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Letters to the editor for Jan. 5

Businesses unite for Rockwood's future

As the chairwoman of the Rockwood Business Coalition, I would like to tell local businesses and citizens about businesses who have united together within our community. Rockwood businesses have come to understand that we are in the midst of important changes that affect the future of our community and our business economics. The time is now for businesses to work together to be a strong voice on those issues that affect us. Rockwood businesses also face unique issues that we can tackle much better as a networked group.

The Rockwood Business Coalition is holding its monthly meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 9, to address what we plan on accomplishing in 2008, and to discuss issues affecting us. We welcome individuals and business interests to join us from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Jan. 9 at Mr. Transmission, located on Southeast 186th Avenue and Stark Street. You may also visit our Web site to learn more at www.rockwoodbusinesscoalition.org

Dina DiNucci

Chairwoman, Owner of Park Place Coffee Inc.

Editorial mistaken to compare Wheeler, Bemis

Ted Wheeler in the same league with Mayor Bemis?

What are you smoking?

Wheeler wants to grab more power so he can have it all. He wants to tax folks who never use the Sellwood Bridge for its replacement, while giving 70 percent of its users a free pass. I could go on, but the bottom line is that he, not Sheriff Bernie Giusto, is the worst elected official this year.

George Schneider

Gresham

Snow-CAP Christmas dinner a success

Gresham's volunteer spirit brought everyone together at Christmas. Tuesday, Dec. 25, was the first Christmas Dinner at Snow-CAP Community Charities.

We weren't sure if we had sufficient volunteers or an adequate facility to provide a good holiday meal for all the needy families who might come, but everything went smoothly. We want to thank some of the people who made this initial event such a success. We hope it can become an annual blessing for all who are unable to make a celebration at home.

First among these volunteers is retired Methodist Pastor Bruce Montgomery, who brought together all the major components of this event. Bruce introduced Jeremy Wilebski, director of food service at Mt. Hood Community College, to Snow-CAP and good things began to happen. Jeremy not only provided groceries and serving pieces, but enlisted his family and friends to prepare and serve a delicious Christmas Dinner for the many needy persons who attended.

These volunteers included his wife, Solen, and Jason and Josh Wilebski, and friends Rudie, Lorena and Andrea Muller, Darlene and Jason Ingram, Josh Bearman, Desirae Frey, John Lowes and Iet Simons.

Jeremy also got support for the dinner from Sunshine Dairy, Sysco Food Service of Portland, Duck Produce, as well as his employer, Chartwell's Food Service. Their gifts are deeply appreciated.

We'd also like to thank Gresham violist, Beth McCollum, who provided music for our guests.

We cannot thank these volunteers enough. They warmed hearts and tummies for the most important holiday of the year. No one should be alone at Christmas. We really hope to see these volunteers again next year!

Paul Warr-King, board president

Judy Alley, executive director

Snow-CAP Community Charities

East County needs guarantees on bridge

Multnomah County Chairman Ted Wheeler attended a recent Troutdale City Council meeting. His purpose was to sell councilors on an inter-government agreement (IGA). In his presentation to the City Council, he pitched the idea to increase our vehicle registration fees from $27 a year to $54. He told the council that these funds would be used to repair the Sellwood Bridge. There was no guarantee that there would be any federal matching funds. Even with federal matching funds, there does not seem to be enough money to repair the Sellwood Bridge. When the City Council asked about the funding and if it should fall short what would happen to the funds, Wheeler's response was to have faith. Fortunately, when it came time to vote, the IGA failed.

Wheeler attended the Gresham City Council meeting and made the same pitch. When the Gresham City Council asked what would happen if the funds to repair the Sellwood Bridge came up short Wheeler's response was 'the funds would be used on another bridge.' Why did he not give the same direct answer to the Troutdale City Council?

Wheeler is also talking about another layer of government to oversee the bridges. What will the cost be to add this new layer?

I am not negative about repairing the Sellwood Bridge. However, I feel Wheeler is selling one thing, but knows that it is a long shot. Once he has the funding, I feel he will come back to let us know that the funding fell short for the Sellwood Bridge. He will tell us that these funds will be diverted to another bridge.

East County city councils should require the IGA to specifically state that the $27 per year increase would go to funding repairs on the Sellwood Bridge. The IGA should state that Multnomah County will secure federal matching funds. The IGA should state how many years the increase will be in effect. The IGA should state the estimated cost of adding a new layer of government to oversee the six bridges. The IGA should also state that Multnomah County will get Clackamas and Washington counties to increase their registration fees before increasing ours. The citizens of these two counties use this bridge as much as the citizens living in Multnomah County.

Without these additions to the IGA, Multnomah County is free to use the monies on whatever bridge project it wants. Please East County city councils, do not commit your constituents without having written guarantees in the IGA.

Maybe Multnomah County should consider user fees on these bridges. Many states now have toll ways in the long run this would be a better solution.

John Wilson

Troutdale