SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Mike Spence's Ketchikan
By Greg Harris


October 22, 2007
Monday PM

As a former longtime resident and recent visitor to Ketchikan, I couldn't agree more with Mr. Spence's comments on the "state" of Ketchikan. As I landed in town in February this year and again in May I was amazed at the town that time seems to forget.

The same falling apart homes, the same look on the waterfront, the same arguments from the locals in the paper asking, "What about us?" Every day I drove around wondering, "Why?" What is it that keeps the city of Ketchikan from advancing?

Why do elected leaders in Ketchikan keep giving money away to build veneer mills, or any kind of mill for that matter? Nothing against you people up there but, labor is really cheap down here in the lower 48, and they're still sending jobs to China. Does that give you any idea how expensive that already makes your product? Its simple math really. Have you forgotten about the bowl making fiasco already?

Ketchikan has natural resources that are virtually unmatched anywhere else in the world. I've said it a million times and I'll say it again - look at the European Alps. Look to see how the French, Swiss and Italian peoples have all come together to create areas that young and old alike can hike along the mountain trails and eat at seasonal restaurants on top of mountains and across the hillsides.

It has taken years for them to accomplish this marvel of man meets nature at such a large scale but it can be done. People will pay five dollars to get off in Ketchikan and hike up Deer Mountain, or take a Tram, to eat smoked salmon and halibut overlooking the gorgeous rainforest below. Trust me they will.

But when you have elected leaders passing "our" money around to friends and family, miracles won't happen, it will always stay the same. Years from now, the house in Saxman will lean a little more to the Southeast, the main road will still need repaving, and yet another "surething" in a mill project will come before the councils of elected leaders to cast money upon.

Meanwhile, the best and brightest leave and attend universities across the country because the locals in charge fail to see what is right in front of them - a diamond, indeed in the rough.

Greg Harris
Springfield, OR

About: "Lived on the Rock for 14 years. Ran for City Council in 1998."

Received October 21, 2007 - Published October 22, 2007


Related Viewpoint:

letter The 30 year promise, by whom? By Michael Spence

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