Writings and observations

Maryanne v Maryellen at Government Camp

A great small-town story in the Oregonian about the political debate going on in Government Camp. It’s a matter of governmental policy, even a technical matter – whether the community, which clings to the side of Mount Hood to the southeast and uphill from Portland, should become an incorporated city. The issue is on the ballot, and the results will be (or should be) out on Tuesday.

There are wonkish pros and cons to such things – tax considerations, regulatory control, legal mandates and liabilities. But here is where politics gets personal, especially in smaller communities:

“The future of one of Oregon’s oldest communities comes down to a referendum this week on a decades-old rivalry: Maryanne vs. Maryellen. The two women – Maryanne Hill and Maryellen Englesby – have spent a combined 163 years in the alpine enclave on the southern shoulder of Mount Hood, more often than not taking opposing sides of community issues. And now, with the question of whether Government Camp should become Oregon’s newest city on the May 18 ballot, they are leading the respective charges for and against incorporation.”

Anyone who lives in a small town will get this. (In our small town of Carlton, the city was enmeshed not long ago with a debate over whether to maintain its police department or contract for police services with the county; the course of the debate had less to do, as a matter of raw politics, with the very real financial and other issues involved than it did with the people at city hall and a group of their persistent critics. Thus is it ever.)

For anything not familiar with small-town politics as it is, this story will provide some entertaining enlightenment.

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