Examine school costs closely
To the Editor:
The explanation and identification of West Linn-Wilsonville School District projected costs from the Board Summit meeting is very suspect as to the accuracy of the projections. The largest projected expenditures relate to new or rebuilt schools.
Specifically, 1) a 300-student primary school at Rosemont and Bay Meadows for $28 million; 2) replace Sunset Primary and rebuild at Oppenlander Field for $27 million; 3) 500 student primary school in Villebois area for $29 million; and 4) a 300-student middle school near Advance Road for $35.4 million.
The total of these four schools is $119 million at an average of nearly $30 million per location. These West Linn-Wilsonville projected expenditures area very suspect in that the Portland School District just announced rebuilding 10 schools for $190 million at an average of $19 million per location.
The difference of nearly $11 million per location begs the question, who is submitting the costs per location for the West Linn-Wilsonville District for the proposed bond in 2008? Was there a competitive bid process used to establish the costs per location? Were these projected costs per location prepared by professionals or by staff members?
I would strongly urge the West Linn-Wilsonville School Board to contact the Portland School District to find out how they are able to achieve significantly lower costs per school building.
The projected costs for all the other projects are suspect as well and deserve full scrutiny by the school board to determine their accuracy and justification.
There are too many examples of very poor budgetary planning by the school administration. I would urge the school board to exercise in fiduciary responsibility before submitting a bond measure proposal.
The parents and citizens of the school district deserve better.
Annexations not good for city
To the Editor:
I disagree with Councilman Mike Gates about these annexations.
First, why should anyone living in West Linn opt to subsidize more growth when all it will do is cost each of us more in taxes and cause more congestion at the coffee shops, stores, roads, library, etc.?
Secondly, he backs up the idea of the 16-acre annexation on Rosemont Road by saying it has been thought about and 'on the table' for many years. So what? I have thought about restarting cigarette smoking for 10 years; that doesn't mean it is a good idea.
How many more trees and creeks and fields have to be bulldozed over before this city council and the developer types are done 'Californicating' West Linn?
And finally, why don't these annexation votes have to be double majority if our taxes will be affected negatively?
Session did not tackle tort claims
To the Editor:
The Oregon Legislature should have tackled the issue of tort cap liability during its recently concluded special session. The state tort cap should have been - along with the situation at Oregon State Hospital - a 'don't go home without it' issue.
Unfortunately, it's easy to think of the tort cap issue as 'an OHSU problem' and of OHSU as being 'a Portland issue.' Many do not understand that the Oregon Health and Science University maintains more than 200 community service programs that bring health and education services to all 36 Oregon counties. Thus, even within the context of OHSU, the tort cap limit is a statewide problem. While OHSU's ability to provide excellent overall medical care won't suffer, specific programs are at risk of disappearing - programs ranging from an urban dental clinic in Portland (which generally services AIDS patients and low-income clients) to any number of rural health programs statewide.
A quick disclaimer: We freely admit a vested interest. We are Local 328 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and we represent more than 4,500 workers at OHSU. It was an OHSU-based medical malpractice case that brought about the Oregon Supreme Court's recent decision throwing out the state's old $200,000 tort cap limit. As a result, the University faces millions of dollars in increased insurance costs. Those increased costs translate to cutbacks elsewhere at OHSU - specifically, layoffs.
Rather than act quickly, the Legislature decided to form an interim task force. Our union will diligently bird-dog this tort reform task force. We urge others to become involved as well.
president of Oregon American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 328,