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About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (July 16, 2019)
THE ASTORIAN • TuESdAy, July 16, 2019
JIM VAN NOSTRAND
Founded in 1873
JOHN D. BRUIJN
Sacrificing an aspen to Apollo
make money in return for taking enor-
mous physical and financial risks, most
of us would rather stay home.
Although I haven’t “read” science fic-
tion since age 15 or so, in the past cou-
ple years I’ve started listening to it while
walking the dog and doing yard work —
thanks to Audible, the Amazon-owned
spoken book company. “The Singular-
ity Trap” by Dennis E. Taylor held my
attention a few weeks ago, laying out
a plausible scenario in which private
entrepreneurs mine metallic asteroids.
For working people on the book’s fic-
tional earth, it has become one of few
ways to break out of poverty, heat and
Similarly, PBS’s “Nova” recently out-
lined preliminary plans to use the moon
as a stepping stone to more-distant des-
tinations — converting its surprising
quantity of water into hydrogen and
oxygen fuel for rocket ships.
was 11 when Apollo 11 landed on
the moon. We all figured by now
plenty of people would be living
there in pressurized trailer parks, taking
giant leaps for mankind.
With so many having left to colonize
the solar system, I fantasized about stay-
ing behind on an emptier planet. My true
love and I would live
like Marlon Brando and
Lauren Bacall on a pri-
vate tropical island, our
laughing children look-
ing skyward to admire
the moon’s city lights on
warm summer nights.
What do 11-year-olds
aspire to these days, any-
way? Getting rich has
always been a popular target and surely
remains so. Also still a mainstay is lust-
ing after fame — in reach for a lucky
few who are clever enough or rude
enough on social media.
Aside from that, there doesn’t really
seem to be any overarching theme for
dreams. Farfetched fantasies ought to be
a birthright for every child.
My “world” — a small Wyoming
mountain town — was far safer than the
world 11-year-olds know now. We were
snug as bugs in a rug, to use a nostal-
gic expression. We had both room and
reason to dream big, being four and a
half hours from the nearest big metrop-
olis, Salt Lake City. The moon seemed
Sacred and sacrosanct
NASA/Neil A. Armstrong
Buzz Aldrin salutes the deployed U.S. flag on the lunar surface 50 years ago.
PART OF ME INTENSEly PREFERS TO PRESERVE
OuR ANCIENT RElATIONSHIP WITH THE MOON AS
IT SAIlS SACREd ANd SACROSANCT THROuGH
THE SEASONS. WIll IT STIll SHINE AS BRIGHT
WHEN THE FIRST STRIP MINES OPEN THERE?
PROBABly. BuT WIll BOyS ANd GIRlS
STIll lOOK uPON IT WITH AWE?
An unlucky aspen
A day after the Apollo 11 landing, my
friend Cale Case and I were down by
my family’s river bank 500 yards from
our house, thoroughly caught up in the
excitement of what had happened.
To commemorate the occasion we
carved a message in the bark of a poor
aspen, something like “Yesterday, July
20, 1969 humans first landed on the
moon — JCC MSW.” (It’d be fun to go
back and find the tree, except that our
commemoration may have killed it.)
Cale, always a happy prankster, joked
around and said the word “help” in lit-
tle more than a conversational tone of
voice and about two minutes later my
worrywart dad came crashing through
the brush to rescue us from the savage
bear or whatever it was that had us. He
was angry and perhaps just a little dis-
appointed to find his heroics unneeded.
Aggravating as his attention could some-
times become, it was a comfort knowing
I had a dad within earshot if I ever really
needed help. His memory still holds me
upright in times of need.
He was indulgent when 14-year-old
me presented detailed plans for a diri-
gible/airship that I intended to fly down
the Americas and over Antarctica. That
indulgence didn’t extend to writing a
check for requested aluminum alloy rib-
bing, but we did take flying lessons
together, and I did eventually fly hot-air
balloons. And Cale used to fly his plane
down to Cheyenne, where he’s still in
the state Senate and probably has little
fun at all.
The dream drought
The dreams and well-being of chil-
dren are one of the best measures of
the health of society. America is still a
good place to live despite our disagree-
able politics. But on this little old world
there are too many places without hope
— gnawing tragedies that send thou-
sands crashing against our increasingly
Even in our lucky nation, there are
too few dreams and too much pessi-
mism. Could it be that the millions we
spent on the moon missions were a small
price to pay for a sense of direction?
Privately funded space explora-
tion probably is our next real chance
of stretching beyond earth. This makes
sense. Realistically, unless people can
Moon is a friend I miss seeing during
our season of storms. But even in those
terrible hours when it sounds like rav-
enous banshees are successfully claw-
ing their way through my darkened win-
dow glass, it’s comforting to know the
moon is still calmly shining just above
the fray. If only my battered old pickup
were capable of driving straight upward,
I could glimpse her above the clouds in
just a minute or two at highway speed.
The movement of both the sun and
moon have been compared to pendu-
lums, majestically swinging through
the days and seasons with rhythms our
ancestors believed to reveal the secret
mind of god. Who are we to say they
We’re just past summer solstice,
when the sun’s annual pendulum is
at the top of its arc and just gaining
momentum toward fall equinox — Sept.
