SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



How can a shrinking city expand?
By Robert McRoberts


December 18, 2005

In Anchorage when the oil pipeline was built there was a big boom. When it was done every thing went the other way and many people had to walk away from their homes as there was no work. They were over building and just now they are starting to catch back up to where they were. It took twenty five years to catch up again.

Here in Ketchikan we claim that we are suffering from the closure of the pulp mill, but we have lost so many more smaller businesses that our government seems to over look. Our kids all wear the same clothes to school as we only have a couple choices for shopping. Local tourist shops can not afford to stay in business unless they close down for the winter. Fishing went to hell, the price is down. Fuel is up. Insurance is up. There are not enough logs to keep the sawmill running - but Forest Service sales are going unsold. We are exporting raw logs in the round.
What I really want to know is, where is this expansion going to come from once we blow our wad on the bridge? We can not seem to get mines opened up. E.P.A. rules are so tight we can not afford it. It's much cheaper to buy from the countries that have few rules. Could it be that our weather is just so appealing that we can get all the rich people in the world to buy our out-priced land to build their summer homes on. I know there actually will be some as we are seeing a few now.

Would just one of you S.O.B.s tell me what good things are going to really happen on Gravina? Not just your dreams. The 60s aren't going to come back and we aren't going to rape the rest of the Tongass of its trees, poke holes in every deposit of minerals, and build big plants to process goods. Don't tell me my property values are going to go up, why would I want that? We will just pay more taxes. Taxes are already killing us, especially the old on fixed incomes. Have you seen the homes on the market here? Talk about mold. Yea, rotten moldy homes for $200,000. The working class can not afford to live here. Sure some of us manage to because this is our home.
I am sorry but I just feel when we blow this money and we get nowhere, we'll find out we were all ready there and that we could have used this money to fix up our little community and enjoyed more for less.

I would really like to see a study done on what the S.O.Bs (Supporters of the Bridge) are going to gain in their pockets. Something is fishy to me. The S.O.B.s keep comparing this bridge to bridges built many years ago as to their usefulness, but we are not comparing cost. Cruise ships don't go under the Douglas bridge. We are not a Californian harbor with major shipping and military ships. We are just the first stop on an Alaska Marine Highway that is being chocked to death by spending habits. When it all goes wrong, you'll look for someone to blame, because we know it won't be you. I am sure it's not Mr Lybrand's fault the school is a year late. It's only the Borough's. But we'll spend our public money to blame someone else as you will blame me for sinking your bridge.
Get a new plan and don't keep making us look so bad. The gold rush is over. Let's cleanup the mess and sell our beauty - it's all we have and you can not complain about that. If the bridge was meant to be, it would have already been done. If you really need to go there, you pay. Have a nice day.
Robert McRoberts
Ketchikan, AK - USA


About: Robert McRoberts is the owner of a local construction company with 25 years experience building roads on Revilla. He is a life-long resident of Ketchikan.



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Ketchikan, Alaska