Letters to the editor for June 26, 2013

By Observer Upload June 26, 2013 10:37 am
Letters to the editor for June 26, 2013

More taxes won’t
fix downtown

To the Editor:

As a downtown business owner, I find myself amazed at the supposition that we will collapse into obscurity if we don’t start taxing property owners to fund efforts to keep our heads above water economically. Having been heavily involved in the workings of the economy of this city and county since the early ’90s, I can assure you that there are plenty
of people taking care of

A recent letter talked about becoming an irrelevant relic of the 1900s. Many times, people move to an area and begin to criticize with no knowledge of previous efforts.  I might remind folks that we once had a vibrant Main Street organization, funded by membership participation. That organization built Max Square in a burned out block with an eye toward having a gathering place for residents, a Farmers’ Market and the nucleus for events like Celebrate La Grande. That membership driven La Grande Main Street was the backbone for multiple events, including Crazy Days, which had active business participation and widespread community events.

Our letter-writing critic stated there is no reason to stop downtown. As a former tourism director, I can tell you there are plenty of reasons to stop downtown. Small town shopping is a major tourist activity even if it isn’t a major landmark attraction. As a current and former downtown business owner, I can assure you we see plenty of out-of-town travelers every day.

Small business is hard. Lots of people start without knowing the expense, efforts and hours involved. Part of the difficulty of keeping the doors open is increasing government taxes and fees. There will always be storefronts open and ready for new business. It’s the nature of downtowns everywhere.

Let’s give a bit of credit to the Chamber, the VCB, UCEDC, the city and the county for on-going efforts to keep us from sliding into total obscurity without one more tax on business.  

Colleen MacLeod


Celtic Festival
is alive and well

To the Editor:

The Celtic Society of Eastern Oregon was recently shocked to hear a most disturbing rumor: The Celtic Festival and Highland Games would not be back for 2013. Imagine our surprise, especially as several members have been diligently planning the event. Has all this effort been for nothing? 

By no means. The society has been working tirelessly to bring another quality festival to La Grande, filled with education, excitement, dancing, music and laughter. Regional, national and international performers will be sharing their talents. The sound of bagpipes, bodhrans and the rhythmic clicking of heels will again fill the warm August air enveloping the Union County Fairgrounds. Cabers will be tossed and turned. Kilts, with their colorful plaids silently bespeaking clan allegiances, victories and tragedies, will again be a common sight. Kilted men and women, however, will not be so quiet; most will be happy to share their clan history with any who may ask. Celts are a proud lot, generally, but also warm and friendly.

We hope the community turns out to see for themselves what a Celtic festival is all about and how much fun it can be. You don’t have to be descended from the Scots, the Irish, the Welsh or Manx to be welcome. All you have to do is come, just as you are. We’d love to hear about your heritage too.

The La Grande Celtic Festival is the perfect place to share, swap stories and enjoy life. Society members work hard to bring you a respite from everyday life, steeping you in a past that continues to fill our future and yours. Let the festival go on. Let the games begin. 

Mary DeViney

CSEO secretary

Norm Kerr

CSEO vice-president