‘Give us the straight story’

I am writing to ask you to remember the important role your newspaper plays in our community.

When Mayor Kovash led the council into the executive session and subsequent vote March 12, 2012, you were there, and by rights, you could have reported any discussion that veered off topic or questioned whether the subsequent vote had been publicly noticed.

In your article, “Ethics commission to evaluate council,” (July 18) Mayor Kovash blames the city attorney’s advice, but why didn’t you question whether the professional advice from City Manager Chris Jordan was equally problematic? I trust you have the March 12, 2012, email wherein Mr. Jordan states: “I encouraged the mayor not to start making motions and having votes in public until they have had the opportunity to discuss the options in an exec(utive) session. I have no idea what direction the discussion might take, but I don’t think it’s productive to do it in a public setting.”

Perhaps, like me, you didn’t see that email until long after it happened, but doesn’t such an attitude deserve to be examined?

Our public trust teeters on these three crucial things: objective, reliable sources of information; active, aware citizens; and last but not least, public officials with enough integrity to recognize and correct problems right away. Too much time, trouble and money has been wasted by your silence. Please give us the straight story and leave the politics to city hall.

Teri Cummings

West Linn

Don’t let corporation decide fate of falls

Now that California’s Eclipse Development Group has bid $4.1 million for the Blue Heron site, I’m wondering, what has become of the public visioning process? A design firm was hired to involve us in shaping the future of the 23 acres, in collaboration with Oregon City, Metro, Clackamas County and the state. When will this take place?

We’ve been told that national leaders are also working with us “to realize a shared vision of public access, economic development, historic preservation and environmental stewardship for the area.” All worthy goals, but can we realize them with private ownership?

Recently the Oregon Legislature approved $5 million in funding for the Willamette Falls’ revitalization project. Perhaps the state should use this money to purchase the former industrial site. I’d love to see the property turned into the crowning jewel of the state parks system. Sometimes, as Albert Einstein said, the best solution to a problem is the simplest one and nothing simpler.

With climate change, around the world we see that melting ice and rising temperatures means there’s more moisture in the air to feed larger storms. Can you imagine a particularly wet spring combined with rapid snowmelt? What would happen to businesses perched by the river’s edge, when the Willamette is swollen with the run-off from a dozen rivers, big and small, churning over the falls with storm debris and downed trees? Let’s face it — the land is in a flood plain.

In modern times we have elevated the economy over the environment, but ultimately, the laws of nature dictate the bottom line. Let’s use the precautionary principle and prioritize habitat restoration along the river.

Make your voice heard. It would be a shame to allow a corporation to decide the fate of Willamette Falls.

Janine Offutt

Oregon City

So much for shop local

The only automotive garage in West Linn — perhaps with the exception of Willamette — is about to be displaced — with 60 days’ notice — after 23 years in the same location with the same West Linn owner. So much for “shop local.”

I am speaking of course about Isa’s Automotive on Highway 43 near Interstate 205. And why will his lease not be renewed? The owners want to replace his locally owned business with a convenience store for the gas station. Great! How many of those does West Linn already have?

Before you ask, Isa himself has not asked me to make any comments about his situation. I am doing this willingly on my own. If you are like me, you have really valued his many years of mechanical help keeping your cars running. How often can you find a mechanic that is honest, does good work and charges fairly? Or even one of these?

Add in the fact that he is local and open long hours (including Saturdays, unlike most garages) and you have a gem of a West Linn business.

Of course, the owner is probably perfectly within his legal rights to decide which business he wants on his property. But what is legal may not be what is right for a community. Usually this is where city planning commissions and councils have a say, but I presume a legalistic rubber stamp is already in the works.

On Saturday it sounded like he may have to move to Oregon City on Sept. 1. That would be a gain for the folks across the river and a loss for West Linn. I hope it is not so. If you have had a similar experience to me, please continue to do whatever you can to support what has been a great West Linn small business for 23 years.

Greg Morse

West Linn

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