldn’t tell which color was in charge of the country.

My chickens were still squawking, my dog was whining and my cat was complaining about his food.

But gas was below $3 per gallon and it’s always a good day when that happens.

Jeff Ackerman is publisher of The News-Review. He can be reached at 541-957-4263 or jackerman@nrtoday.com.

Letter: Choose representatives who will honor their pledge, Oath of Office

November 7, 2014 — 

Inmates run the Asylum

We have many of the Inmates (the Flower Children of the ‘60s) running the Asylum (our country).

They are against nationalism, patriotism and honored traditions. They are against reverence for God’s institutions: the home, the state, and the church. They have no reverence for life itself, and are against God-given absolutes (his laws as found in his holy scriptures), those things which most of us hold dear.

They are for peace and oppose war; however, they are quick to oppose any authority that challenges their self-serving ways. They preach tolerance, but are vehemently intolerant of any who oppose them, using the tactic of character assassination on those who do. They also create laws to silence and disarm their opponents, ignoring the Constitution, especially those laws opposing their agenda.

Here’s a good example of their lunacy: in Ben Stein’s words, “Fathom the hypocrisy of a government that requires every citizen to prove they are insured ... But not everyone must prove they are a citizen ... And now, any of those who refuse, or are unable to prove they are citizens will receive free insurance paid for by those who are forced to buy insurance because they are citizens.”

We, as citizens, need to put an end to the idiocy being practiced by the Obama administration.

It’s time we start ridding ourselves of these anarchists, these hypocrites, and replace them with representatives who will honor their pledge, taken with their Oath of Office.

Dr. Paul Dewhirst

Roseburg

Editorial: Roses & Thorns

November 7, 2014 — 

For this week’s roses & thorns column, we asked our Facebook friends what irritated or pleased you this week as you lived life in Douglas County?

We got a variety of responses, so we thought we’d share them here.

The thorns came on strong. Here’s what we heard:

• Irritated that Kitzhaber was re-elected

• That another state won the right to have 40 hours of paid sick leave and it wasn’t on our ballot. What about paid maternity leave?

• Irritated at the lack of law enforcement due diligence in this county. All depends on who you are or related to.

But one of our friends was so happy she used all capital letters:

• PLEASED. The North Douglas County Leadership Group Cohort 1 Books for KIDS “BOOK Project.” Elkton, Yoncalla and Drain events. A project like no other. www.elktonbutterflies.com/book-project.html

We applaud Donna Jean Hanks-Smith for bringing this project to our attention. We are big believers in early reading projects. Thanks to all the donors that contributed so the project qualified for the Ford Institute for Community Building grant.

The conversation that drew the most interaction was:

• Seeing police officers driving while holding phones to their ears. Why don’t they have ear pieces? It is a safety issue.

That was followed by:

• And talking on a handheld mobile device is illegal.

A couple of others chimed in their distaste for this practice that they’ve witnessed frequently.

Technically, handheld cellphones can be used if it’s required for your line of work. That’s what the officers would likely tell us.

But who isn’t working while on the road these days?

One other comment was disturbing.

• Irritated that I have not seen nor heard about Kitzhaber’s plan to eliminate the alternative to work programs we provide to our handicapped community that gives independents and integrity to so many until last night...sign the petition!

Sunrise Enterprises is this kind of program and it’s an integral part of our community, especially for those with disabilities. We intend to look into this further.

Letter: Commissioners should not dismantle Douglas County Health Department

November 7, 2014 — 

Strengthen our County Health

Commissioners should not dismantle Public Health.

“In the United States we are protected from Ebola, and other infectious agents by a sophisticated infrastructure of Public Health at the National, State and Local level,” proclaimed the head of the Centers for Disease Control when responding to fears of Ebola in the U.S.

Not here in Douglas County — one county commissioner, with no training or background in Public Health, will put the entire population of Douglas County at risk by her ill-informed actions. How can an elected official, without public input, decide to abolish a county Public Health system? Where was the head of the Public Health Department and why didn’t she publicly fight for Douglas County citizens to be protected by the array of services and infrastructure that public health affords? Apparently, she has resigned, and similarly had no experience, background, or training in public health, medicine or any vaguely related field. How can this be?

Douglas County ranks 30 of 33 counties in poor health status. As a physician who served in the Public Health Service, first in World War II and later in large infectious disease hospitals, I’m extremely concerned. The process by which we appoint, oversee, and apparently dismantle, Public Health programs needs immediate review and revision. Decisions of such magnitude require expertise, and informed oversight.

