A while back, a fellow blogger exhorted me to write about my experiences in water quality protection. At the time, my last job was a bit too fresh in memory to want to revisit or encapsulate those times, but perhaps now is appropriate. My music endeavors are winding down for the year and I'm looking forward to leaving the frustrations of those endeavors aside for a while.
I earned a degree that combined natural science with applied science and economics and what they call political science. To this day, I still don't understand link to science in the latter field, but perhaps it is an aspiration. I rather like the term "geopolitics" used in "The Next 100 Years" by George Friedman. Anyway, my graduate degree took me into the depths of hydrogeology and water resources management. Again with a healthy dose of political science.
I had this idea planted in my head by a professor or two that I would be a good person to be a translator between the technical fields and audiences not immersed in those fields. Looking back, I should have had my head examined, but at the time it made sense. And it still does to a large extent, I have some good skills and a crazy type and amount of experience. So I headed down this path laid between science and politics and only occasionally looked back at some of the other paths I could have taken. I do admit that those looks back occurred more frequently in the recent past than early on.
I will start this story part way through my career, for the mere fact that it seems expedient at the moment. My spouse and I arrived in Central Oregon in the second half of 1995. We had toured the western states in quest of our future home and finally settled on Bend, Oregon for a variety of reasons. We thought we'd try it out and see if we could make it even though there were a dearth of professional jobs during that time. We'd somewhat resigned ourselves to changing careers in order to live where we wanted to live. Which, did happen, for at least the short term.
I ended up getting a job as a land use planner with the County at a time when the real estate market was starting to heat up in Bend and the surrounding areas. I'd actually been interested in getting my feet wet in land use planning because I had this notion that land use was where the rubber met the road in terms of creating appropriate development. Well, my thinking was about a decade too early. In the mid-nineties, the land use modus operendi was still influenced by the "yeah, sure" attitude that was intended to move the economy along from the sluggishness of the cold molasses slow movement in the 1980's and the recession in the early 1990's . Funny to think of that during these times.
The attitude was slowly changing, especially as people started reading the land use rules and compared that to what was being proposed and then started asking questions. Well around the same time, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality also started asking questions. These questions had to do with the environmental effects of land uses that were in large part established before Oregon land use law came into being.