This is in regards to your article of Feb. 5 by George Plaven, “Boardman: Housing issues addressed at public forum.”

The article quotes Sam Allen, owner of Prancing Horse Development. “I think the real need here is services and shopping.”

Mr. Allen is right. The city of Boardman signed onto accepting the Oregon Transportation Plan several years ago. The Oregon Transportation Plan’s main goal is to close all curb-cut access points within one quarter mile of a freeway off ramp. No one is going to invest in new businesses within a quarter mile of Interstate 84 because of the fear of being put out of business by ODOT. I lost two different sales on the Dodge City Inn because of the eminent closure of Front Streets.

When you look at an aerial view of Boardman, you will see that it is impossible to provide new pad sites for new services because of existing housing, the high school and the new city hall.

The city of Boardman has to prove that it will protect existing businesses by opting out of Oregon’s Transportation Plan. Front Streets are the only locations capable of providing Boardman acceptable commercial pad sites.

Allen continues to say part of the problem is “a negative perception of the community along with a lack of retail and entertainment choices.”

Community Director Barry Beyeler said, “Demand isn’t the issue — livability is.”

I am very familiar with the housing problems in Boardman. I previously owned the largest apartment complex in Boardman.

No one is going to build new units in this location. Subsidized multi-family rental units are all that are in Boardman’s future. Smaller single family homes are far cheaper and easier to sell.

The demand is there and interest rates provide house payments cheaper than rent. When these starter homes will not sell in this market it has to be about people not wanting to live in Boardman. The police force has not helped Boardman’s image. Boardman has proven that it will not protect its existing businesses.

Only major changes in Boardman’s city government and city employees can turn around these negative perceptions. Maybe Boardman should become a part of the Port of Morrow. They know how to attract and keep businesses.

— Kalvin Garton is a businessman who lives in Pendleton.

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