If the commissioners don’t understand the function of Public Health and its role in protecting citizens from often deadly diseases, then please seek informed guidance on such critical decision-making to avert potential future tragedy. Commissioners are responsible for assuring infrastructure for health promotion, disease prevention, and the wellbeing of citizens in Douglas County. From managing infections disease outbreaks like Ebola or Enterovirus D68, to vaccinating children, let’s strengthen Douglas County Public Health Department, not dismantle it.

Clara R. Johns, MD

Umpqua

Letter: Time for campaign signs to disappear in Douglas County; who will clean up their act?

November 7, 2014 — 

Pick up election signs please

The mark of a good political candidate is one who is honest and works for the betterment of his constituents .

The mark of a great political candidate is one who picks up his signs after the election.

Lyle Miller

Roseburg

Letter: Remembering a good man: Louis Michalek of Roseburg

November 5, 2014 — 

Remembering him always

Roseburg recently lost a local treasure and that treasure was Dr. Louis Michalek. He passed away peacefully on October 13, surrounded by his family. Louis was like a grandfather to me, as well as a friend and my former doctor. He was one of the best men I’ve ever been blessed to know. I loved spending time with him; he was so smart.

I felt like I should always have a note pad and pen to jot down notes because, frankly, most of what he had to say was valuable. He showed me how to can tuna and was even willing to let me modify the recipe, which I thought was nice because really he knew more than me and it had been perfected.

I also enjoyed accompanying him to Umpqua Community College music events. We attended one recently and he said it was a flamenco group which I didn’t question because the name was “Habaneros.” It turned out to be a chamber music group and we got a good laugh out of that.

I will also miss him at Roseburg High football games on Friday nights. My grandpa and I would sit next to Lou and his son, Tom, cheering on the Indians. One time, I drove Lou to a game and it was so cold that even though I was bundled up, I was freezing and really wanted to leave. I kept hinting to Lou about leaving early, but he never left early and wasn’t going to start then, so I had to tough it out. He was there to support the team, as he always did. I am ever grateful for the many memories of him. I will miss Lou terribly and will remember him always; he was a great man to so many.

Misty Ross

Roseburg

Guest column: Roseburg’s knack for natural resource stewardship now extends to renewable energy

November 5, 2014 — 

Roseburg, more than most communities, understands natural resources and their stewardship. The city and its citizens deserve congratulations for demonstrating this understanding by showing their strong commitment to renewable energy.

The city and residents did this by surpassing the ambitious goal set by the Roseburg City Council in the Roseburg Blue Sky Challenge. More than 600 residents have chosen to support renewable energy through Pacific Power’s Blue Sky program.

That’s a huge accomplishment considering the goal was 500 and the challenge goes on to the end of the year so that number will increase even more. Those 600 join nearly 100,000 customers in the west who have also made this personal commitment to support renewable energy through the Blue Sky program.

Mayor Larry Rich showed his leadership as did Umpqua Community College, Jefferson Public Radio and the United Community Action Network. And I need to mention the major businesses such as Roseburg Forest Products, Swanson Group Manufacturing and Umpqua Dairy who have been part of Blue Sky for years and led by example in this challenge as well.

Working together with these partners and with our representatives going door-to-door in September, we were able put the benefits of Blue Sky, for individuals and for communities, in front of thousands of Roseburg citizens, hundreds of whom saw immediately the value in developing renewable resources for the future. Whenever we are involved in challenges like this it strengthens and deepens our connection to the community and that is exactly what happened here.

To mark this accomplishment, Blue Sky is giving the city a solar array that the city will place in a city park. This will help hold down the city’s power bill, always an important consideration, and also provide an easily accessible solar facility where we can all learn more about solar power.

This model installation will complement larger ones on the Roseburg Public Safety Building and two United Community Action Network buildings — Joyce Morgan Food Bank and the Martha Young Family Service Center — all funded by Blue Sky customers in previous years.

This is how Blue Sky works. People working together, funding new renewable projects in communities around the Northwest, helping people understand how renewable energy works and how it fits in with natural resource stewardship. Then building on that success as well so not only is the energy renewable, but so is the community spirit.

Roseburg and its leadership should feel proud of this accomplishment. Congratulations to all.

Pat Reiten is the president and chief executive officer of Pacific Power. He can be reached at pat.reiten@pacificorp.com.

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