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Our wish list for Woodburn in 2014


The new year is upon us and The Independent is optimistic that this will be a year of improvements to Woodburn and the surrounding area.

Looking back on the past year, we are pleased to see that one of our New Year wishes from last year has come true:?The beginning of construction on the Interstate 5 interchange. This project has been so long awaited, that it’s almost too good to be true. Our continuing wish for this year is that Woodburnites continue to be patient with the construction. We’ve hit some bumps in the road and encountered small delays and controversies here and there, but overall, we urge everyone to keep the big picture in mind, that this project will only benefit Woodburn in the long run.

Another way of improving the makeup of the city is in the schools. The existing buildings are bursting at the seams and Woodburn School District is actively pursuing a bond measure in the spring. Although all the details of what will be in the bond are unclear at this point, our wish for this year is that the district will be able to focus its efforts on the essentials and that the Woodburn population will support the schools, as they continue to battle overcrowding issues. No matter what side of the issue you are on, we encourage everyone to be well-educated on the issue before voting. Attend a public forum. Tour a school. We applaud the efforts of local residents who have done that already, reaching out to building principals, asking questions and touring schools.

That being said, we would like to see increased civic engagement this election year, not only on any bond or levy issues, but also in November elections for city council and mayor races. We would like to see increased participation not only in voter turnout but also among those running for office. Fewer unopposed elections and greater voter turnout would do a great deal toward showing civic leaders that the citizens in this area deeply care about the communities in which they live. Perhaps the greatest way to see this change would be an influx of a more diverse body of city leaders who accurately represent the demographics of the people who are affected by their decisions.

And finally, there’s the downtown question. What does the future hold for the?Association Building??We feel the city needs to prioritize First Street and fix it up like it did for Front Street. There should also be more incentives beyond the Grant and Loan Program that promote downtown development and renovation, particularly with First Street properties. We hope one building owner will come through on promises to help make downtown vibrant once again.

Here’s to a prosperous and productive 2014!