North Clackamas School District officials are looking at closing a Rex Putnam feeder school (“Concord Elementary recommended for closure,” Nov. 13). This could be the last year that Concord remains open.

by: PHOTO COURTESY: SHELLY HAINES - Parents and neighbors rally against any proposed school closure at Concord Elementary School on Saturday, saying there should be a better way to balance the North Clackamas School District budget.My son currently attends Concord, and I attended Concord when when I was his age. It is a great school with great teachers and an awesome community. Losing this school will not only break the hearts of all those who attended, but truly break the hearts of those currently attending. Starting a new school is scary, especially when your friends were transferred to another school.

The school district tells us that this is only a recommendation, and that it’s not final. Yet the way they speak and act it seems they have already made the decision for closure. They have had many opportunities to address this before it became an issue about closure, but they didn’t explore any of those chances. Their talking points for choosing Concord are shaky, and some even just not true (they said Concord has a severe collapse risk in the event of an earthquake, but according a geological survey in 2006 it is only moderate, same as the other schools). They say that the students from Concord wouldn’t fill the classes as much, but the classrooms are full as it is!

I think that this needs to be made more public, as it seems the only ones who are aware of it are at risk for closure.

No one wants to see their school closed. There needs to be another way.

Sierra Vail

Oak Grove

Editor’s note: The School Board heard testimony at the formal recommendation announcement Nov. 14. Elected board members will hear from more citizens Wednesday, Dec. 4, starting at 6 p.m. at Sabin-Schellenberg South Campus, 14450 S.E. Johnson Road, Clackamas, before making a final decision Thursday, Dec. 12, when anyone can make comments starting at 7 p.m. The board will make a decision on which school will be closed after hearing the third set of comments.

Response to management-study stories

Dysfunction at City Hall? In Milwaukie? Just a little hint — this city has always been dysfunctional, a trifle odd, a little out of synch, a tad behind the others, but that’s what makes it so distressingly enjoyable (“City ‘not too worried’ about staff turnover,” Nov. 20).

There’s no discussion in most Milwaukie homes on City Council night regarding “What’ll we watch on the tube?” Humor, game show, reality, pathos, drama? It’s all there on Government Channel 30. Not all at once every session, but there’s usually something for everybody at every meeting.

The idea brought forth by City Council to hire consultants to study the dysfunction is, in itself, straight out of horror fiction. $3,500 a day? Some of our streets resemble logging roads, we owe TriMet a huge wad of money because we’re supposed to honor our commitments when they aren’t, and we’re in a budget crunch? Hello? Tune back to the reality show.

Another hint: The main reason Milwaukie is dysfunctional is that the elected part-time councilors cannot possibly keep up with a full-time city manager and a huge staff of planners and engineers. No matter how good their intentions, City Council is outnumbered, outflanked and many times starved of information they need to govern. The present council/strong-city-manager system cannot possibly work. Look around you at the small towns in the area that have sunk into chaos trying to function under this model.

It has also been recently revealed that our City Charter, the basic guideline and functional law of our city, has been misinterpreted by so many councils and city attorneys that it is in shreds, basically useless and out of date.

The money spent on consultants should go to people experienced in researching, designing and installing a governmental system that could actually function in our city, and at the same time rewrite our charter. I’m sure other small towns would also benefit.

Of course, if they were successful, we’d lose our major source of entertainment.

Ed Zumwalt


Editor’s note: Starting at a study session Nov. 21, Milwaukie City Council began considering hiring possible management consultants at lower prices.

New open-mic night

As you might have heard, copyright enforcers (ASCAP & BMI) swooped in and made it clear that they will not permit playing any copyrighted music at the Spring Creek Coffeehouse unless the coffeehouse pays remarkably high licensing fees (which they can’t possibly do).

There is light on the horizon, however. We have talked with the Milwaukie Elks Lodge and they will be happy to have the Open Mic move there. The Elks Lodge, by the way, is exempt from ASCAP, BMI and the like, so there are no restrictions on which songs we can perform.

You don’t have to be a member of the Elks to attend, and there is no age restriction on attending, even though there is a bar. They serve coffee, beer, various drinks and food. You could have dinner there while watching the show!

The Elks Lodge is a big building, over 50,000 square feet, and it has several different venues that we might play in. The venue we will use can change from month to month, but we’ll always be in the same building at 13121 S.E. McLoughlin Blvd., Oak Grove.

The new Open Mic nights will start in January, so there won’t be any action until then. We will keep the same “last Saturday” schedule as we had before (with a few exceptions). The next one, therefore, will be on Jan. 25 from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Mark your calendars! And, as always, it’s free.

Ed Riddle

Oak Grove

Rampant racism

The anti-President Obama billboard on Interstate 205 northbound in the Gladstone area is so venomous, it’s hardly just political. The billboard smacks of racism.

The secondary objective of the billboard is to help prevent 24 million Americans from having affordable health care.

The primary message has

been clear in the Congress of the United States for five years. Now we see that objective alongside an Oregon highway.

The primary objective of some Republican U.S. senators and representatives and of this billboard is to say to progressive and centrist Americans that if you elect a black American as president, you can expect this kind of hate mongering from redneck racist Americans.

Playing the race card? No! It’s simply responding to the playing hand as dealt by the party across the table!

D. Kent Lloyd


Take off those rose-colored glasses

Jim Redden’s article (“Including fuel, EVs cost less,” Sustainable Life, Nov. 14) is half the truth.

Yes, we all would love to skip the gas station and put those dirty, evil oil companies out of business. The article reads like a rosy-colored glasses thing. Please, let stop drinking the Kool-Aid for a moment and look at the truth.

It was never mentioned that most car buyers will buy a battery replacement program of a $100 per month, above and beyond the car purchase price and warranty. OK, so the owner in the article is a lessor and may not be part of that program, but a buyer, which most people are, will pay for battery insurance instead of buying gas.

The Nissan Leaf has a 60,000-mile lifespan and the batteries need to be replaced. The price tag? $15,000. My car with 189,000 miles has a total cost of around $10,000 for maintenance. So the Leaf owner has a choice in order to drive 189,000 miles: Replace the battery two times at a cost of $30,000 plus the price of the car or, at 60,000 miles, replace the car two times.

With all that aside, the real problem with the Leaf and all battery cars is the environmental damage used to manufacture the car. It’s the dirty little problem the PC green movement just won’t report on and would like to keep a secret, because if people ever found out the heavy metals needed to make batteries and the toxic nature of mining, refining and storing the toxic metals, and the environmental impact to our earth, people would revolt.

Please, can someone write the entire story and not sound like a commercial for Nissan and the rosy green movement?

Andrew Weisenberger


We welcome submissions from readers on local issues for our Opinion page. Please send your thoughts by noon Friday to Raymond Rendleman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Keep Letter to the Editor submissions under 400 words; longer submissions will be considered for Community Soapboxes. Submissions may be edited for length, grammar, libel and appropriate taste. Letters must be accompanied by a full name, a telephone number and street address for verification purposes. Readers are also invited to call 503-546-0742 with story ideas and comments.

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