Last Dec. 31, we looked forward to putting a chaotic 2020 behind us. Few expected that we were in for at least another full year of pandemic disruption.
Throughout 2021, there were business and employment challenges, events canceled or held online, schools, churches and community organizations meeting haphazardly or by video. There was a lot of guessing and uncertainty nearly every day wondering what variant or business challenge would arise next.
It’s no wonder we’re all weary. And wary.
Yet, one word continues to repeat in conversations with business and community leaders.
In 2021, our schools provided in-class learning, school sports and activities. Graduations for the Class of 2021 took place in person.
While hiring workers remained a challenge, businesses resumed serving customers. Lots of customers. Tourists flocked to the North Coast for well-earned vacations from work from home, school from home, 24-7 at home. Despite the pandemic, new businesses have set up shop, expanded and changed locations.
Councils and commissions moved plans for community improvement forward, even if it was via Zoom meetings. American Rescue Plan funds, infrastructure and cultural grants and local taxing districts have provided millions of dollars in new project funding to local governments.
Volunteers staffed vaccine events, hosted fundraising events for nonprofits and cleaned up parks and beaches.
Debate swirled in public meetings, social media and letters to the editor around land use for hotels, housing, public services and parks.
The Astorian has reported on all of it during the past year.
Reporters shined a light on the issues and challenges related to homelessness, child care, mental health, affordable housing and livability on the North Coast.
Elected representatives and government officials were asked about how funds were spent, plans were being made and information was — or was not — being provided to the public.
What we have learned about resilience is that it’s driven by purpose. A drive to make something better.
Although the newspaper has had challenges in 2021 with finding employees and shifting many of them to work from home, our readership continues to grow. Our subscriptions have grown 3% over last year, and readers picking up print copies in stores or on racks has remained constant. Readers care about knowing what is happening in their communities.
At its heart, The Astorian’s resilience comes from a nearly 150-year history of making our community better by connecting readers to their neighbors and communities. Our purpose, the thing that drives us and makes us resilient, is to help our readers become better-informed, smarter and our community stronger.
We enter 2022 with plans to cover upcoming elections and still follow the pandemic and related restrictions, of course. But we are looking forward to telling stories about local residents showing us resilience and purpose, and continuing to explore unsolved issues impacting us on the North Coast like affordable housing, child care, livability and mental health.
We strive to continually add more value to your subscription — in print or online.
If there are things you’d like to see in 2022, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-325-4955.