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Planned Parenthood reduces local carbon footprint; Keep county control of parks; Criticism of governor unfair; Celebrate a park's revitalization

Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette (PPCW) is all about health!

We are committed to the health of our community members and the health of our environment. PPCW's patients and staff are concerned about the carbon footprint of our seven health centers, and we responded with clean energy solutions.

This year, two grants from Portland General Electric's Renewable Development Fund have paid for more than 90 percent of the cost of installing solar infrastructure at our Milwaukie-Oak Grove and Salem Health Centers. Solar power will reduce our energy consumption by 40 percent in Milwaukie and by 90 percent in Salem!

As a clean energy technology, solar provides deep reductions in greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions. While PPCW is protecting our patients' health by providing a wide range of reproductive health care, educational programming and advocacy, the solar panels are efficiently protecting the health of the environment.

This solar power will offset PPCW's consumption of electricity from the power grid, allowing us to turn on our lights and run our computers off of energy produced from our rooftops. Even better, we can sell the excess power we are generating back to the electrical company and use those savings to provide improved health care to the nearly 10,000 patients who receive services at our Milwaukie and Salem locations each year.

PPCW's responsibility as a healthcare provider is not just about taking care of people; we're also working to improve the health and wellness of our communities. Our natural environment makes the Pacific Northwest a wonderful place to live, and PPCW wants to do all we can to reduce our carbon footprint.

Stacy M. Cross

PPCW president/CEO

Keep county control of parks

When the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District (NCPRD) put a measure on the ballot a year or so ago seeking to become a stand-alone special service district and to raise their tax base in the same measure I urged people to just vote no.

I stated that I was not against them becoming a special district, but I did not believe they should be asking for a raise in their tax base in the same ballot measure. The ballot measure subsequently failed.

Since that time circumstances have changed. NCPRD and NCSD (North Clackamas School District) entered negotiations on a land swap that involves the Concord School property. They are in a 120-day due diligence period in these negotiations. In the meantime the city of Happy Valley has announced that it is considering withdrawing from NCPRD. At the same time NCPRD is, once again, considering becoming a stand-alone special service district having their own governing body and thus being out from under the control of the county commissioners.

Due to these changing circumstances, and a few other things that are happening simultaneously — like the still pending lawsuit filed by the city of Gladstone against the county over their library situation — I am once again speaking out against a stand-alone parks district. My reasoning this time is that the county commissioners are currently the governing body over both the North Clackamas Parks District and the County Library District. I see that as a good thing, particularly when many of the citizens in the Oak Grove/Jennings Lodge areas are interested in siting a stand-alone library in their area, possibly on the Concord School grounds that are part of the aforementioned land swap.

I am keenly aware that these are constantly moving targets. I am only adding my two cents of reasoning to what is currently being discussed. NCPRD and the County Library District should both remain under the thumb of the county commissioners and be under close scrutiny by the citizens.

Thelma Haggenmiller

Citizens Informed and Aware (CIA) logistics coordinator

Criticism of governor unfair

I am writing in response to Lori Chavez-DeRemer's Community Soapbox article in your April 12 edition.

Lori Chavez-DeRemer is critical of Gov. Kate Brown for the Legislature's slow start and for campaigning when she should be legislating. Chavez-DeRemer gives no evidence to support her claims. She finds fault with the the governor stating she is, "too busy campaigning rather than legislating." The governor is the head of the executive branch and has no vote in the legislative process. That belongs to the individual legislators. Yes, the governor can suggest legislation and lobby the legislative assembly but the governor, under the Oregon Constitution, belongs to the executive branch of government.

It should be noted that Gov. Brown has been put in the position of running twice in two years. With the resignation of her predecessor early in his last term and her taking over the governorship following the succession required by state law, this is not a situation she created. I am sure that she would prefer to not have to run in 2016 and again in 2018 for her own four-year term. We should be glad that she has accepted this increased responsibility.

Ms. Chavez-DeRemer points to the fact that she, as mayor of Happy Valley, has balanced the city budget. All levels of government in Oregon, from city to state are required to have a balanced budget. I believe that Kate Brown deserves the same recognition for balancing our state's budget.

Finally, the author criticizes the governor for not fully funding the vocational education ballot measure. While supporting a worthy program, the ballot measure unfortunately contained no funding initiative to implement it. It is these types of unfunded directives that contribute to the state's inability to fully fund services, existing and new alike.

It is easy to take unsubstantiated shots from the outside. We all could do better presenting solutions with the problems we identify.

Jennifer Feely

Gladstone

Celebrate a park's revitalization

Two years ago, the Gladstone Nature Park was in danger of being sold off for rock mining and commercial development. This year, it is being celebrated for its newly beautified walking trails —created by a local Boy Scout troop — and efforts by local citizens to keep the park clean and family-friendly.

Friends of Gladstone Nature Park is a nonprofit organization created by a grassroots effort of local residents of Gladstone. The organization holds monthly meetings and monthly park clean-up events. This year they will hold their second-annual Arbor Day Celebration.

Gladstone Mayor Tammy Stempel, who volunteered at the park's January clean-up event, told me, "We want this park to be here for current and future generations. It's so important for kids and families to have a quiet, safe place to go outdoors."

This year, Gladstone Nature Park's Annual Arbor Day walk will be co-sponsored by the Friends of Gladstone Nature Park and the Sherie Hildreth Ovarian Cancer Foundation. The event will run from 10 a.m. until noon on April 29 and will include free information booths, free music, free prizes and fresh air. For more information or to pre-register, visit protecttheparks.org/events.html.

Eileen Garlington

Gladstone

We welcome submissions from readers on local issues for our Opinion page. Please send your thoughts to Raymond Rendleman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please 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 971-204-7742 with story ideas and comments.

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