Dear Communities of Columbia and Clatsop Counties,
I am writing this letter to you from the year 2019. I know we all think that is impossible but in a quantum universe...well, things happen. Suspend your disbelief for the length of this essay because I have good news to report. The results of your community efforts over the last 7 or 8 years have been nothing short of miraculous! What began as an auspicious trend of corporations shipping fossil fuels through your communities has taken on a new and creative paradigm. The Bakken Crude is long gone...unfortunately, as of this writing to another community elsewhere. But take heart! Representatives of your community are helping that community recover their local control as I speak. The global climate change has increased as predicted. but many, many more people across the globe are reversing the trend of corporate control. The new hope is that the world-wide effort toward local sustainable food sources will actually create a new feed back loop to absorb carbon from the air. Your community has been no small part of that trend. You should be proud!
In 2014 Clatskanie and Goble joined the Rainier and Scappoose Communities in creating organic, locally grown Farmers Markets. These markets flourished. Working with the cities in between the existing market at the time, new markets were developed in St. Helens, Deer Island, Columbia City and Westport by the year 2015. Clatsop County Between Knappa and Astoria joined the other groups by 2016. This effort began what is now in 2019 called the Fresh Food Corridor. At this writing The Fresh Food Corridor on Highway 30 has proved to be one of the biggest tourist attractions in Oregon. Folks leaving the Portland metropolitan area for weekend travel to the coast in Astoria have been flocking through these communities buying local grown and crafted products all along the way.
The farming proved to be so much more profitable to the communities and their local businesses than the shipment of fossil fuels which proved to be so dangerous and detrimental to communities that the choice was clear. Farming prevailed. But the railroads themselves turned out to be a huge asset after all! Currently, there are several passenger trains a day that follow the farmers markets up through the Fresh Food Corridor dropping tourists off for a few hours allowing them time to shop then they just catch the next train to the next market along the way to Astoria. Trains are also going the other way back to Portland so tourists can catch a train to say, the St Helens Market, spend a few hours then turn around and get home by dinner to cook their delicious organic food purchased in the Fresh Food Corridor! The trains are an important part of this corridor because it relieves car traffic on Highway 30 and many of the folks in Portland who don't own cars use mass transportation. This Fresh Food Corridor is so popular and profitable that other communities all over the U.S. and Europe are now copying it as model for attracting sustainable business and tourism of their own.
From my vantage point here in the future I say a resounding THANK YOU! Thank you for sticking together! You created an amazing vision of what the future could be. A future that our communities could be proud of and you made it happen. You worked together and helped each other. There were disagreements but you resolved them and made better choices. For your efforts and hard work you now have a community independent of corporate control. Thank you all for creating sustainable businesses based on healthy locally grown food that doesn't depend on fossil fuels to grow or deliver it! We are now less dependent on food being shipped in and, in fact, other communities need you to help provide food for them. I am humbled by the unity you showed over these years and I hope the future “we” can continue to be as much of a community as the past “we” became!
Here's to an amazing future...I'll see you all here soon!