I wonder what part of "no" the president and a majority of the Clatsop Community College Board do not understand.

The taxpayers of the county, in the past half-dozen years, have turned down two expensive bond issues that would abandon the historic Astoria campus. Now comes a third attempt, a $22 million project, for starters, coming on the May 15 ballot. This time for a bleak industrial site on the fringes of Warrenton.

Why tear down a nostalgic icon of the city's past, a building that housed state basketball champions in the 1930s, memories galore, a building with such a commanding view of the mighty Columbia and the Pacific Ocean beyond as to be unique among colleges on the West Coast?

Why, indeed?

Saving these historic old buildings falls comfortably within Astoria's growing embrace of preservation of its past as a basic tenet in the city's future - the oldest city west of the Rockies.

And it makes prudent economic sense.

The Clatsop College Information Group, an assemblage of concerned citizens, has come up with a solution that does not cost the taxpayer a single dollar. It utilizes $15 million the college has at hand: $7.5 million would be for renovation and restoration and $7.5 million for new construction. Studies it has conducted show this plan would meet all the needs, including better handicap access, as put forth by promoters of a new campus.

For reasons of their own, the president and board majority dismiss this frugal and sensible approach. They appear addicted to a new campus, no matter what.

But we need not be.

A "no" vote will ensure a bright future for the college in a historic setting that will build community learning programs without raiding taxpayers' wallets.




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