Save Ag-Timber Parade

By Observer editorial May 07, 2013 07:50 am
In today’s litigious society, it’s no surprise that La Grande’s biggest parade of the year, the Ag-Timber Parade, is in danger of going away.

But it would be a crying shame if it did.

Agriculture and timber are key components of the local economy.

Union County farms and ranches produce approximately $80 million in agricultural and farm commodities, with the county being the state’s premier producer of peppermint oil, Kentucky bluegrass for seed and certified seed potatoes. It’s a nice claim to fame. 

Union County is also home to timber-processing facilities and, as anyone who drives across the Grande Ronde Valley can see, is surrounded by prime timberland in the Blue and Wallowa mountains.

Parades are an important part of the life of a community. Imagine Pasadena without a Rose Parade, or New York City without a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Organizers of local parades need to try to enforce policies that keep parade watchers safe, and parade watchers need to follow certain rules of etiquette. People may no longer be able to throw candy, balloons, leaflets or whatever from floats, but people walking alongside the parade route could hand out candy and other parade favors. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Spokane strictly enforces this rule, and apparently it works. Those who refuse to follow the rules should be ejected from that parade, and not be allowed to enter ones in subsequent years.

Police Chief Brian Harvey has said such an option would be OK for a La Grande parade. 

The agriculture and timber industries are too important to the local economy not to get a proper salute each year. Organizers should find a way to preserve the parade, and its salute to the people who make our agriculture and timber industries go, even if the Ag-Timber Parade has to be moved to Island City.