LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Please help us save the Aviary

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I have had the good fortune of living here in Walla Walla since 1954, though I am sure, by the strictest of definitions, some might not consider me a true "Walla Wallan" - I simply do not have the history, but that's OK. I love Walla Walla and the benevolent people who live here. Always have, always will.

I attended school here, went off to college, got married and came back where our children were born and raised and I now enjoy the fringe benefits of loving and spoiling (to some degree I'm sure) our grandchildren.

From 1980 through 1991, I had the honor of serving on the Walla Walla City Council and held the office of mayor in 1986-87. For the last 20 years, I have had the good fortune serving as the executive director of The Center at the Park. I now come to you, in that capacity and as a long-time area resident, seeking your support.

As you probably have read, the Aviary is home to about 200 exotic birds and it is my understanding some of those birds are on the endangered species list. However, the Aviary is slated on the city's list of cuts due to the budgetary constraints and financial challenges now facing the city.

The Center is sincerely asking to partner with you - the informed and concerned citizens of Walla Walla - the city, our Walla Walla Area Valley Merchants and our service clubs and organizations to raise the money necessary to keep the Aviary open and operational in the short and long term.

Not only do many area residents enjoy the Aviary, but it is also an invaluable attraction to tourists who visit our city.

I realize that in these difficult economic times there are many projects worthy of community support and there are limited financial resources available to do all we would like to do.

Still, I believe Walla Walla's Aviary is a unique resource to Walla Walla and hope that, together, we are able to figure out ways to keep it open now and for years to come. I am respectfully requesting you please send your donations to: The Center at the Park, C/O Save the Aviary, 720 Sprague St., Walla Walla.

Remember, your donations are tax deductible. We appreciate your support and your commitment to our community!

Michael Johnson

Walla Walla

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