Strategy derails beauty

By John Baker March 08, 2010 01:29 pm

Dear Neighbors of Union County,

I encourage the taxpaying citizens of Union County to continue to question your Union County commissioners about the benefits of the proposed wind farm(s).  Maybe they’ll be wonderful, with all the benefits promised. And maybe they won’t.

Take it from us in your sister county of Wallowa: two of your commissioners have been very effective in decisions ruining our rural beauty. The hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of parked rail cars we look at 24/7 from Joseph to Minam are a manifestation of a failed business plan. While the original mutual county effort to save the rails was noble and with hope, the continuation of this plan beyond anything but paying down the debt we took on in 1999 is akin to keeping clipper ships alive in the face of steam.

The current WURA rental agreement with the Union Pacific makes sense, but only as a get-out strategy, and yet we continue to hear the imbecilic operating ideas which only delay the inevitable and suck the rental income account dry.

But never mind! You’re in the good hands of your two commissioners, the same ones who stated to us in public, when we asked if we could have a vote in their decisions, that, No, we were not educated enough to be able to vote these issues. (A poll after the meeting showed every citizen in attendance had a college degree, if that was the criteria).

Well, now we’ve got the rail cars parked between our living room windows and our sacred Wallowa Mountains and along our rivers for 25 miles. Looks like you’ll get the windmills. Just make sure they make economic sense going in, as well as on the far side when and if they they don’t produce the revenue promised. And when the commissioners tell you in open session you just don’t understand enough to have a say, be prepared.

Good luck and best wishes in this endeavor, to make a good economic decision. We allowed a poor one.

PS — At last check with our assessor’s office, the revenue promised to our county by your commissioners in 2009 from a property tax assessment on the parked rail cars has not materialized. Not a penny. But, as we were told, we wouldn’t understand. I think we understand the answer now, however. So far there isn’t one.

John Baker is from Wallowa.