23 this year. Like a pendulum, as the sun
nears and passes solstice, it stalls in its
progress along the horizon and down the
The word solstice literally means
“standstill of the sun.” After its current
near-pause, it will begin racing back
toward fall like a Hot Wheels car on a
slick plastic track.
Part of me intensely prefers to pre-
serve our ancient relationship with the
moon as it sails sacred and sacrosanct
through the seasons. Will it still shine
as bright when the first strip mines open
there? Probably. But will boys and girls
still look upon it with awe?
Matt Winters is editor of the Chinook
Observer in long Beach, Washington.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Standing up for us
want to publicly give my heartfelt
thanks to state Sen. Betsy Johnson, Sen.
Arnie Roblan and Sen. Laurie Monnes
Anderson for standing up for their dis-
tricts over their party in the last legislative
Surely they knew that there would be
a political cost for that principled effort,
but they chose to put the communities
they represent as their highest priority.
One recent letter to the editor suggested
that Sen. Johnson isn’t a good Demo-
crat because she at times votes against the
party line (“Whose side is she on?” The
Astorian, July 4).
I don’t vote for Sen. Johnson because
she is a Democrat, but because she con-
sistently votes to support the community
she represents. She is our representative in
Salem first, and a Democrat second, and
that is fine with me.
I am confident that these three senators
can support making substantive changes
to reduce fossil fuel use, but it must be
done in a way that doesn’t send employers
and industries out of state.
These senators should be commended
for their honorable service to their constit-
uents. I believe they saved Oregon from
the massive unintended consequences of
Locals paid enough
n July 2, a letter writer asked the
question: “Does eliminating locals
pave the way for developers, so they
can add 34 Airbnb-type vacation rent-
als?” (“Follow the money,” The Astorian).
Maybe. What do you call 34 Airbnbs in
one building? A motel.
Let me put in another motel on the riv-
erfront, and I will give you 32 units of
low-income housing. Great idea. I think
we should extend this idea to all the new
motels being approved. Hollander Hospi-
tality’s new motel should be required to
supply low-income housing for the low-
wage jobs being created. Call it “housing
for the housekeepers.”
I guess they will have to get 34 permits
for the Airbnbs. All 34 units will have to
be safety inspected. You will have a build-
ing where, according to city code, all the
Airbnb rooms will have to have a fire
extinguisher, while the long-term rental
units have no such requirement. I find that
The homestay lodging permit is
designed to keep the locals from wanting
to try having an Airbnb. Safety inspection
is just code for “make it expensive.”
A sub-headline on The Astorian front
page recently read: “New license meant
to curb illegal rentals” (“Astoria gets bet-
ter grasp on homestay lodging,” July 13).
It does not. It only hurts the small locals,
while it opens the door for the big players.
Here’s a way to fix this: Change the
code so that next year all a local needs
to show to get a homestay permit is their
property tax bill. It will show that the
locals have paid enough.
by, everyone stood and cheered.
I want to thank Jake Wright’s family
for inviting me to join them, and I look
forward to making this an annual event
for my family. Thank you, Warrenton, for
showing me that small-town America still
exists, and is alive in your town.
Thank you, Warrenton
Stop this clearcut
had the pleasure of attending the Fourth
of July festivities in Warrenton. I was
extremely impressed with the friendliness
and the welcoming attitude I received.
Everyone I met was so nice, and warm. It
was like a trip back in time; the patriotism
and kindness like in the “good old days”
is alive and flourishing in your lovely
The parade was great fun. Such a wide
variety of participants, and the military
presence was a welcome sight. No pro-
tests, no standing on the flag. Only stand-
ing for the flag. When the veterans came
n July 2, 65 citizens gathered at sce-
nic Hug Point to protest the Oregon
Department of Forestry’s (ODF) planned
clearing of 77 acres of forest at Norriston
Heights near Arcadia Beach. We urge you
to join with these, and many other con-
cerned residents of our North Coast com-
munity, in saying: Stop this clearcut.
Give thought to the negative impact
it will have on the supply and quality
of community drinking water; its threat
to nearby old growth forests; the peril
inflicted on protected wildlife in the area,
especially the endangered marbled mur-
relet; and the ugliness of such a cut along
U.S. Highway 101 between Arcadia and
Hug Point beaches. These are critical mat-
ters that ODF has addressed in its plan,
because they know that the public takes
them seriously — so let’s do just that.
In times past the clearing of a 70-acre
forest would have been a normal event,
but those times are long gone for many
remaining stands of trees. Norriston
Heights is one of them.
Coastal Oregon must protect its fragile
forests for human livability and to sustain
threatened wildlife. Let’s leave this unique
stand of trees alone to serve our commu-
nity as a natural preserve of what once
was a great forest.
Join with your neighbors in saying
“stop.” Learn more by searching online.
Contact your state representatives and
ODF. And, watch for further events and
notifications where you can become
involved in saving an important piece of
our coastal life.