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Do you have something you want to say about stories we've published? A viewpoint you want to share? An event you want to discuss? E-mail your letters to news@spotlightnews.net or send them to 33548 Edward Lane, Suite 110, Scappoose, OR 97056. No anonymous letters.

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Luttrell looking out for jobs

It is very common knowledge that our community is struggling. There aren’t enough jobs for hard working people, and our local government doesn’t have the resources to keep up with rising costs.

There is some good news, however. The Port of St. Helens has been working very hard with several potential businesses interested in creating opportunities in the very near future. This would be a much-needed boost to our local economy, both in terms of providing family-wage jobs and also helping to improve our region’s declining infrastructure.

It always puzzles me when people fail to realize how important jobs are to making Columbia County, the port district and our community a better place to live. Jobs and industry mean more paychecks, more tax revenue, more growth and resources for our entire community and an improvement to all our qualities of life. Working in partnership with our local government, new as well as existing businesses can make a positive impact on the lives of countless neighbors.

In 2013 Port Commissioner Terry Luttrell is up for re-election. As with all political ideas there have been some critical voices of Luttrell’s vision for bringing jobs and industry to our region. I encourage creating jobs and increasing our quality of life, especially when we have strong leaders in place to make sure businesses have the opportunity to grow as well as do what’s right for local residents and the natural environment.

Commissioner Terry Luttrell is such a man. If you agree that our community deserves a better future, needs more employment opportunities and needs to keep our population working in local industries then support Mr. Luttrell. He’s looking out for us. We cannot afford to discourage industry nor lose Luttrell’s sensible leadership.

Scott Parker, President

Scappoose Sand & Gravel

Clarke is the choice for port transparency

Michael Clarke is the change we need on the Port of St. Helens. He is standing up to the corporate interests that have seduced our current commissioners.

I have lived in Columbia County all of my life. I am not often involved in politics, but I resent it when those who have been elected to office dismiss and disregard the will of those who elected them. We have a right to transparency from the port.

Looking at just the safety and health issues, the coal trains and the port need to give the families of the affected communities better and more substantive information why we will be better off. Is our community prepared to handle environmental emergencies relating to these mile-long coal trains?

For me, I have more questions than answers. What is the cost to our small businesses; cost in lowered property values; cost in new taxes and time lost?

I’m voting for Michael Clarke, a candidate for port commissioner that is interested in learning the facts before mistakes are made.

Kathleen Tesar

St. Helens

Liking Luttrell, not happy with Clarke

Voters need to carefully review the options for the upcoming election for port commissioner.

Terry Luttrell has the held this position for the past six years and is well respected in the community.

Michael Clarke I have found to be immature, unprofessional and arrogant when I dealt with him. Mr. Clarke had a very wordy opinion in the April 26 Spotlight expressing his concern that the current port commissioners have not researched the impact of coal cars in Columbia County. No where did Mr. Clarke indicate what type of impact report he is interested in (cleanliness, tying up the tracks, financial, job creation). I gathered by reading Mr. Clarke’s article that the port commission is going to have research done once a deal is actually in the works. Seems logical to me, the port commissioners made a sound decision to save taxpayers money by not doing research at this time, but to wait until the project is truly going to move forward and they have all the facts.

On March 7, Tammy Maygra, Columbia Health District Board, stated on her website that a summary judgment was based on a missed filing deadline by their attorneys. Mr. Clarke is cited as one of the pro bono attorneys on their case.

The current port commissioners work well together, even though they don’t always agree with each other. I don’t always agree with their decisions, but am comfortable they function favorably for the best interest of the community. It would be detrimental to this well-established group to have a newly elected member entering in with an oppositional attitude. As the commissioner’s position is also voluntary, there is a need for someone who will follow through and not miss deadlines.

Vote for Terry Luttrell, the candidate with the most experience, not the most signs.

Yvonne Pea

Warren

Clarke, not Luttrell, will seek answers before making decisions

In the upcoming election for Port of St. Helens board members, I intend to vote for Michael Clarke. I will vote for Mr. Clarke because there are far too many unanswered questions surrounding the issue of coal trains.

One major question that needs to be answered is how we will respond if and when derailments or breakdowns leave citizens and emergency vehicles stranded on the wrong side of the tracks. We all know about the derailment near Cornelius Pass. Recently, a breakdown between Scappoose and St. Helens left a long train blocking several private crossings for hours.

It appears that present board members set this and other questions aside to put coal transport on the fast track.

Tracy Amstutz

Warren

Help a vet, buy a Buddy Poppy

Once again the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States of America Post 4362 of Scappoose will be giving out free Buddy Poppies on May 17 and 18.

You will find us at Fred Meyer, the Post Office, Grocery Outlet and Ichabod’s Restaurant.

These Poppies are made by disabled veterans in VA hospitals throughout the United States. They are then shipped to state VFWs. Then the state VFW sends them to individual posts throughout the state.

The posts then gives them out to their communities.

Donations are welcome. Money raised is used to help veterans, our troops and their families.

So when you see a VFW member giving out Buddy Poppies, stop and say hello. Give what you can and wear the Poppy proudly.

We served to protect our way of life. So honor our service by wearing a Buddy Poppy.

