You might think a town with a lot of environmentally-conscious old folks would have a streetscape where everyone – including disabled people – could safely and conveniently opt out of …
You might think a town with a lot of environmentally-conscious old folks would have a streetscape where everyone – including disabled people – could safely and conveniently opt out of motorized transportation now and again.
But 30 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act, we still lack handicap ramps near the library, post office, and many other key places.
Our ubiquitous potholes have been rendered more hazardous by dimming the street lights, making them harder to sidestep after dark.
The transit center should be an easy walk from the Castle Hill neighborhood, but it’s not. That stretch of Sims has zero streetlights, and the steep slope of 12th Street has only one street light, near Sheridan, and no sidewalks.
In downtown, the public walkway at the Cannery has been closed for nearly a decade due to storm damage. Why haven’t the owners been required to maintain this shoreline access in a safe and functional condition?
I don’t think the Raccoon Lodge is more hazardous than the lack of handicap ramps on, for example, Lawrence Street, where an elderly man stumbled and suffered horrific injuries a couple of years ago. And surely it’s less important than affordable housing and climate change.
My sister, Patsy, was one of the hundreds of people in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia whose cause of death on June 29 last year was tied to climate change. This year, climate change washed out a street in Port Townsend and gave us an extended summer of hazardous air and no rain.
Nonetheless, it’s been suggested that the Raccoon Lodge is a hazard that merits expenditure of public dollars and staff time.
As a community, shouldn’t we focus on things that will matter when we look back 20 or 30 years from now? Just how much effort can we afford to invest in a complaint about an old guy’s folk art versus actual crises like housing and climate change?
Please, let the Raccoon Lodge remain as a symbol of hope and common sense in this era of gloom and rancor.
(Barney Burke is a retired city planner, PUD commissioner, and Leader reporter who volunteers at KPTZ.)
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Monday, December 5, 2022 Report this