Page 4A OPINION East Oregonian Friday, May 27, 2016 Founded October 16, 1875 KATHRYN B. BROWN DANIEL WATTENBURGER Publisher Managing Editor JENNINE PERKINSON TIM TRAINOR Advertising Director Opinion Page Editor OUR VIEW Tip of the hat; kick in the pants A tip of the hat to the Hermiston School Board, who may rearrange its weekly meetings so they no longer conlict with Hermiston City Council. Having the two most important boards in a city in session at the same time for each and every meeting is not a good idea, and one that is long overdue to be rectiied. Yet the school board could even go a step further. Instead of just changing their meeting time, they are considering a liaison who would attend future city council meetings and represent the district. That would be a great step forward for two groups that have been on conlicting schedules. Being in the room can help them keep both boards on the same page. Expect both the city and the school district to beneit if the school district decides to make a positive change. A kick in the pants to Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and his absurd response to news that his police chief drunkenly shot his friend in Eastern Oregon back in April. And an obvious kick in the pants to the police chief himself — Larry O’Dea. The Oregonian and Willamette Week have each been reporting on this case, which looks now like a dangerous lapse in judgment followed by a clearly bungled cover-up. O’Dea, who was allegedly intoxicated at the time, misled a Harney County sheriff’s deputy about what happened. What is now being reported, by multiple witnesses: While drunk and sitting in a lawn chair shooting ground squirrels, O’Dea’s gun accidentally discharged and seriously injured his friend, who had to be lown to a Boise hospital. O’Dea made it clear he talked to his bosses about the incident — ahem, Hales — but no action was taken until the story leaked to the media, which only happened after Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward got to the bottom of who was involved in the shooting. After making a mistake of this caliber, O’Dea should have been honest and humble and asked for forgiveness. He certainly should have been put on leave during the course of the investigation. That neither happened is unacceptable. For urban tourists who treat Eastern Oregon as their outdoor Las Vegas — what happens here, stays here — let this be a lesson. Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the East Oregonian editorial board of Publisher Kathryn Brown, Managing Editor Daniel Wattenburger, and Opinion Page Editor Tim Trainor. Other columns, letters and cartoons on this page express the opinions of the authors and not necessarily that of the East Oregonian. OTHER VIEWS No middle ground on forest management The Yamhill Valley News-Register F or decades, the federal Bureau of Land Management has been stuck between the rock of Northwest timber counties and the hard place of environmental advocacy coalitions. In matters of public debate, the best solution is often somewhere in the moderate middle. In the case of federally owned O&C lands, that would entail some sort of forward-thinking plan providing increased logging on BLM lands and establishing and enforcing measures to better protect streams, forests and the habitat they provide. The problem is, opposing sides become so caught up in their ideologies they are unable to work toward a viable solution. The battle over the BLM’s latest draft plan to manage forests has begun. Environmental groups have iled an appeal, accusing the agency of failing to protect the public trust, while the Association of O&C Counties submitted a legal challenge arguing that the plan would fail to deliver mandated timber harvest levels. Yamhill County commissioners loosed a deluge of criticism to BLM representatives at a recent meeting and took the “give back our lands” tone of the movement — looking to force the government to relinquish all western holdings. Environmental groups are blinded by their own ideology, of course, and to no lesser extent. They keep repeating mindless mantras like, “Clearcutting kills ish” and “We don’t need more clearcuts” — rhetoric designed to convince the public that decades-old practices remain in play. In fact, the BLM is employing ecological logging practices developed by regional scientists. They include clearcutting small patches and allowing habitat to naturally regenerate. That approach works better than thinning, which creates a falsiied matrix of wooded lands, scientists argue. The private business sector has been willing to meet somewhere in the middle. It’s too bad environmentalists are willing to go above and beyond to preserve the marbled murrelet, but refuse to consider any measures to preserve our rural communities and economy, the demise of which lead to poverty, drug abuse and child neglect. On the other side, county representatives would be better advised to avoid falling into a feud dominated by trite arguments. OTHER VIEWS Sore, happy feet on the Paciic Crest Trail O N THE PACIFIC CREST sometimes undertaken with the whole TRAIL, Calif. — Every family, sometimes just the two of us. At home we’re all busy, but on the trail spring or summer, in lieu of we’re beyond cellphone coverage or professional help, I ditch civilization email reach and we’re stuck with each for the therapy of the wilderness. other. I’ve just been backpacking with my So we talk. Even as we’re 18-year-old daughter on the Paciic disconnected, we reconnect. And Crest Trail in California, abandoning our material world for an alternative Nicholas on rest breaks and at night, camping the stars, we read aloud to each reality in which the aim is to possess Kristof under other: On this trip, my daughter and as little as possible — because if you Comment I have been reading Adam Johnson’s have it, you lug it. brilliant Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Our lives were downsized to 10 pounds of possessions each, not counting food “The Orphan Master’s Son,” and talking about what it means. and water. We carried backpacks, sleeping No self-respecting teenage girl would bags, jackets, hats, a plastic groundsheet, a tarp