March 10, 2003 11:00 pm

The Regional Fire Museum that will open in La Grande's old fire hall this spring will be one of the best draws La Grande's downtown has had in years.

As the museum becomes known, people from throughout the region and beyond will seek it out to see the antique fire equipment and apparatus on display. For that reason, the decisions by the City of La Grande and Union County to grant money for remodeling the future chamber and tourism offices at the museum make sense.

The city awarded $5,000 and Union County granted $3,000 for remodeling the chamber and tourism offices, which will be housed in the old fire hall as soon as the work is completed. Having the chamber and tourism offices at the museum makes sense because the museum will provide the attraction La Grande's downtown long has needed, and the tourism and chamber offices can assist the museum volunteers by greeting visitors and collecting admissions.

The arrangement is mutually beneficial to all involved. The city and county made the right decision.

Investment in the fire museum and its accompanying chamber and tourism offices will be good for the community and good for the downtown.

Towns' spirit alive

Sometimes people talk about the slow erosion of community standards. That could not be seen Thursday night in Elgin or Saturday night in Union for those communities' local awards banquets. What was in evidence was the results of working together and the spirit of voluntarism.

The eventS showed the importance of coming together and talking and listening to one another. We may not be able to solve the world's problems, but we can, working together, solve a few problems in our little corner of the world.

Oregon faces many challenges in coming years, but the state also has limitless possibilities. With the spirit of voluntarism, community activism and vision strong as was witnessed in Elgin and Union, we can have faith that positive outcomes will result.

As Jeffery Smith, who set up Omnicut in the Elgin Industrial Park, said, "People who work together can get a big job done."

Many of the jobs ahead for Elgin, Union, La Grande and for the state of Oregon are big — daunting even. By working together, pulling as one, though, we can get the job done.