Letters to the Editor, April 2

To The Editor

The North Clackamas School Board has a great opportunity to name one of their new elementary schools after a great man who has dedicated his life to his community and family. However, when the board meets April 3, the school naming committee will ask them to call it something else.

I'm talking about the land called 'site C' - off 172nd Avenue, which is currently home to my dad, 85-year old Jack Westfall. The district condemned his 18 acres of property to build the new school. Long story short; Jack was not treated with respect by NCSD. The least they could do is honor Jack, by calling the new school 'Westfall Elementary.'

The district asked for proposed names for this school and three others using an on-line survey. Westfall was mentioned dozens of times in the survey, more than any of the other nominations put together. Those who took the time to submit Westfall did so because they believe it is the right name for the right cause.

If the school is assigned another name, the district will miss a great chance to promote a positive outcome; to show how the Westfalls spent more than 30 years raising kids and grandkids on the family farm at that location. Instead of dwelling on the negative feelings about condemnation, why not shift the focus to the Westfall dream, setting an example for future generations that you should help your neighbor and give back to your community.

Jack Westfall has given up so much for NCSD. I hope your readers will urge the school board to make a fitting tribute by creating 'Westfall Elementary School.'

Susan Westfall Walker

Can't support a new fee that raises taxes for roads

To the Editor:

I just can't support the proposal for a new tax described by Oregon City as a 'Transportation Fee.' The tax would be phased in over a five-year period, topping out at $11 per month ($132 per year). The tax could not be increased more than 3 percent a year, according to the Oregon City News article dated March 26, 2008. My guess is that since Oregon City is always complaining they don't have enough tax money, the annual increase would be 3 percent. The transportation tax already has a built-in increase each year until the rate hits $11. Adding an additional 3 percent each year would mean the tax would top out well beyond the $11 mark.

I would support a tax for road maintenance if the city could assure its citizens that the money it currently receives, which is directed to roads, and the new road tax would not be squandered and would be spent specifically on road improvements. I could not support any additional taxes for road maintenance if the money was used for projects such as new flower beds in the middle of the road, new bike paths and mass transit. The past history of road improvements in Oregon City, in my opinion, is not conducive to improving traffic flow. Just take a look at how 'improved' traffic flow is on Molalla Avenue. All you have to do is drive down Molalla Avenue in the late afternoon to see how 'improved' the traffic flow is.

The city calls this a fee. Let's call it what it is, a new tax. A tax that is imposed on the citizens of Oregon City without a say in the matter on how the money is spent. A tax that can increase 3 percent a year without any input by the citizens of Oregon City. This is something I can't support.

David Kennell

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