Thorough research needed to justify bond

So, the Reynolds School District is going to ask us for (up to) $98 million, and the number one priority is relieving the overcrowding of Reynolds High School? I believe there was a similar concern more than 30 years ago when a second high school was needed to relieve the pressure at then Reynolds High School at Southeast 201st and Halsey.

Columbia High School was built (at the current Reynolds site) and a rivalry was born with very reasonable enrollments. I believe each school had 850-950 students in the mid to late 1980s when talks of combining the two schools to save money arose. Construction began at the current site in 1988 to build a 'superpower' high school, basically destroying Columbia's existence, and nearly 20 years later here we are today needing to relieve the overcrowding at the second largest high school in the state.

So, was everybody really that naive 20 years ago that this day would never come, when the decision to combine two rival high schools back into one would eventually become overcrowded? Was it not possible to add enough classrooms at each high school to accommodate 1,500 students each instead of one high school able to hold only 2,500?

Could nobody realize that East County was one of the fastest growing areas around and see all the available land where homes could be built essentially bringing in more people and students to our schools?

I agree with board member Rick Phelps that it may be a lot to ask with the current state of our economy. I know many people who are feeling the crunch.

I also understand we can't change the past and the tough decisions that were made, and that we live 'in the now,' but I was always taught to do thorough research when I was a student. Maybe our elected and paid officials should do the same. Good Luck! I sure hope you can come up with some sort of workable plan that we will vote for.


Columbia High, class of 1989


Right to vote is a privilege, take it seriously

Time is drawing near for ballots to be arriving in our mailboxes.

Mail-in ballots were supposed to increase voter participation and lessen voter apathy. There hopefully will be evidence of that in this May's primary.

Past generations took their right to vote very seriously. Even small children were taken to the polls and knew it was something important as they waited for mom, dad, grandma or grandpa outside the red, white and blue canvas voting booth.

Many grumble about the war, gas prices, taxes and politicians at every level. Usually the louder the grumble, the more likely it is that the grumbler doesn't vote.

The same old excuses are given. 'I don't have time,' or 'It won't matter anyway,' and 'If I vote, I'll have to do jury duty.'

And your point is? With the mail-in ballots, it is easier to vote than to fight the drive-up window at your favorite fast food restaurant. (Besides, due to the lack of voter registrations, jurors are now selected through a much larger sector of the population; those registered at DMV and proud to own a driver's license).

When your ballot comes in the mail, don't just throw it on the table and forget about it. Open it, read it, mark it and mail it. It is that easy. Registration is just as easy. Forms are available online or at local libraries. This year registrations need to be postmarked by April 29, so time is running out.

It takes very little time to vote, but as with most things in life worth doing, you get out of it what you put into it. Study the issues, know the candidates and their platforms and voice your opinion by casting your vote.

Don't whine if the biggest price you have to pay is jury duty. Many of our young are dying every day for your right to vote in a free election in a great country called America.



President Bush is pro-death and pro-famine

President Bush is 'pro-life' on the abortion issue. But he is clearly 'pro-death' in opposing life saving stem cell research, cutting Medicaid benefits, resisting expanded health insurance coverage, ignoring 35 million Americans below the poverty level, opposing stronger gun control laws, weakening endangered species laws, overlooking thousands of annual global warming related deaths, and in not promoting greater penalties for cigarette companies. He was further pro-death in a slow response to Hurricane Katrina.

Globally, about a million people die monthly from malnutrition or lack of clean water. Many of these lives could be saved for literally a few cents per day.

With no real effort to save these lives, President Bush is not only pro-death but also pro-famine. How can so many millions of Americans be so deceived by all these positions of this pro-death president?



Dog park would help responsible owners

A man and his Lab trudged through the crisp autumn leaves that lined the city streets. The man wishing for some nice, soft grass to walk on, and his Lab wishing for a place to run free like other dogs in others cities; a place such as a dog park. There are many good reasons for the city of Gresham to put in a dog park.

In the parks that don't have off-leash areas, there are usually dogs off leash. Sometimes the dogs will run up to a person to say hello. From time to time the person will get scared, because it can be slightly scary when a dog runs up to you and you don't know if it's going to attack.

If you were to put in a dog park, it unfortunately would cost money and time, and a few people might not be happy about it. The dogs will bark and make noise and chase cats, plus dogs will make messes. But the good thing about that is it could bring the community together, and neighbors could get to know each other.

Another good reason to put in a dog park is for responsible dog owners. Take my neighbor for instance. He loves his dog so much he drives all the way to the closest dog park, in Southeast Portland, just to take his dog to a dog park that is not very well maintained, with bad fencing and no parking.

If there could be a dog park in Gresham, it would be more convenient for responsible dogs owners who want their dog to be happy and have fun. I propose the city put a dog park in Gresham.



McKeel is best choice for commissioner

Seldom have we, as voters, had such a solid choice for an elected office. I have known Diane in excess of 30 years. During that time, she has been a friend and a colleague. We have worked together at the Mt. Hood Literacy Coalition, Mt Hood College Foundation Board, Mt. Hood Festival of Jazz Board and various other community projects. Working with Diane has allowed me to see, first hand, her commitment to East County.

As a candidate for Multnomah County Commissioner, Diane possesses the experience and ability to effectively represent the needs of East County. Her leadership of the West Columbia Chamber of Commerce exemplifies her diverse range of experiences. Diane is well known in the private sector, as well as the public sector for her willingness to listen, investigate and act.

We need Diane McKeel's stewardship to move East County forward. Let us vote for a candidate that will work for all of us.



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