Thursday, August 7, 2008

Evanite, the Greenway, and an Editorial all walk into a bar....

A GT editorial:

The deal offers a potentially huge payoff for Corvallis and its residents: The 32- foot-wide, quarter-mile-long strip of land on the Willamette River would allow the city to fill in a missing link in its riverfront trail system. The result would be an uninterrupted 3.5-mile path for pedestrians and cyclists from the north end of downtown to Willamette Landing.

In return, Evanite wants the city’s help in getting out from an extra layer of oversight of development requests on part of its 35-acre site on Crystal Lake Drive.

This has been the basis of the deal since the beginning. I am very much in favor of an unbroken trail from Willamette Landing to Michael's Landing.... but I'm skeptical of Evanite.

Specifically, I want to know exactly what regulations Evanite wants out of - is it really just building near the river? Or is there an environmental component? Is there a chance that the land near the river owned by Evanite contains some nasty pollutants that Evanite doesn't want to deal with? And why does the GT label it "extra"? Is there any basis for that, or is that word in there to give people the impression the regulations are, for some reason, unnecessary?

I can't say I've read every GT story on this issue, but I suspect I've seen most of them, and I can't remember ever hearing about possible environmental impact or about the regulations in any detail.

This editorial, of course, is no different. Given that we're in Corvallis, it would seem like a no-brainer to at least mention the potential environmental impacts, especially if any of the regulations in question deal with them. But no... and here is where I find myself agreeing just the tiniest bit with the incensed commenters: The GT does tend to show a rather strong pro-development/pro-business bias, often in its editorial slant.

But I can't just blame the GT for that and walk away. I'd bet money that the parent corporation, Lee Enterprises, actually has policy directives surrounding editorial stances. It's not unheard of, and Lee has a reputation as a very pro-business company.

I happen to think that the existence of such policies undermines the credibility of journalism, but what do I know? The GT tells me this is a good idea, conveniently omitting even the possibility of downsides, so I guess I should just be happy that I get a trail, right?



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