To the Editor,
We recently came home from a vacation including the Southwest USA and discovered a town that is paradise compared to our own Madras. They understand what light pollution is and don't allow it. There are no street lights, there are no yard lights, and porch lights are yellow and also shielded, because they value being able to see the clear night sky and telescopes are popular. Our air is clear too, but in Madras it is not illegal to shine into neighbor's yards or even windows. Right here in northeast Madras we have neighbor's floodlights shining into our bedrooms and living room and it is legal.
I have checked with the city of Madras, and there is no law that prevents people from shining lights right into your windows. In Sedona, Ariz., that would be illegal. Every other town in Central Oregon has laws about light sources (light bulbs) being visible from your property, except Madras. Many years ago Bend gave people five years (or so) to shield all their lights so they wouldn't be visible to neighbors. Madras could improve the quality of life for everybody if there were a law forbidding bare light bulbs to be visible. No amount of window coverings can block out the light of neighbor's flood lights or porch lights on their houses from ruining the ambience of your back yard or even your bedroom!
If we want to make this community desirable for people to live in, we need to think about light pollution and livability in this wonderful area where we could enjoy the night skies and dark bedrooms if we shielded all outside lights so they don't shine into others' yards and windows. It's not too late for the new area of Yarrow, especially since houses there are so close together.
If light pollution bothers you, please encourage the planning commission and the city to pass an ordinance about how floodlights and yard lights affect neighboring properties. This town needs to keep up at least with the rest of Central Oregon. That would be a first step.