Writers wonder about protesters, back school board's Hayes, recommend a call to 811 before digging

Protesters should practice what they preach

Recently I attended a meeting of the Oregonians for Immigration Reform in Salem, and as usual the protestes were out en masse with their silly signs and meaningless chants. They attempted to block the entrance to the motel where we met. Most people drove through them (not over them) but I drove around back and parked quietly. As I usually notice, their message was so compelling that virtually no one was willingly standing around listening to them.

When we started the meeting we were advised not to confront or interact with the protestors. We want to respectfully honor their right to protest, and we did so. However there were police and a hired private security guard there to protect our right to have a peaceful meeting. At one point the security guard had to prevent the protesters from entering the motel conference room and disrupting our meeting.

I don't get it. How can these protesters, who demand freedom of speech, tolerance and acceptance, be so willing to violate our rights of free assembly and freedom of speech by attempting to shut down our peaceful meeting? We were doing nothing wrong or illegal. We were not advocating violating the laws to accomplish an evil purpose. We were simply sharing information and discussing ideas of working within the existing laws to accomplish change. What was so wrong about our meeting that these protesters find it acceptable to not practice what they preach?

Jim Kolousek


John Hayes' leadership needed on school board

I first met John Hayes my junior year at Forest Grove High School, when I was a candidate for School Board Representative. To be honest, I was a little nervous. After all, John's reputation preceded him. I knew who he was, and the work he had done for our community. I knew of the more than a million dollars his lobbying was bringing to the FGSD. I knew about his championing of issues like reduction of classroom size. I knew that he brought updated resources to both athletics and the arts. I knew all this, and so imagined myself being introduced to an intimidating figure.

What I experienced couldn't have been farther from that. John was as kind as he was wise, as patient as he was determined and as curious as he was knowledgeable. In fact, over the course of the next year I spent as a student representative on the school board, nobody fought as hard for students like me as John Hayes did.

As a student who worked closely with the Forest Grove School Board, I can say with confidence that John is the right person for the position. We need his leadership.

Lilly Mejia

Forest Grove

Call 811 before you dig this spring

After a long and dreary winter, it's time for outdoor spring projects to start. NW Natural reminds contractors, homeowners and landscapers to call 811 when a project involves digging 12 inches or lower.

Calling 811 to locate underground utilities two business days before the start of a task is the simple, smart and safe thing to do. Overlooking this important step may cause property loss, serious injury or worse.

Following safe digging laws helps to prevent accidental damages, which is needed since approximately 800 incidents occur each year in NW Natural's service area.

No damage is too minor to report; even a small dent or scratch could weaken a pipeline. If a gas line is accidentally hit and there's a smell of rotten eggs or the sound of gas escaping, be sure to leave the area immediately and then call NW Natural's 24-hour emergency line at 800-882-3377.

Have a safe spring and don't forget to call 811 before you dig.

Scott Gallegos for NW Natural


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