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Feb. 13: Letters to the Editor

The Port of St. Helens

works for us

My parents, sister’s family and my family live in Columbia County, all own property and have businesses here.

I graduated from Rainier High and currently live in Scappoose. I am upset by the thought of the Port of St. Helens initiating up to thousands of rail cars passing through our county per day (true number unknown because the Port has not set limitations on the coal and oil companies).

The latest bulk oil shipping deal will only generate about the same number of jobs in Columbia County as a large McDonald’s, so I’m alarmed to think the Port’s basis for allowing trains to divide our cities in two is job creation.

The Port’s other business plan is coal unit trains, which would make Columbia County a coal depot.

What is the Port thinking?

Excessive rail traffic is avoidable but the Port is creating it and ignoring the hurt it will cause to businesses and residents alike. I thought the Port’s job is to help create jobs and economic development, but it seems like it’s just looking for revenue at any cost to the rest of us.

The people in Rainier have been meeting to figure out how to deal with a large increase in rail traffic. I say this does not have to be; The Port directors are elected officials and they work for us.

If it’s prudent to stop excessive rail traffic, we can stop it.

As others point out in published opinions, we don’t know the prudent decision until there is an independent study to determine what impacts and benefits the trains will have.

I’m not persuaded by people’s opinions who do not live or own property in Columbia County telling us what a great deal unit trains are. They will not have thousands of rail cars cutting their towns in half.

My concerns are not based on emotion. I’m concerned for the economic and safety impact unit trains will have on our county.

What is the Port basing its decisions on?

Mike Clarke

Scappoose

Unit trains solvable problem

Once I would have agreed with your editorial on unit trains (See Guest Opinion “Without proper stuides, Port risks harming future investment,” Brian Rosenthal, Feb. 6). Thirty years ago Brazil and Australia were building very long railroad lines to export iron ore. We in the North American iron industry “knew” that those unit trains could never be either economically or technically viable.

They built the trains and solved the technical problems. Iron operations jump-started the Brazilian economy. Brazil and Australia have control of the world iron market, and the price of iron is up tenfold.

Like Canada, Brazil and Australia built their very strong economies on such exporting operations. Like Canada, they have — at least thus far — come through the Great Recession smelling like a rose.

Yes, we should carefully regulate the operation of unit trains. We should insist on environmental controls and the building of overpasses and by-passes. But with such regulatory controls in place, unit trains are technically, economically and environmentally viable.

Chana Cox

North Plains

Thank you, Boise!

Over the years, Boise has been an integral part of St. Helens as well as Columbia County. They have been a great employer, supported many activities and organizations and have made numerous donations for many good causes.

Even now, while decommissioning their facility in preparation for the closure of the plant, Boise continues to give back to the community. They have been donating a variety of items to groups such as Habitat for Humanity, Sacagawea Health Center and Columbia County Public Health to name a few.

I would like to thank Boise for their years of community involvement and their generosity for the donations we have received from them. Boise Inc., you will be missed.

Anne Parrott

Public Health Preparedness

Coordinator, Public Health Foundation of Columbia County

We need common sense

The 2nd Amendment.

Clearly written. Shortest of all the Amendments to the Constitution, states: “...the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

All, and I mean all firearms regulations, enacted by all levels of government, in my view are illegal and should be challenged in court.

Why! Legislators are going after “things,” not criminals and the mentally deranged and dangerous perpetrators.

The first, very first, item on their agenda was gun control. Why? It’s emotionally “easy” to pass. It directs the debate among voters to an issue, instead of the basic problem(s): security of schools and mental health issues.

I suggest the legislators use common-sense and reason, instead of emotion and “crisis-opportunity,” to get to the heart of this problem.

Tom Klingbeil

Warren

[Editor’s note: For clarity’s sake, the full text of the Second Amendment as passed by Congress is as follows: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”]

Occam’s razor as applied to gun violence?

The simple solution to gun violence:

Ban mental illness!

(Ya, I know. Save your breath.)

R.A. Minchow

St. Helens