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The La Grande Observer Paper 08/27/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow Our View arrow OUR VIEW: Spring cleaning time

OUR VIEW: Spring cleaning time

Spring begins in Northeast Oregon like a rambling wreck, in fits and starts. Some days, the sun actually packs heat. Other days, we get every possible condition postal carriers boast they haul mail through — rain, sleet, snow and hail.

It’s a time of new birth. Of lambs and calves frolicking in meadows, of red-winged blackbirds claiming swampland for a home, of daffodils putting on showy displays along rock walls.

Now that the snow cover is gone, it’s time to think about spring cleaning. What impressions do visitors get when they roar through La Grande on Interstate 84, or pull off and take a tour? Each of us can pitch in to clean up our properties so that the first impression these visitors get compares favorably with other cities along the I-84 corridor. We can remove the car bodies and dead refrigerators from the front yard, if that is needed, or just give everything a thorough going over and, when it warms up, apply some paint.

Spring cleaning is not just for others. It is also for ourselves. It gives us a psychological boost to have neat and tidy surroundings, and adds to our sense of pride in our community.

Face it. Northeast Oregon is a beautiful place, and this natural beauty — being surrounded by the Blue and Wallowa mountains, in valleys
impressively grand — is one of our strengths. Each of us can contribute to the community by doing our part to clean up our own front yard and helping the region live up to its possibilities.

Some groups are doing their part. The La Grande United Methodist Church, for example, is continuing its fifth Sunday tradition of Church out of Church. After a worship service and a quick lunch, the congregation will launch out into the community this Sunday to perform acts of service. These acts might involve splitting and stacking wood for an elderly person not capable of such activities, raking a yard or other community-building jobs.

The congregation serves as a model for the rest of us, showing what can be done by thinking outside the box and putting religion into action.

But you don’t have to be religious to grab a rake or pick up the detritus of a long winter in a local park. 

What’s more, voluntary service to the community does not have to be a group activity. Each
individual, by just picking up one item of trash, one cigarette butt, shard of glass or old hamburger wrapper, can make a difference.

Not all of us can be Tom McCalls, the Oregon governor of the 1960s and 1970s who spearheaded the cleanup of the polluted Willamette River and championed the bottle bill and the beach bill, which kept Oregon beaches open to the public. In Connecticut, by contrast, 60 percent of the beaches are closed to the public.

But each of us can show pride in our Oregon heritage by making our own front yards shine this spring.

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