Monday, December 06, 2004

Slow and small is beautiful: hospital letter

Keep the hospital small and in town. Marilyn Goode’s marvelous letter expressed what many of us want. We do not want to be steamrollered by a high end project that looks good on paper, costs a hundred million dollars ( without the cost of land, which is assumed a trade for the downtown land), and will ruin a giant chunk of the green belt for which we voted in an Urban Growth Boundary.

Now, I know the people who support this plan are full of good intention. In an issue oriented discussion group called SPIN, where we talk of education, energy, war, economics and all sorts of local issues from all sorts of points of view, we were treated to a presentation by Bob Kowal. He is a fine person, and had a fine presentation.

But the assumption of a huge hospital complex was never questioned. Ignored was the option of a small hospital that would be consistent with our small town and leave the countryside alone. Marylyn’s letter raises this alternative plain and clear. I say: build the emergency portion of the hospital at West Fifth and MacArthur, and have the two buildings function together.

Throughout the state, hospital districts are being bankrupted by seismic requirements. Something is going to have to give. In the meantime, it was an eye opener to see that about half of the million and a half dollar a year parcel tax was going to salaries of people whose main job is the push forward this plan for the giant hospital complex.

You’ve heard me extol the virtues of slowing down. Driving slowly for less accidents, more safety, calmness, a chance to really see where we are going. Getting out of cars, to be even more in touch with our environment. Slowing down the rate of building to keep our small town small. To this, let’s add as well: slow down, too, this rush to build a big hospital complex, out of scale for our small valley, and a financial burden that doesn’t really serve our core needs.


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