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Also: Old-time Fourth of July celebration; Paul Edgar on Oregon's transportation priorities

Hello Val Clarke,

Very much enjoyed your "currant" article in the Clackamas Review ("Consider currants' color, flavor for your yard," May 24).

CurrantsI too have vivid memories of the Molt brothers and their farms. When we picked currants (red ones as I remember) as you know, they were "low-down." My mother, big brother and I (I turned 7 fall of 1947) really struggled. My dad wound up constructing two low stools to sit on while picking. They were sturdy as a rock. I still have them!

Especially enjoyed picking what they called "black caps" which I think were black raspberries. Willy especially always saying "just the black ones!!"

One trick the Molts used on everyone (especially with raspberries and strawberries), annoyed my mom a lot! They insisted on us filling the hillock boxes to overflowing — then when the carriers went to the sheds, the "extra" berries were scooped off into empty boxes in order to get extra boxes. They tried to be subtle about it, but my mom wasn't fooled.

I wound up marrying a young man who grew up about a mile from Webster and Thiessen roads — he too picked at the Molt farms.

Not surprisingly, being a foodie — the best memories I have of those days were the awesome lunches mom put together for our half-hour lunch break. She put her heart and soul into those sandwiches, fruit, chips, cookies etc. That was probably the beginning of my love affair with food. Up until then, I was a skinny little "picky" eater.

My husband passed away in 1995 (too soon!) but I still live on Upper Aldercrest Drive with one of my daughters. Have lived here since 1965. Two years after our marriage, my father-in-law gave us a half acre of his lot to build our house on. How generous was that?!!

Have had a good life with lots of great memories!

Thank you again.

Sincerely,

Vera Nortell

Oak Grove

P.S. Unfortunately, have never acquired a taste for currants — too tart!

Old-time Fourth of July celebration

As far back as I can remember in my 64 years of life, my family has always gotten together to celebrate the most patriotic holiday in this country, Independence Day, the 4th of July. When I was a small child I remember spending the 4th of July at my grandparents' home on the Willamette River with my aunts, uncles, cousins, and many others whom were brought into the family by an aunt, uncle or cousin.

Every year my dad would spend several weeks prior to the 4th catching crawdads to be cooked and devoured on the 4th. I would go with him to grandma's house to cook the crawdads before anyone else showed up just so I could get a head start. Oh how I loved his crawdads!

As we grew up there, the 4th of July celebration left special memories that I will always cherish. Jumping off the rope swing at grandma's was a rite of passage and many people who grew up in West Linn, Oregon City, Canby, and the Gladstone areas were connected by that rope swing. They may remember it as Troutman's rope swing but that's ok since Mae Troutman was a Bietschek. The rope swing was moved every so often when one of the uncles felt the swing's current location was unsafe. For us kids, it just magically moved to a new spot every couple of years. Even though there might have been an occasional oops, such as breaking a bone on the rope swing or catching a shirt on fire trying to save a lit sparkler in a pocket, we always looked forward to getting together with the family on the 4th.

One of life's truths is that things are always changing, so like every other family, people came and left over time. When grandma passed away many, many years ago at the age of 107 and when that happened the days of celebrating at grandma's house were over. No one had a yard big enough to hold all of the Bietschek generations, so smaller groups of family held their own celebrations someplace else.

I grew up with wonderful memories of having my family around on the 4th so this year, Jerry and I decided to invite our entire family to the Elks Park for a family picnic. Since neither of us had ever attending the Family Picnic at the park, we didn't know what to expect. We knew hot dogs were free for the kids and there were promises of games and fun for all, but that's all we knew. We put up a tent to let the Bietschek family know where to gather, and we hoped for the best.

Although our family turnout wasn't as large as we hoped, the 25-30 family members who did show up had a wonderful time. The kids were kept very busy with the games provided by the Elks volunteers and the adults were definitely entertained by the creative of the kids in the raw egg scramble and pinata breaking. The Elks provided raffles for both adults and kids and the clubhouse was open for soda pop and adult drinks. Several of my family members even enjoyed soaking in the calm current of the Molalla River so I think we had it all! Except perhaps for the crawdad feast, even though we tried...

On behalf of the Bietschek family, I'd like to thank the Oregon City Elks Lodge #1189 volunteers for hosting their Family Picnic and providing my family with the space location to get us all back together again for our annual 4th of July celebration! We had such positive comments from our family members that we hope to do it again next year. A special thank you to Rick and Sandy Rimmer, the park caretakers, for taking such wonderful care of our park!

Carol Bietschek De Lair

Gladstone

State's misguided priorities

For greater than two decades, 80 percent of the all-purpose federal transportation dollars, flowing to the state of Oregon went to everything else than our roads and highways.

Our lobbyist (for transportation projects) primary focus has been to fund TriMet light-rail development and Metro's view of their prioritizations of transportation priorities, like bike trails and all of the multi-modal projects. TriMet is maybe the most bankrupt entity second only to PERS in the state of Oregon.

Their annual audit report reflects that they now payout more money in cost of benefits than they do to total salaries. The funds generated by TriMet, don't even come close to covering any portion of the annual cost of keeping this entity afloat. TriMet is built like a "pyramid scheme" where if they do not have these federal highway dollars coming in, to fund out all of this huge staff of administrative, engineers and designers that they maintain on staff, they would have to be declared "bankrupt!"

There is/has been this allocation of federal highway appropriations that has been in effect going proportionately to each state and territory. This has been to maintain to create some degree of fairness, from state to state with these appropriations. So our state lobbyists, for gaining federal transportation dollars, have had the green light to fund TriMet desires and have not declared any desire or emergency to the needs of our Oregon roads and highways. It appears that after TriMet gets its share, like 50 percent, all other transportation priorities across the state of Oregon have to fight for the remaining share. Now with the cost of salaries and benefits, like PERS, with TriMet just to pay for bloated staff, there is not much left.

I agree with most of the proposed increases in gas tax and registration fee and charges, as we don't have a lot of choices, but the tolling of I-205 and I-5 corridors has me shaking my head.

What I don't agree with is these prioritizations like to TriMet, where they are hogging huge amounts of federal highway dollars into funding the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Plan. It does not have the necessary priority as to all of the regional and state transportation needs. Just the need of expanding the capacity of the I-205 corridor to its full envisioned capacity, has a much greater return-on-investment than anything with TriMet expansion. The funding of the I-5/I-84 interchange and Rose Quarter improvements does not solve the problems, which are far greater. You can only do so much to improve the I-5 corridor through Portland that is broken almost to a degree beyond our ability to fix it. The I-5 Marquam Bridge is totally inadequate and may well have more structural problems than the old I-5 bridges that cross the Columbia River. You can attempt to fix one spot in Portland, when the whole corridor is broken, as it is not even a Band-Aid in the big picture of dysfunction of transportation planning and prioritization that has and is going on. To fix the I-5 corridor through Portland, you would need maybe $50 to $100 billion.

We need to create new alternative corridors and enhance the perimeter corridors to allow for the free flow of goods and services. As an example the I-205 corridor is basically flat with gradual curves and more than enough Right-of-Way (ROW) to add one or two lanes in each direction within the existing owned ROW. The cost per mile of updating the I-205 corridor with more lanes to gain more capacity might well be only 25 cents on a dollar to limited efforts in the I-5 corridor. We need to create transportation capacity that does not add to the problems of this broken beyond our ability funds reasonable fixes to it.

Paul Edgar

Oregon City

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