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Sweet Home, Oregon
October 24, 2012     The New Era Paper
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October 24, 2012

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Page 14 /ot JR C.CMML JNmTV t]  "ra - October 24, 2012 Election 2012: County Commission candidates square off Roger Nyquist By Sean C. Morgan Of The New Era Linn County Commissioner Roger Ny- quist is interested in improving Linn Coun- ty's economy. It hasn't really recovered, he said. It looks more like it has reset. Republican Nyquist, who has served for 12 years, is facing Democrat challenger Mark Spence for Linn County Commis- sioner. One of the things he has learned dur- ing his tenure as commissioner is "you've got to execute on the opportunities that pres- ent themselves," Nyquist said. The Western States Land Reliance Trust foreclosed by Linn County for nonpayment of property taxes is one of those opportunities. When the assessor told the commission- ers that property was in arrears, they weren't thrilled, and it has a number of legal entan- glements, Nyquist said, but now the county has the property. Right now, a portion of that property will be developed as a park in cooperation with the Oregon Jamboree, which is propos- ing a permanent festival site there. The property, about 380 acres, is located along the north edge of Sweet Home from the east end of Tamarack Street and Clark Mill Road on the west end. With the rest of the property, "we're still having a conversation with Weyerhaeuser," Nyquist said. "The cleanup of that mill site is their responsibility, and it's going to get cleaned up." The commissioners really can't have a conversation about what to do with that piece of property until it's cleaned up, he said. "We can't sell it today with the envi- ronmental problems on the Weyerhaeuser portion. I'm optimistic it will work out well for the community." Tax compression, the effect of property tax limitations, "is killing a lot of things," Nyquist said. The Sheriff's Office is compressed by $6 million. Nyquist said. Since 1996, prop- erty has appreciated at less than 3 percent per year. "The solution to all of that is for local government to hunker down and get by be- cause the taxpayers are in the same boat," Nyquist said. The other part of that is "to pursue policies tO the extent we can to im- prove the local economy," taking opportuni- ties when they are there. Nyquist isn't mourning the loss of tim- ber payments either, he said. "It was really hush money to local governments to have us not object to federal policies that had a devastating effect to local economies." While it pro- vided local services with funding in lieu of timber tax re- ceipts, it didn't re- ally help against the decline of timber, he said. Linn County  went from 15 mills  ..... to four. , d ,, .' Improvement of property values would help resolve prob- lems in funding county services, Nyquist said. The loss of timber payments really isn't a problem, Nyquist said. The counties knew it was coming. Linn County had a plan to avoid budgetary freefall. "That allows us to be moving, diligently pressing for the right things," Nyquist said, and there seems no gray area on the issue. Trees are either a harvestable resource, or they are not, he said. He's looking for the state attorney to sue the federal government for violating the 1937"act that created part- nerships between the local communities and the federal government for management of the forests. He also supports the DeFazio- Walden-Schrader plan to put much of the O&C lands so it can be managed. "Where we are with federal timber in Linn County and across the state is not ratio- nal," Nyquist said. The county just needs to continue working to help get common sense to prevail. Nyquist counted several achievements while he has been a commissioner. Among them are the development of a medical school campus and the veterans' home, which recently broke ground. The medical school "is th e biggest sin- gle development that has occurred in the last 12 years," Nyquist said. Thirty to40 years from now, the improved quality of life will have increased due to access to medical care as most doctors remain within 50 miles of their school. But these projects aren't the only answer to economic problems in Linn County, he said. "As the economy started to turn south, the Planning Department said you need to raise planning fees to stay on budget." The commissioners said that th e county needs to do the opposite, Nyquist said. For about 120 days in 2009, the county gave away building permits. The resulting permit activity added $25 million to the tax rolls in Linn County. See Nyquist, page 15 Mark Spence By Sean C. Morgan Of The New Era Mark Spence, a historian, sees connec- tions among all kinds of issues, national and local. Klamath Falls, an area where he has been working, is at the epicenter of a variety of local issues that have national significance, whether