Better planning might have salvaged a March for Science parade planned for Earth Day on Saturday, but the culmination of what will now be a stroll down the sidewalk will still offer remarks by scientists about the importance of facts and evidence-based policy-making.
Organizers had planned a parade from Ashland High School to ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum on East Main Street. But Ashland city policy requires that groups applying for road closures must provide state-certified flaggers to control traffic before a permit will be granted. The Oregon Department of Transportation provides training for flaggers and issues certifications.
If not enough volunteer flaggers can be found, the city will provide staff to work the parade — for a price, and only with 30 days notice.
The city isn't to blame for a policy designed to keep everyone safe with minimal taxpayer expense. The onus here was on event organizers.
Participants now will walk down the sidewalks from the high school to the museum rather than marching down the middle of the street behind Brett Belan's solar-powered Volkswagen bus. When they arrive, they can hear remarks from Belan, founder of Apparent Energy, and others as part of "Scientists Speak Up."
Participants will be joining with a march in Washington, D.C., and other cities around the world in support of scientists, the science they perform and the benefits it brings to humanity. The event will be most successful if the focus stays on that positive note and dwells less on expressions of anti-Trump sentiment.