By Shaena Peterson
Trees, Cheese and Ocean Breeze – it’s the reason we live here. Loggers, farmers and fishermen are the backbone of Tillamook County. Too often I hear their dismay with government – it’s not they don’t care about our environment, it’s the struggle with ever increasing regulations. As County Commissioner, it will be my goal to make sure doing what’s best for our environment does not mean crippling our backbone.
“Build it and they will come.” Everything plays a part. We need more housing, desperately. A housing task force has been formed and they’re doing great work, but everybody needs to be on board. Let’s encourage tiny houses. They take up less energy. In fact, if they use solar and bio resources, let’s give them a break. Sustainability on an eighth of an acre. Let’s make sure the planning and development process runs smoothly. Further, if the zoning is for high-density residential, let’s go up not out with affordable, energy efficient apartments, encouraging the highest and best use of our land. And that includes our farmland. We could reduce the odor from our dairy farms by 75 percent or more and we could lessen the damage done by flooding. Process the waste differently, let our ditches run freely and clean out the mouths of our rivers. Let’s continue to work toward healthy, productive forests. We know how to manage our resources; we need federal and state regulators to recognize the fact. We must look for answers to improve our infrastructure so it’s welcoming to passenger, commercial and farm vehicles.
There is a mandate by 2025 our energy must be 25 percent renewable. I do not believe wind is the answer, though it plays a part. Instead of the massive turbines out on our ocean, up on our hills, the small turbine on top of the three-story apartment building, but let’s go with bird-friendly, bladeless technology. While we’re up there, let’s add a solar array. Our farmers could be processing manure so efficiently PUD is giving them a check each month. From slash to sawdust, burning wood waste is a simple process and getting the debris to the power plant should be made easier.
As County Commissioner, I promise to work toward a healthy, happy, well-educated community where you know your voice will be heard. Tillamook County is my home and I will protect it and you.