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Letters: Focus on local issues; education; Elections Office; rail vote; Happy Valley sign

Time has passed, but the news that an active shooter was inside the Clackamas Town Center and firing on bystanders is still fresh in our minds and frightening to remember.

Like all of you, I did a mental check of the whereabouts of my family members, texting and phoning to hear that they were safe and out of harm’s way. Later, we all heard firsthand accounts from friends and neighbors who were there, or had just left after their Christmas shopping. The news was bad, but could have been much worse.

I am so proud and grateful to the first responders of our local law-enforcement agencies and emergency services providers. Their professionalism and bravery has been nationally acknowledged, and rightfully so.

We ask questions that will never be answered. Why did this happen? How could this happen? A 22-year-old gunman apparently unable to face his life, but not willing to face death alone, terrorized thousands of people at Clackamas Town Center. Two innocent victims paid the ultimate price as their lives were cut short by a young man bent on murder and destruction, and a wounded teenage girl who faces a long road back to physical and emotional recovery. So many others, too, will carry the events of 12-11-12 with them for years to come.

On Sunday, Dec. 16, I joined with several hundred of you for a commemorative vigil at Happy Valley Middle School. Sadly, we had another tragedy to grieve. The Dec. 14 school shootings in Newtown, Conn., claimed the most innocent of victims and the brave adults who fought to save them. As we shared our thoughts and prayers, it made me think of how the Newtown community was described on the news. People settled there after finding a beautiful, livable community with great schools to put down roots and raise a family. It sounds like a larger version of Happy Valley.

It’s true that we can’t control our entire environment. We can’t protect ourselves against every threat to our safety. We can, however, focus on those things within our control. We can reinforce the safety of our streets and neighborhoods by our active participation in community-watch programs. We can support our schools through volunteerism, always remembering that a good community shares the responsibility for all of its children. We can remember to act with kindness and patience even on a bad day.

These events, made more painful during a time when the days should have been filled with holiday excitement, have changed us. We need time to heal, and to remember those who need our continuing support. May 2013 be a better year for all of us.

Mayor Lori DeRemer

Happy Valley

Kids need education

I am an 18-year-old senior at La Salle high school writing to show my concern about our country that lacks general education for people that simply can’t afford it.

Many people in this country cannot afford an education that prepares them for their future. In today’s economy you need a decent high school education in order to have a successful job and promising career. So many people don’t get to experience being able to have a good life to feed their family and keep everyone healthy.

There is a program in Portland called the Boys and Girls Club, and it helps children’s families that can’t afford a solid education. This program only charges $5 a year, and with all of the loans and donations they get from major companies, they can make this happen.

Please consider this issue. If the government worked to create more of these programs, it would be a very good and productive start to changing our economy.

Dakota Eisel

Damascus

More proof needed

Interesting opinion piece by Scott Moore, spokesman for Our Oregon (“County Elections Office policies raise red flags,” Jan. 16). But how can the voters make an informed decision if Sherry Hall’s office is less secure, more secure or right on, without the comparison of all the other county election offices in the state of Oregon?

Who is going to provide voters information comparing the entire process, including how many cameras and where the cameras are located, sign-in/sign-out policies, how ballots are collected from the drop boxes in the county, how they hire their temporary workers, etc?

All I hear is Sherry Hall doesn’t do anything right in the Clackamas County Elections office. I want comparisons which would provide proof which ultimately leads to who I vote for to run the Clackamas County Elections office.

Sue Conachan

Oak Grove

No way to run county

We will now see the fruits of November whereby anti-light rail forces were put in charge of our Clackamas County government.

In their first month in office, they have ordered voters to approve simple administrative questions such as, “Should TriMet operate the new Portland-Milwaukie light rail line?” Duh.

If the voters say “No,” then the Ludlow-Tootie-Savas schemers have won by killing the new line and any others. They must want more vehicle traffic.

Next up: Oregon DOT is looking at a new high-speed rail line connecting Eugene to Portland. Whoa! It must run through Clackamas County and that means voters must authorize consideration of such a notion.

That’s thought-provoking, except staffers can’t even think about it on county time unless voters say they can. Is this any way to run our government?

One wonders how long Clackamas County citizens will put up with such expensive, time-wasting foolishness.

Peter Toll

West Linn

More communication would also be welcome

I am responding to the information given in a recent article about the proposed “New Happy Valley sign to greet Sunnyside Road drivers” (Jan. 9).

The property at the northeast corner of Southeast Sunnyside Road and 122nd Avenue is within the designated boundaries of an unincorporated area of Clackamas County called Sunnyside United Neighbors CPO (Community Planning Organization.) There is an Oregon state statute that requires all recognized unincorporated areas to serve as advisors to the Board of County Commissioners on matters affecting their communities, particularly in the area of land use.

This corner lot is not within the city of Happy Valley. The city of Happy Valley is purchasing this lot from Clackamas County Development Agency and has chosen to cherry-stem south from their city boundary to the site in order to annex it into the city.

They have not initiated any communication with the CPO about this acquisition and appear to scoff at our opposition to this property invasion—especially with the proposed large “City of Happy Valley” sign on land that is entirely within the CPO’s designated boundary. Unfortunately, this annexation process is legal, but most unprofessional when the unincorporated area is not informed until the deal is completed.

The graffiti was painted over about two years ago and the concrete wall was removed about one year ago. When I have noted problems, including political signs, I called the county, and the problem was resolved in a few days.

The lot is unattractive, but is it worth spending $100,000 (or more) to glamorize one of the roads into a large residential area of the city? The “gateway” to the actual city (businesses and City Hall) should be at 142nd Avenue and Sunnyside Road.

While we are not residents of the city of Happy Valley, we feel that if the city has extra money available, it might be better spent toward improving public safety with sidewalks on the eastside of 129th Avenue north of Spring Mountain Elementary School.

Martha Waldemar, Chairwoman

Sunnyside United Neighbors CPO




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