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Milwaukie neighborhood opposes coal trains

The Historic Milwaukie Neighborhood District Association believes it is our responsibility to protect and promote the quality of life, safety, health, well being and economic interest of our neighborhood.

We are opposed to the transport of coal through Milwaukie and the Portland metropolitan region that will have long lasting impacts on the health and quality of our lives and our environment. Additionally, we are opposed to the export of coal mined from public lands through the Pacific Northwest that will contribute to a global increase in carbon emissions and climate change.

We support Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley’s call for federal agencies to evaluate the impact of the five coal terminal proposals. We call upon state and federal governments to require a cumulative and comprehensive programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, EIS.

Key reasons for our opposition:

1. Diesel emissions from locomotives are known to cause significant public health hazards

2. The toxic emissions from coal dust are cumulative, far reaching, and permanent in the soil, water and people

3. The intrusion of coal trains represents a profound degradation in the health, safety and security of a significant number of residents and businesses in our community and the entirety of the Historic Milwaukie neighborhood

4. The threat to public safety. Coal trains are expected to be a mile or more in length, bisecting our community, which could create disastrous delays impacting fire, police and other critical services

5. Will render the city’s recently completed land-use plans and principals on which they are based essentially unachievable

Such destructive health and environmental consequences to Milwaukie and its neighborhoods would decrease the quality of life and increase health and safety risks, impacting property values and tax revenues.

We urge the City Council to take a leadership position for the city in supporting our neighborhoods and oppose coal trains.

Jean Baker

Dion Shepard

Historic Neighborhood District Association co-chairwomen

Rail voters need some data

Once again, Libby Wentz tries to throw Positively Clackamas under the bus (Letters, “Positively Clackamissed the point,” Aug. 29).

First, she questions whether 15 percent of the contributions, a whopping $1,250 come from contributions of less than $100. Then, having posed a doubt she decides “for the sake of argument” to assume that each of these contributions is for less than $100, so she can make a point that “15 percent does not a huge ground swelling of local support make.”

She goes out of her way to make this incredibly confusing. It is really very simple, the contributions of money to Positively Clackamas are a SMALL part of the “ground swelling of local support” that I see every day. Positively Clackamas supporters contribute enormous amounts of personal time and energy to hand out flyers; put up signs, invite friends and neighbors into their homes to communicate and educate them on the benefits of light rail; attend regular community meetings; attend Clackamas County commissioners meetings and provide valuable input to our county leaders regarding light rail. Dave Gray, whom she mentions in her recent letter, is one of several supporters of Positively Clackamas deeply engaged in these efforts.

Then she goes on to tell us that she is voting for 3-401, and so are the “actual people” (her term). Positively Clackamas is a grassroots effort on the part of actual people who strive to see to the long-term development of their community in a positive manner, but disagree with the positions of those supporting the 3-401 initiative. They are actual people who were here in the 1990s and voted for light rail then and support it today. They too are taxpayers, road users and bus riders as am I. I too am an actual person and I will vote NO on 3-401. We are all actual people, including the Clackamas Review/Oregon City News Editorial Board which has urged a NO vote on initiative 3-401 on Sept. 18.

I am an active member of, and wholeheartedly support Positively Clackamas. Wentz is digging herself into a hole regarding Positively Clackamas that is getting deeper and deeper. As the saying goes in part, maybe it is time to stop digging.

As to your final comment about TriMet buses being “more cost effective” than light rail, I would like to see some credible data supporting your opinion.

Chuck Berglund

Oak Grove

Telling the ‘real story’

By now you must be aware why extending Milwaukie light rail into Oak Grove at a cost of $130 million is a bad investment, and that the county has a huge debt load, limiting its ability to come up with millions for the unnecessary last leg of the line. Building a shorter line and saving the Trolley Trail is a legal requirement that is being ignored. TriMet and its “partners” know that.

If you’d like to see the real story, go to cityofmilwaukie.org and watch 15 minutes of video from the Nov. 17, 2011, Milwaukie Planning Commission meeting. About 10 minutes into the meeting is when I started speaking. Fraud? What fraud?

You’ll see why Bernard and others have done everything they could to dump the end of the line at the first intersection south of town. Milwaukie’s redevelopment plans, including those for Bernard’s property would be impacted if the line ends near the post office at Lake Road. Why would anyone expect the guy to recuse himself? Lehan continues to pretend that citizens holding him responsible are making personal attacks. How convenient.

Lake Road was the approved end of the line in 2003. If not for Bernard’s involvement, the $900 million line would probably have (Millport Rd & 99E). The past eight years of divisive shenanigans was

completely avoidable.

Uncivil actions are often perpetrated by people who are well-dressed actors, oblivious as to why anyone would question their flawed leadership.

Les Poole

Oak Grove

Ruling in Hunt v. Crocker

I have been a small business owner for over a year now. I did not know much about small business or Oregon City politics. I have learned quite a bit from just listening to people that visit my shop from Oregon City and neighboring communities.

My prior occupation was a legal investigator/mitigation specialist for 24 years. I know Kevin Hunt. Kevin is a master at taking a fact and twisting it beyond recognition. I did not read his editorial about David Frasher and Mayor Doug Neeley. Nor do I want to read it, as I know the kind of anger Kevin can spew.

This is what I do know. I had a difficult time at first with Mr. Frasher, but after meeting with him several times, I do believe he is trying to help the small business community. I am not quite sure what Mayor Neeley does, so I cannot comment on that.

Mr. Crocker’s editorial quotes regarding Measure 3-407 “if passed, it will have serious and long-lasting negative implications for economic growth and jobs in Oregon City” Don’t we already have that? Another statement in part “close the door on potential investments in Oregon City.” Again don’t we already have that now?

