Letters to the editor for January 18, 2013

By Observer Upload January 18, 2013 08:35 am



Visualize new future for railroad right of way

To the Editor:

The Blue Goose steam engine has not laid golden eggs for the Wallowa Union Railroad Authority as predicted in their operational plan.  Seems the goose had been eaten and its bones sucked before WURA signed the contract with its ‘owner’ Court Hammond of Sierra Nevada and Pacific. (Railroad operator’s contract terminated, 12/21/12). 

When Union and Wallowa counties purchased the railroad right of way between Elgin and Joseph, a series of public hearings was held to determine its best use. WURA was formed to save the tracks for possible future freight and to pursue economic benefits forecast by a group of railroad buffs.  

Now the Blue Goose has been declared dead and no future need for freight is predicted. It’s time to visualize a new future for our public right of way.   

A Rails to Trails system would enhance quality of life and health for locals by providing an outstanding location for year-around recreation. For Wallowa County the trail would also provide an alternative “active” transportation system between towns. These facts would qualify for a variety of grants aimed at improving health, reducing obesity and increasing active transportation.

Broad sections of our economy would benefit. The potential local revenue could be estimated by researching rural communities across the West being brought back to life through Rails to Trails. 

Current salvage value of the rails is $200 a ton. Removing the 63 miles of track at approximately 100 pounds per foot would provide jobs and start-up money for the trail.

A  WURA meeting to develop a new right of way game plan has been scheduled for Jan. 22 at 5 p.m. in the Wallowa Senior Center, 204 Second.

We are all stakeholders. Consider the options, attend the meeting, speak your mind.

Mary McCracken

Island City


Movie Tuesday focuses on health care systems

To the Editor:

Congress has passed the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (also known as Obamacare.)  

Although this legislation will expand access to health care for the poor and will increase regulation of health insurers, it will leave at least 23 million Americans uninsured and many more underinsured. Many middle class American families will continue to be forced into bankruptcy due to catastrophic health expenses.  

The president’s health plan can’t make universal, comprehensive coverage affordable. Only single-payer health reform — Medicare for All — can achieve that goal. Single-payer national health care could realize about $400 billion in savings annually — enough to cover the uninsured and to upgrade coverage for all Americans. 

On Tuesday, at 7 p.m., at no charge, in Huber Auditorium in Badgley Hall on the EOU campus, “The Health Care Movie” will be shown. 

This documentary explains how the health care systems of Canada and the United States evolved to be completely different. It stimulates both thought and discussion. The public is invited.

Susan Boyd





Generous and thoughtful gifts appreciated 

To the Editor:

A big thank-you from Wildflower Lodge residents to EOU students and faculty, Wildflower family members and FFA members for your generous and thoughtful gifts provided to our residents.

It’s been a true delight to see their gratitude of your thoughtful gifts, each individually tailored to their needs and interests.

So many have expressed a desire to thank you.


Ann Yoder

Community relations director, Wildflower Lodge Assisted Living & Memory Care

La Grande