Featured Stories


Letters published Dec. 23, 2016

FILE PHOTO - Letters to the editor for Dec. 23, 2016

Larry Engstrom was a local hero

Scappoose lost a great leader last week.  

Larry Engstrom was many things: a good father, faithful husband, upright and decent local owner of Larry’s gas station — now a gas-food mart.  

But there was more to this great guy. For years he was the volunteer fire chief serving Scappoose from his central gas station seven days a week.  

I remember the day my nextdoor neighbor died. Larry knew him, I didn’t. Larry rushed to the house, dropping what he was doing again. The deceased man’s wife was distraught. Larry dressed the dead husband — as he had been in the bathroom — and spent a good hour comforting the widow.  

There was no organization behind him, no office to go back to, just the unfinished job of an alternator to install.  

Larry is a local hero. So is his wife, Judy.

Rest in peace Larry.

Wayne Mayo


Is it CRPUD or CRUD?

The people lost again.

On Dec. 20, the Columbia River People’s Utility District board of directors voted 3-2 to deny a seat on the board for the person that the people in Subdivision 1 (southern Columbia County) overwhelmingly voted for.

The board decided not to pursue methods suggested by one of the board members and by people at the meeting on how the people’s choice could be seated. They also rejected a plea to hold a special election to allow the people to select another representative.

Instead, the board will hold a special meeting in just two weeks’ time to appoint a new board member that the board chooses.

Many skeptics already think that they denied the people’s choice so they could choose someone of their own liking, and are simply ram-rodding it through. Those skeptics are probably right.

The board might as well take the “P” — for “People’s” — out of the CRPUD name, since they no longer represent the people of Subdivision 1. “CRUD” would be more appropriate.

Leonard Peterson


Thanks for making charities a success

A big thanks to the vendors, sponsors and attendees of the 6th Annual Holiday Bazaar that was held Dec. 10 at the St. Helens Armory. The event raised more than $3,000 for the Merchants’ Toy N Joy and Scappoose Share & Care Programs, while supporting 51 local vendors and artists.

Special thanks to Stano Chiropractic for their Adopt-A-Reindeer Sponsorship, along with David’s Automotive, Scappoose Sand and Gravel, Wauna Federal Credit Union, and Columbia River PUD for their sponsorship that made it possible for Santa to bring his reindeer to the bazaar.Thank you to Merle Pence and Mossbarger Photography for making it possible for our guests to have photos taken with Santa again this year.

This event is possible thanks to countless hours of volunteer work, and it benefits local families in need during the holiday season. Thank you for your support, and we look forward to seeing you next year.

Tricia Stockwell

Columbia River Auto Glass LLC

St. Helens

Special thank you to local law enforcement

I am a local mom who has three immediate family members in the law enforcement field. I am extremely proud of their selfless service every day, for both you and me.

This last Saturday morning I was shopping at Walmart and was able to witness the love and generosity of the law enforcement in our great county. The amazing program, Shop with a Cop, was going on and the smiles couldn’t have been bigger, not only on the faces of the children, but also on the the faces of the officers who were involved.

The sight of each of those officers giving of their time to help children in our communities was amazing to watch first-hand.

I thank each and every one of them, as well as those who have generously supported this program.

I feel that the law enforcement community does so much for all of us, in good times and bad times, and never gets enough thanks. So, from this mom of law enforcement officers to all those who serve, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Susan Knudsen


Community needed to improve St. Helens

In the past few weeks in the city of St. Helens, there have been presentations about the waterfront, the need for a tourism committee and a host of comments about these items by many unhappy citizens. A few points seem to be made at all of these event that overshadow the content of these meetings.

First, no matter what the public seems to want, the City Council does not listen and goes its own way.

The desires of the community for the waterfront development were not even considered. In fact, the general direction for future development made by a visiting committee of architects was completely ignored.

And the design process that led to the design that was ultimately presented was amazingly secret.

Second, the absence of cooperation for the month-long Halloween celebration between the city and the parade committee was described, by a city statement, that the parade was only a two-hour thing. Not even a “thank you”  was offered for all of the preparation work, float-building and that the actual parade was very successful.

Another major sore point was the rerouting of traffic so it hurt many businesses, but the city was overjoyed in the fact that it and some organizations made money.

As you go through the list of problems, it is obvious there is no community in St. Helens, that the City Council does not feel that the citizens have enough smarts to the help the city, and that any efforts by groups other than the city should be restricted. The attitude that only a small group has the right to lead the city of St. Helens will keep the city from becoming a community where all citizens have a part in their community, where their ideas and wishes and volunteering make a difference.

On the community side, the lack of courage to stand up for itself and demand that the City Council act in its behalf is also obvious. 

One large example that has been spoken about for many years, with nothing being done for the solution due to politics, is the lack of signage that notifies people traveling on Highway 30 that St. Helens is here. The problem is the control that the Oregon Department of Transportation and ODOT Rail Division have over signage along the agencies’ rights-of-way. This is a political problem that the city government must take to the state Legislature.

It is a long process and defies logic, but it must be done — though it has not been done — by the city government.

As long as there is no community in St. Helens, it will continue to grow at half the rate that other cities are growing at, or even worse, totally fail.

Stephen Topaz

St. Helens