it's tribal rights, fish issues, the Lava Beds National Monument, water rights or a former Japanese internment camp, he said. It has one of the first Native American tribes to be dissolved and then reconstituted. "It's the future, past and present," Spen- ce said. It's just the same in Sweet Home and Linn County, where the Democrat is challenging incumbent Republican Roger Nyquist for county commissioner. "Anybody who sniffs the air in Sweet Home understands the connections between the economy, environment and politics. Peo- ple in Portland don't understand it the same way." Those connections, the ones between social, environmental and economic issues are how he approaches history, and it's what he would keep in mind in office. Klamath Falls is the epicenter on some key issues, a never-ending contest between public rights and private rights, Spence said. The only solution is a local solution. "Eventually, people realize we can blame each other and lose badly, or we can work together," Spence said. The issues in Klamath Falls aren't ex- actly the same as those in Sweet Home and Linn County, Spence said. Linn County has its history with the spotted owl, for exam- ple. "But they're really a blueprint for how we can deal with things up here," Spence said. Lop.ng at each interest in the forest controversy, the environmentalists, the home buyer, the Forest Service, the loggers, every- body, they're all to blame for the physical condition of the forest. It's the same with salmon. "Which means only one thing, every- body's part of the solution," Spence said. Those who advocate not touching the forest, leave it a dense forest, an unhealthy fire- bomb. Cut it, and there may not be a forest. If he could hang his hat on anything four years from now, it would be that he has brought together all of those interested in the forests, from loggers to environmentalists, managers and other political actors to devel- op a solution that all of them can support. The Mid-Valley led the world in for- est products and adhesives from World War II into the 1950s, Spence said. He would like to re- build that leadership in technology and wood products with Oregon State Uni- versity. "I have con- nections with all of these interests, and if there's anything unique about me is that I respect all of them," Spence said. When trying to get timber harvest opened up again, solutions need to include everyone concerned, he said. One proposal to deal with the loss of timber payments is just opening up the woods, cutting as much timber as anyone wants off of O&C lands. An alternative would split the land. If it's all opened up, the environmental- ists would have it in court, and no one will get anywhere, Spence said. Whether it's the right policy, it's the unworkable policy. Spence supports the governor's solution released three or four weeks ago, he said. The plan focuses on O&C lands, increasing "harvest levels from where they are now, the whole west slope, not just Linn County." The plan would spur local economies and provide long-term production in forests, Spence said. "There is a way to log and put people to work for hundreds of years. I'm interested in what pretty much everybody's interested in - healthy forests and timber jobs." The Clinton Forest Plan was supposed to do this in 1993 and 1994, but that effort has failed. Part of the cause of that failure "is the old timber wars," Spence said. Timber payments from Congress in lieu of taxes On timber harvest is the crux of many local budget issues, Spenc e said. There has been no action to compensate for the inevitable decline of the payments, and he's tired of nothing being done todea| X[{h the issue. . Spence said he didn't want to run for the office. "I really wanted someone else to run for this particular position," Spence said. "For far too long, this position has been charac- terized by blame and inaction. More impor- tantly, this country especially needs someone who can and will work full time." Spence said he dropped a dream con- tract because he couldn't fulfill it if he wins, he said. He would be too busy working, and he would have to quit all of his jobs. See Spence, page 15 Repair wear and tear with a joint replaceme For Jack Smalley, dairy farming is his passion and his bread and butter. He couldn't let bad hips get in the way. After Jack had his worst hip replaced at Samaritan, the results were so good, he had his second hip replaced too. Years later, Jack says, "1 am good to go and back to normal. Why go through the pain when it can be fixed?" Don't let bad joints keep you from being active. Attend a free joint replacement seminar for knees and hips. Learn more at a seminar Wednesday, Oct. 24, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Albany: Samaritan Albany General Hospital - Reimer Room (in hospital parking lot) Presenters: Steven Ballinger, MD Stephen Newman, MD Pre-reoistration required: Call (541) 768-4752 or visit samhealth.org/ortho Samaritan