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We’ve had to cancel the first annual derailment picnic

I had a plan for a community picnic, but those dang railroad people went and ruined it.

After three weeks, I figured the derailment outside Friends Landing was just going to become the new reality. So, I started making plans for a picnic at the site. I figured it’d still be here next year, too, so the “First Annual Montesano Train Wreck Picnic” was born.

“See Mountains of Spilled Grain,” my flyer said. “Bring the kids and dogs. Just follow the smell about a mile past Friends Landing and turn off on Devonshire Road.”

“Have your picture taken with a real train wreck,” my flyer said, asking people to “please keep children away from the moldy grain.”

I really thought it was an opportunity for fun for the whole family. Kids could bring their microscopes and try and identify the chemicals and bacteria for their next science project. Professional photographers could be present to save the moment. We could have had grain sculptures — with rubber gloves. We could have done a mock evacuation drill. The Quinaults could have joined us with a salmon bake.

By the middle of last week, there were railroad people everywhere. The Vidette, county and state officials had apparently put so much pressure on them that they decided to start actually cleaning up the derailment that had originally happened on May 15. I went out to take a look and they had already picked up the sharp pointy metal things and trucks were pouring in to the wreck site. It looked like after weeks and weeks they may be cleaning up the place.

I am so sorry and so many children were beginning to look forward to this event. I am personally hurt that after so much time that this railroad company, Genesee and Wyoming, would start cleaning it up after we announced our picnic. I am sorry to have to put this picnic on hold, but I guess we can always wait until the next train derailment here on the Harbor.

So, instead of the picnic, how about we all team up and go to the next Coalition for Infrastructure meeting, set for 5:30 p.m., June 12 at the Furford Gathering Center, 104 S. Chehalis Street in Aberdeen. The guest speaker will be Knoll Lowney, attorney from Smith & Lowney, PLLC, who represents Citizens for a Clean Harbor, et al in the current crude oil litigations. Knoll will be speaking to the group about legal issues concerning crude oil by rail and answering your questions. People from all walks of life and all political stripes are welcome. This oil train thing isn’t a right or left issue. It isn’t. I was as surprised to find about as many from my side of the aisle at these things as the other.

Nobody talks about anything else in case you were wondering. I am intrigued, as both Democrats and Republicans are actually coming together on an issue that affects all of us without the “minders” that are usually present from the county central committees. In other words — they have lost control of us. I encourage all of my fellows of the conservative bent to put aside your fears. Nobody will try and pin an Obama button on your shirt. Suck it up. Walk through the door. You might be as surprised as I was to find that our liberal neighbors aren’t nearly as “liberal” as you might think. Most of them want jobs here as much as we do. If we start working with them, instead of against them, we just might be able to stop these rolling bombs and get some people elected around here that are working for us instead of the good-old-boy system. You might be surprised just how much they can’t stand it as we do.

Going to these meetings also has the added benefit of getting a chance to change their minds on other things. As a conservative, my plan is to bring a yoga mat one day and go off in the corner. As a bunch come over and I have their attention, I can start telling them about the benefits of low taxes and the failure of over budgeted social programs while I stretch into the lazy horse position.

Tom Frederiksen grew up in Montesano and lives here today with an active blog at montesanotoday.com. Contact him at montesanotoday@gmail.com.