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Topics range from homelessness to forest practices to funding for a statewide health care policy.

January health care vote could harm Oregonians

I am writing to express my concern that Republican Rep. Julie Parrish wants to cut funding for health care to low income Oregonians.

Parrish is co-sponsoring Referendum Petition 2018-301, which is proposed for the Jan. 23, 2018, special election. This referendum will block the Health Care Protections Bill (House Bill 2391), a bi-partisan approach to funding that already carries the support of major health care groups such as the Oregon Nurses Association, the Oregon Medical Association, the Hospital Association, 15 coordinated care organizations and most major Oregon insurers.

The Health Care Protections Bill is good for the health of Oregonians and for our local economy. It funds health care for low income individuals and families, and it stabilizes health insurance premiums for over 200,000 people. If Rep. Parrish's referendum is successful, it will mean drastic increases in services to uninsured patients, driving costs for hospital services, leading to higher insurance premiums for everyone.

Medicaid funding provides access to health care for low-income individuals, children, families and the elderly, whose funding for Alzheimer's treatment has already been depleted. The Republican-controlled federal government is still moving to cut back Medicaid, and Rep. Parrish has presented no alternative proposal for local funding. This sounds like more "repeal and replace with nothing."

I urge your readers to do their part. Reach out to Rep. Julie Parrish. Urge her to not block the Health Care Protections Bill with the referendum. Do not take away health care for Oregonians.

Mary Post

Tualatin

Men challenge each other in breast cancer fundraiser

For the second year in Oregon and Southwest Washington, 13 prominent area men have taken a stand against breast cancer by supporting the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk through the Real Men Wear Pink campaign. These local leaders include TV personality Steve Dunn; Alpha Media radio hosts Mitch Elliott and Danny Dwyer; doctors, Realtors and businessmen who are fundraising to raise awareness for breast cancer and wearing as much pink as possible throughout October.

Breast cancer doesn't just affect women. Thousands of men are diagnosed with the disease in the United States every year, along with more than 252,000 of their daughters, wives, mothers, sisters and friends. In an effort to create a unique platform to support this important cause, the American Cancer Society has engaged and empowered male community leaders in the fight to end breast cancer through the Real Men Wear Pink campaign. Each candidate is charged with a fundraising challenge, competing to be the top fundraiser among the other candidates by the end of the campaign.

Dollars raised by the campaign help the American Cancer Society save lives from breast cancer through early detection and prevention, innovative breast cancer research and patient support.

For more information about Real Men Wear Pink of Oregon and Southwest Washington, visit MakingStridesWalk.org/RealMenPDX or call 503-795-3958.

Dave Rogers

Tigard

Many questions unanswered in story on homelessness

Your recent write-up about the Kelvin Family on Southwest Fifth Avenue stirred me to respond from the perspective of a home owner residing in the Royal Woodlands.

It is the neighborhood on the other side of the path that connects to the homeless campers. I have lived here for 10 years and use that path for biking, walking to stores or visiting the library. There has always been a car or two parked in that vicinity being lived in by the homeless. It was this recent year that the other campers arrived.

The story did soften my view of the family living there. I often see people hanging about during the day and wondered why they aren't working given all the "now hiring" signs everywhere. I admit to being careful in that area and make a point not to walk through their housing. One afternoon, I stopped nearby to read a sign from the Beaverton Traffic Commission about a future bike route. A young man came over and screamed at me nonsensically. I have seen individuals walk into the bushes or back toward the UPS fence line with their big packs. During the last months homeless are going through neighborhood garbage on collection day.

I have no children but would be concerned as a parent. I do own a home and am concerned about the value of my property. Just like Mrs. Kelvin, I pay taxes. I pay hefty taxes on my home. I have to follow the rulings the City of Beaverton has passed that make me a good neighbor. My home has to have the proper sewage, water and electric, I can't have abandoned vehicles, campers or unkempt property, etc., or I would be fined.

I am empathetic to the family but that's not all that is out there. News outlets report that many homeless have mental health issues and, not knowing who they are, I will watch for my safety and be concerned about my neighborhood. They also report some people will not accept help because they do not want to split up from their partners or families, or follow the rules in shelters. I am glad assistance providers with expertise are reaching out to them. I understand their desire in staying in the local area. However, we all can't get what we want given limitations in our social status, educational background or wages.

Perhaps living where the housing prices are a better match to their economic situation should be a consideration. (West Coast being very costly.) When possible, it might make sense to move where the jobs or job training is. Many have had to do this. Those who came to the United States from other countries looking for opportunity have done so with bigger challenges: no training, poor language skills, leaving family behind.

Homelessness is everywhere. Given the lack of true salary growth for both lower income and middle class wage earners, the current financial status of many states, and governments in general, this is not going to go away. Nor will we be able to help everyone. Sometimes they will need to just pull themselves up by the collar and do what's best for their own betterment.

I just hope they are truly trying and exhausting every opportunity to pull themselves out of this style of living. This is a country wide epidemic and I don't believe there are enough resources to fall back on.

Linda Mark

Beaverton

Bills to increase logging would harm our forests

As one of many Oregonians who loves to spend time on our public lands, I'm concerned about the fear-based rhetoric generated by the media and spread by lawmakers regarding this summer's forest fires.

Science tells us that a landscape will regenerate from fire on its own, and any attempt to speed that process or interfere with the natural biology will impede progress and waste resources.

What instead represents the real threat to our National Scenic areas and Forests are the various proposals that cite fire to dramatically increase clearcut logging on our public lands. Two active pieces of legislation would do just that. The so-called "Resilient Federal Forests Act" (HR 2936), seeks to gut our bedrock environmental laws and repeal protections for Wilderness areas, making way for a spike in timber extraction from Oregon's public forests. This radical piece of legislation will be up for a vote on the House floor in the coming weeks.

Our own Greg Walden (OR-2) is co-sponsor of this bill and has also recently introduced his own proposal, HR 3715 (audaciously named the "Scenic Columbia Gorge Restoration Act"), which would suspend all environmental laws with explicit intent to allow clearcut logging in the Columbia Gorge and other National Scenic Areas.

As owners and stewards of our public lands, we cannot be distracted by the embarrassing shenanigans in the White House and let opportunistic lawmakers undo years of progress on environmental policies while our attention is elsewhere. Our forests are depending on us!

Lisa Billings

Southwest Portland

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