Congressman Walden's So. Oregon visit shows a tireless schedule

Ribbon cutting for first SORCC building in 67 years.
Ribbon cutting for first SORCC building in 67 years.

Webster defined indefatigable as "cannot be exhausted." Congressman Greg Walden’s schedule on May 16 proved how well one man meets that definition.
    
Despite jet lag, and record-breaking temperatures that spiked to 102 degrees, Walden took part in five memorable community events that day.


Beginning at 9 am. with visits to Grants Pass venues, he proceeded to
Rogue River where he presented government surplus computers to an
elementary school. By
11: 45,  he’d arrived at Rogue Community
College’s Table Rock Campus in White City.  Then at 12:45 p.m. he cut
the ribbon at  a dedication ceremony for a new building at White City’s
V. A. Clinics. Next he toured Dogs for the Deaf in Central Point where
he met President/ C.E.O. Robin Dickson.
   
According to R.C.
C. President  Dr. Peter Angstadt, Congressman Walden requested the
meeting.  Its purpose was to discuss a proposal to expand the White
City building to include a Justice Education and Training Center
(JETC). Several members of law enforcement agencies attended.
   
Angstadt
provided some background information about the acquisition of  the
structure. We bought it through funding obtained  when the Jackson
County voters approved a bond levy in 2004, he said. The building’s
former owners left many furnishings behind, he continued. "This
expensive conference table, for instance, wasn’t something we could
have afforded on our budget with taxpayer money. We found it here when
we arrived."
   
"Shucks!" quipped a chuckling Walden.
   
Angstadt
showed maps of the campus indicating an undeveloped 10,000 square feet
of space, plus another ten acres nearby which the college also owns.
   
Then
in turn, the law enforcement officials gave their opinions on how
cost-effective, and efficient it would be to have the proposed JETC. 
It would certainly benefit students preparing for careers in crime
fighting, they contended. It could also provide education and training
required of existing police agencies. This currently entails  overnight
travel to Salem. The savings in gas and lodging would provide
state-of-the-art services, and  extend to federal entities such as the
National Guard, and Homeland Security forces. 
   
Walden
asked if the fire fighting community could also be included. Two of the
police officials present agreed, saying they’d been cross-trained in
fighting crimes and fighting fires.   
   
The consensus of
the group was that Southern Oregon so often seems left out of 
consideration. "We could serve large segments of the state population,
and also parts of northern California."
   
"We need to
convince people that we do have flush toilets, and electric lights
south of Eugene," observed Medford’s Deputy Police Chief, Tim George.
   
Before leaving, Walden stated the idea made sense for the taxpayers and community, and could eventually save us money.
   
His
next stop was at the Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics
in White City. It saw a number of local dignitaries sweltering at the
outdoor dedication of  new bed building  215. Remarkable because it’s
the first major building constructed on the property since 1941, the
structure’s history noted two temperature extremes. "It was a record
cold day, when we broke ground in January," commented  Emcee, Anna
Diehl, of the V. A. Staff. Now as we open the building, it’s in record
heat."
   
Under the skilled baton of  Tevya Robbins, Eagle
Point High School’s marching band  rendered several patriotic tunes,
then our national anthem.
   
Kingsley Air Field’s 173rd Fighter Wing staged an impressive flyover at 1:15.
   
"Do you all have your hearing aids on," asked speaker Dr. Max Lewis afterward. 
   
When
Walden took the microphone, he said, "I’m not going to deliver all the
comments I had prepared for today. If  I did, they’d need a new
building to house all the heat-stroke victims."  He then thanked our
vets, and active duty service members. "We support our troops, and we
support care for our veterans." He mentioned having invested in
treatments for traumatic brain injuries, "to take care of those we
treasure."
   
He added that he’s also been hard at work in efforts to obtain passage of  a plan to restore timber funds to Oregon. 
   
At
Dogs for the Deaf, the congressman toured the facility, and befriended
a trainee pup named Calvin. Walden told  DFD’s  President/C.E. O. Robin
Dickson  that he currently owns a yellow-lab/golden retriever mix. In
reply to Walden’s questions, Dickson explained how trainee hearing dogs
are rescued from shelters.  She also indicated that the facility draws
thousands of visitors who spend huge tourist dollars in Jackson County
each year. Walden grinned when Dickson said that Dogs for the Deaf
receives no government funding, but is entirely supported by private
donations.
   
Before leaving, he and congressional office
district director John Snyder received souvenir copies of DFD’s 
monthly newsletter. They thanked Dickson for the fascinating tour, and
headed out for a well-deserved rest.
 By F.C. Blake
Of the Independent

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