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Former Sherwood business owners like Old Town changes but worry about parking situation

To the editor:

We are former business owners and still property owners in the Old Town area and we recently returned for the President's Day holiday weekend after almost two years. We were slightly apprehensive after such a long time, especially after reading all of the ongoing negative columns, letters, etc. in the Sherwood Gazette about the changes in Old Town.

Although some of the complaints during the construction may have been relevant and we certainly were glad to miss all of that, the results so far are absolutely amazing. Old Town Sherwood is actually looking like a little town now. A lot of the former blight is disappearing; the city hall and library are great; things are busy with people around; and there seems to be a noticeable positive energy in the air. All of the people responsible for these changes deserve a tremendous amount of credit, not ongoing negative criticism. An example of the ridiculous criticism would be all of the nonsense we read regarding the blue lights. The blue lights look great and give a happy look to some of the tired old buildings. More than half the world is going to bed hungry every night and people get obsessed with the color of light posts. We're quite sure that those same people won't be complaining about their skyrocketing property values as a result of all these positive changes.

We were, however, concerned about one thing. Very soon there will be a major parking problem if there is not one already. We noticed on Saturday morning that there was almost no street parking available on First Street all the way down past Main Street. Only two spaces were available on Washington Street between Railroad and Second streets. The two large mixed-use buildings that will soon be finished will generate a lot of extra parking needs. It would be a shame to do all this work to entice new people to visit Old Town and then not have adequate parking. But these are good problems and we're sure there will be adequate solutions.

The curbless individual parking spots could also probably use a little more definition. We noticed several cars overlapping into another spot. All in all, the transformation of Old Town into a separate, distinct and unique little corner of the world is well underway. We're hoping that the Old Cannery project will offer a proper mixed-use blend that will further enhance the economic balance that is really needed for ht small business owners in the area. Please - not too many condos. And of course the Old School House site needs to be transformed into a community center that will be a benefit to the entire town. Parking issues also need to be addressed here as well. Using the school parking lots and crossing busy Pine Street on dark, rainy nights doesn't seem like a good idea.

We sure are glad we came back to see all of these positive changes. We've been waiting 23 years to see the potential of Old Town and it is great to see it finally on the right track. It is definitely a work in progress, but we are confident that all of these changes have set in motion the proper vision for Old Town Sherwood.

Bill and Ana Stapp

Bend, Oregon

Sherwood's Teen Court should have real judges

To the editor:

I very much enjoyed the article on the proposed Teen Court for Sherwood in the March issue of The Gazette.

This is such an important group and is nothing short of remarkable in trying to show how and what bad choices can do to one's life. It can and has been, at least in Tigard, an eye-opener for those who go through the system.

I speak from (some) experience as I've been involved in the Tigard Youth Peer Court assisting in a small way Officer Sheryl since about 2000. I took the article with me and showed Officer Sheryl as there was one part of what Ms. Artajo mentioned I wanted clarification on.

It was stated the person(s) Ms. Artajo would like for volunteer judges would/could be an attorney, probation officer, city leader or other responsible person who works well with young people. What I focused on was the city leader or other responsible person. Officer Sheryl informed me there is no rule saying the judges must be practicing attorneys. This I was not aware of. In my chat with her I stated I felt any Peer Court should have attorneys, 'real judges' even if retired and/or on occasion someone like a Lieutenant or Caption of the respective Police Department. My reasoning was going by the Tigard Peer court our volunteer judges are all practicing attorneys. Years ago, before I took on the booking of these judges when that person couldn't find one available we did call on some of our Lieutenants to wear the robe. What I am getting to is I feel the volunteer judges should have the knowledge of the basic laws. This includes proper courtroom protocol such as knowing when a person should stand when talking or listening to a judge, knowing how to address the judge and of course know what the law is regard the misdemeanor charges that are involved. Officer Sheryl said the reason we have practicing attorneys in the Tigard teen court is because this is the way she wants it to be and I feel it is the only way.

I imagine teens who have sat in on the Tigard Court recall after each case the judge spends about five minutes talking with the defendent and some don't mince words in letting the person know what could have become of them had they not had the choice of Peer Court. It is quite the eye-opener as one of our judges is a ProTem judge in juvenile and he wastes no time making his point plain and clear.

Then, considering Tigard Youth Peer Court was started 12 years ago by a Tigard Police officer, when Officer Sheryl was hired she was asked to take over the court as this officer was advancing. Overall, the re-offend rate for us is 1 percent and holds steady.

So I do wish Ms. Artajo a lot of success with the Sherwood Teen Court, and in a small way hope she may give thought to making sure the judges she gets at least have knowldge of the basic law.

Jean Almond

Sherwood

Principal was right to ban play: middle school productions should be fun for all

To the editor:

While I understand the huge disappointment of having the Sherwood Middle School play 'Higher Ground' cancelled at the last minute, I support Ms. Anna Pittioni's decision 100 percent.

Call me old-fashioned, but I believe middle school (and high school) plays should be lighthearted. When I was in school, many years ago, we did 'The Music Man,' 'Li'l Abner,' ' Oklahoma,' 'Arsenic and Old Lace' and several other plays of a friendly and enjoyable nature.

School plays should be such that all family members, especially younger siblings and grandparents of the cast, can go and watch and laugh and enjoy them.

Serious issues such as bullying absolutely need to be addressed head-on in the school and in the home, but not in the form of a school play.

Parents should be able to bring their entire family to any school play without having to worry about whether or not it will upset someone.

So good for you, Ms. Pittioni! I know that wasn't an easy call, but it was the right one in my opinion.

Vicki Westerman

Sherwood