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Letters: Readers want investment in schools, services

by: PHOTO COURTESY: JENNIFER LESIEUR - Pictured are Amber Harvey, sophomore and quarter finalist (from left), and sophomores Jennie Jiang and Emily Holland, who both tied for first place in Lincoln-Douglas debate. The speech and debate team from Clackamas High School took second place in the state competition last month, finishing behind Tigard.Only four states—New Hampshire, Ohio, Vermont and Colorado—provide less taxpayer support per student than Oregon. As an Oregonian, it pains me that my state continues to disinvest in higher education.

Oregon and its legislators just don’t seem to care about ensuring that the current generation of Oregonians are educated. The average student debt in Oregon is $25,497, and unless the legislature does something that number will only continue to increase. In my own case, I have accrued over $6,000 worth of student-loan debt after three terms of college, not including books and living expenses.

The Legislature will soon be deciding Oregon’s higher education budget for the next two years. It is time for Oregon to buck up and start reinvesting in its future, before we price all but the rich out of an education.

Galen Russell

Milwaukie

Contact your lawmaker

The mission of community colleges is more important today than ever before.

We provide an affordable path to a four-year degree for students. We offer the skills and training Oregonians need for good, family-wage jobs from health care to high tech. We retrain workers, working closely with our local businesses to identify their needs and provide the training to fill those needs. We help people in our communities gain basic skills or complete high school so they can train for better jobs and provide for their families.

The education and training community colleges provide is vital to building a strong economy in Oregon. Jobs requiring a two-year associate’s degree will have the highest growth rate through 2020. The average growth rate of all jobs by 2020 is just 14 percent, while high-growth jobs requiring an associate’s degree will grow by an average of 35 percent.

The governor and the co-chairs of the Ways and Means committee are recommending funding community colleges at $428 million, a funding level last seen 10 years ago when the state’s community colleges served 70,000 fewer students.

After five years of growing enrollment and a 20 percent loss in state funding, this budget will force more of the burden on Oregon’s students who will lose access to courses and programs and see higher costs. We must do better for our students and for our community.

We are asking the Legislature to fund community colleges at $460 million, an increase proportionate with the increase the co-chairs’ budget gave our K-12 partners. If keeping quality, accessible education and training in your community is important to you, I urge you to contact your legislator and ask them to support community colleges at the $460 million level. You can find the name of your representative at leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr.

Greg Chaimov

CCC Board, Zone 1

Tolling I-205: A red herring

I must respond to the Wes Stanley letter printed in the April 17 edition.

I spent two years on the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) Committee and had the opportunity to watch various groups try to come to agreement on any subject. After more than 10 years, the CRC still doesn’t have it right. It is a flawed project. Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas is right in saying that there is still not enough correct information to support it or completely deny it. An example is tolling.

The whole idea of tolling Interstate 205 and the I-205 bridge is a “red herring.” When it was discussed at the commission meeting, neither the commission nor the people understood tolling on federal highways. You must have federal permission to toll, and that’s not going to happen.

It’s too bad that you won’t support Commissioner Savas because he is not bold enough. He works on facts, not wild suppositions. Acting boldly without facts is folly and usually results in chaos.

Larry Haverkamp

Oregon City

Keep momentum going

The Clackamas River Water Board has been in chaos and little has been accomplished, but with the appointment of Larry Sowa, Ken Humberston and Hugh Kalani to the board, things have begun to stabilize.

They need to be elected so we can keep the momentum going and get some order to this board and put the discord of the past behind them.

Vote for Sowa, Humberston and Kalani for the CRW board, as soon as you get your ballot.

Lori Luchak, president

Miles Fiberglass & Composites

Rollback not an option

Measure 3-423 addresses a rollback of Oregon City water rates to 1994 in 2014. While that might sound financially beneficial, it would not be possible to repair and maintain our water distribution pipes, some of which are over 100 years old, yet alone purchase and deliver clean water to Oregon City homes.

It is imperative the voters of Oregon City understand there are no options, no wait-and-sees, it’s “Yes” on 3-423 in order to keep the current rate, along with the 3 percent annual increase which has been in place for almost 20 years.

