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Know the West

Eating the scenery

  Communities throughout the rural West worry about their futures, as wealthy urbanites buy property for vacation homes and speculation. Will congestion, pollution and increased property values destroy the very qualities that make these areas attractive? A report by CHEC, an Oregon economics consulting firm, says that it doesn't have to be this way. Rural communities can benefit from recreation without suffering the problems that bedevil in many popular resort areas. The report's authors, Karyn Moskowitz and Randal O'Toole, note that when an area is "discovered," only a few people get rich while many pay the costs. Using Wallowa County, Ore., as a model, they propose several steps that will help everyone benefit from recreation without dramatic changes in the landscape or local communities. For a copy of the report, Transitions: New Incentives for Rural Communities, send $5 to CHEC, 14417 SE Laurie, Oak Grove, OR 97267, or call 503/652-7049.