Coastal Voices: If Del Norte has a plan, it seems to not follow it

By Teri Markanson June 12, 2013 05:34 pm

I moved to Del Norte County in July 1997, choosing here over Sequim, Wash., due to the beauty of the Smith River and giant redwoods and a few other reasons.

I have lived in numerous rural communities and, until Del Norte County, never read so many articles that contradict or conflict with each other like I have in the Triplicate.

I’ve seen in city government's corruption and greed, honesty and true caring for each other and their surroundings. Since I was old enough to read and comprehend articles, I’ve paid attention to what the government does, especially on the city level since it actually affects my life.

In our Triplicate, I’ve read of a real and just concern over the dwindling student population as well as concern over why our population contains so many homeless, indigent and those who live on various forms of government assistance. I’ve also read of concerns on how to boost tourism in order to bring more, much needed, money here.

Then I read articles that contradict the articles mentioned above. For example, I believe the same reasons I chose Del Norte County are the reasons tourists come here — giant redwoods, the mighty Pacific, the Smith River and much more. The best way to boost tourism could also aid in school populations. The county needs to consider eco-friendly concepts for new businesses, new county-sponsored events and infrastructure in the areas we lack.

How does that help schools? So many Del Norte High School graduates cannot wait for the day they get to leave here. There are truly no activities for older teens/young adults, nor are there true career/job opportunities. Therefore, their families begin elsewhere, lessening our student population. The more we “create” job opportunities, in areas that will boost tourism, the better off we are.

A complete contradiction to boosting tourism is the notion of allowing more semi-trucks in and out of Del Norte County via highways 197 and 199. Has anyone thought that through? Not even the Friends of Del Norte, who seem more concerned about straightening curves than the probable destruction by semis of our drinking water from the Smith River.

Not to mention what already began March 31, 2013, on the Oregon side of the Smith watershed with the nickel mining. Supposedly, the area they’re “testing” and cut off (for the most part) from the Smith is one of the few spawning areas for endangered salmon species, who spawn mid- to late-August. Well, this “test” will not end until November. So, what has already run off into our drinking water; how much before it affects us; and where will salmon be for tourism next year?

We have also destroyed things people loved here, like the Medicine Shoppe and Pacific Drug. Before Walgreens and Walmart, we had those two, now closed, pharmacies, plus Rite Aid and Safeway.

When Walmart came, it brought its own pharmacy. So why Walgreen’s? Did anyone care that by allowing bigger chains in we lose locally owned businesses?

Then there’s the destruction of local trees and beauty spots for housing when so many properties lie fallow.

Let’s choose one route or the other if we must ... rape the county or build it up. Stop spending money with no vision for keeping young families here with more jobs and things to do. Stop allowing the exit of much-needed stuff like locally-owned businesses or the downsizing of our only hospital and think clearly.

It’s up to us if Del Norte lives or dies.

Teri Markanson is a Crescent City resident.