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Readers' letters

Shooting in the woods does not honor fallen vets

Once again, many areas of Columbia County ring with the pretense of manhood by fools who hide behind their guns and fire large quantities of rounds in a drunken “celebration,” primarily because the honest people of the country decided to give them a day off.

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, contemplation and, often, grief. It is not a celebration. Many combat veterans, those who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and victims of violent crime are catapulted by this ignorant weapons usage back to those horrors, to the violence of past duties, and the deep sorrow of lost loved ones and comrades — all so that cowards who do not even bother to recognize the real consequences of their actions and beliefs can pretend to be Americans, yet showing few of the qualifications.

Blasting holes in the forest and the community psyche accomplishes nothing of respect to those who have paid so dearly — this is an unwanted, unneeded and useless activity by those who do not understand sacrifice.

As a gun owner, I say this: No gun ever made anyone a man, not even in warfare. Manhood comes from within, and those who disgrace Memorial Day by “celebrating” it with gunfire have none.

Columbia County deserves better.

This letter is signed by a gun owner, forestland owner, victim of multiple violent felonies by this same group and a genuine American.

Charles Bickford

Deer Island

Opposed to plan to mine bluff

On one hand, St. Helens has a grand vision for our waterfront, while across town there are proponents who want to “mine” a 5 plus-acre bluff near two schools. This “mining” is against our city codes. The residential area I am referencing is North 10th and 11th streets, between Columbia Boulevard and West Street. It’s an area that is nicknamed Jackass Canyon.

Many of the children who attend St. Helens Middle School and Lewis and Clark Elementary School walk through this area going to and from school. Approximately 70,000 truckloads of rock and dirt will be travelling these streets. That is no mistake.

Seventy thousand truckloads will be hauled over city streets, many without sidewalks or crossings, during a one- to two-year time frame.

In addition to the safety concerns with the added traffic, we must also think of the noise and the dust. The noise will be from blasting and heavy equipment day in and day out. The dust from a “mining” operation will contain silica, which is a known carcinogen.

Please help put a stop to this by letting your concerns be known to the city of St. Helens.

For more information, check the website: nomininginsthelens.com. Also, attend the next planning commission meeting at City Hall on June 10, 7 p.m.

Don Parrett

Columbia City

Thank you, all

I’d like to thank those who have worked for and voted in my campaign.

To those who talked to neighbors encouraging their vote; who walked neighborhoods handing out placards; and who held neighborhood and community wide meet and greets — thank you.

To those who wrote letters to the editors; sat in front of stores for hours; and who reported on the campaign — thank you.

To those who gave permission for large signs and who put up small signs in their yard; and who helped me place them — thank you.

To all those who gave of their hard-earned cash and he who counted and reported it; and to those who pushed, challenged, argued and prayed for me — thank you.

To those who voted for me and took a chance on endorsing me, for whatever reason — thank you.

To my wife, mother and family who are enduring the wild ride — thank you.

Finally, to those who wrote the Constitution; those who defended it, risking and giving their lives; our veterans; we owe you.

Now, neither of us has 50 percent. It continues. Join us.

Wayne Mayo

Scappoose

Agree with your sentiment of mistrust

I commend you for OurOpinion in the May 23 edition of your paper (see “With levy secured, now show us responsible, transparent governance,” A4). In my opinion, you were right on the mark and aware of public sentiment. I hope the county commissioner race with Wayne Mayo trying to take the seat from the incumbent will provide us with much needed change.

The jail levy barely passing because of residents and business owners alike being disillusioned with county governance, especially given that there are multiple suggested applications for the levied funds other than the jail operations, is right on target. We are already funding the jail through our tax dollars and the general fund. If the sheriff’s assertion that additional funding was not needed when he first took office was true, it seems unlikely that simple cost of living created his new problems.

The mistrust in our local government due to things like the Columbia Health District’s prior health board and county commissioner’s lack of providing a final financial reckoning on that project, which they certainly did not provide to the current health board either, is something that Wayne Mayo has clearly identified as a source of the lack of confidence in the county political system. There still may not have been enough information provided for a final audit and yet the wall of silence from the commissioners continues.

The other district issues, like the ever-present REDCO mess involving Rainier and the Port of St Helens, and the Port Westward issue of debt, will probably always remain a mystery if the current officials remain in their positions under their cone of silence.

My only disagreement with your article is, “the assertion from the county commissioners that new development and an expanded tax base are the ultimate solutions to the county’s current inability to fund some of its public services.”

Instead of taking the easy route of additional taxation, why don’t they live within their means and budget like most of us taxpayers have to? We have been told by several officials that if taxpayers don’t like their processes, they should move out of the county. Perhaps the officials should consider a move themselves.

If we cannot support their lifestyles through taxes in the manner to which they hope to become accustomed, it is a time long overdue for them to leave. My opinion is that their lack of communication with an elementary disclosure of funding is a primary cause for the lack of confidence in the current elected officials and their poor public image in every agency and department.

Any time an elected official makes the statement that they will not make comments in public meetings, there is a serious and debilitating breakdown with the public. A change in the pattern seems critical, and I will be voting for change over taxation every option provided.

Georgia Keiper

St. Helens

Moving forward withHometown Heroes

I am writing today to let you know about an important and exciting project I have been working on in partnership with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. For the past few weeks, Rainier Junior/Senior High School History Club has been researching and collecting oral histories, organizing a ceremony, and designing a memorial for Vietnam veterans, as well as veterans of more recent conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan (Hometown Heroes Pilot Project: http://www.vvmf.org/hometown-heroes).

Through our school’s participation in the Hometown Heroes pilot project, students have had an unmatched opportunity to learn about service to the nation and about the impacts of war in a hands-on way.

On June 25, I will be flying to Washington, D.C., along with my student David Placido and his dad, to specifically participate in VVMF’s official, nationwide launch of the Hometown Heroes curriculum, set to take place at the Library of Congress from 6 to 8 p.m.

It would be a great honor for our school and our community of Rainier and Columbia County.

Andrew Demko

Social Studies teacher

Rainier Junior/Senior High School

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