Letters for May 24
Just from driving around downtown Milwaukie looking for parking my husband, James, 3-year-old son Titus and I could tell a lot of Oregonians were out enjoying Cinco De Mayo and Milwaukie's First Friday of 2017.
The first set of booths heading down Main Street make me realize how much I have been missing this. Passing a few more vendors, we get to the parking lot with just over a dozen tents featuring handmade art, jewelry, treats, decorations, furniture, gifts, food and so much more. James even bought a Mill-Walk-Key shirt from Shirt Nerdery. Families, friends, vendors and dogs were all having a great time despite the lack of sunshine.
After visiting with Clackamas firefighters and getting a balloon animal from local children entertainers Olive and Dingo, Titus and I opted for an ice cream at Scoop. Salted carmel and fair-trade chocolate hit the spot.
Then we really got a treat. Titus was the first to see it: "A RAINBOW," he shouted, while pointing over the City Hall building. What a perfect showing for Milwaukie's finest to enjoy!
I am looking forward to future Milwaukie First Friday events; may they bring warmer days, more vendors, more food, more dancing and more friends.
Oregon City students recognized for kindness
On Saturday, May 13, I was honored to be invited and to attend the Oregon City Optimist Club's 2017 Citizenship and Youth Appreciation Awards. Seventeen students were chosen by educators in eight schools to be recognized at the event and their teachers and administrators were on hand to tell us just why they had earned the respect of their peers.
The stories included two common themes: kindness and service to others. Most were scholars and athletes, some were thespians and writers, and all were good citizens with perseverance, patience, enthusiasm for life.
Those recognized for their outstanding contributions to their school and community were:
St. John the Apostle Catholic School - Mandy Sisul and Liam Broughton
North Clackamas Christian School - Eli Perse, Madison Steele, Ashlynn Kerekffy and Caleb Mattias
Springwater Environmental School - Izzy Hix and Paige Norton
Oregon City High School - Whitnie Warren and Soud Zaidan
Oregon City Service Learning Academy - Beatrice Owens
Clackamas Academy of Industrial Arts - Grace Christensen and Zane Freeman
Gardiner Middle School - Shay Gionson and Jesse Orozco
Ogden Middle School - Bethany Lemmon and Katie Sterba
Joanne Truesdell, Clackamas Community College president, made a keynote presentation where she complimented each student and their parents and/or caregivers for their leadership. She explained that she had been asked to speak about the vital role of community service, but realized that just hearing the stories of those being honored was explanation enough.
"It is about your approach to life," Truesdell said. "Show up, smile and be kind. You may be too humble to believe this, but it is all about you."
"What you do, what you are being recognized for, it's not as easy as it might seem," she continued. "But push through the big projects and those things that you do every day, because that's what keeps your community healthy."
Quoting Mother Theresa, she reminded all assembled that love is vital to community. She concluded her words by saying we should all strive to achieve this goal: "When all is said and done, I have served my moment well."
Congratulations to all students! Thanks to all the parents and teachers and kudos to the Oregon City Optimist Club for such a fine event.
Oregon City Optimist Club president
Help save the fish from sewage
I am 11 years old and a Boy Scout. I am worried about the heavy recent rains that caused sewage to overflow into the river.
The sewage kills fish. I like fishing and want there to be healthy fish. If the fish eat and drink sewage I might get sick from eating it. This also hurts the food chain because if too many fish die the animals that eat fish will die too. Dead fish look bad for the city, because when people drive past the river they might see dead fish floating.
When sewage comes into the river and people swim in it they could get diseases like campylobacteriosis and escherichia coli (E.coli). Also fun events that use the river could get canceled.
If too much sewage goes into the water, it will be hard to get the river back to normal. Future generations deserve to have all the animals that live in the water be healthy.
We should stop polluting the river by doing simple things like not using pesticides or herbicides, not flushing pills or chemicals down the toilet, and making the pipes bigger to keep the sewage from overflowing. We should make a change now to save the fish.
Bravo to sheriff's immigration policy
A small group of concerned citizens from ACLU's People Power, Indivisible and the Oregon Democratic Party met with Sheriff Craig Roberts and other department members this month. We were pleased to find out that the sheriff's office supports the 30-year-old law prohibiting the use of state and local resources to enforce federal immigration law if a person's only crime is being in this country illegally. In addition, we were heartened to hear that the Clackamas County sheriff adheres to many of the ACLU's nine model policies for local law enforcement which are aimed at preserving civil rights and protecting our communities.
The reason the sheriff adopts this stand is straightforward: it's the law (ORS 181A.820) but it's also smart policing. If people don't trust law enforcement, it makes their job of safeguarding our communities much harder. In fact, the sheriff stated that reports of crimes, such as theft, domestic abuse and assault have dropped significantly. He speculated that undocumented immigrants, many of whom believe that any law enforcement office is working for and with ICE, are not coming forward due to fear of deportation. These unsolved and unprosectued crimes are a problem for all of us and not just the immigrant communtiy.
The sheriff enlisted our assistance in soliciting questions from undocumented immigrants in his effort to build a website where answers to those questions can be found. In addition, he asked for our support in writing to our representatives to save funding for a worthwhile program, Justice Re-investment (HB5005). This program provides 18 months of assistance to those recently released from jail with drug and alcohol dependence and/or mental issues. It has proven highly effective and the recitivism rate is substantially reduced.
We applaud the sheriff and his entire department for their continued diligence and compassion!