As we move into summer, we must take time to remember a few basic tips to ensure your family, friends, home, and business are safe.

These include understanding your limitations when recreating near rivers, lakes and swimming areas. Remember, the local rivers are still very cold, the water moves very fast, and there are hidden hazards just a few inches under the surface. When you use your feet to power your bike, use a helmet to protect your head.

The outdoor burning season is closed, and extreme caution must be used when using an open flame this summer. Camp fires and cooking fires can easily spread to fields, decks, homes and businesses. Leave the bigger fireworks to the professionals. Only legal fireworks should be used to celebrate this July 4.

And finally, make it a goal this summer to learn CPR and how to use an Automated External Defibrillator. A few minutes of training could save a life.

Fred Charlton

Clackamas fire chief

Fund housing assistance

As the Legislature winds down, there’s one piece of important business that should not be forgotten.

It’s not the budget for education, PERS reform, corrections or tax changes, but little known programs that help to serve some of the neediest in our communities — the Emergency Housing Account and the State Homeless Assistance Program. These two programs have been cut or flat funded every session since 2009, while homelessness in our communities has mushroomed.

These funds help to provide eviction prevention programs and fund emergency shelters. In Clackamas County where most of the people experiencing homelessness are in families with children, this means the difference between camping in the forests, sleeping in a car, or having a safe roof over the heads for hundreds of children each year.

We need our legislators to dig deep to find adequate funding for these critical programs.

Martha McLennan

Executive director of Milwaukie-based Northwest Housing Alternatives

Make leaders pay

Commissioners John Ludlow and Tootie Smith and others appear to be engaged in a concerted effort to breach Clackamas County’s contract with TriMet for the construction of the Orange Light Rail line to Oak Grove. TriMet has filed a lawsuit to enforce the contract, and seeks damages of over one million dollars.

Oregon law requires taxpayers pay for damages that result from a lawsuit against Clackamas County. But the law (ORS 30.285) also says that taxpayers are not required to pay when a governing body engaged in “malfeasance in office or willful or wanton neglect of duty,” which this breach appears to be.

If the Court rules in Tri-Met’s favor as expected, the taxpayers of Clackamas County should not have to pay for the damages, costs and attorney fees resulting from TriMet’s lawsuit. They should demand that Commissioners Ludlow and Smith, and any other Commissioner that supported this breach, personally pay instead.

David L. Jorling

Lake Oswego

Doggie tips offered

Independence Day can be a fun celebration for us humans, but it can be very traumatic for our dogs!

Here are some tips from Bark Busters Home Dog Training to protect your dogs and keep them safe:

1. Don’t leave your dogs outside; bring them inside to protect them. If this is not possible, cover the crate or kennel with a blanket to offer some protection from the bright flashes and loud bangs.

2. Keep your dog confined and don’t let him answer the front door. Your dog may be under significant stress which many result in unnecessary injury to innocent parties or cause your dog to dart out though the front door and get lost.

3. Create a special “den” where your dog feels safe. A properly introduced crate or kennel can be a great den for your dog.

4. Keep windows and curtains closed to reduce noises and bright flashes.

5. Turn on the TV, radio or a fan to distract your dog from the loud noises outside and to help him relax.

6. It may be hard, but try to stay with your pet during the majority of the fireworks duration. A dog can often react differently to a bang when you are not there.

7. Always have ID securely on your dog in case your dog gets out. Talk to your vet about micro-chipping your dog. Make sure that your vet hospital and/or animal shelter have recent information in their databases about you and your pet.

Dog owners have a responsibility to ensure their dogs have a safe and happy experience this July 4.

Al Holzer

West Linn

We welcome submissions from readers on local issues for our 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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