Larry M. Newman

VFW Post 4362

Buddy Poppy Chairman

Scappoose

Let's leverage the mighty Columbia for gain, not detriment

"Rolling terrain extends on the two banks of the Ohio where the soil offers inexhaustible treasures to the plowman every day; on the two banks the air is equally healthy and the climate temperate. . . . On the left bank of the river, the population is scattered . . . . From the right bank arises, in contrast, a confused murmur that proclaims from afar the presence of industry; rich crops cover the fields; elegant dwellings announce the taste and the attentions of the plowman; on all sides comfort is revealed; man seems rich and content: he is working."

— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1830

Alexis de Tocqueville once attributed the stark difference between Ohio to the north and Kentucky to the south to slavery in Kentucky; but take a journey down the Columbia River today, and you will see a similar contrast. Upriver there are flourishing green fields in Washington and a virtual desert in Oregon. The people in Washington and Oregon seem to have “the same habits, the same civilization, the same laws” but they have made different choices. Washington has chosen to take winter water from the Columbia, store it and irrigate in the summer. Oregon has chosen not to.

Downriver, transportation and industry in Washington are relatively healthy even during our economic downturn. Washington state is only marginally more friendly to development than Oregon, but even that incremental difference has had enormous impacts. Washington has four times the rail lines along the river and many more jobs.

Energy and transportation build industry. South of the river, Oregon has chosen to become a place where whole industries are abandoned and people who are fortunate enough to have jobs commute long distances to Portland.

The Columbia is a source of great blessings. It gives us low-cost renewable energy, salt-free water and fertile valleys rich in timber and agricultural potential. This great river provides a pathway into the heart of America and a gateway to the world.

We Oregonians have chosen to turn our backs on those blessings.

We neglect our hydroelectric system even as we squander our scarce resources on more environmentally harmful technologies which will not become economically viable for many years—if ever. Unlike Washington, we do not use fresh river water; we let it flow into the sea. We were told we must kill our timber industry in order to save the spotted owl habitat and the trees. The spotted owl has not been saved, the unharvested forests are dying of disease and fire and our last timber mills are closing.

And now we are even choking off river traffic.

“The American of the left bank scorns not only work, but all the enterprises that work brings to success.” We in Oregon have chosen not to labor but to rely on the labor of others. We scrape by on arts, crafts and tourists; and we continue to destroy our industries one by one. Many people in Oregon believe that humans, simply by existing, are destroying nature. In their new religion, we are the original sin.

In fact, Nature manages the business of destruction quite well on its own. Floods destroy land; volcanoes and forest fires dump mega amounts of carbon into the air; whole species disappear in the blink of a geological moment; and the climate cycles through cooling and warming periods in tandem with the emergence of sun spots.

Yes, we should have environmental controls but, as stewards of this planet,we should tend the garden, and not simply abandon it.

We should leverage Oregon’s abundant water resources. A bipartisan group of legislators has shown that 4 inches of winter water from the Columbia will create 10,250 farm and food processing jobs in Oregon.

We should tend our hydroelectric system while maintaining fish protection programs.

We should harvest and replant our timber—in federal and state forests as well as on private land.

We should use our river valley for transporting commodities. Water transportation is the most cost effective and environmentally safe high-volume transportation.

Three projects are now seeking approval from Port Westward: a PGE natural-gas generating plant, the conversion of the twice-failed ethanol plant into an exporter of oil and a coal exportation operation.

Before agreeing to these projects, we should insist on highway overpasses, noise reduction, preventing spillage and pollution, and some percentage of the oil and gas to be sold in Columbia and Clatsop counties at the prices it is being exported.

Then we should allow these projects to be built. Abundant energy has made the economic turnaround in the Midwest possible.

If we are good stewards of this planet, both the river and the people on both banks of the river will flourish.

Chana Cox

North Plains

A dance around the May Pole

How life styles make changes over the years from what once was. The thought behind May Day today makes a whole new understanding. People of today think it’s to march, like we see insects do (flying ants and termites and such), a mob by design to destroy others' holdings. I know May 1 has passed now, but I just had to say this after those scenes in Seattle last week.

In the day’s of old, dancing around a Maypole was the thing. This Maypole idea came from a past time, a part from Babylon. It also originated, in part, from the Druid period. It was to aid in the celebration of unwed ladies in spring.

In some parts of England, mothers of the manor would dress-up their young ladies and parade them around this pole. it was a way form them to signifying their daughters were old enough for dating.

The May Day was a pagan way to show budding in youth.

In my time, a child would make paper baskets in school and then, on our way home, we would stop to fill it with picked dandelions or other flowers. As I got older it was my policies to hand-pick my mother some wildflowers for the first day of May. It had become expected of me to do this as once I missed a May Day and received a phone call asking where her flowers were.

This May Day I had my great grandson do this for his momma. At first he didn’t show much interest, but when she came he was very happy he could do this for his mom. My-o-my how I like the good part of a grand time!

After seeing the joy from the boy and his mom it would be neat to see the May Day paper baskets come back. But there is still Mother’s Day, and we can just give the moms in our lives that big “O” hug.

Dean D. Ebert

St. Helens