Letters to the editor, Aug. 30, 2017
League appreciates Rep. McLain's leadership
I am writing to express the League of Oregon Cities' appreciation to Representative Susan McLain for her leadership and notable efforts during the recent 2017 legislative session. Representative McLain was instrumental on a number of challenging issues, including passage of a $5.3 billion transportation package that will result in significant benefits for all Oregonians, and legislation aimed to ensure adequate drinking water supply for communities across the state.
In addition, Representative McLain was one of several legislators who worked diligently to find legislative solutions to protect local flexibility while ensuring accountability for public dollars spent on local public improvement projects. Her efforts will help ensure that local communities are able to get the best value when making investments in local infrastructure.
As an organization representing all of Oregon's 241 cities, we greatly value when state legislators take the time to consider the impacts that legislation will have on their local communities. Representative McLain stood out as a legislator who brought a strong local perspective to Salem, and proved to be a committed advocate for the needs of the local communities and the citizens she represents.
League of Oregon Cities
Citizenship status moot after passage of HB 3391
I am so thankful for Sen. (Chuck) Riley and Rep. (Janeen) Sollman's support of House Bill 3391 this past legislative session.
I am relieved to know that Oregon law now establishes health coverage — including family planning, abortion and postpartum care — for thousands of Oregonians who were previously excluded from programs due to their citizenship status. Immigrants are our hardworking, taxpaying neighbors who need access to coverage, just like the rest of us. Every family in Oregon can now have the opportunity to prosper in a stronger, healthier, more economically stable state thanks to their thoughtful and necessary vote.
No one should have to go deep into debt because they don't have affordable reproductive health care. Access to the full range of care outlined in HB 3391 is a basic right, and provides all Oregonians and their families more opportunities than they had access to before.
I hope more states join us in the coming years in providing access for all of their constituents, regardless of income, citizenship status or gender identity.
Today, I am a proud Oregonian who is at ease knowing all of my neighbors can access a full range of reproductive health services. I can't thank them enough for making HB 3391 a reality.
County 'bureaucracy' stalls project
The Washington County Building Department is holding small businesses like mine hostage. While the county's taxable home sites are growing astronomically the county ignores small business expansion. It is apparent that the building inspectors are all about taxable improvements.
In our recent project, we were told by the county that our permit would take two to four weeks; it took over 12 without any explanation or apology.
After finally getting the permit, a county inspector "verbally approved" a structural change to our office remodel but then promptly "left on medical leave" without documentation of the approval. The county now claims that, despite a lengthy list of inspectors on their website, they are under-staffed and have no one to take over this particular inspector's duties.
The net effect is that our office build out has been stalled for over six weeks now. This is causing substantial financial losses in rents, productivity and staffing. Our "four-month project" that began in March still has no estimation for completion as the county refuses to send an inspector out or even answer our queries as to when we can get an inspector.
The fact that we hired an outside engineer for the structural change, as directed by the county, and that we have even offered to pay for an independent inspector to sign off, have got us no further to a resolution.
It is increasingly apparent that Washington County's Building Department is either poorly run or under extreme financial obligation to only inspect tax generating properties (or both). What they fail to see is the income potential from rents and taxable wages that we small businesses generate through our services.
I have lived in Washington County 50 years. This bureaucracy is getting worse and must be put to an end.
Dr. Dan Phillips