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Like it or not, economic growth supports citizens

Miki Barnes’ guest commentary (“County should steer away from ‘economic engine’ model of growth,” Hillsboro Tribune, May 23 issue) urges Washington County to become a junior version of Portland by abandoning its role as an “economic engine.” But should we mimic a city bogged down in bureaucracy, over-regulation, and expensive lefty-liberalism?

Clearly, the recent election showed a majority in Washington County doesn’t want this. We thrive on a productive and prosperous economy that creates good jobs and opportunities lacking in most of Oregon.

Our state’s economic growth has been strangled over the past decade because Salem has adopted too many Portlandesque attitudes. The result? Nothing gets done in an efficient, cost-effective, timely manner. And most major projects are stonewalled, delayed or hamstrung by environmental ideologues like Ms. Barnes.

Of course, some environmental concerns are very real. But many are concocted by NIMBYs and fringe activists using pseudo-science or cherry-picked facts. These folks see all new processes as suspect; all corporations as inherently evil; and all growth despoiling their Arcadian ideals.

Luckily, such fantasies, suppositions, and quarter-truths don’t play that well in Washington County, where common sense and pragmatism still determine policy.

Ms. Barnes and her little group claim that expanding Hillsboro’s airport is going to bring down a toxic apocalypse on our city. Really? I think not. Reasonable people know this expansion will improve our transportation infrastructure, which will encourage further industrial growth that will make our community even more prosperous.

Does such growth have a downside? Of course. Growth always comes with positives and negatives. But I don’t believe the negatives in this case are anywhere near what Ms. Barnes is claiming. Like it or not, we live in a society that relies on growth to support an increasing population. For better and worse, this is our reality. And if we aren’t going back to some pre-industrial agrarian way of life, then controlled growth must create sufficient white-collar and blue-collar jobs.

Washington County tends to balance conflicting interests instead of rejecting growth, business, and industry. If Portland wants to accept an anemic economy based on food carts, coffee shops, and tiny boutiques, then so be it. But Washington County has chosen to keep smartly growing a genuine prosperity grounded in solid verifiable facts — not an unsustainable level of eco-purity at all costs.

William Spainhour

Hillsboro

Spending to realign street system makes no sense

In regards to the two-way streets in downtown Hillsboro, to spend $2.5 million does not make any sense at all.

I have been coming downtown on Main Street to get home, as Baseline Street is all torn up. There are no parking spaces if I wanted to shop there, and also there is usually a truck unloading to deliver to a merchant that I have to drive around.

Spend OUR money on something that makes sense.

Janis Larsen

Hillsboro



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