County Commissioner Lianne Thompson

Lianne Thompson

Spring is here, edging into summer. Birds and blossoms abound. Time to celebrate.

Celebrate Marni Beemer’s 99th birthday later this week. I want to become Marnie Beemer when I grow up; don’t you? She inspires with her wicked sense of humor, strong intelligence, and clear speaking. And style? Marnie has style until the end of time. She always looks fabulous and teaches me something whenever I spend time with her.

Thanks for being here among us, Marnie. Happiest of birthdays, and keep them coming.

Another cause for celebration is the proposed Arch Cape Forest. The Arch Cape Domestic Water Supply District has approached the Clatsop County Commissioners and the rest of the County Budget Committee to describe their vision and funding request.

Right now, they’re asking for $250,000 to be budgeted in the 2019-2020 fiscal year. That amount would be part of the purchase price of the two thousand-plus acres of forestland that’s adjacent to Arch Cape and provides its watershed.

What’s exciting to me is the multipurpose benefits it provides. Not only is water quality protected, it promises to offer recreational opportunities as it continues to be a working community forest. That is, trees will be harvested to generate revenue.

Managing forests requires thoughtful effort, and it costs money. Without thinning of one kind or another, timberland becomes tinderland. Tinderland means increased fire danger to lives and property because of the underbrush and closely packed vegetation that feeds fierce fires.

When I first came to live permanently here, I had an urban person’s appreciation of the forest. I thought every forest was my private parkland, that I was entitled to a viewshed of mature and lush forest at no cost to me. I didn’t understand that forests and parks were different.

For the people who own the forestland, most expect to generate revenue to offset the cost of managing their land, and more. For landowners, it is the source of family income, corporate income for shareholders, or part of the tax base to provide community services we all need.

How do we deal with an ailing planet, its climate change, species extinction, and degraded quality of life, balanced with the necessity of generating revenue to live? Communities need an adequate and stable tax base to provide public health, mental health, public safety, education, roads, and other public services.

Families need adequate and stable income to pay for housing, food, health services, and education.

Businesses need to generate a profit over and above operating and capital costs in order to stay in business, pay employees, and pay taxes.

How do we do all of this, in harmony and balance? By treating ourselves with the same affection, respect, and curiosity that we’d like to receive from others. The way we treat ourselves is the way we treat others. It’s also the way we treat the planet. All of it is the same flavor. I hope the flavor is both sweet and nourishing.

Lianne Thompson is County Commissioner for District 5.

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