The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Audrey McEwen

Wanted: pride in city, poor pay, long hours, great reward


My husband and I were raised in Goldendale, both graduates of the Goldendale school system. We moved away in 1958 for his job. We returned to live out the rest of our retirement years two years ago after being away for 55 years. We are both very glad to be back, but we saw basically no improvement in the town’s growth—businesses empty and not much improvement in the face of the downtown buildings.

I know there are those who have tried, but where is the town’s pride? There are empty businesses all up and down Main Street. There are trashy flower planters in front of business that are not cleaned and watered and made to look pleasant and inviting to visitors and us who live here. Come on, Goldendale, where is your pride?

I’m not trying to make enemies, but if we all stepped up and helped, we might see improvement. I went to the Home and Garden Show, and I was impressed by all the beautiful displays, and I’ve seen how the town comes together for Community Days—so why can’t we come together and clean up our town?

It has been 57 years now since we moved away, and it is still a small town and there has still nothing being done to draw in businesses to the town. Look around, Goldendale, wake up. We could be another Leavenworth or White Salmon. I realize the wind surfers help them and Hood River also. Sisters is smaller, too, but they have a draw and have grown over the years. We could, too, if the town helped new businesses get started and supported them.

We have many draws. We have the Observatory, the Presby Museum, Maryhill Museum, Maryhill skate board races, Community Days, Saturday Market, rodeos, the County Fair, beautiful mountains, huckleberry fields, car rallies, and many more happenings. We have many things to bring in visitors, but they don’t stick around long enough to visit the businesses, as most are not inviting to walk into. Don’t the businesses realize that inviting store fronts will bring people into their shops and will bring more sales, even if they don’t make a purchase first time? It will bring them back. It is also a way to invite more small business into our town. We need more eating places with a bit of imagination, like a brew pub, with just a small menu, then we need the local people to support them by eating in the local restaurants. We have a few good eating places, but not a good variety. We could use more. We need locals to back them.

Take pride in your yards, your homes, and your block. Clean up where you live. It doesn’t take money to clean up; the rest can come later, but that is a start. You can drive up and down the streets and see who takes pride and who doesn’t.

One Friday summer night when we first moved back we went downtown and there were like three cars on the street and maybe four or five people. What’s happening? Friday night in the “Old Town” isn’t the same, I guess.

I for one am willing to donate a queen-size quilt toward a fund raiser to start this off and make some money to get started to clean up the town of Goldendale. How about you? Anyone else out there feel the same and willing to step up and get a committee started for an old fashion “Clean Up the Town” and to support our local businesses? We are just as guilty as the rest of you for going elsewhere to shop, because small towns don’t have the resources to have everything we want and need. They are trying. We do support the local grocery stores and hardware stores, bakery, flower shops, but we as locals need to realize the local merchants need our support every day.

I remember when we were in high school (many years ago), we the students had a “Community Day Clean Up,” and we helped the people in town that needed help. I think they paid for our services, and it went toward the schools, I think. I remember helping neighbors and cooking for the students that worked that day; it was fun and exciting and we could do the same again, I know we can.

I realize this is going to make a few people mad and that is OK, because this town needs to wake up and help in sprucing up its appearance. Are you willing to step up and help?

The challenge is on! Let’s hear from you.


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