COMMUNITY SECURITY TOP ISSUE AT NATIONAL CONFERENCE

December 11, 2001 12:00 am

By Gary Fletcher

Observer Staff Writer

ENTERPRISE Susan Roberts, Enterprise mayor and president of the League of Oregon Cities, participated in the National League of Cities meeting last week in Atlanta that included a discussion on community security.

Some 4,000 municipal government officials developed a priorities agenda for 2002, focusing on homeland security, federal policies that will help local government build strong, safe, and productive communities, issues surrounding youth education and families, and combating racism.

Though some may wonder how these issues relate to a small community, Roberts said she found the forum extremely valuable. She mentioned the importance of protection of municipal water supplies.

Roberts also said it is valuable for a smaller city to be linked with large municipalities such as Portland, Salem and Eugene.

We have friends and relatives living there. We need to be as up on these things as anybody else. Why should we be trying to reinvent the wheel. the mayor said. This sort of stuff (Sept. 11 attacks) begets local crackpots, and remote areas like this can attract extremists such as the Unabomber.

At the conference, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta spoke about airline security and transportation issues affected by the Sept. 11 attacks. Contrary to national media coverage of other events, Mineta was very well received at this gathering, Roberts said. People from every walk of life and nationality were there, Roberts said. Those she heard from, saw the nation in a crisis since the terrorists attacks.

Other issues covered, included the national and local economies, and proposed federal legislation that would affect local and state governments and their economies, she said.

Another aspect of the gathering that she found most interesting was my learning, and picking up ideas to bring home.

She returned with a list that included:

A walking trail, showcased by Safford, Ariz., population 4,500.

Sidewalk cleaning machines might be practical for cleaning up winter sanding, sediment and debris that settles in the handicapped ramps of the towns 4 1/2 miles of new sidewalk. The machines can also be fitted with a snow plow.

A four-sided heritage clock was showcased. People might be interested in adding this to the Enterprise Hometown Improvement Groups downtown improvement project, she said

Roberts term as Oregon league president ends in January.