Community spirit vs. biases

Now that the voters have spoken regarding the proposed Snoqualmie Community Center and pool, it seems in order to suggest a practical, pragmatic solution.

I read and silently applauded Mayor Fletcher's recent editorial letter. I also read and partially agreed with a letter in this week's Record by Laurie Gibb. That part being related to Valley biases. Like Ms. Gibbs I, too, am a transplant into the Valley (in 1946). My children, nieces and their friends used the area where the Ridge is located as their playground in the '60s and '70s. They referred to the area as "the gates" or "the power lines" and they rode their horses from the Coal Mine Road to Lake Alice over a network of trails, paths and old logging rail grades. It was a great, safe playground for them to grow up using.

Times do change and now it is the Snoqualmie Ridge. I will be the first to admit that I am not in love with some of the changes that the Ridge has brought to our "little logging town" and there is no way that I would wish to tolerate the wind conditions that Ridge residents experience in a trade off for their magnificent view. In my view, if either Weyerhaeuser or the developers of the Ridge promised purchasers a community center, then they should be compelled to supply it.

It is true that most of us oldtimers do not feel comfortable with newcomers from the Ridge. It was a little different when I was a child and had lived here less than 20 years. The real biases that exist here have been here for many years. North Bend vs. Snoqualmie; Upper Valley vs. Lower Valley; longtime residents vs. newcomers; and now, The Ridge vs. The Valley. Why can't we all just get along?

A little common sense now would be priceless. Our taxes are too high; we are waging a war against terror; our economy is depressed; our highway system is a mess; our government - locally, regionally and nationally - is largely wasteful, corrupt and irresponsible; our elected officials do not even wish to think about what their constitutionally mandated responsibilities are; our public-school system is too expensive and unaccountable; our judicial system believes their mandate is to legislate, not interpret; and finally, this is the only country in the world where people will willingly risk their lives to come to, to live.

We have an existing, viable, comfortable and adequate park at Si View where several generations of Valley residents, literally thousands, have learned to swim and have utilized the playgrounds and facilities for recreation. It, along with other county-owned properties designated for park use, are now available for us if we are willing to commit to their continued maintenance. What is wrong with creating a Snoqualmie Valley Park District for the purpose of taking advantage of an opportunity that will not exist if these valuable facilities become private property? A reasonable approach would allow for the maintenance of these facilities at an affordable price, especially if a portion of the costs were also borne by the users as admission costs. When we go to a state or national park we expect to pay for the privilege of use. Everything in life cannot be furnished by the government.

In my opinion, it took a good deal of courage for Mayor Fletcher to address his concerns. I saw only a pragmatic and reasoned approach in his comments and did not detect even a slight hint of acrimony toward the Ridge, which has now become the seat of our city government.

Jim Young


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