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September 10, 2013
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Editorial: Myrtle Creek's civic pride sets an example for others to follow

Lots of sayings urge us to look beyond exteriors. Appearances aren’t everything. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Pretty is as pretty does.

There’s truth in all that, of course. But taking a closer look at some recent activities in Myrtle Creek, it seems that a certain type of beauty is more than skin deep.

One of the more visible pieces of evidence is the multi-paneled mural completed last month at City Hall, a project commissioned by students in the Ford Institute Leadership Program. Douglas County-based artists Andy Duclos and Susan Applegate applied their talents to the creation that presents images of the city’s history, industry and natural setting. It’s one of three murals students raised money to produce. Canyonville and Riddle are scheduled for their turns in October.

The murals illustrate an important point to Myrtle Creek Mayor Dan Jocoy.

“Small towns may have (limited) strings to play, but they want to play a nice song with them, and heritage and history in Myrtle Creek seem to be making a nice melody,” he said Monday.

Meanwhile, other buildings in Myrtle Creek are slated for doses of color in the form of barn quilts. This decorative form of Americana is blanketing the nation with painted quilt squares that usually are fashioned on boards and mounted on public or private buildings to form a trail for visitors to follow.

Less artistic, but no less aesthetic, is the revival of a city program that furnishes recycled paint for Main Street buildings to brighten the town’s core. The Rose Motel and Odd Fellows building are turning refurbished faces forward as a result; more may follow.

Frequent pedestrians no doubt will appreciate the half-dozen or so benches recently placed by the city’s Main Street Association.

And Music in the Park organizers can chart yet another successful summer concert series that has helped inspire more spin-offs around the county.

Speaking of spin, if a group of disc golf enthusiasts has its way, a nine-hole course built with private funds will be attracting families on the west side of Millsite Park near the South Umpqua River. The proposal will be considered at the Sept. 17 City Council meeting.

For Jocoy, always a fan of getting out and moving around in the fresh air, the idea demonstrates how various types of people are coming together to improve the community.

“It’s a spirit of citizens and volunteers who are becoming involved by bringing their desires and gifts and talents,” he said.

Yet Jocoy is not blind to the problems in his city, problems that are widespread in Douglas County and beyond.

He cites the high rates of drug and alcohol abuse, poor lifestyle choices and other elements that contribute to fractured families and other rampant social problems.

And while county residents are often cited for their generous spirits and readiness to help others in need, Jocoy is not alone in wishing that generosity could be applied to more productive ends than solving short-term emergencies.

Still, there’s something to be said for the civic pride that has been generating a cultural revival of sorts in Myrtle Creek.

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The News-Review Updated Sep 10, 2013 11:00AM Published Sep 13, 2013 12:23PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.