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Redding Needs a Destination

Bend, Oregon

Bend, Oregon

This is a guest editorial blog by Jim Warnemuende PhD:

“If you were taking a trip, your first step would be to determine where you wanted to go. You would not pack your car or select maps without having a destination. I am guided in planning my trips and my life by a book titled, If you don’t know where you are going, you will end up someplace else.

Our City is packing the car but has not selected a destination. Our city and county leaders are working at a fast pace and promoting excellent collaboration among non-profit agencies to find solutions to homelessness, mental illness, crime and unemployment. We can’t fix those problems, however, until we decide what our city should look like when we are finished. The problems we face are not separate issues and how we approach them will differ based on what we want our community to look like when we arrive. The vision we choose will affect how we attract business to our community, how we provide protection for work places and how we integrate the homeless into the whole picture.

Julie Driver’s interview (3/12) of Steven Towers, an environmental consultant, found this bit of good advice when asked what vision he had for what Redding could mean to others. He said his vision was that Redding should “strive to become NorCal’s version of Bend, Oregon.”

It is so seldom that I hear any concrete statements of what our community should look like that I applaud Towers for his wisdom in expressing one. We do not necessarily have to choose Towers’ vision but we can only have quality of life when we choose a life of quality and reach it.

I am impressed by what the next generation’s active organizations such as Catalyst and Revive Redding are doing to provide vision that can take Redding to the next rung. I also appreciate the energy and direction they offer the rest of us, which is inspirational. All of us, however, must recognize the need for creating a shared vision of what our community can become and move forward to bring it to reality. Let’s plan our destiny, then we can move forward.”