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Posts published in “Day: December 12, 2007”

Butler leaves this month

Tom Butler

Tom Butler

Five-term Representative Tom Butler, R-Ontario, serves one of the biggest Oregon House districts, taking in most of the state's border with Idaho and pulling from Frenchglen to Hells Canyon nearly to John Day. And those names give you an idea of how many and how large the communities are in this area.

So what may be most interesting in the choice of replacement for Butler will be: Where will the new rep hail from?

The choice comes soon, since Butler has just announced he will leave the House not at the end of this term (as he had indicated months ago) but at the end of this month. His statement says that "This week, the Butlers received a full-time church service mission call to serve a two-year mission in the California Los Angeles Mission and to report to the LDS Church’s Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah in early January. Rep. Butler said he and his wife, both Certified Public Accountants, had applied to serve LDS Church Area Audit Service missions in Latin America before Mrs. Butler’s recent illness." (That illness was West Nile Virus, of which she was the first reported Oregon case this year, and from which Butler said she has recovered.)

The interim choice will of course be Republican, and that person likely will be elected next year: This is exceedingly Republican territory, overall maybe the most solidly Republican House district in Oregon. But so large is it that its hard to get around and hard to communicate with. If a substantial challenge to the appointee emerges next year, it could be within the Republican primary, from someone who'd like to see someone from their part of the district going to Salem.

Another paper cut

This time, the Kitsap Sun (out of Bremerton), slicing five full-time newsroom positions.

Spokesmen point out that traffic is moving more and more to the web site; and that the web site is beginning to produce a more substantial portion of the paper's overall revenues. (What will be the point when we should quit calling them papers?) That still doesn't cover the fact that fewer people will be reporting and editing the news. A new business model is needed, urgently.

The color of cheatgrass in August

Alan Shealy

Alan Shealy

There was a time, a couple of decades and more ago, when one of the large problems in downtown Boise was the absence of buildings (a lot had been torn down in the 60s, in what was dubbed "urban removal"). Now, as we've been hearing from time to time, there's soe revolt against some of the buildings which have been built since.

Not all, certainly; there are attractive buildings, new and old, in the mix. But a significant numbers of the newer buildings in central Boise are bland to the point of Soviet-style. A drive down Grove Street on the south end of downtown has an almost ominous feeling - as though you're driving past a selection of jails or high schools (most of which share similar external design elements).

Not much of this talk has gone very public in recent years, but a piece in the Idaho Statesman has taken some of it there, with the highlight that one of the city's council members, Alan Shealy, is starting to speak up on it.

He calls the designs "brown box," and has starting agitating on the subject along with former architect Tom Allen. Allen says that most recent downtown buildings are the "color of cheatgrass in August," and: "Hampton Inn looks like a shipping crate left on the corner of Capitol Boulevard. We can do better than this. Boise is going to continue to grow. We can say no to standard or poor quality design. I think every building that comes into Boise should be better-than-average quality, or we are going to stay the same."

This is going political with the proposed development of a new convention center by the Boise Auditorium District, the design of which leaves Shelaey "underwhelmed."

Design is an aesthetic matter, and trying to develop a community consensus on it may be close to impossible. But the discussion seems to be headed Boise's way.