Letters to the editor for June 21, 2013

By Observer Upload June 21, 2013 09:16 am
Letters to the editor for June 21, 2013





Downtown can move ahead, or go back to the 1900s

To the Editor:

We read with dismay the recent articles in the Observer regarding the failure of the proposed Economic Improvement District in La Grande.

A few years ago, we bought a home in La Grande to use as a vacation home in our retirement. We chose La Grande because Anne grew up here but also because we saw La Grande as a town with a lot of potential.

When we mention La Grande to our friends and acquaintances in Portland, they almost always recall the beautiful valley they passed through either on their way east on Interstate 84 or on their way to Joseph and Wallowa Lake. 

Virtually no one has ever mentioned being in the downtown. There is really no reason to stop there. We ourselves try to avoid the “corporate strips” along Highways 30 and 82 and much prefer to shop downtown. But it is a challenge.

Many essentials are unavailable downtown. We find a place we want to shop, but the next time we go it has closed. Many businesses don’t have websites so it is hard to find out hours of operation or even the current location. Wandering from shop to shop would be fun except it gets depressing when so many storefronts are empty. It’s even hard to find a cup of coffee on the eastern end of downtown. 

And yet at times there is a hint of vibrancy. The Farmers’ Market has a relaxed and happy atmosphere. The new streetscapes make a more pleasant downtown. Some of the historic buildings are being renovated into great spaces. On a warm evening, there can be a bit of a street scene. Obviously, a lot of hard work has gone into trying to revitalize downtown La Grande. 

So, which way will La Grande go? Will the city and downtown businesses continue to work together through the Main Street program to revitalize downtown? Or will downtown slide into irrelevancy, a relic of the 1900s? We strongly encourage those businesses which expressed disagreement with the proposed Economic Improvement District to reconsider.

Anne and Gary Olson

La Grande



Crop tour is wonderful event in spite of monsoon

To the Editor:

We just returned from the crop tour that is an annual event in this county. What a wonderful event in spite of the rain. 

There are so many people responsible for the success of this program and of course the donors that finance the event. A big thanks to Eagle Cap Steel & Supply for allowing us to use their facility for lunch. This is the second year they have done this.  

Becky Preston