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Home arrow Opinion arrow OREGON DEFIES SOLO DRIVING TRENDS

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OREGON DEFIES SOLO DRIVING TRENDS

Solo driving and urban sprawl have a lot in common. Portland ranked eighth among 83 metropolitan areas in a recent study of urban sprawl, showing the largest city in Oregon's attempts to contain sprawl has slightly reduced dependence on cars.

THE 2000 CENSUS figures showed Oregon and Washington as the only states where solo driving rates declined. Oregon and Washington saw small increases in public transit and work-from-home options.

Suburban growth has contributed much to urban sprawl and solo driving. The 2000 census figures show about 76 percent of workers 16 and older drove solo to their jobs, up from 64 percent in 1980 and 73 percent in 1990. Carpooling sadly was at 12 percent in 2000, down from 20 percent in 1980 and 13 percent in 1990.

The nationwide census figures, while disappointing, reinforce the notion that people are a big part of the environmental equation, in making sure that we have fresh air and water for coming generations. And people making sound decisions are our greatest resource.

SOME ZEALOTS, of course, would say get rid of automobiles altogether and ride bicycles, walk or take the bus or train. These people's hearts are in the right place. But such extremist thinking is unrealistic for some commuters to adopt. And sure, there is the freedom of the American road and individual rights to consider.

But we can each in small ways contribute to the livability of Oregon through initiative to make a change. Saving of resources contributes to our strength as a state and a nation. Wise stewardship by containing urban sprawl and increasing public transit is vital to our economy.

HOW ABOUT COOS BEND?

It's fine for Coos Bay and North Bend on the southern Oregon coast to be considering merging. But residents should give a little more thought to a name for the combined city.

Voters in Coos Bay (population 15,470) and adjacent North Bend (population 9,370) will be asked in May 2004 whether they want their cities to consolidate.

THERE'S PLENTY of good reasons for a merger, not the least the savings in administrative and other costs.

The problem is the proposed city would be called Coos Bay-North Bend. That's quite a mouthful. Even Milton-Freewater only has two words. City officials should look at something much shorter, but still reflecting the Native American heritage of the Coos name. Coos North City does not sound right. Neither does North Coos. How about Coos Bend?

The whole issue could be moot. The two cities have voted on consolidation five times since 1943. Each time the measure passed in Coos Bay but failed in North Bend. Maybe a new, snappier name for the combined city might be all that's needed to get North Bendites to back the

proposal.

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