Sweet Home’s potential unrealized

Editor:

This is in response to all the letters that I have seen printed recently regarding Sweet Home’s status.

I am amazed at the lack of capitalizing on the potential that this town has. We have Foster Lake – a jewel surrounded by a fantastic landscape. We have the Oregon Jamboree – which brings in tens of thousands of people, and the biggest country stars. We have truly friendly people. There is a myriad of potential. So why is the town in the condition that it’s in?

There are several factors that are preventing growth in every area, the first one being the stifling of outside commerce. On different occasions, some big chain stores, from what I understand, have tried to come to Sweet Home — to no avail. The excuse is that “it’ll ruin the small businesses.”

I’m all for the small business – don’t get me wrong. But the few small businesses that Sweet Home has do not employ enough people to create much-needed jobs in the area.

The second factor is that I can walk down the street at any given time, and see someone who is probably on meth. They’re easy to spot- cheeks sunken in and usually on a bike with a big dog. The meth issue needs to be dealt with, and not just looked away from — which it is right now.

The third factor is the look of the town. A lot of the city looks run down, and several of the businesses are visibly empty — not exactly a morale booster for Sweet Home’s residents/ visitors, or someone interested in opening up a business here.

And fourth, the lack of being open-minded, being hypocritical. On at least one occasion, it was brought up before the council to allow establishments to hold poker tournaments, and it was rejected on more or less the basis that “they were afraid it would affect the crime rate.”

The local churches hold bingo, and bunco games, and the taverns here not only have video poker, but most have slot games now. Do these activities raise the crime rate? No one drives out of their way to play video poker. They will, however, for poker tournaments. I’ve been to tournaments in the area that drew 200 or more people – most from out of town. People playing poker socially don’t commit crimes. They do, however, spend money. How is this a bad thing?

Also on this point, I’m not going to get in the middle of the arguments ensuing in the recent “letters to the editor” page, but I will say that I have noticed that when anyone has any kind of critique whatsoever of the condition of Sweet Home, or the city government, etc., it offends a multitude of people. Instead of being offended, I say that you listen and read unbiased and see things from a different perspective.

In conclusion, if Sweet Home starts allowing itself to grow, it will. If it continues to put the blinders on and ignore what the problems are, then it will end up like countless other small towns that used to thrive, but now are gasping.

Tim Ryan

Sweet Home

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