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About Vernonia's voice. (Vernonia, OR) 2007-current | View Entire Issue (March 1, 2008)
V E R N O N I A’ S
reflecting the spirit of our community
volume 1 issue 9
Pages 14 & 15
The Ripple Effects of Design Standards
By Evangeline Doyle
History and architecture possess great val-
ue and Vernonia has both. It would be a
tremendous loss to our community if we
do not protect these assets. The City of
Vernonia and its residents have gone to
considerable effort, time and expense, to
market Vernonia’s charm and rich history.
One way to ensure our community holds
its value is through adoption of design and
development standards, such as Ordinance
711 that recently passed at City Council
on February 19 (see article page 10).
who said, “the city was going to a lot of
trouble to develop design standards, so
why aren’t we taking care of the obvious
Most of you know what this resident is
talking about; this is a common occur-
rence in many communities. While our
own Peter O’Leary could put a colorful
spin on this, it is real, and most of us
have either seen it or are experiencing
it today with a neighbor: The old pickup
full of garbage that’s been parked across
from your house for six months or the
neighbor that is using car carcasses to
decorate their lawn.
If there’s any question about the value of
older architecture and the benefit to neigh-
borhoods and communities chocked full
of these gems, we need only to look 40
Classic mill-house architecture found on OA Hill.
miles east of us for confirmation. Neigh-
Maintaining/increasing our tax base, mak-
borhoods in Portland like NW 23rd, was the first to undergo rejuvenation, fol-
ing smart decisions – Ordinance 711, enforcing nuisance abatements – all of these
lowed by Hawthorne and more recently Mississippi, Alberta, and Albina. While
are interrelated. When we don’t maintain our standards, when we aren’t diligent
we are not Portland, and will never be due to our size and location, we do have
about maintaining our tax base, we don’t have the funds to hire officials to enforce
rich history, we do have a variety of architecture in Vernonia, it is appealing…
things like nuisance abatements. While nuisances can be a bother by definition,
and it is valuable.
they are nothing compared to the other
critical services our community needs
Further support of this can be seen in
to maintain its livability, such as emer-
our own backyard. Many new homes
gency services, sewer, water and other
being built in Vernonia, like the ones on
key services. Maintaining our tax-base
4th and 5th Streets, and Rose Hedge off
should be something we all strive to un-
Rose Avenue, have adopted this cottage/
derstand and support.
bungalow style. Why? Builders know
the architecture has appeal and will blend
The City Planning Commission welcomes
with the existing area homes. They know
public attendance and participation at their
the style will hold its value.
meetings. Currently the City Planning
Commission meets every Thursday at the
Without design and development stan-
Vernonia City Hall.
dards the impact one person can have on
a neighborhood, and to the value of their
Shown here: new construction and
neighbor’s homes, can be huge. One
newly built homes in Rose Hedge
person’s actions can impact the tax base
development and on 4th and 5th
and market value for many.
Streets on Corey Hill.
Recently I talked to a Vernonia resident
the ax men
Mist and Birkenfeld –
Isolated During Flood
Plans to build a new home for injured logger and Ver-
nonia resident Dean Schaumburg and his family are
moving along as planned. Mike Pihl Logging turned
over the deed for a lot in city limits near the corner of
Rose and Columbia Avenues in February, thus paving
the way for new construction to begin this spring.
By Scott Laird
“Everything is moving forward,” said Casey Mitchell
who has been helping secure donations and building
supplies for the project. Mitchell says he has received
pledges for almost everything they need; the project is
still in need of windows, decking, gravel, and flooring.
Mitchell is planning to kick off the project with a BBQ/
Planning Session on March 29 at the Anderson Park
covered picnic area. He is planning to invite all those
who have pledged and anyone else interested in get-
ting involved and helping. “This will be a chance for
everyone to meet each other, and to develop a plan on
how to start moving forward,” said Mitchell.
Donations to the Schaumburg Building Fund can be
sent to PO Box 174, Vernonia, OR 97064. For more
information on getting actively involved in the project
call Casey Mitchell at 503-369-3133.
Although much of the media coverage of the Flood of
2007 has focused on the City of Vernonia, our neighbors
in the communities of Mist, Birkenfeld and at Fishhawk
Lake were severely affected as well.
I recently took the opportunity to contact officials in
those areas and talk to them about their experiences dur-
ing and after the recent disaster.
Mary Lou Busch, the Assistant Fire Chief, talked
about the stress and difficulty of living in such a rural
area during the recovery period that remains ongoing.
Local residents are waiting for information so they can
rebuild and make repairs. “People are living in camp
trailers or with relatives. They are waiting to hear from
the county about building permits and for decisions to be
made. They are hearing different information from insur-
ance companies. It’s been tough on people.”
“The Fire Department is all we have out here,” said
Busch. “There is nothing else, no public works, no city
hall. People come to us looking for information and an-
swers. We help with what we can.”
Continued on page 10