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Friday, October 08, 2010


by Scot Siegel

- after attending André LeDuc's presentation on Disaster Readiness
   at the Oregon Planning Institute, University of Oregon, Sept. 16, 2010

Sometimes when I am not thinking like a planner or a citizen
I wonder why "subdivisions" are included in the definition
of "development," since the division of land, in planner-speak,
is something that happens on paper and not on the ground.

Technically, it's only after a developer receives preliminary
plat approval that you begin to see any land altering activity;
or at least that's how it's supposed to work. But even after
the lots and streets have been staked and the sewer and water mains

and cable and power and gas lines stubbed. And even after the final
lift of asphalt and the recording of the plat. And even after the foundations
have been poured, the walls framed, and the whole place wired and plumbed
for human habitation, the ground beneath us remains idle,

Undivided, dormant as dog asleep in a park, until the next tectonic variance
turns the earth into a wolf and rips the whole neighborhood apart

Scot Siegel lives in Oregon with his wife and two daughters. He is the author of three volumes of poetry: Some Weather (Plain View Press, 2008), Untitled Country (Pudding House Publications, 2009), and Skeleton Says (just out from Finishing Line Press). Another  full-length collection is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in early 2012. Siegel serves on the board of trustees of the Friends of William Stafford and edits the online poetry journal Untitled Country Review.