Monday, February 23, 2009

There's That Wonderful Rural/Urban Divide Again

The Shadout Mapes, on Clackamas County's increasingly-urban oriented five-member board (recently upgraded from three):

The commissioners insist they are well-versed in rural issues. But it's
also clear that under the leadership of Chairwoman Lynn Peterson, a
transportation expert with urban sensibilities, that the board will
move to seeing the county as a coherent whole rather than a collection
of small cities surrounded by countryside.

Insisting that you are well-versed in rural issues and actually being sympathetic to rural issues are two incredibly different things, as anyone who lives in the 3/5ths of Oregon that isn't the Willamette Valley (and the most-of-the-Valley that is miles and miles of rolling farms and forests) will tell you over and over again.

Mind you, I have no bone to pick with the Clackamas County Commission; they're very local, and probably do more understand about the hinterlands (which come amazingly close to every Clackamas county downtown area) than most other collections of County Commissioners.

But I don't see the viewpoint as treating Clackamas County as one big indivisible unit (like a school-lunch meatball) as being the best way to go. Clackamas County is, in fact, a collection of small cities surrounded by countryside, and you probably don't want to lose sight of that, because that's the level your people are actually on.

It's a beautiful county, by the way.

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