Shaw: Senior center staff offer excellent meals, service

To the Editor:

I just have to respond to the letter about the senior center’s unhealthy meals.

Sydney and her expert staff serve the best meals possible with what they have available. My wife and I have chosen the senior center about once a week at lunchtime for the past two years. There is always a good green salad, fresh cooked veggies, fruit, fresh rolls and butter.

Our friends around the dining table eat there five days a week. Most are in their 80s to late 90s, very active, healthy and enjoyable to be around. I think that speaks without contest to the senior center’s excellent fare, service and staff.

Mr. Rosenbaum: It would be wonderful if you would like to donate bison steaks once a week for all the seniors. And could you explain the meaning of the word “yecch”?

Creston Shaw


Seydel: Senior center invests care and thought in every meal

To the Editor:

I am a senior citizen in this community. I go to the Union County Senior Center to eat the noon meal with my friends. Some of the meals are my favorite, liked the baked chicken, pizza or pork roast. Sometimes, like everyone, I don’t care for what is being served, but I have always felt that there is a great deal of care and thought invested in every meal.

Nutrition is one of the primary objectives of the staff. Sodium is kept to a minimum. The cost to a senior citizen is only a $3 donation. There is no place in town where you can get a generous wholesome meal like this for such a low price. There are many people who volunteer their time to make these dinners happen.

The meal is important, and the social interaction is very healthy too. If you go to the center for a couple of weeks, you will begin to get acquainted with the seniors there. They are surprisingly kind and accepting. Sometimes, musicians come to the center and entertain us while we are eating.

If you would like more information about senior meals, you can call the Union County Senior Center and talk to our fearless leader, Aubrey, at 541-963-7532.

Judith Seydel

also signed by 15 other diners from La Grande, Island City and Cove

Shea: Surveys should have been conducted before Family Foods got green light

To the Editor:

As a resident of Union County for the past 25 years, I feel compelled to express my views on the recent stories written by The Observer highlighting the difficulties the Market Place grocery store is experiencing. The situation it finds itself in today is not surprising at all to most business owners in the La Grande area. If the owners and the Union County Commissioners had done their homework, this situation would not be happening, as the project would never have been given the green light. Albertsons shut down operations in La Grande because of poor return on investments and the high cost of upgrading their facility.

As far as the results of the recent survey, how do you ascertain anything from 24 respondents? Neutral? What the heck does that really mean? Surveys should have been provided to Union County citizens asking for input before the project was ever considered for funding. For any business to succeed in the La Grande area, it must be well funded and provide a needed service or product. This is not a difficult concept to understand.

I suggest you interview the small successful grocery store owners in and around the La Grande area. There you will learn the formula of success. Know your customer, know your competitors, stock what sells, keep up with the constant changing consumer demands and plenty of smiles and thank yous go a long way toward repeat business and success.

“If we don’t support each other, then we are lost”? Is Mr. Adelsberger implying it’s the fault of us citizens his project is failing? I find that statement patently false and offensive.

John P. “Jack” Shea


Lester: Community deserves open investigation of URA

To the Editor:

Market Place Family Foods is bankrupt (The Observer, Feb. 2-4). I am concerned about the La Grande Urban Renewal Agency’s decision to put $500,000 into this venture. Not only was the amount far above its stated maximum of $50,000, but the venture was not viable. The ambitious development plan included:

Limited retail area

Expensive exterior and interior decoration, including rockwork, wood carvings, custom furniture, fine woods and custom finishes

A large deli area, with a high-end menu

A custom-built bar – with only four seats

Custom meat and other groceries, with no demonstrated sales potential in the area, but tied to other business ventures of the owner

A multi-story structure on the south side, with no immediate income-generating potential, expensive to build and with reported cost overruns

Our area has successful neighborhood markets, like Island City Market and Nature’s Pantry. Neither is grandiose. Both are popular, reasonably priced and focus on the kinds of things that people want. They started small and succeeded. But Family Foods wanted to build a neighborhood grocery that was big-mall fancy from the start and offered products not yet proven to sell well. The venture could not recoup the initial acquisition and development costs without high prices or traffic nearing WalMart density — both unrealistic in their location.

How did the La Grande URA not see the realities of the business plan before they threw a half a million bucks of the people’s money at a pipe dream? The numbers simply could not work, which was evident in the resistance of private capital. In bankruptcy, the store will get bought out or reorganized for pennies on the dollar, and the URA’s note will be worth little more than the paper it’s printed on.

I checked the URA’s public annual reports for 2013 through 2017, and none of them mention this project by name. Half a million bucks, and not a peep.

How did this happen? Does anybody else think we need an open investigation of the URA?

Marcus Lester