County following right path to economic growth

Miki Barnes’ guest commentary (“Not wise to follow ‘economic engine’ model of growth,” News-Times, May 28 issue) urges Washington County to become a junior version of Portland by abandoning its role as an “economic engine.” But should we mimic a city bogged down in bureaucracy, over-regulation, and expensive lefty-liberalism?

Clearly, the recent election showed a majority in Washington County doesn’t want this. We thrive on a productive and prosperous economy that creates good jobs and opportunities lacking in most of Oregon.

Our state’s economic growth has been strangled over the past decade because Salem has adopted too many Portlandesque attitudes. The result? Nothing gets done in an efficient, cost-effective, timely manner. And most major projects are stonewalled, delayed or hamstrung by environmental ideologues like Ms. Barnes.

Of course, some environmental concerns are very real. But many are concocted by NIMBYs and fringe activists using pseudo-science or cherry-picked facts. These folks see all new processes as suspect; all corporations as inherently evil; and all growth despoiling their Arcadian ideals. Luckily, such fantasies, suppositions, and quarter-truths don’t play that well in Washington County, where common sense and pragmatism still determine policy.

Ms. Barnes and her little group claim that expanding Hillsboro’s airport is going to bring down a toxic apocalypse on our city. Really? I think not. Reasonable people know this expansion will improve our transportation infrastructure, which will encourage further industrial growth that will make our community even more prosperous.

Does such growth have a downside? Of course. Growth always comes with positives and negatives. But I don’t believe the negatives in this case are anywhere near what Ms. Barnes is claiming. Like it or not, we live in a society that relies on growth to support an increasing population. For better and worse, this is our reality. And if we aren’t going back to some pre-industrial agrarian way of life, then controlled growth must create sufficient white-collar and blue-collar jobs.

Washington County tends to balance conflicting interests instead of rejecting growth, business, and industry. If Portland wants to accept an anemic economy based on food carts, coffee shops, and tiny boutiques, then so be it. But Washington County has chosen to keep smartly growing a genuine prosperity grounded in solid verifiable facts — not an unsustainable level of eco-purity at all costs.

William Spainhour


Stretch of Highway 47 should have 35 mph speed limit

I read with interest your report about the crash at Highway 47 and Maple Street (“Crash highlights dangers of another hotspot on 47,” News-Times, May 21 issue). You reported that community leaders “joked grimly” and that they muttered, “Does someone need to die?”

Well, didn’t someone already die? I think it was about five years ago when a young female pedestrian was killed.

I am an expert on this intersection, as I live in and own a company south of town. I estimate that I have crossed or entered Highway 47 between 30,000 and 50,000 times. It’s tense and getting worse. The speed limit should be reduced to 35 mph in my opinion, and it would be beneficial to install traffic lights at Maple Street, Elm Street and at B Street.

Dump trucks, school buses, nursery vehicles and semi-truck drivers would certainly appreciate it. Also, the family man who was killed a couple of years ago at the B Street intersection might be alive if everyone slowed down.

Talon Buchholz


Retiring teacher gave us the gift of music

The band concert at Forest Grove High School last week gave us the gamut of fifth-graders struggling to master their instruments to the fine tonal and rhythmic achievements of the seniors. We heard what Mr. Ostwalt has accomplished in 13 years of teaching.

But then we also saw his triumph as cheering past band members who crowded onto the stage with current students to celebrate their fortune in having learned the love of music-making from this gifted man.

Best of everything, Mr. Ostwalt, in your retirement.

MaryJane Nordgren

Forest Grove

Contract Publishing

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