Cities, county working together
We appreciate the attention the Dec. 14 edition of this newspaper gave to the long-term urban growth management discussions that are taking place between the two jurisdictions we represent, the cities of Milwaukie and Happy Valley.
It's a complicated issue, to be sure, one that reaches back decades and involves a lot of moving parts. What we both want to emphasize, however, is that the discussions between the two municipalities have been friendly, and they have been productive.
Clackamas County has been involved with these talks to help us determine which areas of unincorporated Clackamas County each municipality can provide services to most effectively and efficiently. These are questions that have been around for years, and we're trying to figure out how to answer them within established policies and regional objectives. The county has the resources and the information to best lead these discussions, and has been an effective facilitator.
Key to these conversations has been talking with the leaders of the area's Community Planning Organizations. They have a voice in answering these service provision questions and will continue to be called upon as the conversation evolves.
We both believe building stronger cities will build a stronger region. We will continue to work on these urban growth management issues with that goal in mind.
Mayor Lori DeRemer
Mayor Jeremy Ferguson
Get out and dance
I enjoyed reading this article ('Oaky Doaks put new spin on old dance,' Dec. 14) although Halley and Clarke are preaching to the choir with me, as I have been dancing for over 25 years now.
However, it is good to see them promoting square and round dancing in this fashion, and I hope that non-dancers will realize that this is an activity which promotes, not just good health, but also that all-important factor in our lives: socialization.
Too often these days we see people sitting at home alone with their computers when they could be out mixing and mingling with friends in a health promoting environment. Staying active is important at any age. Keeping the mind fit is as important.
But most importantly one needs to socialize with a variety of age groups and square dancing does all that. Thanks for sharing this article with the community.
Time for answers on stadium
At our meeting last Monday night, the Historic Milwaukie Neighborhood District Association was once again abuzz with questions about bringing baseball to Milwaukie. After much discussion, we unanimously voted to make a request of City Council, and it is in the capacity of NDA chair that I write to make this request.
We request that a public informational meeting be held in Milwaukie, as soon as possible, to address the following concerns, answer the following questions, and provide the following information:
· A definitive, complete and accurate noise study that includes noise from the concerts, trains, traffic, neighborhood, ball games and amplification.
· Will there be revisions to the city noise ordinances that include rather than exclude noise from athletic events and parks?
n Provide financial details showing how the facility will be paid for, how we taxpayers and the city will be protected from loss.
· What facts does the city have to refute all of the expert sport economists who agree that the always 'promised' fans, development and expanded tax base do not materialize but may actually damage a community and leave us in debt?
· Can you provide assurances that high value industrial companies that are currently operating south of the site will not be closed or removed?
· How many jobs and of what income level do parks of this nature produce?
· How can you assure a team that comes here will not leave after the baseball stadium is built?
· How will priorities/funding with other projects, such as Riverfront Park, light rail pedestrian bridge, Kronberg Park and library expansion be shifted?
· What will be the council's standard of measurement for 'feasible' in regard to the Feasibility Study?
This list is by no means exhaustive, but the NDA feels strongly that addressing these would be an excellent way of garnering more information so that the public can make a more informed decision about whether to support this project.
We also respectfully request that this meeting be televised to expand the audience beyond those who are willing, able and compelled to attend this meeting in person.
Thank you for considering this request, and working to inform- and encourage participation from-your citizens.
Historic Milwaukie NDA Chair
Spend first, ask questions later?
I am disappointed in the Gladstone City Council's recent decision to authorize the spending of $275,000 of taxpayer money for construction documents regarding the new library, which might not be built.
Two initiative partitions have been circulated, the signatures submitted, plus an appeal to the State's Land Use Board of Appeals. Any of which, if approved, could stop the current project. This follows their decision to provide 75 percent of the $10 million dollar cost in partnership with Clackamas County when only 25 percent of the users will be from the city of Gladstone. The council should have waited before spending our taxpayer money.
Gladstone taxpayers should not be burdened with building a new library that is going to be used mostly by residents of unincorporated Clackamas County. I believe the majority of unincorporated residents of Clackamas County who live between Gladstone and Milwaukie do not realize that their Oak Grove Library is slated to close if the new Gladstone Library is built.
I would like to ask, first, that the City Council reverse their decision and not waste taxpayer money on the constructions documents, second, ask the residents of Gladstone to support these initiatives so that the taxpayers can have a say on how their taxes are spent.
What an eye-opener
I attended a public meeting at the Clackamas River Water District on Nov. 30 to witness how this board works and spends our monies. The meeting was attended by all board commissioners, minus one, plus other key players such as the general manager and legal counsel. There were about 20 or so other attendees in the audience who I assume were attending with similar interests.
As a resident and ratepayer of CRW, I was interested in the meeting due to all the press the CRW Board and its commissioners had attracted lately. Since this was my first meeting of the CRW, I did not know what to expect other than normal business operations that a board normally conducts.
