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Community reacts to various county projects

As Milwaukie steps into spring with the blossoming of flowers, one cannot help but think of the seasonal rebirth of our Willamette Valley landscape and the change it brings us each year. As we watch nature bring this change, one cannot help but see and hear another change to our city.

Light-rail construction is everywhere. The rumble of dump trucks, the pounding of pile drivers, the spinning of concrete mixers, the clearing of trees and the removal of hillsides to make way for a new form of public transportation for the citizens of our city and our county. Light rail. It will change the Milwaukie landscape as we currently know it forever.

As we watch and observe the contractors, subcontractors, utility workers and traffic control flaggers, I am reminded of the richness of our existing neighborhoods and the citizens who live here. They are all part of our city and as residents and neighbors, they strive to respect each other as they go about their busy lives. Everyone from firefighters and police officers, young families and retirees, homeowners and renters, city employees and small business owners all work hard to be respectful of one another and to make certain that their work dovetails seamlessly into the rich fabric of our community.

With that Milwaukie model of respect for one another being set by its citizens, I know that the General Contractor for TriMet Stacy and Witbeck sees how essential it is for them to respect the Milwaukie citizens as they leave for work, drop children at school, walk to the bus transit station or ride their bicycles to downtown. After all, as contractors working on the light-rail project, they are all guests in the community doing work with our tax dollars and our city general-fund contributions. As a guest in our town, I know that they are aware of how important safety, security and courtesy is for our pedestrians, drivers and bicycle riders as they make their way along Harrison, Monroe, Washington and Lake Road.

So when you see them next, give them a wave or call them at 503-962-2222 to let them know how they are doing. They will much appreciate the feedback.

Councilor Scott Churchill

Milwaukie

Astonished by county antics

Having lived in the Milwaukie/Oak Grove community for 17 years, I was extremely hopeful when city, county and Metro agencies were able to bring light rail to our community. My enthusiasm has turned to astonishment when I read about the antics played out in Clackamas County government relating to light rail.

Let’s start from the beginning; light rail is good because it helps reduce congestion on our roads. It is the gateway to prosperity as we have seen in other communities. Light rail increases consumer traffic and will stimulate business and employment in our town. The money we spend on infrastructure will be returned with a more vibrant and prosperous community. It is a very good thing for us.

We are now hearing political opppositon at the county level seeking to undermine light rail. New county commissioners are attempting to “unring” the bell and pull back from our light-rail committment. They’ve scheduled a vote on the issue, which is akin to closing the barn door after the horses have left. This action would be funny were it not for the fact that the cost of the sham vote wastes valuable county resources.

This type of action, coupled with strong-arm tactics against staff, have made Clackamas County a regional embarrassment. Time for commissioners to set aside political agendas and do the work they were elected to do.

Liam McGill

Oak Grove

Let county, TriMet sort it out

I am not sure why Mr. Molinari in his letter last week titled “Occupy TriMet” would imagine that he speaks for all Clackamas County voters, or their views on the Milwaukie light rail project. I have lived here for more than 30 years, and he certainly does not speak for me.

He is inaccurate in implying that Measure 3-401 gives the right to renege on our contracts with TriMet. The measure was not designed to be retroactive, so I am outraged that he and his group will give the impression that Clackamas County residents are people whose word cannot be trusted, who back out on their contractual obligations. We will be viewed as self-serving, and end up paying dearly for the resulting lawsuits.

I would also like to respond to his criticism of “the unions” by reminding him that we have a 40-hour workweek because of unions; we have living wages thanks to unions; we have annual holidays because of unions; we have workplace safety because of unions. To understand the danger of having weakened unions, just look at the drop in union membership compared to the stagnation in the median wage over the past 30 years.

The light-rail project is already steeped in political and legal wrangling. Mr. Molinari and his supporters would do well to let our Clackamas County Commisssion and TriMet sort it out, without adding fuel to the fire.

Peter Bellamy

Oregon City

A sensible alternative

The 3 Creeks Natural Area represents the last vestige of an urban watershed that provides habitat and protects water quality in North Clackamas.

A long range transportation plan created decades ago, the TSP, recommended the development of Sunnybrook West, an unnecessary road that would degrade the 3 Creeks Natural Area. How could the funding for Sunnybrook West be better used? By investing in smart infrastructure that adds flexibility and cost-effective transit solutions. County Commissioners should consider building a hub for jitney buses near the Clackamas Community College.

Jitney service would connect communities subject to decreasing bus routes to education, shopping, and recreation opportunities near the Town Center. A dynamic, flexible Town Center would attract homeowners and entrepreneurs seeking to relocate, thus increasing the tax base. I urge commissioners to remove the Sunnybrook West road from the County TSP. In addition, I encourage commissioners to consider common-sense transit alternatives for the Town Center to provide access to the shopping, education and recreation opportunities near the 3 Creeks Natural Area.

Let’s employ a smart transit solution that creates a lasting legacy and improves the economic opportunities for North Clackamas.

Chris Ortolano

Milwaukie

Bargaining for health plan

I am a union employee with TriMet. It would be nice if you could obtain the complete history of the contract between the ATU and TriMet. It would reveal what we employees over the many, many years have bargained away in wages in order to pay for the health plan we had.

I would like someone out there in the real world to tell me that for the coverage being provided and for the number of employees TriMet employs they can’t buy a cheaper health insurance plan? Really!

My take-home pay is $44,946.41 and I have a family of five, and you want to tell me I am overpaid as a union employee, really? I do pay $90.86 every two weeks, a $450 family deductible, a 10 percent with maximum $4,500 co-insurance per year.

Jack Kill

Milwaukie

Thank you

On behalf of the John McLoughlin PTSO (Parent Teacher Student Organization), we would like to thank the many local businesses that supported our annual Spring Carnival and Gift Basket Raffle Fundraiser. Through the generous support of local businesses, the PTSO is able to fund important activities such as our teacher education assistance fund, technology updates, overhead projector project, field trips and we are saving to rehabilitate our track.

The goal of the John McLoughlin PTSO is to make a difference in the quality of education our students receive by helping our teachers with much needed items for their classrooms, providing educational tools and resources and to have an overall positive experience. With the help of donations from these wonderful local businesses, we will continue to be able to support the quality education our children are receiving at John McLoughlin Elementary.

Thank you for your support!

Keith and Marcie Keylock

Oregon City

We welcome submissions from readers on local issues for our Editorial and Opinion page. Please send your thoughts by noon Friday to Raymond Rendleman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Keep Letter to the Editor submissions under 400 words; longer submissions will be considered for Community Soapboxes. Submissions may be edited for length, grammar, libel and appropriate taste. Letters must be accompanied by a full name, a telephone number and street address for verification purposes. Readers are also invited to call 503-546-0742 with story ideas and comments.




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Humidity: 83%

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