State Sen. Betsy Johnson's ideas for Clatsop Community College display more creativity and vision that anything I've heard in the 34 years since I came to Astoria to teach at the college. I urge you to log on to www.kast1370. com and click on the link to her interview.

Johnson forwards two central ideas: (1) the functional effectiveness of a core campus at John Warren Field and (2) the critical importance of seizing opportunities to get the project started now, rather than wasting the county's best chances at state funding on shortsighted parochial bickering.

I'll add one idea, learned in the four years (1995-1999) I served as a trustee of CCC's Board of Directors: that is, quality of location grows from convenience and function, rather than from latitude and longitude.

Siting a new campus near Clatsop County's center of population density, somewhere on Clatsop Plains, would only impose equal inconvenience on all users. The site could kill the college.

Function trumps geography. Consider: Many students move in order to attend college. Finding lodgings close to the school makes good sense, and Astoria offers far and away the best supply of affordable housing in the county.

Understand who uses a community college: On average, folks in their 30s with jobs and family; folks who need to come to campus several times a week for classes, labs, library, shops. Putting the barrier of a 15-minute drive using expensive gasoline between these students and the college is simply impractical.

Further, for neighbors like Joe Miltenberger and Marcia Fenske whose letters assert that Warren Field offers no room for growth, I hope they'll go there and drive around. Look at the bus barn, at the old Yost sailmaking shed, at all the simple and cheap office structures, at the several old houses and commercial spaces to the west - acres of space for eventual expansion, now in use but natural sites for redevelopment. It's an established concept.

These possibilities, along with available partnerships with Columbia Memorial Hospital, the movie theater, the Astoria Aquatic Center and OSU's seafood lab make Warren Field far and away the most functional and convenient site in the county.

I'll close with one last idea from an old friend who is a master-planning architect. Placing an institution like CCC in a location which provides routine visibility to lots of folks during everyday lives is a key to attracting bequests and foundation funding.

Ralph Wirfs



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