Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Just Another Point of View: We do need to build a wall after all -- but not the one you think

Donald Trump was a little bit right when he announced we should build "a great wall."

We do need a wall, to keep out the people who are ruining our lives. But the thing is, he wasn't right to suggest it's Mexico causing our problems. Nor is it Muslims, Somalis, Armenians, Puerto Ricans, atheists or homosexuals we need to keep from coming here.

No, the ones we really need to put a stop to are the Washingtonians. We need a great wall to make those people stay in their own state.

They drive into Portland every day, in great numbers, to work and shop. They're clogging our streets and highways — and, let's face it, they're terrible drivers. (Check this yourself; next time you see a BMW weaving in and out of traffic, scaring the daylights out of our careful-driving old people, take a closer look and you'll notice the offenders almost always have Washington license plates.)

They not only are causing most of our traffic problems; they're also taking our jobs and, I'm pretty sure, stealing our women, too. And unlike those other, much more maligned workers — such as those from Mexico, Central America and beyond (who do the lowly, crappy jobs we all refuse to do) — the Washington residents are taking good, high-paying positions in downtown offices that we'd gladly do if we could just get one.

Another overgeneralization made by the Republican candidate for president has to do with the character of the people he wants to keep out of our country. There is no reason to suggest that the people coming here from Mexico really are rapists and murderers (as suggested by DT), but I can't say the same about Washingtonians. Just watch the local news and you'll notice that far more robberies, shootings, abductions, arsons (especially of churches) and other ghastly crimes take place in Vancouver, Hazel Dell and Camas than here.

Now, don't get me wrong. Some of my best friends live in Washington. OK, maybe not BEST friends, but some people I know live there. I even have relatives there, and I would go there often to visit them if they weren't, you know, across the river.

Speaking of the river, this brings up an interesting point about how to properly control a border. Fortunately for us, we have the mighty Columbia River between us and the wily Washingtonians. So we don't need a Chinese-style Great Wall. We just need a few short ones in the middle of the major bridges connecting us.

Put up a modest cement barrier on the Interstate and Glenn Jackson bridges (as well as those at Astoria, Longview, Cascade Locks and points east) and all you'd need is a handful of state troopers to interrogate anybody trying to get in. It could be a lot like that old TV commercial, where the cop asks, "Where you fellas going with all that beer?"

Instead, he would ask, "How long do you expect to be in Oregon during your stay?" (And a few follow-ups, like the purpose of the visit, a speedy vehicle inspection for likely white-collar job stealers, a Q&A about whether the visitors include any rapists or murderers, and a quick signature on an Oregon Loyalty Card would suffice.)

Now, you geography buffs out there see one wrinkle in my plan, don't you? You're thinking about the part of Oregon's northern border not bound by the Columbia. Well, I don't believe that's a problem at all. The people in eastern Washington (like those in eastern Oregon and, for that matter, Idaho) bear very little similarity to their western neighbors. In other words, they represent no real threat to any of us and should not be given a second thought.

No, the real problem is with the residents of Southwest Washington. They're the ones who insist on living in Clark County to avoid paying Oregon taxes, yet continue refusing to pay for any kind of mass transit, or even to help pay for a new bridge to get to their high-paying jobs more easily.

So obviously, DT could not get Washington to pay for this great wall (like he says Mexico would), but I'm thinking he could just foot the bill himself. After all, he is very rich. How do I know that? Because he has told us so, many times.

Mikel Kelly was born and raised in Oregon and very seldom leaves the state. He does occasionally write a column for this newspaper.