Letter: Downtown fixes require choices (Jan. 11, 2023)


Over the last few months, as I have enjoyed reading The New Era each week, I have noticed a recurring theme, mainly, various business owners and governing bodies stressing the fact that they would like to see Sweet Home downtown area revitalized.

It has been mentioned many times, I have observed, in reading accounts of City Council meetings, that they would like to energize local business building owners to open more businesses in the downtown district.

While this is an interesting goal, and while I agree it would be much more pleasant to see operating shops and storefronts in downtown Sweet Home, as opposed to empty windows and vacant blocks, a recent editorial brought another side of the issue to my attention.

Mr. Swanson, editor of The New Era, discussed his recent run-ins with local attempts to safely cross streets in town.

He is not the only one to feel that it is a bit of a gamble to attempt a street crossing, legally delineated, in our town. Really this is a wide-spread issue, but I am focusing on the local streets right now.

I frequently have occasion to walk around Sweet Home, walking on the sidewalks and crossing at intersections.

Although it is the responsibility of the pedestrian to ensure that drivers have clearly seen one before proceeding, it is true that many drivers do not pay any attention to those who are traveling on foot.

I do not particularly enjoy walking in the downtown area, since it is loud, not exceptionally safe, and devoid of any pleasant trees or permanent landscaping. In addition, there is no continuity to the types of buildings present, and there are large plots of unsightly empty lots or parking areas.

In conclusion, I believe it might be wise to explore options for making downtown Sweet Home a more pleasant family friendly and pedestrian safe environment before urging building owners to embark on various enterprises therein.

One can either have large-volume efficient movement of traffic through town or a quiet, engaging, village-square type of area but I do not believe it is possible to have both.

Timothy Majors

Sweet Home