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The Observer Paper 12/22/14

The LaGrande Observer is now online in a Replica E-edition form and publishes Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Current subscribers have full access to the E-edition.

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The community of Imbler is at a crossroad. With declining school enrollment, an inability to attract people to serve on the city council, and the need to build a municipal wastewater system, Imbler residents need to decide if they want their community to continue as an incorporated municipality or let the city fade into oblivion.

GOING FORWARD and building up the community is going to take a commitment from citizens and a willingness to pay the costs associated with keeping the city alive. One of the prerequisites, if the city is to have any commercial growth, will be building a sewer system. And those don't come


Imbler is a fine community with a long history. And its school system is one of the best around — both academically and athletically. The community once had a bustling commercial zone, most of which has been negated by the city's proximity to La Grande. The school district's enrollment has declined to the point the district is considering dropping from the 2A classification to the 1A level. Imbler High remains competitive at the 2A level, but enrollment is dictating that the school drop to the state's smallest classification. Would it make more sense for the school district to combine with Elgin or La Grande?

CITY LEADERS HELD a town hall meeting last week to address the community's need to consider building a sewer system. Residents weren't necessarily opposed to the idea, but understandably they had a lot of questions about the kind of system that would be built and the costs of maintaining it.

Imbler's city council is right. Eventually the city, and all incorporated communities, will be forced by the state to build sewer systems. If a community — even a small one — is to grow, wastewater systems are crucial. Imbler residents have the choice to wait until they have no choice, when costs are sure to be higher, or bite the bullet now and proceed with laying the groundwork for helping the city grow.

Should the City of Imbler fade away or forge ahead? Should the school district be blended into Elgin's or La Grande's? The choice is Imbler's. Citizens need to make their voices heard.


Imbler residents are invited to share their opinions on their community's future. What about the school district's consideration of dropping from the 2A to 1A classification? Is the community willing to pay the costs associated with construction of a municipal sewer system?

Share your views with other readers. Send in your letters to the editor and help get a public discussion going.


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