Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It’s no sin to make a buck

There was an interesting piece in the news recently about a guy who ran a for-profit outfit that staged charity events. His company raised hundreds of millions of dollars for charities — and the company profited handsomely.

Win-win, right? Nope. In the minds of purists, the entrepreneur was “profiteering” and he was ultimately chased off.

The charities subsequently took on their own fund-raising — and the totals plunged. Brilliant.

We should take care that we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot in the same way in Sisters. You often hear rhetoric that portrays anybody in the development business as “greedy,” just out to make a buck. Well, that’s no sin. Too many people resent everybody else’s money but their own (which is, of course, well-earned).

We need a lot of work in our forests, and somebody’s gonna have to make a buck to make it happen. It’s okay to cut down trees for profit. It really is. It is possible for forest health and economic health to be compatible.

Destination resorts are a hot-button topic around here. But each should be individually evaluated on its merits and impacts, not on the fact that somebody is going to make a lot of money.

Some resorts may have a negative impact, some may be positive, some may be pretty much neutral. We should weigh impacts on resources and traffic and on neighborhoods along with potential economic and resource benefits without getting all stirred up about the “greed” of developers.

Sure, there are greedy people out there. Others may have visions that are too grandiose for Sisters. We must be vigilant and rigorous in applying standards, whether it’s logging protocols or development guidelines. But those who are willing to invest in Sisters on the prospect of adding value to the community and making a profit for themselves should be applauded, not demonized.

Jim Cornelius


  1. Jim -
    I wish more people around here had your view on this.

  2. Jim, you're right, it's no sin to make a buck. But how you make it is really what's important.

    Is it "OK" to make a buck as a Dentist? Absolutely! How about selling drugs to kids to make a buck? Obviously, no. There is the issue: HOW you make your buck.

    Now I'm not saying the growth industry is equivalent to drug dealers...simply that expanding Central Oregon into a Cali/Valley vacation spot with 60% second homers along with the associated sprawl and blight on the natural is what's in question here.

    THE classic problem in mountain towns: Development and its associated population growth unintentionally ruin the reason that folks are drawn to the area in the first place. That is the paradox to discuss.

    I truly think that deep down in the recesses of our developer's/Realtor's/growthie's minds, they know that they're selling out this place they love. I've been in that position before and I know what goes through one's introspective mind. The rationale is that it does afford them the ability to live here a few more years and enjoy the view and small town lifestyle (before it's gone).
    Fortunately, in my opinion, the credit binge/easy-money-train of the last 25 years is putting a stout nail in this issue's coffin lid for a good 8-15 years.

  3. I do think that every realtor/developer that uses our schools in their TV/printed media ads to sell property should be giving a percentage back!That would also spare us(the taxpayers)having to again vote on the local option tax,which I will again be voting no on as the board seems out of touch with the working class.