Letter: ‘Sanctuary’ is falling victim to progress


My wife’s mother turned 104 years old earlier this month. Now she lives in town.

It was National Fireman’s Appreciation Day and a bunch of Oak Harbor’s finest joined in the commemoration giving our centurion a quick ride around the block in their fire wagon. She won’t forget it nor will we forget the beaming smiles it brought.

We’re getting old too. We still live a bit out of town where ocean breezes blow the purest air in the nation.

Most of us keep generators so we will have lights and well water when winds blow too hard bringing trees and power lines down.

Memories are wonderful. Landmarks abound. Where else is there a unique water tower like the Neil family built on their farm the town now surrounds?

Whidbey News-Times has faithfully recorded our tenure. The late Dorothy Neil was a weekly columnist who kept us apprised of important “doings,” like who just came back from vacation, where they went, what they learned and brought back to share.

We’ve been blessed with published historians like Neil and Peggy Darst Townsdin.

Remember when Oak Harbor proudly advertised its rural character? It wasn’t that long ago, but not anymore. Times are changing. The town has more traffic signals.

One needs to bring a copy of the News-Times along for something to read while trying to make it up Freund Hill during rush hour. Stop signs are being replaced by traffic circles where once we waited for passing cars driven by people we often knew and recognized.

The rush to be like everywhere else has taken good times away. Places where families gathered and kids played baseball disappear under construction debris. Commercial dollars are more important.

Our sanctuary against the crush of so-called progress is sliding into a forgotten past. Will Washington’s historic Urban Growth Laws be honored? How about native treaties?

What’s next on our growing expense list, a bigger jail?

Al and Barbara Williams

Oak Harbor

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