The City of Tulsa, the Arkansas River, and a Relationship in Transition: Notes on "The Tulsa River"

Nov 13, 2014

On this edition of ST, we welcome Robert J. LaFortune, a former Mayor of Tulsa, and Ann Patton, a locally based writer, activist, and former journalist. Patton has a new book out, for which LaFortune wrote the Foreword; it's a collection of essays on and photos of the Arkansas River, and it's called "The Tulsa River." But to what degree is Tulsa truly a "river city"? And are the age-old questions about riverfront development in this community changing -- or else taking on new meaning -- given the eventual creation of A Gathering Place on Riverside Drive? And, when it comes to planning to develop any of the Arkansas River as it runs through the City or County of Tulsa, to what extent should Mother Nature be our guide? And what about all those threats of mega-storms and/or flooding? Today's show looks at Patton's book while also looking at the history of Tulsa's river more generally -- from the river's first-ever bridge (which was basically a toll bridge over to where the oil fields were situated) to the establishment of River Parks in the 1970s. Also, please note that Patton and LaFortune -- along with former Tulsa Mayor Susan Savage, retired Tulsa Public Works Director Charles L. Hardt, and others -- will take part in a public "conversation about our Tulsa river heritage" on Monday the 17th at 6:30pm at Tulsa Historical Society (at 2445 South Peoria). You'll learn more about Patton's book here, and more about the event on Monday evening at this link.