NORTH POWDER THINKS ABOUT CITY'S FUTURE LOOKS

June 21, 2002 12:00 am
THINKING AHEAD: Kate Jones, 9, and her friend, Kaitlyn Beachell, 9, from left, suggested that North Powder could benefit from having a water slide, a helicopter pad and a few more stores in the future. The girls, along with three other youngsters, shared their ideas about the future of their community Thursday afternoon. In the evening, the adults shared their ideas at the school band room. (The Observer/T.L. PETERSEN).
THINKING AHEAD: Kate Jones, 9, and her friend, Kaitlyn Beachell, 9, from left, suggested that North Powder could benefit from having a water slide, a helicopter pad and a few more stores in the future. The girls, along with three other youngsters, shared their ideas about the future of their community Thursday afternoon. In the evening, the adults shared their ideas at the school band room. (The Observer/T.L. PETERSEN).

By T.L. Petersen

Observer Staff Writer

NORTH POWDER — What does this community need?

A pet store?

A rodeo arena?

A water slide?

Mimi Doukas of WRG Design spent Thursday afternoon sitting cross-legged on a table in the school band room, throwing out ideas and asking questions to five 9- and 10-year-olds.

The children had been invited to participate in a grant-funded workshop to solicit ideas for what North Powder should look like in the future.

Sponsored by the city, the Oregon Department of Transportation and the design company, the children's ideas were sought in the afternoon. Nine or 10 adult residents of North Powder showed up for the evening session.

The children, like the adults later, agreed that they like North Powder as a small, friendly town.

When the students were asked by Doukas if they wanted to see the town as big as La Grande, the response was quick.

"No."

"Maybe a mini-La Grande," said Calgary Turner, 10, somewhat reluctantly.

In the evening session, Tom Strandberg, ODOT's public information officer, said that the adults also resisted huge growth, but did say that it was frustrating to have businesses such as the lumber mill close.

"They wanted to see it kept small, but with services and enough business to attract tourists to stop for a meal, fishing licenses or other services," he said. Trendy, he added, wasn't desired.

When Doukas suggested a swimming pool, her young afternoon audience failed to get excited.

"We know where a hot spring is," Kate Jones, 9, said. But Kate and her friend of the same age, Kaitlyn Beachell, decided that a water slide with a pool at the bottom, set up next to the fire hall, would be a great addition to town.

Doukas' idea of a skyscraper didn't pass the children's muster, either. "New York's too big," it was agreed.

The children and adults reviewed what North Powder has and what they'd like to see, and what the problems are. Both groups agreed that the community could do more to promote its location on the Oregon Trail, and perhaps the railroad through town.

But the main question of the day may have come from Kate Jones. Chin resting on her knees, the youngster studied Doukas.

"Why would you want to redo North Powder?"

Reach T.L. Petersen at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it