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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Camp Meeker News

I feel like Rip Van Winkle here. When last we spoke, I was writing for the late and much lamented Russian River Monthly, which ceased operations last spring. Let me give a shout out to George Klineman, my fine and hard-working editor at that paper. Of course I’m in good hands now: west county journalism has few better friends than Vesta Copestakes.

Let’s see if I can recap the interregnum between my last column and now. Actually, it was pretty quiet there in Camp Meeker for a while. No sewer controversy, no cell tower controversy. Speaking of that cell tower, it could be said that the last chapter of that episode was written a few weeks ago, when the “reMeeker” slate swept four candidates into office at the Camp Meeker Park and Rec board, leaving Cathie Anderson as the only returning board member. We congratulate Jeffrey Fawcett, Seth Murchison, Michael Ming, and Lynn Watson on their victory and wish them the best. They have announced an ambitious agenda and they will certainly need our help in enacting it. For that matter, we are down four “concerned citizens”, so we’ll all need to step it up.

Before we discuss that future, let’s take a moment to thank the outgoing Board members – Fred Meyer, Gary Helfrich, Amy Lemmer, and Aimee Crawford – for their hard work and their many accomplishments. The most visible of those accomplishments can be seen down by the post office. There, instead of a decrepit old dam and a choking bramble of blackberry vines, you will see an elegant new pedestrian bridge crossing a peaceful, natural looking creek bed. It’s not natural, of course – the new creek bed is the result of some hard engineering work by local firms Prunuske-Chatham, Streamline Engineering, Questa Engineering, and a metric ton of hard organizing and funding work by the Camp Meeker Park and Rec Board (CMRPD), the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District (GRRCD), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

I was wandering down there yesterday. It’s pretty exciting. You can walk through the whole area from the culvert to upstream of the firehouse if you’re willing to get your feet wet. It looks like it will be a nice place to walk, to picnic, to spend time with friends. You have to visualize a bit – I don’t know how much work remains to be done. At any rate, the new trees planted will take some time to grow to their full potential.

The other big thing the outgoing board did for us is they kept a fairly ruinous sewer project from being imposed on us. While nothing eventually came out of the hundreds of hours those board members spent keeping up with the tonnage of tedious lawyerly reading, something nothing is the best possible outcome. Our incoming board will have to take up the mantle here and lead us toward a wastewater solution that works for Camp Meeker in coming decades.

I’m excited about the future in Camp Meeker. It’s true that things got pretty heated as we tried to decide the cell phone tower issue. I’m hoping we can all learn from our mistakes on that one, and work in a more civil, neighborly and cooperative fashion on our many important future projects, from the wastewater issue to the sudden oak death issue. Once we tackle those important issues, we will have earned some fun. We can get started on that “cultural revival” the reMeeker folks are touting. I can’t wait to get started, and for future issues I will be researching and reporting the illustrious cultural past of our lovely little forest.

One last note before I go. Outgoing board member Fred Meyer took some pretty nasty personal shots in the last couple of years, from people who disagreed with his political positions. Consider this about Fred: you don’t have to guess where he stands. He speaks his mind, even if he knows you’re not going to like what he says. Even though he’s not on the board any more, he’s still our VFD Fire Chief, and I hope you shook his hand and thanked him at the spaghetti dinner a couple of weeks ago. He’s earned it.

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