The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

We can do better than easy fixes


January 18, 2018

To The Eagle:

Allow me to applaud Krist Novoselic’s assertion that less knee-jerk partisanship and a restored focus on “real problems” would be healthy for Wahkiakum County. During a recent visit, I encountered a harder, more bitter right-left divide than I remember from my term as Cathlamet’s mayor (2010-13). I also sensed that tensions between old-timers and newcomers are intensifying beyond the point where the cross-current of ideas and perspectives is healthful to one where hard “camps” are emerging.

In one instance, a friend shared that she had ceased participating in some Community Center activities because she felt ostracized by folks who do not share her politics. In another, a venerable native son lamented the influx of out-of-town property owners and the resentment locals feel about runaway home prices. Both examples reflect real problems (the rise of hyper-partisanship in the internet age and the yawning rich-poor divide, respectively), though neither, in my view, is largely ideological or demands fealty to a major political party.

I recall the day a group of volunteers gathered in cold rain to build a fence around the community garden in Erickson Park. At post hole after post hole, two expert craftsmen – one from a prominent Cathlamet family and the other a recent transplant – bickered amicably about hole depth, string lines and such. This lasted for hours until the job was done; both experts clearly felt great appreciation for the other. That’s why Cathlamet works. In a community so dependent on volunteerism and neighborly cooperation, it would be a shame to lose either over the false promise of, in Krist’s words, “easy fixes.” We can do better.

George Wehrfritz

Salinas, CA


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