Guest editorial: Thanks, Teri Orr, for everything
By way of a public Facebook post, former Park Record editor Nan Chalat-Noaker offered important perspective on the recent departure of another former Park Record editor, and longtime columnist, Teri Orr, from the paper. They both represent what literate locals want our hometown paper to fight for — conviction, courage, and the historical context required to shepherd a sometimes rudderless community through an increasingly complex and diluted future.
We all had different reasons for checking in with Teri’s column. And even those changed depending on the week. Sometimes we tuned in for the scolding, to see Teri — whose pen remains mightier than most swords — take on bullies, egotistical leaders, bad actors, selfish developers and crappy ideas. Parkites rallied behind her open criticisms to find paths toward enlightenment and change. When Teri said things, they felt a little bit truer. She helped guide us to new leadership, project evolution, and elevation of arts and culture throughout Park City. And always, that grounding sense of place — even traced ironically back to California — remained.
Other times it was to take comfort amidst tragedy — homegrown or global — inside of a necessary and deserved blanket of tough love. It’s as if we could all show up at Fairy Godmother Orr’s metaphorical doorstep to be soothed with an empathetic embrace. But on the backside of those hugs would come a dose of knowing — knowing our consequences are oft the result of our collective community choices. And that we could and should do better for our neighbors, our kids, our planet, ourselves. And many times, on account of Teri’s urging and ideas and unflinching honesty, we did do better. And Park City is better for it today. Tomorrow, too.
And then there were the times it was to learn more about a local legend — known distantly and adoringly by us, intimately and enduringly by Teri — to provide more of the color we all hope to leave scattered across this realm when our time comes. Those stories are deeply meaningful to families of the departed and to every one of us that values context as the foundation for strong community roots.
Whatever anyone’s reasons for showing up to all those Sundays in the Park, one look across the internet affirms many feel deep loss knowing the fixture that was Teri Orr’s column is no longer. And maybe the paper — noticeably lighter these last few years in terms of weight, page count and quality of reporting — feels it too.
You can find her on Medium for now and then wherever the wind blows her next, which could be to a horseback adventure with a famous champion of preservation in our wild backyard, dinner with the most recent Album of the Year Grammy winner, or to a gathering of global thought leaders to select the next TED keynotes. Or maybe you’ll run into her at the post office or while buying fresh flowers or at the next City Council meeting (notebook in lap and pen in hand) and she’ll tell you how she really feels. She usually does.
Teri says, “Words matter.” So too does the informed perspective from which those words flow. Thanks for your years of informed perspective, Teri, especially the times we didn’t agree. And thank you for the adventures through the Park (City) you’ll continue to take us on whenever we choose to meet you at your ever expanding doorstep.
That same snow is leaving the mule deer that share our valleys on the edge of starvation, a place that they know in their bones — and leading to people feeding them, a controversial practice even by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
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