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Apr-19-2017 14:05printcomments

The Aging Systems of America

Now Wall Street wants to get involved with buying and selling water rights

water faucet

(SALEM, Ore.) - Our major infrastructures in this country are failing! We have systems in place to keep us safe and yet we are not caring for them the way we should and creating systems that are a danger to us all.

Let’s look at those major systems and what we need to do to make them safer for us.


Our highway system is simply not able to keep up with the growing numbers of drivers on our roads. As the population multiplies and people are driving for more years than they have previously, the amount of people on the roads is increasing at an astonishing rate.

Engineers, like Cochran Engineering, need to take on the issues of maintaining healthy roads and alleviate issues such as bottle-necking.

Between massive potholes that tear up our vehicles and too small roads that cannot take on the amount of traffic that is hitting the roads, a change is really in need!

Water Supply

For a first world country, we have some of the worst water conditions! Flint, Michigan and West Virginia still do not have safe drinking water after three years.

It is appalling to many folks in this country that something so simple as clean drinking water is such a challenging thing for our neighbors to come by.

We need more testing and better water pipelines in place. It also wouldn’t hurt to have stricter regulations of dumping of toxic waste and stiffer penalties when you cause an entire city or town to lose their water.

Meanwhile, on the West Coast, we see the crisis coming in the form of a lack of water period. Battles over the use of water for agriculture and urban living have become the norm.

The use of dams has helped some arid areas become an oasis but have contributed to the drying up of the water supply. Now we see Wall Street wanting to get involved with buying and selling water rights but will it benefit the common good? Or line the pockets of the wealthy?

Our water infrastructure is in dire need of a complete rebuild so that all can benefit in the long run. With clean water, we will have less water born illness and more people able to contribute to our society in healthy ways.

The Rail System

A lot of us assume that the rail system doesn’t really exist anymore. The reality is, the rail system is alive and well! But, the structures need lots of love and attention.

There are too many areas in which the rails are not safe for the trains, and the loads they are hauling, to make it safely. Because railways can alleviate congestion by hauling large loads through the rail system and pull hundreds of trucks off the road, it is also a “greener” option to take care of those iron horse systems.


Many of our bridges need to be retrofit or rebuilt. Why? Most of our bridges were built back in the 1950s and only had a lifespan of 50 years (which was considered a pretty long lifespan of that time).

Now that most of our bridges have now exceeded that lifespan, we really need to pay attention to them and add some more life to them. Since 2010, there is an average of over 35 bridges collapsing per month across the US. Most of them are due to brittle and weak structures. Overall, we hope that engineers take on projects that will get our infrastructures back to a healthier standard and make us all safe once again.

In the meantime, we as citizens should apply pressure on our local and state governments to ensure that they will hire engineers to take care of those infrastructures.

Source: Special Features Dept.


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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.


The NAACP of the Willamette Valley

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