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Letters to the editor for Sept. 17, 2011

Community needs to step up and help needy

Reading your front-page article by Peter Korn 'Oregon's kids nation's most hungry' (Outlook, Wednesday, Sept. 14) followed by your editorial 'State must tackle worrisome child hunger problem' just tore at my heart. How could this possibly be happening in the 'land of the plenty'? It's totally unacceptable.

With poverty at 15.1 percent (a 52-year peak), the highest since 1993 with 2.6 million more people moving into poverty and income sliding to 1996 levels, this indicates 'truly a lost decade.'

For those of us who are blessed to be working, it is a call to arms to step up and help our fellow citizens who are experiencing incredible hardship. So, rather than turn to the Sports section in The Outlook and thinking, gosh that is awful. Wish there was something I could do to help, there is.

If you are a member of a church and your church provides food to the needy through a food pantry, you can help by giving generously financially to get the food to the families who really need it, including those in your own congregation.

You can also financially give to such organizations as the Oregon Food Bank, Snow-CAP, Portland Rescue Mission, Union Gospel Mission and others who are struggling right now to meet the big increase in need.

Essentially, the greatest need is jobs and jobs that pay enough to be able to support your family. Unfortunately, I don't expect much from the president, who seems to be long on talk and short on results that are needed to pay the bills and put food on our tables.

Poverty would be even higher if so many 25- to 34- year-olds weren't living at home with their parents. Hard times are forcing people to 'double up' by living either with their parents or other family members. For the record, the number of households doubling up grew from 19.7 million in 2007 to 21.8 million in the spring of 2011. The greatest gift anyone could give is the gift of hope. Right now, every dollar counts in meeting that need.

Louis H. Bowerman

Portland

People weren't aware of the Sept. 11 memorials

Reading The Outlook's 'Letters to the Editor' section in the Sept. 14 issue, I was struck by the same concerns Moe Jones and Joan Stanford expressed.

I didn't attend the service in Gresham, but instead went to the 5k Freedom Walk put together by Operation Homefront of Oregon at Clackamas Community College.

The only way I knew this event was happening was because the people from the company making the signs for the event are personal friends of mine. If not for this, I would not have known and would have had to Google, too. For weeks prior, I had listened to the stories, from my friend, of how the news media, both TV and radio stations, refused requests to make announcements to their audiences. Only one radio station (KUPL) got on board and made public service announcements, starting a week before the walk, which lead to a turnout of about 100 or so at CCC. (They also went one further and sent a couple DJs out for an hour.) I suspect other services of remembrance fell into the same situation and this would explain the poorer than expected showings.

I truly don't believe that we have forgotten, but, with how we depend on the media, we didn't know where to go. Shame on our local media for not making it a top priority to let the public know of any event that asked for an announcement so that we may all have had a choice on how we'd like to honor and remember those who gave their lives that day and in the wars since. I don't know what the local media stations' reasons were, but these remembrance services deserved more than the 'boot' they were given.

Stephanie Cole

Troutdale

(Editor's note: The Outlook announced the Gresham Sept. 11 memorial twice in the weeks leading up to the event.)

Some people do need code enforcement

Debra Phegley asserts that Damascus residents value property rights over environment (letter to editor in the Sept. 10 Outlook), then follows with the non sequitur, 'We do not need to be policed.'

I have no reason to question her statement if 'we' means Ms. Phegley and family, but I'll holler tilt if she's suggesting that Damascans are somehow more saintly than humanity in general.

My wife and I live in unincorporated Clackamas County; a fence separates us from Damascus. When we moved here we received documented restrictions pertaining to the creek running through our property: put nothing in, no water diversions, no structures within a certain distance, no wetland filling, no grade change, no bank disturbance, etc. We had no problem with the restrictions, but soon learned that some of the neighbors ignored them.

At a sharp bend in the creek after a big rain I was confronted with a massive trash jam of debris originating, not from my immediate upstream neighbor, but beyond: tangled garden hose, nylon rope, broken furniture, plastic bags, Styrofoam, Carhartt coveralls (size XXL), a dead baby llama, etc. After conducting a burial service, I dragged junk I couldn't salvage several hundred feet to the road and paid the garbage-collector/recycler to haul it off. It happened more than once.

Another neighbor filled in hundreds of feet of streamside wetland with dirt brought in by dump trucks numbering 50 to 70 a day over two weeks. I called the county and was told that, no there was no permit issued, and yes it was illegal, and no they couldn't do anything about it because they weren't funded for 'code enforcement.' Some of us expect that when the economy perks up and things start rolling, we'll see a housing development on that former wetland, followed in due time by floods and washouts and other 'acts of God.'

Maybe Ms. Phegley's right: we don't need to be policed.

Chuck Bolsinger

Boring (unincorporated Clackamas County)

Don't despair, kids: There is hope

This letter is in response to Dave Wenzel's column ('Sorry, kids! You'll have to clean up the mess made by my generation') that appeared in the Sept. 7 edition of The Sandy Post and the Sept. 10 edition of The Gresham Outlook.

I say this in the kindest way I know how: Wenzel should not disillusion our children to the point that there is no hope. This world has never been given the promise that there would not be wars, famine, drought, floods and many more catastrophes.

Until everyone in this world is perfect and asks for forgiveness, these things will continue to plague our lives. But I'm sure you know, and I know, this will probably not happen.

But it doesn't mean we must tell our children there is no hope. There is hope. Every man, women and child has the privilege to make a difference. And it is our duty to believe it will happen so that we will - with the next generations to come - have a better world that God intended.

Wenzel should not beat himself up because we have not, as yet, been able to hand over a better world to the next generation. What we need to do is tell our children, 'Don't ever, ever lose faith; believe in God, do his will, and you alone can and will make a difference.'

Arlene Easly

Gresham