Mid 1995

Glenn Davis

Editorial Page Editor

The Oregonian

Portland, Oregon

Dear Glenn,

       I wanted to share a few thoughts about my perspectives regarding growth.

        When my Swedish-Finn grandfather came to Astoria and then Marshfield in 1911, Oregon had approximately 675,000 and the U.S. 90 million people.  We seemed to have a boundless supply of everything, and there was little evidence that our “growth is good” approach to everything  was flawed.   Things are different now, but there is  inertia in the minds of most decision makers causing them to accept  the “inevitability” of growth or to promote it in spite of the obvious long term problems in continuing with this approach.   Things are finite.   Also, at what point would we have enough people in the U.S.?  When we have 400,000,000; 800,000,000: 1,000,000,000?  No pro-growther says.

         Pro-growthers always take refuge in the fact that population growth is “good for the economy” and if something is good for the economy, it must be good,  period.  That, of course, does not follow.

         The problem I have with any censorship of anti-growth columns and letters is that  I cannot help thinking that newspaper managers are compensated in part by circulation increases.  For example, Richard Sept, formerly of the Medford Mail Tribune, said exactly that he was pro-growth because that meant more circulation.  A stand such as that, if it is without regard for the negatives regarding growth could be construed as being unprofessional.  Controlling information or limiting debate in the issue of growth will of course perpetuate the pro-growth movement a little longer, but Glenn more and more people are realizing that we give up more than we get with growth.   Columns or letters are not invalid that deal with that issue.     

         I am sending you two more columns.  Perhaps you could open up the debate about the effects of national population growth policies on Oregon in your editorial pages.

          Thank you for publishing my column.  I do think it was better in its original form however, but all writers think that I am sure.


Brent Thompson