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Letters to the editor published Aug. 26, 2016


Numerous winners in VFW wood raffle

Yes, we did have a winner. Actually, there are several.

The truckload of wood was delivered to the lucky ticket holder’s shed, but the final winners are yet to be known. Those real winners — and I expect there will be a number of them — will be the veterans and their families in our community who receive the assistance this Thanksgiving and Christmas the funds raised on the Veterans of Foreign Wars wood raffle will provide.

Unemployment and physical issues often haunt our veterans. As fall approaches, the VFW will be willing and able to offer the “hand up” often needed with an outstanding bill, food for the table, or needed guidance to gain the medical, educational or spiritual help the holidays and winter impose on too many.  

Thank you everyone who took a chance to win the truckload of wood provided by Comfort Construction.  The two days the VFW spent in front of the Grocery Outlet were plenty hot and it was hard to envision a roaring fire keeping the house warm in that weather, but once again this community exceeded my expectations and generously gave. 

While the wood may not be in your shed, please consider yourself a winner. You are a winner because you paid a bill, provided a meal, or helped with the purchase of a toy for the Christmas stocking in a veteran’s home.

Thank you all.

Tom Ford

Commander

VFW Post 4362

Scappoose

A job well done

We wanted to give a shout out to Scappoose city worker, Tim. He does an exceptional job taking care of Scappoose Veterans Park.

He is so kind and works so hard to keep our park in beautiful condition.

We’d give him a raise!

Patty Thayer

Elaine Sanders

Scappoose

Wayne Mayo is one of us

We will be voting for our second new county commissioner. As voters, we have a responsibility to ourselves to vote for the individual that we believe will do what is best for the prosperity of the county. We need someone who is one of us. Who shares our concerns, understands our meaning of the quality of life, our daily struggles in balancing family with work and concern about the continuing rise in cost of living and taxes.

Someone who will stand up for us, listen and speak honestly with us.

Wayne Mayo ran for the commissioner position in the past and is running again because he is one of us. I got to know Wayne by just taking time to talk with him about concerns and issues tI believe our county faces.

One of the things I like about Wayne is that he doesn’t try to win your vote by patronizing you. Ask him a question, state a concern and he will give you an honest answer.

Another positive I see with Wayne is his willingness to look at other ways the county might generate long-term revenue that will ease the property tax burden on fixed-income and working-class citizens.

He knows having business growth, both new and expansion of existing companies, is a key to a stronger economy.

Carmen Kulp

Scappoose

Concerned about contaminated sites

I want to apologize for an error I made in my last letter to the editor (see Letters, “Commonsense solutions,” Aug. 12).

The Portland Superfund (toxic waste site) which is being proposed as a fill source for the St. Helens wastewater ponds is not near Ross Island.

Roughly, it begins near the Broadway Bridge. As I now understand it, “the Superfund process is complex and piecing it together requires going after all those little leads.” The person from whom I received this information is well versed in our environment and the Columbia River.

I thought I might as well give you some additional information. Portland Harbor is not the only site declared, or likely to be declared, a superfund on the list for cleanup.

Scappoose Bay, situated between Sauvie Island and St. Helens, has been, and is now, home to three industrial sites being investigated by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Those sites include Boise Cascade pulp and paper mill, a former creosote plant and a fiberboard manufacturing plant. As I understand it, Boise Cascade was allowed to dump their chemicals into our water treatment pond.

Water from Scappoose Bay merges with the Multnomah Channel which then drains into the Columbia River — right down by that great new park the city of St. Helens bought for us with our tax money.

Human-generated dioxin is no longer produced in the United States. Bleaching of wood pulp has been replaced by something called “Elemental Chlorine Free.” Bleach contains dioxin. Dioxin causes cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, damage to immune systems and interferes with hormones.

Unfortunately, the current exposure to dioxin is due to chemicals being dumped into the river decades ago.

The creosote plant, under various owners, has operated since 1916 — 100 years of dioxin and other toxic chemicals dumped into our groundwater and the river.

I found records of correspondence from Hawley Pulp and Paper in Oregon City from 1925 discussing building a paper mill in St. Helens — 91 years of toxic pollution.

We swam and boated in that water during our high school years. I think back to how many people I went to school with who have died of some form of cancer.

Our children swam, boated and water-skied in that water. We ate fish caught from the Columbia.

Two weeks ago, I was excited by the possibility of a park on the Old Mill site. Now I have contacted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asking whether superfunds can actually be “cleaned” and used to cap other potential superfund sites. I will let you know their answer.

