Downward Yoga Pose

Stress-reducing exercise and stress-relieving animals make a great combo and a lucrative one, apparently, as Original Goat Yoga reportedly has “licensed locations all around the U.S.” (“Upward Goat Yoga,” 1/2).

But when progenitor Lainey Morse and her boyfriend came to Oregon, they were stressed by land use restrictions that reporter Taylor Perse refers to as “outdated zoning laws.” Clearly Perse is blissfully unaware of the work of Tom McCall and why there’s any agricultural land left to exploit.

Oregon’s zoning laws are not outdated; rather, they’ve been overrun since their inception by copious amendments and exceptions that acre by acre have urbanized our farmland and rural areas. Land zoned for farming has for decades been sprouting golf courses, schools, churches, shooting ranges, wedding venues, dog kennels and, if Morse has her way, goat-hugging yoga classes.

I’ve had goats for 25 years, and most of the time they amuse and relax me. But if I added yoga classes to their meadows with the potential to attract, as Morse did, “hundreds of people willing to drive from all over” — and pay a pretty penny for the experience — I’d be complicit in the imposition of numbers, traffic and activities that belong within urban growth boundaries, not outside them.

If numbers of clients and the days and times for classes were strictly regulated and enforced, well, goats and yoga beat out guns and barking dogs anytime. But enforcement, at least in Lane County, has proven largely nonexistent, so that activities that may lead to a reduction of stress in Morse’s customers can result in increased stress on the rural environment.

Robert Emmons, president

LandWatch Lane County

Fall Creek