Except for the ten years I spent on active duty with the U.S. Army, I have lived in the rural Oregon counties of Coos, Klamath, Umatilla and Columbia and have found most residents self reliant and independent. Like keeping up on auto maintenance to ensure they maintain a dependable means of transportation, and shopping on the way home so as to not have to make a special trip to the store.
Things seem a little different in Columbia County, while some residents and elected officials speak of the freedoms of rural life yet cling with all their hearts and minds to things associated with the metro area like public transportation and high density housing. They built their schools in close proximity of the railroad tracks then whine about rail safety. They want jobs yet they stop most industry from relocating to the county because of their environmental causes.
With the closure of Boise Cascade, Armstrong Ceiling Tile, and soon the downsizing of Stimson Lumber the county is taking serious damage to its tax base, yet local officials keep finding ways to raise taxes like the creation of a transit district even though the local transit only has a ridership of 1% or less of the county’s commuters. Big city ideas take money, which mean big city taxes of which Columbia County residents can not afford. Recently they had public meetings about affordable housing, yet forming a transit district will drive rents even higher, and most people know they will never stop asking for more and more funds if it is approved. The only way to stop the endless spending is to vote, not voting is the same as a silent approval for elected officials. Stop the endless spending, vote no, enough is enough.