Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

"What will be Moscow and Pullman’s future?"

Terrific Town Crier column in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News from Wayne Olson:

I have been sippin’ my morning coffee, and have been watching the battle for the “no super Wal-Mart” over the last few weeks in the Daily News. I have to raise an eyebrow and chuckle at the folks in Moscow who would like to freeze Moscow in time, to keep Moscow from the large throes of change. Well, I hate to burst their bubble, but Moscow and Pullman are in the throes of radical change, and it is only going to accelerate. The question is: What will the Quad Cities (Moscow, Pullman, Lewiston and Clarkston) region and adjacent communities look like in the next few years?

Here is my best look at Moscow’s changes in the near and distant future. Let’s start with the symbols of agriculture in Moscow, the downtown granaries of the old Latah County Grain Growers and Idaho Seed. From what I understand, they are sold and will come down within 18 months. Though “under review” by the city of Moscow for historical reasons, the Grain Grower’s facilities will come down, as well it should – just like the 1912 building should have come down. My best estimate is that within seven to 10 years there will not be a granary standing within downtown Moscow.

So what do we get in exchange? Because of location and demographics, those areas will most probably be apartments. What do apartments have? More people and more people mean more cars. More cars mean more traffic.

Within three years we’ll have a completed four-lane highway to Pullman. Numerous businesses will be positioned there to pull from both Moscow and Pullman. The proposed Lowe’s shopping center is only a start of what is going to happen in the corridor in the next few years.

Taxes will go to the state of Washington and Whitman County. Moscow can play the environmental card all it wants to try and stop businesses from going there but, in time, that will be a losing proposition. So, Moscow loses.

Within the next few years there will be a four-lane highway to Lewiston. Consider it done, even if the last six miles next to Moscow are never completed. If Moscow continues to block businesses from this region, where are many folks going to go to shop and work in seven to 10 years? In Lewiston. What does that make Moscow? A glorified bedroom community equal to Genesee, Uniontown, Colton, Palouse, and Troy.

Have you looked around Moscow lately? There is a home building rampage everywhere. And there is another major player in the game. What do folks want for a home and lifestyle around here? Many folks want a few acres, a nice home, and a barn in the countryside; and it is quickly coming true.

Now, where are the residents of Moscow and Pullman going to shop? More than likely they will shop in Lewiston-Clarkston, which are more “business friendly” than Pullman, and especially Moscow. All you will have to do is hop the four-lane highway and you can spend your money where the stores are located. I have a student from Washington State University who works for me. He and his wife shop almost exclusively in Lewiston-Clarkston – Home Depot, Costco, D & B Farm & Home, Ziggy’s Building Center. While you are in the valley you have to stop for fuel and a meal or two. I have to admit, for any large investment, that’s where I at least shop prices. Where are Moscow’s dollars going to come from or go to? It depends on decisions, rules, and regulations being made today.

Changes will come to this region in the next few years, faster and with more impact than in the past 100 years. I sit and read of the new rules, regulations, and decisions coming out of the City Councils, and watch in wonder and amazement at which way Moscow and Pullman seem to be going, and what decisions will shape tomorrow.

We have all heard the term “Quad Cities” and adjacent communities. We need to start thinking in that dimension now, more than in any time before, because that is where we are going at lightning speed. Who knows, this paper will probably roll off the presses in Lewiston in a few years, and be called the “Quad Cities Daily Tribune.”

Keep Moscow or Pullman the same as the past? That isn’t ever going to happen, no matter which way you wish to grab your brush and paint the picture.
Again, that's why PARD needs to drop their appeal and let Pullman start growing so WE don't continue to be a glorified bedroom community.

1 comment:

Sarcastic Housewife #1 said...

Excellent letter!