COMMISSION PRAISED FOR GETTING TOUGH
The Wallowa County Planning Commission is to be commended for getting tough with other county officials last week by shutting down the asphalt plant, four miles north of Enterprise.
The COUNTY- run plant had not complied with safety requirements. Those measures included installing a gate and containment berms.
The planning commission also had required that steps be taken to make the plant visually subordinated to the landscape around it.
The commission should have taken action awhile back to make the county comply. Some of the improvements had been requested as long ago as 1999. But last week's action shows the commission's patience has worn thin. In the end, the commission will not ignore the matter simply because some close cousins down the hall, those county officials responsible for the plant, are not complying.
The county's public works department has requested that the asphalt plant's season be revised from its May to October schedule to include 64 days per year, any time of year, weather permitting.
The planning commission should not give this request any consideration until public works brings the plant into compliance with the visual and safety requirements as ordered.
Change Blazer image
It came as no surprise to see the Portland Trail Blazers exit the playoffs after the first round Sunday. A first-round departure has been the team's habit in recent years.
The Blazers made a series of it with the Dallas Mavericks after being down 3-0 more than a week ago. The Blazers won game four in Portland, game five in Dallas and game six in Portland, forcing Sunday's deciding seventh game in Dallas. Had Portland been successful Sunday, the Blazers would have been the first team in National Basketball Association history to come back to win a seven-game series after being down three games. The Mavericks wanted to avoid the infamy that would come from being the team that allowed this to happen, and worked extremely hard Sunday to win.
Expect "Trader" Bob Whitsett, the Blazers' general manager, to sit down with the team's coach, Maurice Cheeks, in coming weeks to decide what players will exit the team. Blazer management will want to find the right combination of players that helps the team move beyond the playoffs' first-round in 2004.
Of equal importance should be the quality of players who are brought to Portland. The team must work hard to rid itself of its "Jail Blazers" image involving marijuana arrests, fights, nastiness to referees, suspensions and fines. Whitsett and Blazer owner Paul Allen must understand that the character of the people putting on a Portland uniform is as important as the number of games won.