After the logging of Busenbark Park in 2015 and the public outcry it generated, one would think that our county commissioners would have learned from that public relations nightmare. But the recent logging at Whistler's Bend Park revealed that they are too emboldened with power to care about past mistakes.
They don't even have to accept the blame, only to direct it. At the Jan. 16 Board of Commissioners' meeting they were more than willing to let Parks Director Rocky Houston accept responsibility. Since he seems willing to do this, then he should accept the consequences.
The project has been mismanaged with a lack of oversight and miscommunications, as well as a violation of state law.
Some examples: Over 100 hazardous trees were cut when we were told 11. The logger was allowed to start without a required logging plan. When the plan was submitted, it lacked critical information concerning the original hazardous trees. The logging was done with few guidelines or oversight. Despite the required 15-day waiting period, some work has continued at the site. There was a failure in communication with the public concerning changes in the number of trees to be removed — especially with the disc golf community.
I could continue. Is this how our parks should be managed?
Messy controversies are part of Houston's career. His tenure at the State's Parks Division was mired with issues of nepotism and improper use of mountain bikes, according to July 2015 article in the East Oregonian.
In a normal, transparent county government, Rocky Houston would be fired for this fiasco. But this is too much to expect from Douglas County.
We deserve better. Our parks deserve better. Too many mistakes have been made.
Rocky Houston should resign.