Saturday, February 9, 2008

[Overdue Posts] Lebanon to Become a.... College Town?

From the Lebanon Express, an editorial that blew my socks off:

During its history, Lebanon has undergone several changes in identity. The small pioneer community of a century and a half ago became a market town for the surrounding farms as the 20th century approached. Timber fueled the economy from the 1930s through the 1970s. When timber was dethroned by environmental concerns and technology, the town faltered economically and became a bedroom community for cities from Eugene to Salem and beyond. The city's focus on economic development in the past decade is bringing new jobs to Lebanon. Lowe's is by far the largest, but others also contribute to the community.

Now it appears Lebanon's identity will change again. It will become a college town.

The idea of Lebanon as a college town freaks me out. I stared at that last line for a good five minutes when I first read it, just trying to picture it. It didn't work. all fairness, I hear the medical school will be accepting about 50 people each year initially, so it's not like we're talking about a WSU/Pullman style situation here. Two hundred students, a fair percentage of which who will live in Albany or Corvallis? That'll barely make a dent in the short term. What will be more noticeable will be the staff and faculty, at least initially.

In any case, I think this is, on balance, a good thing for Lebanon - at the least, it'll hopefully diversify the local economy a bit.

On the other hand, the college will be destroying farmland, which I consider a bad thing.

I know plenty of Lebanon folks read this - y'all have anything to say about this?


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