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Letters to the Editor for Aug. 31

Tigard gas tax is not the fix for problem

The Tigard City Council has proposed yet another tax. Last time it was the 'road maintenance' fee on my water bill.

Our City Council works hard for our benefit and receives a lot of guff from people like me. Yet my job is to provide input for their consideration, like it or not. Remembering the movie 'Field of Dreams,' and the statement, 'build it and they will come,' we have our own claim of, 'tax them and they will pay' - a never-ending scenario.

The claim of needing another tax on our gasoline, which numerous other cities have rejected, is rearing its head. Here we go again.

Our city Engineering Department has taken the time to put together another dog-and-pony show Power Point to induce our City Council to pass yet another tax increase.

Of course they propose to possibly allow us to vote on it, only after they, the Engineering Department, have sent threats and scare tactics out.

The real fix to the problem they are proposing to fix is to put in a westside bypass and expand Highway 217. Of course they say they don't have the ability to do that and it is out of their jurisdiction. Why not become an advocate and talk with their fellow government bodies?

It is more self-preservation to keep making us pay more to ensure their jobs and increase their incomes at our expense.

In the long run it is most doubtful they'll cure or even touch the problem. Once they spend more of my dollars, they will return saying they need yet another study to see how to fix the problem. This is the same department that advocates speed bumps to slow traffic rather than write tickets a few times a year to get the public's attention. Studies actually show that speed bumps don't fix the problem.

It is time we the people look at what is going on and provide our input to our City Council, state legislators, school boards, and congressional leaders, allowing them to hear us and not allowing them the privilege of doing what they think is best for us because we are too silent.

CLEON COX

Tigard

Help Tigard kick annexation habit

Well, Tigard is determined to annex another 41 acres on unincorporated Bull Mountain despite Washington County's unanimous decision to allow Bull Mountain voters to decide for themselves on incorporating the whole area.

The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary describes a harmful drug as 'an illegal substance that causes addiction, habituation, or a marked change in consciousness.' In Tigard, 'annexation' should be added to the list of unlawful, harmful and addictive drugs. The city of Tigard has an annexation habit that they just can't break, despite the growing embarrassment it's creating for their community and the harm it's causing their neighbors.

Well, enough is enough! I hope that in November, a majority of Bull Mountain voters will vote 'yes' to form our own city, giving Mayor Dirksen and his City Council the serious rehab they need to break their annexation addiction.

RANDY SHOLES

Unincorporated Bull Mountain

Wal-Mart would add to Tigard traffic woes

As anyone who has suffered through the four-way stop at Southwest 72nd Avenue and Southwest Dartmouth Street is aware, adding a Wal-Mart with 8,000 cars per day traveling through the area would completely bring to a standstill traffic at that already fragile intersection.

A person traveling from Dartmouth towards Highway 99W during the afternoon is greeted with a backup going beyond Costco and at times clear back to WinCo to get through the light at 99W. At two minutes per light, with the light long enough to allow only five or six cars through at a time, the wait can be more than 10 or 15 minutes. Going towards 99W from Southwest 72nd Avenue is equally onerous, with a light at Fred Meyer that only permits a left turn after all the vehicles leaving Fred Meyer have proceeded through. Traffic at 99W has in recent years been beyond capacity, with commuters traveling to Tigard, King City, Bull Mountain, Sherwood, Newberg and beyond. The presence of Wal-Mart would be the tipping point, drastically increasing traffic congestion around those intersections and making Tigard's streets more dangerous for drivers and pedestrians alike.

Wal-Mart is well known for not offering a fair wage for their jobs. Wal-Mart employees average $9.64 per hour, while Costco employees make $15.97. In addition, adequate health insurance is not provided to Wal-Mart's employees, forcing many of them in Oregon onto the Oregon Health Plan, which is subsidized by Oregon's taxpayers. I see no reason why we should subsidize Wal-Mart when other big-box businesses meet their obligations handily. Adding another Wal-Mart imperils us all with the erosion of our already tenuous social services.

Tigard's economy is founded on local businesses. I am alarmed at the cavalier way in which Wal-Mart chips away at its suppliers' profits to engorge their own. Wal-Mart's habit of forcing local businesses out of the area and into bankruptcy will detract from the revitalization of downtown that has just begun. Support by the city of Tigard for locally owned businesses must therefore be mutually exclusive to considering the addition of a Wal-Mart.

Finally, trees and animal habitats will be destroyed if any megastore is allowed to be developed at the site. Southwest 72nd and Dartmouth is a wetlands area where protection of natural species is uniquely important. Gone will be the geese, blue herons, hawks, falcons and other birds of prey, not to mention the myriad other birds that pass through Oregon during seasonal migrations. We already have a dead zone just off Oregon's coast, where no life is being sustained. Must we have another dead zone here?

GAIL LOWY

Wilsonville