Linn-Benton Backwash: Now with Extra Positivity

linnbentonbackwash1This week Corvallisites visiting the Gazette-Times were randomly treated to a poll that asked, “Are you a father?” My favorite answer was “I don’t know.” And they say we don’t have a sense of humor around here. Actually I don’t know if they say that, it just seemed like a good final sentence.

Because I’m practicing a new and improved, positive lifestyle, you get this sentence instead of what I’m actually thinking about Corvallisite Gluten-Free RN’s new book, Dough Nation. For example, I will absolutely not use the term pseudo-science, or discuss the merits of the scientific method. I won’t even make fun of the Gazette-Times for asking the most ridiculously softball questions of all time in a recent interview.

As you have likely heard, a 21-year-old local woman attempted suicide by cop in December after waving a toy gun that had been modified to look like a real one at police officers. Brandishing both a history of misdemeanor charges and mental health issues, Sarah Maebell Rodgers is now hanging out in the Benton County jail until a status check sometime this week. It’s worth noting how exceptionally well Corvallis police handled the situation as it unfolded, but I can’t help but bend most of my attention to yet another case of mental illness leading to a revolving door of crime. Whether it could be helped in this case or not, we’re absolutely still in the Stone Age regarding how our society handles and treats those suffering from disorders of the mind.

The Lebanon Log, Special Edition: Recently Lebanon community members discussed what they’d like to see in the town come the year 2040. Aside from cries for an even larger McDonald’s, this time with an indoor Lazy River, a “Strategic Vision Action Plan” was drafted. I’ve read it cover to cover and there’s a lot of good in there—a huge focus on development in the downtown area and the arts, which really is the key to changing that community for the better. Anyone who has seen the downtown area knows the insane potential it has for turning into something really beautiful. Unfortunately, this is undermined by what seems to be good-hearted ignorance in almost every other area.

They say they want to “provide an environment that supports existing, emerging, and incoming businesses that provide local living wage jobs,” only there’s no recognition of the fact that the city has done nothing but foster the addition of minimum wage chain stores in the area for years, much to the detriment of the downtown sector. And their approach to stopping crime and drug abuse? A crime tip line, crime talks in schools, and new lights and cameras in high-crime areas. I looked for the part where they addressed why there is so much crime, but no luck. The “Small Town Values” section is especially sad, but I won’t even go into it.

 People… well-wishing and band-aids are not going to hoist you out of this hole. The problems you’ve got cannot be hand-held, either. I get the feeling that a lot of “I’m thinking this, but I’m saying that” went into this action plan. Stop. I really don’t want to still be writing this damn column in 2040.

By Johnny Beaver