When I read the letter from Charlotte Cicon (Feb. 20) about how she and her husband received the “cold shoulder” in Brookings, despite their various attempts to find jobs and friends, I wanted to scream, “Wait! Don’t go! You got us all wrong!”
I didn’t. I figured other residents would step forward and write letters to the editor saying it for me. And they did.
Without more information about the Cicons and details of their unpleasant experiences, none of us can really determine for certain exactly what went wrong. That’s why I attempted, unsuccessfully, to contact the couple to learn moreOne thing I do know is, one’s experiences when moving into a new community is based on many factors, including: Are they seeking employment? Do they already have a job? Did they research the area sufficiently before moving here? Do they have children? Do they dislike children? Are they young, middle age or older?
For me, the most important factor is, did you move here for the job, or for the place?
Let’s face it. It’s difficult to find a job, let alone establish a career, on the Southern Oregon Coast that pays enough to support the average family. That explains why Curry County has the highest median age in the state, mostly in the form of older folks have decided that our seaside communities are pleasant places to retire.
When the 2002 Census was released (another one is under way now), it showed the median age of 48.8 years, pushed higher by the median age of the residents of Harbor: 59.5 years.
Nearly half – 46.4 percent – of the residents of the urbanized portion of Harbor are over the age of 62, and 40.9 percent are over the age of 65. One out of every five residents of Harbor is over 75, the census showed.
My bet is the 2010 census will show similar results.
High paying jobs in Curry County are and always have been few and far between, and the number of entry-level and service industry jobs has dropped significantly in the last two years as businesses struggle to survive the recession.
My wife and I knew this when, in 1999, we left the rat race of Southern California for Brookings. Prior to that, we had visited Curry County twice a year for five years to visit my wife’s parents, often taking time to drive up and down the length of the Oregon Coast.
We gave up our relatively high-paying jobs and came with as little financial baggage as possible – we spent three years paying down our debt, changing our spending habits and sold our house. We vowed to work two or three part-time jobs if that’s what it took to live and start a family in paradise.
Fortunately, we didn’t have to do that. Through perseverance, hard work and God’s blessings, I landed a reporter job in Crescent City and was then named editor of this newspaper. Meanwhile, my wife used her skills and experience to land a series of moderate-paying jobs for both private and nonprofit organizations.
Everyone’s life experiences are different, and those experiences depend on a person’s attitude, approach, ability to learn and willingness to adapt.
I don’t know why the Cicons had such an unpleasant experience. It sounds like they did their best to make friends and find jobs, but it just didn’t work out. I wish I had had the opportunity to meet them, and perhaps convince them that a majority of Brookings residents are not, as they said, “just waiting to die here in lonely solitude.”
That’s certainly not the case with me, and the many residents who wrote letters saying the same.