Appeal Tribune Wednesday, January 3, 2018 3B Silverton’s growth, measurable and immeasurable YOUR TURN KYLE PALMER As a lifelong resident, I’ve obviously watched Silverton go through a number of changes. Com- mercially, residentially, and logistically, this is not the same city that I grew up in, or even the same one that my kids grew up in. We’ve grown in very measurable ways, and in immeasurable ways. I’ve al- ways drilled that down to some specific markers, and I feel the same as a resi- dent that I do as the mayor. 1. Traffic. Obviously, this is the one that generates the most comments on a daily basis, and I too admit that I’m ex- tremely frustrated when I have to sit at a light through two cycles or have a long wait at any non-signalized intersection. I travel Main Street, McClaine Street, C Street and Water Street multiple times per day due to my route between home and work, as well as some daily errands that are work-related. I see our traffic at its best and at its worst and there’s no question that we have “rush hour” changes. That said, as anyone will notice dur- ing summers, spring break, winter break, etc., a huge factor in those changes is related to school traffic. I would be interested in seeing some sta- tistics on school-bus ridership; see if there has been any identified shift away from the mode and toward more parent drop-offs. Obviously, a bus with 30 children aboard takes up less space than 30 par- ents dropping their kids off. In my opinion, the precipitous rise in traffic is not solely (or maybe even most- ly) a direct result in population changes; there have to be some other factors as the explosion of traffic doesn’t track par- allel to the same rise in residents, though we have seen rises in that area as well. Perhaps, we could benefit from a movement to reduce fuel use by carpool- ing kids (or a “use the bus” movement) if there has been some reduction in school- related “mass transit.” Additionally, there are some engi- neering changes that may help; chang- ing the lane orientation traveling north and southbound at the C and McClaine signal will help. We don’t need a dedicat- ed left-turn lane if you’re on C and facing Westfield, but we desperately need a right-turn-only lane there. City staff is working with ODOT to make changes here that will relieve much of the back- up. 2. Commercial Changes. We’ve had some businesses set up (or plan to set up) shop here that some residents think is a sign of Silverton becoming Keizer or Beaverton, according to social media comments. Dollar Tree, Dollar General, O’ Reilly’s Auto Parts, and Dominos all represent an increase in corporate “chain” identities that have brought mixed feelings. That said, these kinds of businesses don’t come to Silverton without market research that supports such a decision and there’s every indication, in most of those cases anyway, that the community has validated their decision to locate here. In this area, Silverton seems to have a split personality. Some want no corpo- rate interests. Some want no more com- mercial development at all. Some love the new choices. Some wish they offered living wage jobs only. Some are thankful for any new employment. It really de- pends on who you ask. That said, many also think we can con- trol the content of a prospective busi- ness. We can only ensure that a business meets our zoning requirements (one of which is a 20,000 sq. ft. maximum), and ensure that the design elements are com- patible, which is a criteria that is always evolving. If a business buys or leases property that is zoned appropriately, there is no way to stop them from siting a business there. 3. Residential Development In- creases. Certainly, the Silver Place Apartments are one topic that gets fre- quently mentioned to me. Oddly, I’ve met very few residents who are happy about the addition to our city, but they seem to be filling quickly just the same. It’s been well publicized that a specif- ic state law basically required this to be approved, and any third grader can see that the impact on an already bad area will be significant. As has been noted often in the past few months, the city’s comprehensive plan is due for an update. This is a tool that can be in the center of helping us lay out an appropriate roadmap for Silver- ton’s future, and it would appear that there is council support to begin the process of an update. That said, there never will be any le- gal tools available to stop growth, short of a catastrophic problem in our sewer and/or water processing system, and even that would just be temporary. What is vital, however, is that we create a guid- ing document to make sure that our growth is both controlled and intention- al. Much of our municipal code has been created in a “reactionary” state of mind, adding language to make sure something negative that has happened can’t happen again. While this is probably true of most cities, it’s time that our development code become more proactive, envision- ing our future and planning the way that we will get there. Despite the undeniable changes in all of these areas, and the fact that this is no longer the city that I grew up in, I still feel strongly that this is very much the community that I grew up in. Silverton is not a collection of streets, houses, and commercial buildings, it’s a community of people who still practice a small town way of thinking and interact- ing. That is what makes our community unique and amazing. And in that respect, Your Turn Have a topic, issue or viewpoint pertinent to Silverton or the east Willamette Valley you would like to share? The Silverton Appeal Tribune welcomes letters to the editor up to 250 words, or submissions to the Your Turn section, from 600 to 750 words, on topics of broader interest. Contact Justin Much at 503-508-8157 or email@example.com. the place that raised me is alive and well. I was in Portland recently and no one even made eye contact with me on the sidewalk, but I can’t enter our post office once without running into three people I know and exchanging a hello with at least one person I don’t. When someone on social media men- tions that they just moved to town, they are typically greeted with a chorus of welcome statements from others. Silver- ton is a desirable place to live and always has been, and we can expect more people to realize that and come here seeking the same things we hold dear. We will grow and we will change — it’s inevitable — but it doesn’t mean we have or ever will lose our sense of community. Our residents must play an active role in shaping how Silverton evolves. Walk through our downtown once a week; use local businesses and their welcoming at- tentive staffs for all of your needs; at- tend and lend your voice to city council, planning commission, or committee meetings; volunteer for one or more of our incredible service organizations. That is how we ensure that what makes us special will continue regard- less of any other changes. Kyle Palmer is the mayor of Silverton. He can be reached at kpalmer@silver- ton.or.us, 503- 873-5701 Congress saves pot patients from crackdown JONATHAN BACH SALEM STATESMAN JOURNAL USA TODAY NETWORK Federal protections for medical mari- juana patients are safe for now thanks to an emergency resolution passed by Con- gress Dec. 21. Protections offered under the Rohra- bacher-Blumenauer Amendment will need to make it into a final congressional spending package to extend past Jan. 19. That's the expiration date of continu- ing resolution, a temporary measure that keeps the government running while federal lawmakers hash out the de- tails of their 2018 fiscal-year spending plan. President Trump signed the emer- gency resolution Friday. While weed remains federally illegal, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amend- ment stops the Justice Department from cracking down on patients where state law permits medical marijuana use. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has con- demned use of the drug. U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore- gon, said, "Patients around the country who rely on medical marijuana for treat- ment — and the businesses that serve them — now have some measure of cer- tainty. Our fight, however, continues to maintain these important protections in the next funding bill passed by Con- gress." Jered DeCamp, who co-owns marijua- na retailer Herbal Remedies in South Sa- lem, was happy to hear the news. In addi- tion to being an owner, he's a medical marijuana patient and grower. "It's nice to know they're protecting us," DeCamp said, though he wished the provisions extended past January. Congressional lawmakers passed a similar continuing resolution Dec. 7 to keep the government open through Dec. 22. The newest extension comes after U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, an- nounced he would cosponsor a bill to de- criminalize marijuana across the nation. Passage of the Marijuana Justice Act of Cannabis plants growing in a cultivation space inside Croy's Enterprises near Soldotna, Alaska. ELIZABETH EARL/PENINSULA CLARION VIA AP 2017 would make the Rohrabacher-Blu- menauer Amendment obsolete. The amendment is named for U.S. Reps. Blumenauer and Dana Rohrabach- " "- # #& && '#,& /#+& "- #! JOBS.STATESMANJOURNAL.COM VLOYHUWRQDSSHDOFRP +&" & #& /#+& ".* , er, R-California. 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