What I witnessed was a one-sided castigation of one commissioner by all members of the board, less one, as well as the GM and counsel. Apparently this was a special meeting for specifically this purpose. As a local business man who has run businesses and consulted with other businesses, I was appalled that this board allowed this presentation, or shall I say personal attack to take place in a public forum. Following are some key points that I witnessed, and understand I am a neutral observer who has no connections except as ratepayer:
· Extremely biased presentation by GM.
· Legal counsel who is supposed to be neutral, joins this bias presentation.
· Board President leading this castigation.
· Two hours of this character assault with no rebuttal.
· Elected Commissioner banned from private board meetings (elected by public)?
· Why was this dirty laundry hung in front of public and not resolved behind closed doors?
· Where was the missing commissioner?
· If a special meeting had to be called for this specific purpose, why was not the meeting coordinated so all could attend?
This meeting was used solely to castigate one commissioner without any opportunity to respond at this meeting. Not only was I appalled at this spectacle, but overwhelmed with feelings of incredibility that this was taking place in public and costing us, the ratepayers both time and monies. No one could write a script as twisted or biased as this meeting was. I do not claim to know all the underlying facts of all the issues here, but even with this one-sided presentation and support, there has to be another side which I am sure has just as much validity as what was presented here! Where there is smoke there is fire, for sure, and behind all the biased facts, there is surely a fire and the real truth!
If this had happened in any business I was associated with, I would have stopped the presentation before it even got started. All of this should be handled in private and resolved before public meetings are held. I understand from this meeting that the FBI is doing an investigation into all of this, which is unreal at this local level.
In closing, I cannot believe that a local water district board and business can be used by our elected officers for their own personal ego trips and gains with no regards to resolving the issues and handling business at hand efficiently. One can only imagine what lies behind city, state and federal elected officials and their dealings, if this is happening at this level.
What's going on with schools?
I am writing because I think it is important for Oregonians to be aware of what is happening in relation to educational policy in Oregon right now. In support of that end, I have created this short informational sheet:
What is the Oregon Education Investment Board?
The Oregon Education Investment Board is a group of 12 people appointed by the governor to make decisions about our system of public education in Oregon from pre-kindergarten through higher education (community colleges and state universities). The board was established as a result of the passage of Senate Bill 909 in June. In addition to the 12 appointed members, the governor sits as the board chair.
Why is OEIB important? Why should I care?
The OEIB, as stated above, is an appointed board. None of its members, apart from the governor, were elected to their positions. The board is currently meeting to make plans for a vast restructuring of Oregon's entire educational system, pre-kindergarten through higher education. There has been very little opportunity for public input into the decisions being made due to the short timeline that has been set and the scheduling of the meetings being held, mostly during the middle of the day on weekdays.
Some of the ideas that have been proposed for restructuring our schools include standard assessments to measure kindergarten readiness and first grade reading, and continued use of high stakes standardized testing to measure student achievement and school success. There has so far been no attempt to address inadequate or inequitable funding in our school system. There has been no mention of restoring lost programs or dealing with the effects of poverty on student achievement.
What can I do?
Contact your legislator and demand that town halls be held around the state regarding the board's proposals and allowing for input from parents, students, teachers and community members before final decisions are made. Keep yourself informed about what the board is proposing by following Oregon Save Our Schools (Oregon SOS) on Facebook.
Oregon City: You've found your next museum director
I write to speak of my disenchantment with not only the Oregon City elected officials, but also with the attitude of most people throughout our country. My father recently wrote in to this newspaper speaking of 'a degree holding/unemployed archaeologist daughter,' and saying Oregon City neither needed nor wanted more museums with the proof lying in my overqualified unemployment status and the closing of museums around our state. Although I must agree with him that Oregon City likely doesn't want a museum, I must disagree when he says Oregon City does not need a museum.
As a K-12 student in the Oregon City School District nearly all my life, I had many compulsory field trips to the dreaded wagons. Yes, I say dreaded. And you know why? Because they were awful. There were three buildings and not one of them truly engaged the visitor or encouraged them to return another day to learn more. Oregon City is the END of the Oregon Trail. It's literally the end. And we have nothing to show for it because our city officials decided to pass through an ignorant museum plan for one of the most significant events in Western Expansion our country has ever seen. I have spent my adult life studying museums, and I am embarrassed at my own hometown's showing.
I may not like the place Oregon City has become in recent times, but it is up to us, the ones that love it most, to take it back from the ones stomping it into the ground - which maybe not so ironically, includes our elected officials.
After such glowing reviews of their members, I call on the City Commission to hire me as the director of their End of the Oregon Trail museum. I have such faith in my ability to educate people about the heritage of our region and to actually bring people through the doors, that I am willing to completely volunteer my time until the museum begins to show a profit.