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The Observer Paper 12/22/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow How you can make a difference


How you can make a difference

Among the reasons people say they volunteer is, “I want to give something back to my community.” 

Well, here is your chance. 

The City of La Grande is looking for people who want to give back and are willing to step forward and volunteer for seats on the council’s numerous advisory committees and commissions. Vacancies currently exist on the air quality, arts, parking, traffic safety and street maintenance and parks and recreation advisory commissions. We also have vacancies on the planning commission. 

But let’s focus in particular on the Landmarks Advisory Commission, which is tasked with the responsibility of safeguarding our historic and cultural heritage reflected in historic landmarks and our Downtown Historic District. 

The Landmarks Advisory Commission is a five-member commission on which there are currently three vacant seats. Commissioners typically meet on an as-needed basis to, among other crucial process considerations, review applications for certificates of historic appropriateness in connection with proposed alterations or construction affecting a designated or formally-nominated historic resource within the Historic District. 

The prestigious designation of Downtown Historic District comes with federal and state requirements to establish a Landmarks Advisory Commission. The advantages of doing so are many and significant. Council creation of a Landmarks Advisory Commission has opened up funding opportunities that benefit owners of historic properties and landmarks, including, but not limited to, grant funding for architectural or engineering assistance with project design, grant funding for construction and property tax abatement. None of these would be available without the City’s Landmarks Advisory Commission. 

In addition to giving back, when you volunteer you get a “feel-good rush,” and volunteering can have a significant impact on your physical health. 

Research conducted through Carnegie Mellon University reveals that “those who volunteer for at least 200 hours a year were 40 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who did not.” 

Dr. Joseph Mercola, an osteopathic physician, says that volunteering can reduce overall mortality risk by 47 percent, may lower risk of depression and anxiety and boost psychological well being. 

So I encourage you to apply for one of the three vacant seats on the Landmarks Advisory Commission but will also gladly accept your application for any of our other vacancies. 

Applications may be obtained from Angelika Brooks, on the second floor of La Grande City Hall, 1000 Adams Ave.; or you can download the application at www.cityoflagrande.org and return it to Angelika. Applications may also be emailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or faxed to 541-963-3333.

Volunteering is good for your health, so sign up today.


My Voice

Sandy Lund of La Grande is a city recorder. She currently works as a city recorder at City Hall in La Grande. Lund is a member of the Oregon Association of Municipal Clerks, International Association of Municipal Clerks and National Association of Parliamentarians.

My Voice columns should be 500 to 700 words. Submissions should include a portrait-type photograph of the author. Authors also should include their full name, age, occupation and relevant organizational memberships. 



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