Please understand, our water distribution is not an option. Clean water, delivered in clean pipes to Oregon City homes, businesses, hospitals and schools is not an option.

Vote yes 3-423 on May 21.

Barbara Renken

Oregon City

Vote for civility

Larry Sowa, Ken Humberston and Hugh Kalani should be elected to the Clackamas River Water Board.

All three were appointed by the Clackamas County Commission, and have brought civility, stability and reasonableness to the CRW board. Together they will be able to move the agency forward and enable it to meet the needs of their customers.

Vote for Larry Sowa, Ken Humberston and Hugh Kalani on May 21.

Mark Meek

Clackamas

Support proven leadership

Vote Vivian Scott for North Clackamas School Board position 5. She is a proven leader who supports all children in our community.

Vivian knows our community. She has worked tirelessly as a volunteer in the public schools during and throughout her son’s attendance in North Clackamas schools.

She later served on the district Budget Committee, the Diversity Task Force and the North Clackamas Education Foundation. As an employment and career counselor, she understands what it takes to prepare all children for success.

Vivian helped develop the district’s long range strategic plan and works to support quality options for all students.

In these times of school cuts, she has worked to maintain career education, music, PE and counseling, plus AP and IB courses.

She listens, involves others in the process, looks for new solutions, then makes the best decisions for everyone. We need her continued leadership.

Debi Stromberg & Mitzi Bauer

Community volunteers

The choo-choo fantasy

Do you remember Disneyland? We all would like to own a bright, red Ferrari, but we know we can’t make the payments, afford the insurance, or run it and maintain it.

So how are we going to pay for the light rail? Who is going to pay for the sheriff’s department, the fire district, the affordable (Section 8) housing and most of all the overcrowded, failing schools? In addition, who is going to fill the deficit we are now facing in the courthouse? Clackamas County is not Fantasyland.

Wake up voters! It’s a small, small dream after all.

Jim Knapp

Oak Grove

Protect our parks

The League of The League of Women Voters of Clackamas County urges voters to support Metro’s Parks and Natural Areas Levy 26-152 which will appear on your May 21 ballot. This five-year local option levy of 9.6 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation of your home is proposed to restore natural areas, protect water quality and provide people with more opportunities to enjoy nature.

Voters approved bond measures in 1995 and 2006 to purchase and protect some of the region’s most significant undeveloped land. Neither of these bond funds for property acquisition could be used for operating expenses.

Metro owns or manages more than 16,000 acres, including more than 100 miles of stream and river frontage, wetlands, prairies, forests and more. Metro’s regional parks and natural areas are visited by more than 1.3 million people a year.

Metro has spent limited general funds to maintain these parks and natural areas, but has determined that such funding is not sustainable over the long term. Input on this proposal consisted of public opinion research, an advisory panel, local governments and community groups. Metro council voted unanimously to put this levy on the ballot.

The League supports management of our natural resources to improve water quality and wildlife habitat, fight invasive species, build trails and improve parks.

Luana Luther, president

LVW of Clackamas County

Joan Batten, action chair

End of status quo

In response to Mr. Bellamy’s letter to the editor in the April 24 issue of the Clackamas Review, he again is trying to mislead the voters/taxpayers of Clackamas County by saying that I am the one doing so.

This is simply not true. Measure 3-401 passed by 61 to 39 percent. He represents the minority of voters/taxpayers in Clackamas County when it come to light rail. The words future light rail projects do not appear in the wording of measure 3-401. It was meant to include the current light rail project.

“We the People” have a voice, which sadly the previous Clackamas County Commission ignored. Two of them were fired by the voters/taxpayers in November. A third did not run for re-election and instead set herself up for a high paying position with Oregon Iron Works, while still on the Board of County Commissioners while still making decisions on her behalf, not ours.

We need to remember that as voters/taxpayers, elected officials work for us. This includes judges who all to often run unopposed. If they refuse to listen to us then they need to be fired.

Again, many of our elected officials seem to want to ignore us and trade favors for campaign contributions. We need to make a stand and make it now. I do not have a problem with unions except that they carry way too much political weight. Look back over the past 30 years in our state as far as the state’s economy and tell me that we don’t need to make any changes. The “status quo” does not work any more.

Jeff Molinari

Milwaukie

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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