Mr. Crocker reports in part “stop agitating and causing disharmony and dysfunction in Oregon City.” We do have that now in a big way.

During about half the life of my hat shop the streets has been under construction. That has given me a lot of time to talk with the locals. I tend to ask lots of questions and this is what I have been told. There are about a handful of people who own most of downtown Oregon City, they seem to handpick the City Commission. Therefore It seems to me that these people have been running Oregon City.

I have been told story after story about business being kept out of Oregon City, or making it very difficult to expand current businesses. So my thought is, if the old way is not working perhaps we should try a new way.

Yes, Oregon City is all pretty now, she has a new dress, a new hat and pretty new shoes. I think she now needs to work on her personality. It’s not the repaving and new trees. Oregon City is stagnating and has been for years. We need to do something.

Sandra Gillman

Oregon City

Signing off on election

Clackamas County commissioners have constantly been in the news, a conflict of interest complaint against commissioner Bernard, and the fight with citizens over bringing light rail into Milwaukie. Milwaukie citizens turned down light rail four times, but apparently that didn’t send a message to the commissioners. Now, they have paid off TriMet just days before an election that might prevent them from doing so. The commitments the commissioners have been making appear to be following their own agenda.

Bank of America decided to finance the $20 million for the rail, a 20-year loan that after 15 years carries a $7 million balloon payment. Current commissions will long be gone by then so it matters not to them they have stuck the county with mega future debt.

The voters elected these officials in hopes of trust and that they would protect our county with good judgment. We did not give them a blank check. Sadly, our current commissioners are drawing the county closer to a critical bottom line. Then they will expect business and taxpayers to bail them out.

When we are marking our ballots for the November election, we need to elect new commissioners we can depend on to follow good sense and the wishes of the people, and let go of those who have been loose cannons firing in all directions.

Clarence L. Wise

Wilsonville

You elected them...

The same people that created uncertainty and eventual departure of the developer of the $200 million shopping complex, The Rivers, which included Cabela’s and 1,500 jobs, are now disqualifying the nine-member Urban Renewal Commission (URC). The URC members spend many hours studying documents, hearing testimony, and analyzing data on tax-increment financing, DEQ requirements, fish-and-wildlife habitat, etc. to assess the viability of the potential projects which need additional incentives to become financially viable in the urban-renewal district.

Do you feel comfortable voting for funding for these complicated projects?

It took 20 years to pass a school bond. When decisions for projects like The Rivers come to Urban Renewal (UR), they are almost “shovel ready” and are time sensitive for financing, contracts and tenants, therefore they need a more immediate reaction than waiting 20 years.

Oregon City residents voted to allow UR to bond up to $130 million in 2005. It’s been available, but the URC has approved NO bonded debt. There have been feasible projects, but the political uncertainty and economic conditions have caused these projects to be delayed. The URC has been doing its job to make sure that projects will be successful.

If and when a project is approved, and bonded debt occurs, it will not raise your taxes. The tax increment from the project pays off the indebtness. Your taxes will get raised when UR projects are NOT there to provide new funding sources. You will hear about successful projects that did not use UR funds. But these were not on landfills and quarries where methane needs containment, habitat protected and building conditions are more difficult.

You have elected people to make these complicated decisions.

Please vote NO on voting for UR financing. Continue to allow the URC to make these decisions. They know how to make UR effective as they opened and closed the Red Soils Urban Renewal District which led to the new development such as Safeway and Benchmade Knives.

The taxes Oregon City police, fire and schools were receiving before the UR district, they still receive. They’ll receive more taxes when the district closes. That would have been $1 million per year had The Rivers been built.

Continue to let the URC make the decisions. Vote NO on Measure 3-407.

Brian Shaw

Oregon City

Barton is best for OC

As a retired teacher and school administrator, it was my privilege to go door-to-door last week in Oregon City and meet voters in support of Brent Barton, who’s running for the Oregon House in District 40.

And after talking with local voters, I’m more sure than ever before that Brent Barton is the right choice. Brent’s priorities are right in line with the concerns I heard voiced by voter after voter.

Brent supports better results and more accountability in the classroom. Our kids deserve nothing less.

He also has a record of voting for increased government accountability to make sure taxpayer dollars are used wisely.

And Brent Barton’s support for public safety investments like increased state trooper coverage on our roads are crucial for keeping our families safe.

I hope you’ll join me in supporting Brent Barton to help our state make it through these hard times so that the middle class can prosper and thrive in the future!

State Rep. Betty Komp

D-Woodburn

Another voice against Sheehan

Deanna Rusch writes that criticisms of Republican State Rep. Patrick Sheehan (R-Happy Valley) are based on gossip and rumors (Letters, “Look at Sheehan’s record,” Sept. 5). But what she doesn’t understand is that the criticisms are based on fact.

The letter referring to Sheehan’s “frat boy image” was citing a conservative radio talk show commentator who was discussing Sheehan’s antics (“Time for Sheehan to go,” Aug. 22).

Criticisms of Sheehan’s behavior were also based on fact as reported by multiple news sources. Does Rusch dispute the fact that Sheehan hosted an event for lobbyists with disgraced State Rep. Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville) that focused on Ultimate Fighting?

Does Rusch dispute the fact that Sheehan used the time before the February legislative session to go on a boys trip with six other Republican legislators? Or that multiple news sources reported on the attempted cover-up of Sheehan and the other Republicans’ topless club scandal?

If Rusch thinks Sheehan’s behavior is worthy of a state elected official, she’s welcome to make that argument. But she can’t dispute the fact that Patrick Sheehan has engaged in these behaviors, or that even conservative talk show hosts are calling him a “frat boy.” I myself do not find these behaviors acceptable for a state legislator.

Sandra Lissman

Boring

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