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Letters to the Editor for April 18

Replace underpass with overpass to solve impasse

An obstacle sometimes requires more than negotiation for relief.

Sometimes, it requires new thinking.

I have read with sadness, but not surprise, the profit-conscious determination of the Union Pacific to thwart our efforts to subsidize a new underpass on Eastman/223rd.

Instead of bowing to their less-than-civic attitude, I propose one of the following remedies:

1. Fill the current underpass with dirt. Use our public funds to build an overpass. Make sure when building the overpass, we don't spare a single centimeter above and beyond the existing height requirements for an overpass. In the future, Union Pacific can then whine (and suffer the economic consequences) of not being able to move 'extra tall' freight underneath our overpass.

At some point during the final stages of planning the overpass, Union Pacific will change its mind about the original underpass because, as we all know, they care only about profits. If the thought of losing 'air-rights' becomes a reality to them, they will quickly appreciate the cheaper alternative - widening the current underpass.

2. Citizens should start compiling a list of Union Pacific customers who pay the railroad. Citizens should apply boycott pressure to those customers. But why stop there? Some big insurance company protects Union Pacific. Let's discover who that is, and as a community begin to take steps to boycott all activities with that insurer.

We can act like a small fish and get swallowed by the mouth of the large fish. Or, we can bind our creativity and our purchasing power together to derail Union Pacific from thinking it's the only fish in the sea.

SEAN MULVIHILL

Gresham

School's support, compassion shines

As the parent of a Springwater Trail freshman student, I can tell you that the school staff was extremely supportive to Chad Escobedo.

To my understanding, he was allowed to leave class multiple times daily, if needed, to speak to Principal Larry Bentz and/or Counselor Elizabeth Larsen concerning his stresses. I have personally witnessed the caring attitude of all staff members at STHS, and I know if you were to ask each student, they would say they have an unusually strong bond of support with the faculty.

The school is grieving due to Chad's actions, but is determined to continue to heal. Everyone I spoke with, including my son and myself, hopes that Chad will come into healing also. While he can't undo what he did, I believe restoration and rebuilding are possible in one so young.

The truth is, Springwater Trail High School is a place filled with caring staff.

The truth is, the students of STHS are incredible kids who are weathering this situation with maturity and kindness, in spite of their youth and very mixed emotions.

They are not the typical football hero or cheerleader types, but are creative, sensitive and unique, and they hold promising futures.

I am proud that my son attends this school - and the events of the past week have proved to me that he is in the right place.

JULIE FARNHAM

Gresham

Children should wear seat belts on bus

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article on the need for seat belts on school buses. Most school buses in America are very safe modes of transportation for children. But it also teaches our children to secure their lives no matter where they go. Even though school buses have a great track record with very few casualties, seat belts may be the answer for other safety measures to be taken in other areas of their lives.

Learning to drive should not be taught at 15 or 16, but should start the minute children board the school bus. In order to maintain order in a demanding world, safety is of utmost importance. Adults may see the school bus as only a small part of a child's life, but with ever growing problems around the world, security is what we all desire and seek in order to maintain peace. Safety belts teach responsibility and makes responsible people the minute they step into a vehicle and carries over into other areas of living.

It could possibly be the answer indirectly to reduce teenage drinking and driving. If rules apply to adults driving they should also be applied to children. Since when did children become exempt from seat belts? What we teach our children is what they will become as adults. Security makes a secure world.

Mike Brink

Gresham

Intense media attention hampers healing

My daughter is a 10th-grader at Springwater High School.

As one of the parents first to arrive on the scene after the shooting, I was impressed with how the situation was handled by the school administrators, police and most of all the students.

Thank God for cell phones is all I can say. I was able to make contact with her about an hour after the shooting. Based on the phone call from my daughter, I was the one who told the police officer at Highway 26 and Palmquist Road that there was also a bomb threat, told to the students by the principal. The officer did not know!

I will say that the media is not helping the students to heal. It is three days later and media was still camped out watching and waiting for the students to come out. The kids can't even go outside for lunch and play basketball without a camera focused on them.

While some of the students are eager to talk to the media, many students just want to go on with their teenage lives and get over it.

By the media giving this story so much attention, it may cause copycat crimes.

DONNA GORDON

Troutdale

John Kilian great choice for education board

I have known Dr. John Kilian for approximately eight years both personally and professionally. In that time I have found him to be a very honest and up front person who cares about others and his community.

As a former city councilor, I am familiar with the Multnomah Education Service District and the important task that it does for education in Multnomah County. Education administrators touch on much more than just the classroom education of our children.

Their job is diverse in that they manage how well the facilities are maintained, the standard for equipment and the overall health and well being of the students. It is this last responsibility that makes me feel that Dr. Kilian would be an excellent addition to the board.

He has a mixture of concern for the students' education as well as their health issues at the instruction level. In order to be a good administrator of any program, it is best to have broad understanding of the goals and mission of that organization. Many times the health of the student and the education of the medically disabled get overlooked for the more familiar, glaring problems.

For these reasons please accept my endorsement of Dr. John Kilian for a seat on MESD. I feel he would be a very good addition to the decision making on a number of levels.

JACK HANNA

Former Gresham Councilor

Portland

Resident questions safety of swimming in Blue Lake

I feel obligated as a good neighbor to tell you about a health issue that I believe is developing in our community. Let me introduce myself. My name is Susan Myers, and I live on Blue Lake. I am still considered a newcomer by some of my neighbors out here. We bought our home in winter 2001.

The first year we enjoyed swimming and boating on the lake as many of you have also. But each year we have seen a decline in the water quality.

I am very concerned for the safety of the Blue Lake residents and for the public who come to Blue Lake Park. Last year there were two dogs who after swimming in the lake got sick, and unfortunately, one of them died. I also heard of a young gentleman who had to be hospitalized after spending some extensive time in the water. I believe these incidents happened because of the toxicity of the weeds and the algae blooms that are increasing in numbers and strength.

Please know that we love our neighborhood and the beautiful views that we get to enjoy out here. We, as a community, are trying to find solutions to the water quality. Until a solution has been implemented I would just like to make you aware that there could be possible health risks if you come to visit our lake.

SUSAN MYERS

Fairview