Do you have a point you’d like to make or an issue you feel strongly about? Submit a letter to the editor.

Bend needs action on noise

Trying to say that only a few people have complained about noise, and therefore the City Council can ignore the issue, is not an appropriate or a strategically effective way to determine what city policies should be.

After all, only a few businesses have complained that they are being singled out for their overly loud performances that are too close to homes.

The city’s leaders are certainly not ignoring them!

In fact, the city appears to be favoring these few businesses by interpreting the land use and noise codes in a way that allows them do pretty much whatever they want, wherever they want to do it. We don’t have a threshold in the city code for how many people need to complain before a problem is taken seriously.

Does the city wait for dozens of people to get sick at a restaurant before enforcing food safety codes? If you’re not complying with the law, you should be called on it. Period.

Surveys of residents show that noise is a leading livability concern. The only thing the City Council has been asked to do is to lower the decibel level only in residential zones — to the limit used in Portland, Salem, Corvallis and cities all across the country.

If Bend is going to keep growing intelligently, we need officials unafraid to meaningfully address problems as they arise, not until it is a front page story in The Bulletin and The Source. If the code needs to change, change it.

Bill Gregoricus


Walden is wrong on wildfire

Opportunistically capitalizing on the misery created by smoke from wildfires, Rep. Greg Walden is selling us his snake oil cure-all that if we only logged more forests, we could prevent what he pejoratively calls “catastrophic” wildfires.

Walden’s prescription misdiagnoses the problem. There are three things wrong with Walden’s argument.

All large wildfires are climate driven, not “fuels” driven. Numerous studies have concluded that under extreme fire weather, no amount of “fuels reduction” will significantly alter the outcome.

Second, dead trees are less flammable than live green trees with their fine fuels like resin-filled needles and small branches. Most wildfires are burning green trees, not in dead forest.

Third, even if fuel reductions were effective — which they are not in most instances — one cannot predict where a fire will occur. Thus, most fuel reductions will never encounter a fire.

Plus, all logging treatments have collateral damage like spread of weeds, loss of carbon storage, loss of structural component of dead trees and other elements critical for healthy forest ecosystems.

The real problem is that humans are pumping more and more climate warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and until we reverse this trend, we can count on seeing blazes and breathing a lot more smoke in the future.

George Wuerthner


Climate change action should be taken

In 2013 an article titled, “The projected timing of climate departure from recent variability,” appeared in the scientific journal Nature, which is one of the top two scientific journals in the world.

Weighing data from 39 climate models, the authors projected when earth’s annual average surface air temperatures will permanently exit the entire range of yearly planetary highs and lows recorded from 1860 to 2005. They found that the exit point will occur in 2047 under “business-as-usual” carbon dioxide emissions scenarios.

In other words, unless we start acting quickly, and forcefully, to stabilize carbon dioxide emissions, models predict that the coldest year after around 2047 will still be hotter than even the hottest year from 1860 to 2005.

Models also indicate that a hotter planet has more water vapor and more energy, creating larger storms. The heat we have seen this summer, as well as other extreme weather events, are not so much an anomaly from which we can expect to return to normal, as they are part of a steady, albeit jagged, trend caused by the rise in Earth’s temperatures as climate change proceeds.

Matt Orr