REZONE DRIVE-IN LAND COMMERCIAL

January 24, 2003 12:00 am

Residents who live near La Grande's 50-year-old drive-in theater on 20th Street are opposed to rezoning the property commercial. They apparently would like to see the site eventually be used for housing.

We wonder why. The drive-in already is a commercial use in a highly commercial area. It is across 20th Street from Bi-Mart and only a block away from Les Schwab Tires and Rock and Sons Tire and Auto Repair. Mixed uses can be found along 20th Street.

THE 8.87 ACRE drive-in site would be a logical place for commercial expansion in the East Adams Avenue area if its owners, Mark, John and Charles Greulich, decide to close the theater.

The drive-in now operates as a non-conforming use in a high-density residential zone. The city council will decide Feb. 5 whether to rezone the property for commercial.

Twentieth Street is in poor repair. A commercial developer for the theater property could be asked to contribute significantly to a much-needed street improvement project. It makes sense to zone the drive-in property commercial.

TAMING THE TONGUE

Just as the Portland Trail Blazers appeared to have it turned around, the team's star forward, Rasheed Wallace, opened his mouth last week. The latest incident involving the Blazer bad boy resulted in him being suspended by the NBA for seven games. The penalty is severe, but hopefully it will get Wallace's attention. He simply must control his temper.

Here's what happened. Wallace was called for a T in the third quarter of a home game against Memphis Jan. 15. The call by referee Tim Donaghy was for Wallace's forceful return of the ball to another referee after he was called for a foul.

THAT DIDN'T END the matter that evening. Wallace allegedly cursed at Donaghy on the loading dock while both were leaving the Rose Garden, and the referee returned the compliment. The incident was written up in the referees' report to the NBA for possible discipline of Wallace.

NBA commissioner David Stern, in explaining the seven-game suspension, said evidence showed that Wallace had threatened Donaghy. Memphis guard Brevin Knight, who was with Wallace on the loading dock, said the incident was heated, but he didn't see Wallace as posing a threat.

Wallace has been doing much better controlling his temper. Two seasons ago, he led the league with 41 technical fouls and seven ejections. This season he's only had five technicals. But he can do better. Wallace is losing a reported $1.26 million during his suspension. Wouldn't it have been better if Wallace had earned this money and contributed the sum to the anger-management programs run by county mental health offices across the state?