[Vision2020] Moscow Residents Can Help Determine City's Future

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Wed Sep 19 15:17:26 PDT 2007

>From today's (September 19, 2007) Moscow-Pullman Daily News with special
thanks to Lois Blackburn -


TOWN CRIER II: Moscow residents can help determine city's future
By Lois Blackburn

September 19, 2007

Moscow is at a crossroads - not a new experience for us, but decisions that
we make now will determine whether Moscow retains the distinctive character
for which many of us value it, or becomes a clone of Division Street in
Spokane or 21st Street in Lewiston.

Moscow residents can influence these decisions by becoming involved.
Constituents can speak out and have their voices heard. When I first moved
to Moscow in 1991, this was not usually the case. I recall at least two
major issues in which an outcry from residents was ignored by city
government, and many other projects that slipped through without an
opportunity for resident comment.

One of the first major issues influenced by people power was that of water
conservation. Residents, spearheaded by the Moscow Civic Association,
pressured the then-City Council to initiate water conservation measures.
City water usage is now down to the goal of the conservation agreement.
Resident engagement also confronted the water-greedy Naylor Farms project.

When Aaron Ament is questioned about accomplishments of the current City
Council of which he is a part, he immediately responds, "Citizen
involvement." Some outstanding examples of the power of residents:

- Residents of the Frontier Addition united in opposition to the city's
plans for ballfields that would adversely affect their neighborhood.

Their participation in a Ballfields Planning Committee brought about a
compromise: seven ballfields, but no sound system or intrusive lighting, and
residents helping to design parking.

A new issue - not for the benefit of children - is the expectation of city
planners and a developer to build a million-dollar road and bridge through
the site of one of the ballfields. Through continued engagement of the
neighborhood, that road may not be built;

- Resident involvement defeated a proposed rezoning of 76 acres for a super

- Residents of the Indian Hills development had concerns about traffic and
views. Because of resident/neighbor involvement at the pre-permit hearing
and at P & Z, the developer withdrew the project to address the concerns of

- Pressure from residents brought stop signs to the intersections of D
Street and Mountain View Road, First and Monroe and Adams streets; and

- The City Council has committed to a community request for a pedestrian
bridge from Third Street to Mountain View (instead of extending Third

Because of these accomplishments, residents rightly believe they can have an
effect; this understanding will inspire more involvement.

Moscow residents will have an opportunity to vote for City Council members
this November. Among several fine candidates, I wish to highlight one of
them: Aaron Ament. A major plank in his platform is resident involvement in
government. The basic framework of his campaign is the same as two years
ago: Our kids/Our money/Our neighborhoods. Ament wants the voice of the
community to frame the issues and outcomes.

Ament lobbied for and was appointed to our local Urban Renewal Agency
(Alturas Phases I and II). Ament's aim is that uses for various properties
around the city be developed through community support.

Among the several outstanding accomplishments of the current City Council:

- Use of state of Idaho tools for shaping development: requiring a
development agreement during rezone or annexation;

- Increased commitment to Moscow Valley Transit from $20,000 to $60,000;

- A full-time animal control officer;

- A new focus to the Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee;

- A director for the 1912 Center;

- Money available in the budget for a proposed re-use facility at the

- A change in parkland dedication rules: the city, rather than a developer,
chooses between land or money dedicated;

- A mandated living wage for those doing business with the city (the first
in the state);

- Diversion of minors in possession to treatment instead of criminal
proceedings; and

- Required background checks for adult volunteers.

We need to retain Aaron Ament on the City Council. He is honest and
straightforward. He has the courage to speak out for his own beliefs and
those of his constituents. He has no connections with groups that would
exploit the community, and no agendas other than his commitment to the best
interests of the community.

Lois Blackburn is a retired University of Idaho music professor and a cello
teacher for many adults and children in the area. She loves Moscow and is
active in the musical and civic affairs of the city. Town Crier II is a
weekly series of columns contributed by 13 local writers. The Town Crier
columns run on Wednesday.


Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"We're a town of about 23,000 with 10,000 college students. The college
students are not very active in local elections (thank goodness!)."

- Dale Courtney (March 28, 2007)

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