A proposal to create a library district in Wallowa County deserves your consideration as you complete you Primary Election ballot. The community has lost too many things that local effort could have saved over the years. Let’s not make libraries the next casualty.

Is the library district plan perfect? No. It is a large ask for taxpayers and disproportionately impacts farmers who own a great deal of land. Unfortunately, that is not an issue that can be overcome on a local level.

It is time for the Oregon Legislature to consider approving a law that would equalize or “buy down” the portion of taxes levied for a new district paid by owners of land zoned agricultural. This would reward local initiative and remove the stigma. Other states do it.

The district unfortunately does not cover the entire county, which means a separate set of rules will have to be created for residents of the city of Lostine. That’s not optimal and is bound to cause ill feelings if the district is approved.

However, a “yes” vote sends a strong signal that we prioritize literacy and education for children from all walks of life. Although a much-maligned catchphrase, it remains true that it takes a village to educate a child.

Considering the dozens of educational programs not available in Wallowa County, the least we can do is provide literacy programs that will make our students life-long readers and life-long learners. The library district is an investment more than an expense. The dividends will be returned for years to come.

County Commission

Wallowa County is blessed with two excellent candidates for the open seat on the board of commissioners. We believe one of the candidates has an edge.

Diane Daggett’s length and breadth of service inside the county and out provides her with unique insights into the weighty issues of the day, including long-term financial stability. The county cannot continue cutting its way to balanced budgets.

Daggett’s commitment to transparency in local government is also notable. It’s time to take the county beyond “just ask, we’ll tell you” and into the realm of proactively providing information on the important topics of the day. A website that is updated regularly would be a good start.

Wallowa County has moved beyond the point where pleading poverty is an acceptable excuse for not providing the most basic of services. Now is time for creative and forward-thinking solutions and partnerships, not alienation and isolation.

For the job of leading Wallowa County to new heights with fresh ideas and renewed passion, we encourage a vote for Diane Daggett.

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