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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Huckleberries Online

Op-Ed: We should bury power lines

The darkness exploded around 5:15 that Tuesday night. For days, I thought it coincided with the moment our neighbors’ tree slammed into their garage and broke through their backdoor across the street. The wind roared through the South Hill that night, transformers boomed and sparked, and sirens wailed. Now and then, I peered into the backyard to watch our hulking ponderosa pine sway dangerously in the wind. As the dark and cold stretched on, we had plenty of time to speculate, my neighbors and I. The damage in our 99203 ZIP code was incomprehensible. How could we prevent it from happening again?

I eyed my monster pine by day. For years I’d been protecting it. But I began to wonder. If it were between that tree and me, it was the tree that had to go. Perhaps I view wind differently than Spokane natives do. I grew up in South Dakota and graduated from the University of Wyoming. In those states, the wind blows incessantly, and the power lines are safely buried underground. I remember long blizzards, yes, but no power outages in my childhood. Surely we can figure out how to prevent these dangerous conditions from happening again in Spokane/Jamie Tobias Neely, EWU associate professor of journalism. More here.

Question: Have you ever wondered why the utility companies in the Inland Northwest don't bury their power lines.

D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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