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Posts published in “Day: April 29, 2015”

Shifting ground, changing values

carlson CHRIS


Pop Quiz: which is the most urbanized state, New York or Nevada? Between Alaska and Montana? Between Utah and Ohio?

Among these three states - Idaho, Iowa and New Hampshire - which has the highest rural proportion in its population?

If you answered Nevada (94%) is more urban than New York (88%); Alaska (66%) more than Montana (56%) and Utah (91%) more than Ohio (78%), give yourself an A. If you also know New Hampshire (40%) is more rural than Idaho (30%) and Iowa (36%) is more rural than Idaho, give yourself an A++.

Behind these figures lies an incontestable fact: our nation is steadily, inexorably becoming more urbanized. As children and grandchildren steadily leave rural areas to find jobs in urban areas, those of us left in the rural areas are more and more retirees and the elderly.

We sense that a way of life - connected families living close to the land and most often trying to make a living off of some form of resource conversion - is being lost.

The future looks uncertain. The “can-do, tomorrow will be a better day” attitude starts to erode. Fear creeps into the pysche. For some it is fear that medical challenges will force one to move into an urban area to be closer to the needed medical services. For others, it is fear that a heavily urbanized population in which a 9-1-1 call will be responded to within five minutes will lead to more restrictions on firearms.

What is more disturbing though is the few folks left in rural areas do not see the connection between an America becoming ever more urbanized and the proliferation of federal regulations regarding activities on adjacent public lands.

Too many country folks think their use of the national forests or the public range should get priority. We don’t grasp that our neighbor down the street, the Forest Service’s district ranger, has to manage for the urbanite in New York City’s equal interest in the public lands.

Surprise! The urban dweller sees the national forests as a place where he or she can camp, hike, raft, ride horses, bird-watch and a dozen other multiple often competing uses. The urbanite does not see timber cutting as a compatible use.

So, some rural county commissioners turn to schemes and dreams that the Federal government can be forced to sell federal lands because those living next to and off of the public resource can do a much better job of managing the resource. Dream on , my friend. It will never happen.

If anything, get ready for more regulations from the federal agencies, not fewer. Despite Idaho having established a good system of adjudicating water rights, as shortages begin to occur in the urban areas more restrictions on its use will be promulgated. (more…)

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Debates over murder charges in E Idaho (Boise Statesman)
Prospects for a special legislative session (IF Post Register, TF Times News)
Critics of ag-gag go to court (Nampa Press Tribune)
Female attorneys not sought out for judgeship (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News)
Variation found in school enrollments (Nampa Press Tribune)
Idaho inexpensive for bad-driver insurance (Pocatello Journal)

Eugene school emails detail exit plans (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath Co continues pot moratorium (KF Herald & News)
Work stars on building new Klamath high school (KF Herald & News)
Looking at Medford school board races (Medford Tribune)
Pendleton airport, police get budget raise (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Lawmakers ponder domestic-abuser gun bill (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Legislator considers left-lane hog bill (Portland Oregonian)
Obama headed to Portland next week, May 7 (Portland Oregonian)
Reviewing Salem school board candidates (Salem Statesman Journal)

Lynden passes $48m bond for schools (Bellingham Herald)
Monroe looks to pass school bond (Everett Herald)
Hanford seeks much more money for cleanup (Kennewick Herald)
About 270 mill jobs to be lost at Shelton (Olympian)
Port of Olympian helps fund harbor patrol (Olympian)
Many juniors bypass new state high school tests (Seattle Times)
Spokane transit tax issue looks to be failing (Spokane Spokesman)
Looking ahead to special legislative session (Vancouver Columbian)
Clark teachers consider single-day walkout (Vancouver Columbian)
Some bond measures passing, others failing (Yakima Herald Republic)
Sunnyside votes to ban pot business (Yakima Herald Republic)