Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to the Rustler timber sale on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest near Butte Falls, which proves that timber interests and environmental groups can find common ground to promote thinning overgrown forests to reduce fire danger, improve forest health and harvest logs at the same time. The 8,700-acre sale will yield 58 million board feet of small-diameter logs, enough to build more than 5,000 average-sized homes.

Environmental activist George Sexton, conservation director for the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, and Dave Schott, executive director of the Southern Oregon Timber Industries Association, joined in applauding the sale, a rare moment of agreement from two people who are more often — excuse the pun — at loggerheads.

Much credit goes also to Kerwin Dewberry, ranger in charge of the High Cascade Ranger District, for working with both sides to craft a result that everyone could live with. Here's to more such collaboration.

Cheers — to the news that long-awaited Liberty Park will finally become a reality in one of Medford's poorest neighborhoods. The park, at the corner of Maple and North Bartlett streets, will be developed along with The Commons, with completion expected by the fall of 2012.

Lithia Motors will provide $500,000 toward the cost of building the park under its agreement with the city on The Commons project.

Jeers — to the prospect that Jackson County might pursue Sheriff Mike Winters' vendetta against medical marijuana patients to the U.S. Supreme Court — at taxpayer expense.

Winters denied a concealed handgun license to medical marijuana patient Cynthia Willis in 2008 when she acknowledged using marijuana — legally — on her application. Winters contends the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, which prohibits anyone who uses or is addicted to a controlled substance from having a firearm, prevents him from issuing a handgun license to a user.

The Oregon Supreme Court disagreed last week, saying the federal law does not preempt the state's handgun license statute, and Winters and Washington County Sheriff Bob Gordon must issue licenses.

Washington County does not plan to appeal, but Ryan Kirchoff, Jackson County's attorney, said the county would soon consider taking the case to the nation's highest court. That would be a waste of taxpayers' dollars, in our view.

Cheers — to the impending completion of the Bear Creek Greenway, thanks to a $1.5 million grant. The final 1.4-mile stretch called the "Expo Section" runs from Pine Street to Upland Road. When the work is complete, the Greenway path will run uninterrupted from Blackwell Road to the Ashland dog park. What's more, the new section will provide bicycle and foot access to the fairgrounds.

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