Many readers have inquired about what happened at the recent Oregon Historic District Society board meeting discussing the Rule of 17.  You can read an update from a board member in the comments of that post.  Below is one more example of the ridiculous disconnect the neighborhood is facing.  This email was forwarded to us from an Oregon District neighbor along with the intelligent response from one of those so-called young people. The recent complaints about kids chalk art and the knitted art installations are more of the same fear motivated short sightedness.

If you live in the District or patronize the shops and restaurants on Fifth Street you should consider how these attitudes affect the way the District will develop.  Anyone is welcome to attend the Oregon District board meetings, yet generally very few people show up. The same people continue to make decisions for the District without input. As Dayton’s only entertainment district the OD sets the tone for development in all of Downtown Dayton. The Oregon District needs more restaurants.  Restaurants need Liquor Licenses.  The majority of people purchasing homes downtown do so because they want the urban experience. They want to be near restaurants and yes… even bars. For the Downtown area to develop it seems obvious that the District needs more Liquor Licenses.  If you care about this issue (whether or not your live in the District) you should attend the board meetings and help affirm that there are a lot of people (young and old) who want to see Downtown and the Oregon District grow.

— On Wed, 8/11/10, XXXXXX XXXXX <xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

From: XXXXXX XXXXX <xxxxxxxxxxxx> >
Subject: fundraising idea
To: “Oregon Trustees” <trustees@oregondistrict.org>
Date: Wednesday, August 11, 2010, 12:02 PM

Trustees,

I’ve been thinking about all that was said at last night’s meeting and I have a proposal to make.

It seems to me the young people in the neighborhood have a lot of unused energy. Therefore, I’d like to suggest they put this energy to good use. We’re in need of more street lights. One way to get these is through fundraising. A few years ago the,”old guard, old timers, or old fuddy duddies” put on an auction and cleared $10,000 to purchase lights. Now I’m sure the young people with their innovative ideas for Oregon could do better then this.

So how about it? Are the young people ready to step up to the plate and do something positive for the neighborhood, something the entire neighborhood could appreciate?

Xxxxx

— On Wed, 8/11/10, XXXXXX XXXXX <xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
From: XXXXXX XXXXX <xxxxxxxxxxxx> >
Subject: Re: fundraising idea
To: “Oregon Trustees” <trustees@oregondistrict.org>, “ XXXXXX XXXXX <xxxxxxxxxxxx> >
Date: Wednesday, August 11, 2010, 2:03 PM

Xxxxx,

Your suggestion to have the younger residents raise $10,000 for the neighborhood is at best misguided and at worst divisive and ageist.

First of all, the idea that “the young people in the neighborhood have a lot of unused energy” dismisses both the passion everyone, young or old, expressed last night for the betterment of the Oregon District, and completely ignores the contributions the young people continue to make to our neighborhood.  “The young people” include a trustee, several people who ran for the board in the last election, our facebook guru, the chairs of the picnic committee, several picnic hosts, people who have help with the alley sweep, people who have painted the gazebo, people who volunteer for the lighting committee, people who volunteer for the Christmas tour, people whose homes will be on the Christmas tour this year and people who are actively restoring homes, all while balancing hectic schedules, multiple jobs, school and/or children. Your suggestion that we should put our energy “to good use” and need to do “something positive for the neighborhood” suggests that our contributions thus far have not been worthwhile or even desired. I vehemently disagree.

Secondly, by having one group, the “old guard, old timers, or old fuddy duddies” as you suggest, setting a standard, raising $10,000, by which full citizen status is determined in our neighborhood is alienating and turns “young people” into second class citizens in our community.  It is dismissive and condescending; it furthers the supposed “divide” between young and old by creating a competition based on a numerical figure.

Until we all accept that we are all, regardless of age, gender, religion, race, political purview, economic class, or even home ownership, equal members of this community and begin all of our interactions with one another with the basic assumption that even our “opponents” are trying to do good, we will never get along.  I suggest that instead of dictating a standard that must be met before one’s ideas will be taken seriously, we start really listening to and considering one another’s thought, ideas and contributions to the Oregon District. I for one would like to never have another meeting in which I am told that “you young people can’t understand” to which new residents, who are actively house hunting, reply that they believe they are not welcome in the District.  I am ready and willing to work toward ensuring that it does not happen again, and I know many older residents and newer residents who are too.  We simply need to start by opening our ears and minds and working together.

Sincerely,

Xxxxx Xxxxx

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