Nancy Whitney

St. Helens

No tears for tax levy proponents

We purchased a foreclosed home in 2010, which took six months and three weeks to strip down to the frame and repair construction and faulty material problems. Two weeks after making an offer, residents in Columbia City voted down a proposed police levy for the second time, yet the Thursday before we moved in, the mayor proposed a third levy, at which time I voiced concern that the city’s tax base lacked the size and diversity to justify it. Time has come to renew the mayor’s police levy, so what is the status of the tax base? Does the city now have a bank, motel and restaurant that have cash?

Does the city now have its own volunteer fire department and school district?

Does the city have a growth rate above 2 percent?

Does the city have a large employer with over 50 employees? Not to mention the recently approved 2 percent raise for city employees. Additionally, on the same ballot there will be the levy for the jail with approximately 60 percent of federal prisoners, yet the county taxpayer is paying 65 percent of its operating costs — not bad, considering the jail was built twice as big as needed.

Then the local school district has decided to ask for another school bond, while the dropout rate is — what? Twenty-two percent?

And what about the recent court ruling on PERS? Where is that money going to come from?

The icing on the cake is that the county tax office is reassessing properties in Columbia City and taxpayers will not know what the new values are until only two weeks before Election Day. People on Social Security and military disability, like me, have not been given a cost of living adjustment (COLA) seven of the last 10 years and are expected to just cut back on living expenses. The last three COLA increases were a mere 1.2 percent per year each, while groceries and utilities have gone up 8.2 percent the past five years. Two of my neighbors have relocated and a third is in the process of selling in order to relocate. Get the picture? When bundled together, these items become a large pill to swallow for people on fixed incomes who have been consistently denied COLA increases for the last nine or so years, so I better not hear any whining or crying, because I am fresh out of Kleenex.

Joseph Turner

Columbia City

Defending the right to bear arms

My two friends and I, on or about Aug. 17, submitted a Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance to the Board of Commissioners in Columbia County.

The reason was to protect our unalienable rights to keep and bear arms as protected by the U.S. Constitution and the Oregon Constitution.

The government’s main job is to protect the rights of the people, which, according to

the Declaration of Independence, is the reason that we instituted.

There has been a long train of abuses from not only the federal government, but state and local governments too. Instead of defending our rights, they have repeatedly, for many years now, tried to disarm and/or sub-arm us into slavery.

We asked that the commissioners either pass this ordinance as-is or place it on the ballot for the people to decide. The ordinance will basically make it illegal to enforce unconstitutional gun laws that have been in place since 2012 — including, but not limited to, Senate Bill 941, which requires criminal background checks on private gun sales — and into the future.

I believe I was set up. I was put on the agenda and several days later told I could not be on the actual agenda because there was not enough time, but would be allowed to introduce the ordinance before public comment. I was told that I was on the agenda, but not on the agenda. (I know, never heard of that.)

After our introduction, I was attacked by left wing feely-feel goofballs who live every day in an opposite world. These people would not have been able to comment if I had been on the actual agenda. My compatriots and I then witnessed the most unprofessional lack of self discipline and unstatesmanlike manner that I have ever seen. Commissioner Earl Fisher had a meltdown and misrepresented what was in the Constitution. I tried to correct Fisher, but he would not relent spouting his Constitutional expertise. Then, to a lesser extent, but still unstatesmanlike, Commissioner Henry Heimuller attacked our out-of-town visitor and scolded him like a child ... may have been talking to me also. Heimuller seemed disturbed that leaders were not shown enough respect ... this is minutes after he thanked us for our patience and temperament after being attacked.

By the way, I vote for representatives, not leaders. We do not have to respect any employee that we have appointed to the government that doesn’t protect our rights, and I believe part of his rant was because I referred to the governor (small caps deliberate), as our unelected governor and the sitting president — again, deliberate — as our undocumented comrade in chief.

Mr. Heimueller, get over it. I have — well, I will.

I am filing an Initiative and now the people of Columbia County will be able to change county law to protect themselves, something the commissioners have had not one, but two chances to do, and have failed to act. I submitted an ordinance around a year and a half ago and they shredded it to a watered-down resolution that had no teeth, and Fisher wouldn’t even sign that one. It passed 2-1.

The resolution was passed so that they could pretend to protect your rights and to stop the endless emails from coming.

If you would like to help gather signatures, please email your contact information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and then be patient. We are going to make sure all our ducks are in a row and all Ts crossed — to do it right — and then we will gather away. I will keep you updated on when to gather. If you are out of the county and want to help gather, you are welcome to join us. Thank you in advance.

In liberty for our children.

Chris Brumbles

Columbia County Coordinator

Oath Keepers and OFF

Deer Island