in case of rain, a water ilter and a tiny roll normally allow her dad to read to her, but out in the wilderness, it’s a bond of duct tape for when things we share. break. It’s true that not Few problems in life everybody can get time cannot be solved with duct off, the cost of equipment tape. can add up and it can be a OK, I know I’m hassle to get to and from supposed to use my column a trail. (When I’ve tried to pontiicate about Donald hitchhiking out, drivers see Trump and global crises. a bedraggled, unshaven But as summer beckons, hobo and speed up!) Still, let me commend such costs are modest: While car wilderness escapes to all of campgrounds often charge, you, with your loved ones, backpacking in the great precisely to ind a brief outdoors is almost always free. And day after refuge from the pressures of the world. day, there is simply nowhere to spend money. This isn’t for everybody; astonishingly, I can’t pretend it’s glamorous. We’ve some folks prefer beaches and clean been scorched by the sun and chilled by rain, sheets. But for me at least, a crazy jaunt in hail and snow. Sure, in trail conversations the outdoors is the perfect antidote to the we bare our innermost thoughts, but we also absurdity of modern life. In the 21st century, we often ind ourselves spend plenty of time whining about blisters, rattlesnakes and 20-mile stretches without spinning on the hamster wheel, nervously water. We curse trail designers for PUDS, or jockeying for status with our peers — Is my pointless ups and downs. barbecue bigger than my neighbor’s? Is my And let’s be blunt: I stink. When you’re car lashier? — even as we’re too busy to carrying everything on your back, you don’t barbecue anything. We’re like dogs chasing pack any changes of clothing. We bathe our after our tails. That’s why I ind it so cathartic to run away feet in creeks (hoping that anyone drinking downstream is using a water ilter), and on from home. My parents took me backpacking this trip we luxuriated in the Deep Creek beginning when I was about 7, and my wife hot springs beside the trail. We commiserate and I took our three children on overnight together, and we exult together in America’s hikes as soon as they could toddle. cathedral of the wild, our stunning common Don’t tell Child Protective Services, but heritage and birthright. when my daughter was 4, I took her on an My daughter and I have now hiked across overnight trip on Oregon’s Eagle Creek Trail, Washington and Oregon and hundreds of carrying her most of the irst day on my miles of California, and eventually we’ll have shoulders, on top of my backpack. The next limped the entire Paciic Crest Trail from morning, I bribed her: If she would walk by Mexico to Canada. Nothing is as different herself all 13 miles back to the car, I would from my daily life, nor as treasured, and that is buy her a spectacular ice cream in the nearest why I suggest the wilderness to friends. town. For members of my family at least, these So we set off for the car. At every rest stop, spring and summer hikes are a reminder that we conjured that ice cream and how cold it what shapes us is not so much the possessions would be, and, fortiied, we trundled on down we acquire but the memories we accumulate, the trail beside glorious waterfalls. When we that when you scrape away the veneer, what reached the car, we were both proud of her gives life meaning is not the grandest barbecue heroism, and she beamed tiredly as I buckled or the sportiest car. It’s each other. her into her car seat. ■ When we arrived at an ice cream shop 20 Nicholas Kristof, a columnist for The New minutes later, she was fast asleep. I couldn’t York Times, grew up on a sheep and cherry wake her. farm in Yamhill. Thus began our hiking partnership, A crazy jaunt in the outdoors is the perfect antidote to the absurdity of modern life. YOUR VIEWS We could all do with a little more music The evening of May 24, I attended the year-end concert of the band and orchestra programs of Pendleton High School. As I enjoyed the excellent performances, several thoughts went through my head. I would like to share those thoughts. The quality of the music played by those students was simply outstanding. It had to take many hours of dedicated practice on the part of the students and their teachers, Andy Gary and Emily Callender. Our community is fortunate to have such quality programs. The number of students playing the inal piece, which was a combination of both band and orchestra members, appeared to be around a hundred — amazing participation. Equally impressive was the diversity of the kids. I saw every ethnic background from our area represented. There was short hair, long hair, no hair and colored hair. All those kids from different backgrounds producing such beautiful sound. I guess that is the beauty of music. It brings us all together. Sitting there gave me hope for our future. In these troubled times, maybe we could all do with a little more music. Ron Deutz (retired educator) Pendleton Small school track teams deserve coverage, too In the Tuesday, May 24 sports page, the East Oregonian had a great article about the Pendleton and Hermiston track teams. Two pages, color photos and a list of all local winners. It was nice. That same weekend the Helix girls inished second and the Pilot Rock girls inished ifth at state. I must have missed the article about those teams. By the way, the Pilot Rock girls team won ifth at state with only six girls. Come and meet them, they’re great kids. The kids in Helix and Pilot Rock worked as hard as the kids in the big schools and their family and friends buy newspapers too. Loal King Pilot Rock LETTERS POLICY The East Oregonian welcomes original letters of 400 words or less on public issues and public policies for publication in the newspaper and on our website. The newspaper reserves the right to withhold letters that address concerns about individual services and products or letters that infringe on the rights of private citizens. Submitted letters must be signed by the author and include the city of residence and a daytime phone number. Send letters to 211 S.E. Byers Ave. Pendleton, OR 97801 or email editor@eastoregonian.