Outlook columnist Sharon Nesbitt calls up the bright spots as we roll out our offerings through 2021.
People love to hold it. Me too. But every time I drive to Troutdale and turn right from the historic Columbia River Highway up to Buxton Hill, I think how good the government can be.
This intersection was increasing the pain in the neck. Cars lined up in all directions, waiting to turn. People were expressing their concern that we had a “panting” traffic light. I’ve lived in Buxton Hill for over 60 years and I remember the days when you could lose traction on the ice and shoot across the historic highway without any damage.
Recently, Multnomah County residents, who are responsible for the roads here, came up with a three-way stop to deal with the increased traffic. Everyone stops for a moment, then moves on. Every time I cross an intersection quickly and efficiently, I tell myself I have to thank the people who spotted it. And now I have it.
I also meant to write the county PR guy, Mike Boleyn, about how beautiful Hill Wood Village, Northeast 238 Drive, has been since its remodel. There are walking paths, rows of street trees on both sides, and a retaining wall on the sloping side.
Of course, the first snow caused vehicles to slide in all directions and was closed several times, but what can you do? You can’t make the hill out of the hill.
I occasionally peek at neighborhood websites where people are looking for information from the uninformed equally. I have two answers: Read a local newspaper, or go to the agency or source and inquire directly. If they don’t know, they won’t make up anything.
I know firsthand that newspapers are not what they used to be due to the pandemic and the loss of advertising. But real reporters still come out of our newspapers every day to gather and check the news at least twice.
Quinton Smith, the former editor of The Outlook, who is presumably now retired at Yachats, has started an online service to deliver news on this part of the coast. People need good information. It stops them from doing stupid things, like storming the US Capitol.
One way to combat misinformation is to get involved. Every city, county, or community is looking for volunteers to serve on committees to advise government agencies. Register to work in gardens. Or be on the budget committee. The thought makes my head hurt, but these are people who are good at dealing with numbers.
The Corbett firefighters who did the tricky rope work to rescue a woman hanging from a cliff at Multnomah Falls recently are volunteers. I’m too old for that, but I work on a historical commission. Oddly enough, the pandemic has made ZOOM meetings possible and we can now partake from our kitchen tables with no more effort than combing our hair.
And speaking of tables, in my house over the New Year’s weekend an idea emerged worth considering. While we can’t end homelessness overnight, we can improve ugly campgrounds with a trash service. We all agreed to pay an extra dollar a month to pay for it.
It’s a new year. Let’s start over.
Sharon Nesbitt is a retired news reporter. Her column appears weekly in The Outlook.
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