Here at the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, our motto is: “Working Together to Make a Difference.” For us, it’s a constant reminder that we can’t do it all ourselves. This month, we are saying goodbye to a terrific partner and a real American hero: Major Gen. Raymond Rees of the Oregon National Guard. General Rees has had a very distinguished career.

He graduated from West Point in 1962 and served as a commander in the 17th Cavalry of the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. He has served in the highest levels of leadership at the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C., the United States Northern Command and NORAD. He served his country in uniform for 51 years.

General Rees has received so many awards and citations that a list which included all of them would be longer than this letter. Here are just a few: Distinguished Service Medals from the Army, the Air Force and the Department of Defense; the Legion of Merit; and, the Bronze Star.

General Rees has also distinguished himself in the efforts he has made on behalf of our veterans — an issue that is very important to me. Oregon does not have a major military base, so it has been critical to establish robust programs, such as the National Guard’s Reintegration Team, to help returning veterans transition back to civilian life.

He has also helped to recognize the service of these veterans and veterans from previous generations by leading the effort to complete a major renovation of the Oregon Military Museum, to be named in honor of another great Oregon hero, Brigadier Gen. James B. Thayer.

Although General Rees is leaving the organization, I have no doubt that the Oregon National Guard will continue to provide exemplary service to our state and to the nation.

Craig Roberts

County sheriff

Make your voice heard

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 rivers 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

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