What’s rural?

Letter to the Editor

  • Friday, October 3, 2008 2:49am
  • Opinion

im McKiernan (editorial, “What is your definition of rural?” Aug. 9, Valley Record) writes, “Rural to me is a lifestyle where you know your neighbors … a quiet neighborhood street. It’s about quality of life and character … shaping your children’s future in a positive environment where you feel good about the school system … watching a Little League game and then heading to Scott’s Dairy Freeze for a milkshake.” Aren’t all of these attributes characteristic of many urban neighborhoods in Seattle, Chicago, New York and our Snoqualmie Valley cities?

So what is rural? Webster defines rural as, “of or characteristic of the country (as distinguished from cities or towns), country life or people; having to do with agriculture, opposed to urban.” By this definition, King County parks and preserved/protected open spaces such as Tollgate/Meadowbrook Farm, the Mountains to Sound Greenway, etc. are not rural.

Farms of all types with profit incentives sufficient to comply with practical regulations to protect the environment are rural and necessary to the continuance of those settings in King County. Is it worth it for the urban population (that’s us) to support this? If we don’t, and we really haven’t so far, then the only alternative to preservation of select lands from urban blight is for far-sighted powers that be, like the King County Council, to support buying those open spaces.

In opposing these acquisitions along with blanket condemnation of the Growth Management Act, offering only tepid support for proposed softening of rural regulations and no support for incentives for the continuance of the farming community, Mr. McKiernan is apparently advocating no less than the march of urbanizing development over all of King County with neighborhoods redefined as “rural.” LA (Los Angeles) County Northwest – is this what we want? I hope not.

Dave Olson

North Bend

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