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Letters: Film festival; annexations; AMR contract

Milwaukie’s 3rd Annual Watershed Event abounded with satisfying film and a significant, vocal audience.

by: PHOTO COURTESY: GREG BAARTZ-BOWMAN - Crowds pack the Milwaukie Masonic Lodge for the third-annual film festival celebrating and encouraging healthy watersheds.We laughed, we cried and we all had a good time. I believe, we left the Masonic Lodge inspired to do good for our local watersheds. Thanks to Clackamas County Tourism & Cultural Affairs, Celebrate Milwaukie Inc. and Charles Rea, secretary of the Milwaukie Masonic Lodge #109. Also, thanks to the Clackamas Review for taking the time to tell our story. The good people of these organizations help make the Milwaukie Film Series prosper. Thank you all.

The Milwaukie Film Series continues Feb. 15 at the Masonic Lodge.

Visit milwaukiefilmfestival.com for details.

Greg Baartz-Bowman

Festival director

Annexation program seeks volunteers

In response to the letter “Cities’ annexation overtures fall on deaf ears” Feb. 5, the city of Happy Valley acknowledges the opinions of Pat Russell, but would like to clarify some statements that are not true.

The city of Happy Valley is not “avoiding” or “bypassing problem properties, such as ugly storage yards, etc.” The method that properties south of Sunnyside are annexed is by request of the property owners through a petition for annexation. If a property owner of a storage property petitions the city, the city will then process the application and annex the property.

Camp Withycombe petitioned the city and was annexed, as all properties, including single family residences that petition the city and were granted annexation. Happy Valley is not “bypassing” any properties “because of their inadequate property tax-revenue stream.” The reason any property has not been annexed, is simply the property owner has not made the request nor petitioned the city to annex. If they submit a petition to the city, the properties will be annexed.

Property owners petition to annex into our city for a variety of reasons, most of which are the excellent customer services that are provided by the city of Happy Valley. That is one of the reasons Happy Valley continues to be the fastest growing city in Oregon, our parks, schools and quality of life make the city of Happy Valley a desirable place to live.

City Council

Happy Valley

Someone call an ambulance!

Recent Clackamas County Commission meetings have been dominated by the expensive controversial process for awarding a contract for providing ambulances and other critical medical services. Since 1991 American Medical Response (AMR) has provided exceptional service to the county’s citizens. In 2012 the previous commission authorized a process known as a “request for proposals” because the existing contract was being renewed one year at a time.

In 2013 Commissioner Jim Bernard and others modified the bidding criteria to place more emphasis on lower cost. As the deadline for submitting proposals approached, only AMR and Metro West Ambulance were in the running. AMR presented a bid that provided cost savings that some claimed were over-estimated. Its major competitor, Metro West Ambulance, failed to submit a proposal by the deadline. County Chair Ludlow expressed concerns that the AMR contract was incomplete, but if there was a substantial reason for rejection, it should have been addressed immediately after the deadline.

AMR appeared to be legally deserving of a new four-year contract, however, after a lengthy review process, Bernard, County Chairman John Ludlow and Commissioner Tootie Smith voted to reopen the bidding. Their proposal for a short term one-year extension of the existing contract was met with a notice that AMR was prepared to file a $20 million lawsuit.

The media coverage intensified when Chair Ludow commented that the county was prepared to fight the lawsuit. Increasing numbers of local citizens joined with senior citizen advocates and AMR employees to testify in favor of keeping AMR. As the days rolled by, Commissioner Bernard finally decided it would be best if he changed his vote. On Tuesday, Feb. 4, he joined Commissioners Savas and Schrader in support of the four-year extension. Bernard’s decision was difficult, but correct. Bernard is running for re-election this year, and some citizens are troubled by the financial impacts created by the Milwaukie light-rail line being built near his numerous downtown properties.

The final negotiations on the ambulance contract are expected to be completed in a few weeks. Although it has been a cumbersome process, hopefully the commissioners will not allow the anxiety of this situation to affect their teamwork on the next major issue.

Les Poole

Gladstone

Good chance for new leadership

In regards to the letter sent by Mr. Bellamy of Oregon City last week, I wonder who he’s kidding. Political games? I’m no expert on the AMR contract, but the light-rail proposition is another story. That was no “political game” as the headline read.

The vote on 3-401 was 51,267 for (60.2 percent), 33,883 against (39.8 percent). That’s not a “joke” That’s reality. Turnout was low (39.2 percent) because it was a special election, but there was a time element involved as the project was in the process of beginning construction.

It’s no secret how little support the Portland-Milwaukie light-rail line has among residents. How many people in the Bluebird Street area want that light-rail line? Or those of us who worry what the rail station will do to the character of downtown Milwaukie? At least the Green Line by the Clackamas Town Center follows existing transportation infrastructure. I for one would have been less irked if they simply extended that line down the Interstate 205 corridor.

For those in favor of the PMLR line that say it will ease congestion (which we all support!), then let me remind you of what 3-401 doesn’t do. It does not forbid light-rail construction! It simply requires a vote. Projects of this size are not inconvenienced by the time it takes to have a vote. The cost is not a factor when one considers overall costs, public trust and satisfaction with local infrastructure decisions.

Overall, let me say that if Mr. Bellamy doesn’t like certain members of the Clackamas County Commission, then he should remember that the next regular election cycle. Recall is not appropriate in this instance. That is something he himself admits in his letter. Election results for Positions 1 and 4 were fairly close in 2012. I’m sure those in favor of new leadership have a good chance next time.

Samuel Dickerson-Edgington

Milwaukie

Correction

In the Jan. 29 story, “Mayors: Aggressive agenda for 2014,” Oregon City Mayor Doug Neeley meant to convey that current county commissioners were easier to work with on the broadband issue, as shown by the resolution of the city’s disagreement over franchise fees soon after the new commissioners took

office. We apologize for the

error.



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