Opinion

Mixed feelings about purchase

The call came in about 9 a.m. last Wednesday that a big announcement regarding the Snoqualmie Tree Farm and a conservancy group was to be announced at 10 o'clock. A few minutes later, the fax came through with the details, the Weyerhaeuser Snoqualmie Tree Farm was being sold.

Initially, my reaction was one of amazement. Looking at the 100,000 acres being purchased, I was astonished at how large the land transaction was. Then my thoughts ran to the protection afforded the property under the new ownership. I also thought about how much land Weyerhaeuser might have kept in the tree farm.

Later, as the morning progressed, my phone started ringing and then the reality of the purchase hit home. Many long-time employees and guys I knew had lost their jobs as a result of the land purchase.

So how do you react to this kind of announcement? I have mixed emotions about government purchases of land for open space, but in this case, there was no government funding directly. The purchase seems like a good deal to the community; now the only question is what will Weyerhaeuser do to assure workers who lost their jobs can move on to other things?

The concern I have is that most of the people who lost their jobs have spent all of their lives in the woods. Many of them are actively involved in the community. Many have made major contributions to the community and helped make it what it is today.

So please, Weyerhaeuser executives, take care of the workers you are laying off as a result of this large land purchase. The small amount they need to survive is minuscule when compared to the amount you are receiving for the land.

But beyond the workers is the realization that the community has taken a major step in a different direction. This community, built board by board on the paychecks of loggers, will no longer have the woods to rely on. That part of our community is forever lost. The pictures of a logger, 15 feet off the ground on a buckboard, will be the only link to this past. Does this mean we have become nothing more than a bedroom community? I certainly hope not.

To those laid off, thank you for your many contributions to the Valley, and remember, you have many friends who support you.

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