Wake up to the importance of French Prairie
I don't think I completely understood until my tenure on the civic affairs board and subsequent appointment as chair, how historically significant and currently important the Friends of French Prairie is.
They are the forward guardians of our rich and precious farmland. David Bauer is a professor of archaeology at Oregon State University and his quote is, "French Prairie is possibly the most historic piece of real estate in the entire West, and certainly in the Pacific Northwest, and it must be protected"
This land was created 13,000 years ago when a huge glacial ice dam broke and millions of gallons of water roared down the valley from northeastern Washington. To our benefit, it took most of Eastern Washington's topsoil and deposited it right here in our neighborhood and the Willamette Valley.
Settled originally by the Kalapuya people who lived here for a thousand years, and more recently by the French Canadians in the 1820 and '30s, this farmland is one of the leading producers of organic and conventional fruits and vegetables for the West Coast.
My main concern is ensuring that our farmers are protected and that they prosper. The area on both sides of the I-5 corridor are under great pressure by developers. Some example of these pressures are the Langdon Golf Course, the commercial expansion in and around the Aurora Airport, and Metro Portland's urban growth boundary.
Some of these are so critical to protecting our farmers and farmland that a "doorway to French Prairie" could be pried open and huge swaths of farmland developed.
I'm a Charbonneau resident. I would rather be surrounded by beautiful productive farmland than commercial buildings. If you would like to learn more or help Friends of French Prairie in the middle of a huge, brave battle for our quality of life, check out their site or go to http://www.friends of frenchprairie.org/contribute-online.html. I contributed because I see how bleak the future would be without them.
Wayne Richards is the new civic affairs chair for Charbonneau.
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