"Rural Group Seeks to Slow Metro"
(1966 was a time prior to the city and borough combining into one large municipality extending from Girdwood to Eklutna. Articles in February 1966 issues of the Knik Arm Courier, which have been edited by the Chugiak-Eagle River Historical Society’s Memory Retrievers group, tell the story of one person’s effort to protect the Chugiak-Eagle River area during a major change in local government)
A non-partisan group, which will consist of representatives from 30 voting precincts in the Borough outside the City of Anchorage, is being organized by a local resident.
Ed Willis, of Eagle River, who has dubbed this group “Rural 30,” feels the need of such an organization to protect the interests of the rural sections of the Borough. Mr. Willis, who is acting as temporary chairman for this organization, has called a public meeting for the residents of Borough Section One (the Greater Chugiak area) to be held on Tuesday, Feb. 8, at Chugiak High School. He urges all residents of the area to attend.
At that meeting, delegates were elected to attend an executive meeting a few days later at the Birchwood home of Lee Jordan. The delegates expressed concern over the haste with which the Borough-City legislation is being pursued. Willis stated that this meeting was not to be used as a forum for debating the pros and cons of the merger issue.
“The time is past for debate,” Willis said. “This should have been provided for weeks ago in public hearings held by Borough and City officials. Our aim is to preserve the right of the voters to have a voice in the formation or change of their local government at this level.”
A plan to send officials of the City Council and Assembly to Juneau for hearings on HB 409 was discussed. Opposition to what has been termed “steamroller tactics” has been spreading throughout the borough during the past week.
Willis was also in contact with leaders from other parts of the borough, urging them to conduct similar meetings.
This column is provided by the Chugiak-Eagle River Historical Society. Reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 688-4706.