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Memories of the Decade: Citizens can make a difference in community

In 2004, my husband and I became proud cabin owners in Polk County. From our point of view, one of the most significant events of the decade was the devastation of Chocolate Drop. On a deep, personal level, it became the rallying cry that meant that citizens could no longer sit back and enjoy the scenery and the quality of life without becoming involved in protecting it.

Both the County Commissioners and the Columbus Town Council were compelled at the ballot box, through the efforts of Save Our Slopes, and from a consistent push from residents to explore new strategies to protect our land. As a result, The County has now adopted new Mountain & Ridgeline Protection Ordinances and Erosion and Sedimentation Control Ordinances.

Through the extraordinary efforts of the former Columbus Planning Board, the Town of Columbus passed a moratorium on development until they had studied and passed new protections as well.

For the second time in the decade, a Visioning Committee was formed to compile survey findings from county residents. Only this time, the findings were not put in a file and forgotten. At the urging of the community, another group was formed to prepare a long-range, land use plan under the guidance of an experienced planner. Once the plan is complete, the community will again need to campaign to make sure the plan is adopted and enforced. Hiring someone to enforce the restrictions is an idea on the table and one that should be vigorously supported.

The good news of the decade is that citizens can make a difference in this community. However, we cannot be complacent and we must pay attention to the actions of our elected and appointed leaders.

As we begin 2010, we are giving thanks for the blessings of living in such a special corner of our world.

Editors Note: The TDB has asked for area residents memories of the most significant events and people of the decade just now passing, the 00s. If you would like to share your thoughts on the decades most memorable events, please send them to jbyrd@tryondailybulletin.com attn: Memories.