Will the positive parts of our history paint our future? - The Reflector: Opinion


Will the positive parts of our history paint our future?

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Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 9:00 am

History should be important to all of us. My wife really loves history and “carries the torch” within our family, as to its importance. History seems to grow in importance as we live it.

Our family has only been in this area for a little over two years. It appears that significant retail development will change the Battle Ground landscape in the next year or so. In a recent poll at www.thereflector.com, most voters thought this development would be positive for the community. From a newspaper perspective, this type of economic development is positive as well.

Many who have spent most of their lives in Battle Ground and chose this area because of its less dense population, lighter traffic and family-friendly environment, may feel that the city’s desirability is beginning to fade. As a newcomer, it is difficult to speak to the past, but I do know what I found upon arriving here and I don’t want those desirable aspects to disappear.

Betty Davenport, from the organization Daughters of the Pioneers, stopped in to see me the other day. She talked about some of her personal, local history and noted that there are many multi-generational families that are landowners in our area. I have anecdotally felt the same thing. I am curious. How many of you are out there? I would be interested in hearing from you. Email me at steve@thereflector.com and let me know your family name, size of property and how many years it has been in your family.

Correspondingly, I was also speaking to Dave and Bryce Miller, owners of the Miller Insurance Agency. They have both (father and son) lived and/or worked in the Battle Ground area their entire lives. Bryce represents the third generation to work in the family business. They have loved and continue to love Battle Ground. They appreciate the lifestyle it offers.

These individuals’ community participation is representative of some of the things that make Battle Ground a nice place to live. Will this begin to change with the rapid expansion of retail locations? Will Battle Ground lose its “flavor” and identity? Can we have our cake and eat it too?

I don’t know.

The Reflector’s circulation area includes the cities of Battle Ground, Ridgefield, La Center, Yacolt, Woodland and numerous other census-designated places. Will retail sprawl destroy the desirability of any of these areas? I hope not.

At The Reflector, we were informed last week that Battle Ground has received an award and recognition for being one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People in the entire country. What a wonderful distinction. I know many who have served on the application committee and they have worked long and hard to make this possible. These types of distinctions only add to the desirability of a community.

In the two years that I have lived in this area I have heard or received complimentary comments, of one type or another, about nearly every community. None of our communities are without problems, but we seem to like what we have.

So how do we keep it going? How do we hold on to the best of our history without stifling economic growth?

Our municipal and county leaders serve tirelessly to hold things together. Often that service is given on an entirely volunteer basis, so I hate to add to what is already a formidable burden. But as much as I appreciate their day-to-day, month-to-month oversight, I want to know, “What’s the plan?” I am not suggesting that anyone can predict all the variables that will affect our future, but it would be nice to know that ordinances, land-use regulations, permitting processes, development, a commitment to educating our young people ... etc. are all being done with an end in mind.

We have and will have more displaced individuals along the Hwy. 502 corridor. Some of them are very disgruntled.  Some of them might not have purchased property in their current locations if they had known that the expansion of Hwy. 502 was ultimately part of the future plans for our area. Some have maybe been there for so many years that they would have been hard-pressed to project the current turn of events. Still, when considering the community as a whole, the expansion of Hwy. 502 seems like a pretty good idea.

I live in the southwest corner of Battle Ground. I would love to know if road expansion in my area is a part of any long range, comprehensive plan. It would allow me to personally prepare and plan. Could some confrontational issues between leaders and citizens be avoided by leaders better communicating and sharing their “big picture” vision?

I would also like to know what our leaders expect our community to look like in the next decade or two. Will our leaders’ vision for Battle Ground be what I want for my family and me in the future?

Good leaders, “What’s the plan?” And as you formulate it, don’t forget what brought us here in the first place.

Steve Walker


Steve Walker may be reached at (360) 687-5151, by mail, P.O. Box 2020, Battle Ground, WA 98604, and via email at Steve@thereflector.com. The Reflector assures the public that it has no caller identification (caller ID) feature with its phone system, guaranteeing anonymity for callers who so choose.

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