We, the members of the City Club of Portland Civics Education Advocacy and Awareness Committee, applaud the governor’s vision for education and the Legislature’s commitment to greater funding since Oregon’s future depends on educated citizens. We hope these commitments and Nancy Golden’s appointment as interim head of the Oregon Education Investment Board signal a wise shift toward valuing our most essential resource: our children.

Leadership and money are needed to prepare youth for productive and satisfying adulthood, but the community we call “Oregon” needs something more. Our political system, based on a part-time Legislature and the initiative system, only works if we understand issues, and the systems for influencing them, and are equipped to participate in social problem-solving.

In 2012, the City Club of Portland studied civics education in local public high schools to assess its role and effectiveness preparing youth to become engaged citizens. That study and previous research concluded that democracy requires civic education, specifically “a combination of knowledge, skills and civic disposition.”

Educating youth to become engaged in collective issues is as important to the health of our state as their preparation for college and career. To ensure the strongest future for Oregon, readiness for civic engagement must be a major, express goal of education.

New OEIB leadership and improved funding provide an opportunity to re-imagine Oregon’s education priorities. We urge Gov. John Kitzhaber, Golden and the OEIB to add “civic engagement” to their statement of Oregon’s major education goals. “Oregon,” they can say and we will show, “should lead the nation in educating students for college, career and civic engagement.”

Colleen Shoemaker

Southwest Portland

Give clubs loans with liens attached

After reading the recent article in the Tribune about the cost issue related to sprinklers (Probe sparks city push for nightclub fire sprinklers, July 25), this question comes to mind: The city has required homeowners (who mostly receive no cash flow from their homes) to pay for expensive sewer hookups/disconnects from party lines, etc., whether they want to or not. The city finally saw it fit to provide a funding mechanism to make that survivable: long-term loans, presumably with a lien attached to the property.

Is there a reason that the city cannot provide a similar funding option with required sprinkler upgrades for this critical public safety issue? Interest rates are low, so why these property owners can’t finance these essential improvements is beyond me, but if their books aren’t solid enough for private funding, then maybe it is in the public interest to make it happen by offering the upfront cash/lien encumbrance — sooner, rather than later.

For what it’s worth, I am not a club-goer.

Christine Charneski

Southeast Portland

OSU independent board is smart choice

As a business leader and employer in the Portland area and longtime Oregonian, I think Oregon State University’s move to create an independent institutional board is a smart choice.

OSU actively works to support and advance a culture of strength and vitality in Oregon from it’s work on the environment, to it’s commitment to healthy people and a strong economy. OSU understands the things that are the foundation of a vibrant and thriving community.

While OSU is already deeply connected in every county in the state, the new board will create the space to deepen relationships, expand networks and advance the education of members of our communities, inside the classroom and through OSU’s extension and experiment stations.

I’m energized by the potential I see here and applaud OSU’s choice to take this thoughtful step forward.

Joth Ricci


Contract Publishing

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