Saturday, February 11, 2012


Small town

In some ways, I live in a small town. I walk through a park to get to the grocery store, and I see the same kids skating. Today I will take my car in to get an oil change, and I know the place well enough to know the routine. If it will take a while, I will leave it there and walk home.

Small towns sometimes are in big cities. One of my favorite poems ever, from the New Yorker was this (I remember every word, but not the author):

Boerum Hill
Used to be Gowanus;
When your butcher knows your name--
That's a neighborhood.

So perhaps I should go to the butcher's, as well.

I live in a small town and I love it. I recently was nominated and accepted to a program called the Ford Family Foundation Institute for Community Building Leadership Development program. It takes a year and about 25 people from my town are in it We are going to do a project for Canby. ANyway i had to write about my vision for the future of Canby and in it I talked about what it was like to live here. I really like it.

This is what I wrote, It is short:
( below: )
My Vision for the Future of Canby
Liz Chapin

How Canby is now:
Canby is a rural community in a small town setting with a lot of thriving local businesses. Yes, there are big name chains here such as Safeway, Fred Meyer and a some restaurants, but for the most part Canby is all about local. There is a rich history here and a lot of old beautiful houses on streets lined with ancient tall beautiful trees. People here care about the community and they patronize local businesses. The schools are great and improving all of the time. There are old houses, plus just enough new construction houses to attract people who want that sort of thing. There is a rural section where there is farmland and livestock and people live on acreage. Everyone knows everyone else in this city, or it seems that way at times but that is not a negative thing for me. I like that I see my PTA friends at the basketball game and see people I know all day long all around town. I like that I go into the library and they know my name. I like that the waitress at The Canby Pub & Grill is in my BUNCO group. I like that the people at Hot Chicks Bento know that my son Spencer loves the Ducks and prefers sausage to bacon. I love that when we eat at Los Dorados the waiters there make Spencer practice his Spanish with them. I live in a newer subdivision but at the end of my street is the Faist Farms Farmstand all summer long. I can ride my bike there every day and buy the best produce in town for next to nothing, and probably get a great recipe on what to do with it from Betty Faist. When I go back the next day she asks how it turned out. I also love that all ages are embraced here in Canby. The Canby Adult Center is an incredible resource for the community and Hope Village is a great community that is home to very active resourceful incredible seniors that are engaged in life and contribute to the community. I would love to see Canby grow to be more modern maybe more sustainable, have more industry but I never ever want it to lose that small-town feel.
How I want Canby to change:
This is not a very creative entry and I was not present at the first meeting but I hope Canby in 2037 will retain its small-town feel and sense of community but be more modern and sustainable at the same time. I hope that local business continue to thrive. I hope that we have a robust library and a world class school system that is competitive with the best in the state of Oregon. I hope that there is not too much large industry here, but enough to provide jobs and growth. I would love to see that Canby has embraced some of the more sustainable ideas such as more people living in houses that run on alternative forms of energy, or perhaps becomes leader of producing organic foods or something like this. Right now, all of Canby it is spread out, but the downtown area is beautiful and very walkable. If Canby grows I hope that the growth does not interfere with this. I love that in this town you can spend a Saturday having a coffee at the P2B, picking up your Library books, and getting a little shopping or browsing in at Parson's - all while you wait for your bike to be fixed at the bike store. I would love to see more bike paths, great state of the art playgrounds that still keep the old growth trees, lots of innovative local stores full of products that are perhaps locally produced or at least do not harm the earth. I would love for Canby to become a cutting edge "green" town, maybe a prototypical place for people to try building houses and businesses that are "green" and use less natural resources. I would love to see all of the CAT buses, for example, run on something other than gasoline.

How I do not want Canby to Change:

The people in this town in my experience when they get together they can do almost anything. I have first had knowledge of this and I can give you three examples. There was a child at Trost elementary with cancer and she was getting very ill. The entire Trost elementary, with a lot of help from the PTA and the community raised over $10,ooo in a short time just so that she could go to Memphis St Jude for a Bone Marrow Transplant. It turned out that she could not have the transplant and she would die soon. We gave the money to the family anyway so they could stay home with her in her last months of life. This is a sad story with a sad ending, but an example of the kind of people who live in this town and what we can accomplish when we come together for a cause. . No town is perfect but so many people in Canby have very big open hearts. Recently a Dad of four kids was killed in a freak accident and the Fire Department did a fundraiser for them and raised money for that family. Almost five years ago our house exploded as a result of a digging accident, and it was a devastating experience. I cannot tell you how many people in this community reached out to us in a million different ways. We had a chance to just forget the entire thing, leave it all behind and buy another house somewhere else. We refused to do that because we LOVE our friends, our neighbors, our street, our neighborhood, our schools and this town. We never even considered moving away from here.
Sorry to take up the entire comments sections..
That's ok-- it was interesting.

How do you feel about this proposal to use Canby as the dumping site for all of America's nuclear waste, now that Yucca Mountain is out of the picture? I read about that and thought of you.
I think it has already started... This might explain all of the explosions, THe obsession with the sport of basketball in this town, and the use of the word "SPENDY" when you want to say that something is expensive. I cannot be sure but I think nuclear waste has a role in all three of these things..
Liz always makes me smile.And Professor,you earn more points and badges by having memorized that poem! Love the poems in The New Yorker. I had to give up my subscription because I didn't like the guilty feeling when I didn't manage to read it. The small town girl is alive and well in me. My criteria for moving to where I am now was that I would be close to St.Stephen's,50th and France and Linden Hills.They neglected to tell me about the cranky Pharisees who would spend their existence watching me out of the windows...and I'm always breaking one rule or the other. When I am forced to go to the Mall of America,I pretend that it consists of just Nordstrom's,because,even if they don't know your name,they pretend as if they do. I want to be able to start up a conversation with the person with whom I'm doing business if I want to chat. I like to look people in the eyes. Or have someone suggest something I'd like and be right. I'll always opt for the cozy. I think I'd like Canby,despite the rather concerning nuclear waste.
New York is the biggest small town there is. For those not living here it often seems like one big, crazy, neurotic place and probably just as often, it is. But then it is how you get to appreciate the comfort of your home that much more every single day the minute you close the door, take off your shoes and start cooking the meat Sal the butcher recommended you try that day. Definitely no big amorphous mass where anonymity looks like the name of the game. Side note: Boerum Hill happens to have the best flea markets ever...I love how only in New York you get to pay mere pennies on the dollar for super expensive stuff (it is the mental finger shown to pretentious of all kinds that I actually love).
Nice Tyd...
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