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Reader's letters

Wants study on effects of increased rail traffic

Global Partners LLC’s application to increase its permitted oil shipments via the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is based upon the company’s desire for increased profits because it exists to make money.

If Global Partners LLC is granted this increase in oil-by-rail shipments, the new permit will allow three transports of 110-car oil trains per day to deliver or return empty oil rail cars from Clatskanie.

This is just one project that’s part of the massive, pending expansion of Port of St. Helens-owned property at Port Westward. If unchecked, there will be additional unit train traffic.

Global Partners LLC is not in Columbia County to help the people, existing businesses or economic development. The Port of St. Helens, a publicly owned and funded government agency, exists to do this. The port commissioners do not seem to be concerned that a massive increase in rail traffic will have many negative side effects on Columbia County and its populace. These negative side effects, occurring outside of Clatskanie, include longer commutes, public safety issues, lower property values, less economic development and, ultimately, lower employment.

It appears the port commissioners are more concerned about Clatskanie’s’ future than the future of St. Helens, Scappoose, Rainier and Warren. If the port commissioners disagree with the above, why have they not conducted a new, unbiased, countywide rail and traffic safety study that takes into consideration economic, quality of life, property values and environmental impact variables? I and others have been asking for these studies for well over a year now.

The port is supposed to work for the businesses and people of the port district. How can the port do this when its elected officials have not provided us with the basic research to make informed decisions?

Brian Rosenthal

Investor in Scappoose commercial and industrial property

Train delays raise questions

Have you been late to work or an appointment due to those darn trains? If you call 911, will the ambulance, fire department or law enforcement get stuck too and waste precious minutes? Do you shudder to think what would happen to the schools your kids attend, so close to the rails, if there were to be an oil train explosion? What’s the deal on coal? Have you heard the Port of St. Helens wants to take over productive farmland for expansion?

We sure don’t have all the answers — but we have some of the scoop. Do you want to help make a difference? Or, at least, become informed?

The next meeting of Clean Columbia County is Thursday, April 10, 6:30 p.m. at the Columbia Soil and Water Conservation District, Old Warren Grange, 35285 Millard Road. Please do your part to make Columbia County a safe, clean and productive community.

Cathy Pitkin

Clean Columbia County

We need a new sheriff, not a new sheriff levy

The house I live in on West Lane Road outside of Scappoose was broken into two times in 2012. The first time, April 26, I lost guns worth over $12,000. That’s not a lot to the Sheriff’s Office investigator, but it’s a lot to me. Fingerprints were taken, but that’s the last we heard. Then, on July 27, the house was broken into and ransacked again. What they overlooked the first time, they took the second. I heard one of the thieves was in the Columbia County Jail. He admitted to being involved in the robbery, but was never charged.

It is no wonder people are disgusted and downright angry with the lame excuses given by Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson and his handpicked deputies as to why they won’t go after the meth heads and heroin addicts that are robbing the rural homeowners blind.

Dickerson has spent his entire adult life feeding at the public trough. He left Oregon State Police with PERS retirement benefits and he will leave as sheriff with another PERS retirement. Because of citizen input, the county commissioners are aware of his misguided agendas and are advocating a “citizen oversight committee” to oversee his spending. This is a good idea, but should not be necessary. Dickerson has proved to county officials and taxpayers over and over that he is too inept and vindictive to run the jail or the Sheriff’s Office. He should take his PERS retirements and ride off into the sunset.

The county commissioners could appoint a knowledgable, responsible person to manage the Sheriff’s Office and jail until an election is held. Then and only then will we have a functional jail and Sheriff’s Office we can be proud of and will not mind contributing to.

I put a lot of thought into this letter. I didn’t write it just to bash Dickerson. It is hard coming home to a ransacked home. You never get over it. In Columbia County, you get the feeling the druggie thieves and the Sheriff’s Office is one and the same. The vitcims get no satisfaction or results, just rude deputies telling you Dickerson has no time or money for investigating. Passing a new jail levy will only extend the problems.

Dave Molony

Scappoose

Stumping for Martwick

I know Columbia Circuit Judge Jean Martwick and honestly believe she is and will continue to be a good judge.

She has dedicated her life to public service. Before she became a judge, she spent thousands of hours in the courtroom, many of those in very serious high-stakes jury trials.

She was the first person in her family to graduate from college. She did so as the single parent of three children while working as a full-time waitress. One of her daughters is now a lawyer, the other is a nurse and her son is a disabled veteran, who she cares for.

As an attorney, she helped me assist an old school chum for over three years as his life spiraled down with dementia. Her contribution on his and his family’s behalf was nothing short of outstanding. The comment in the court was, “Jean is making about 12 cents an hour on this case.”

Her judgeship is non-partisan, so she isn’t running on a political platform. It’s all about her qualifications for the position. She has 17 years experience in the legal arena dealing with complex, serious legal matters, both civil and criminal. I ask for your support getting her name out there for voting consideration in the May primary.

Visit her web site at www. judgejeanmartwick.org.

Cliff Bauer

Scappoose

Help protect young people from sexual violence

The children and teens of today are our hope for tomorrow. It is important for us as parents, caring adults and communities to help set young people on the path for a healthy future and support them as they work to create positive change. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this year’s campaign is focused on youth.

Youth in our county experience sexual violence at a higher rate than youth elsewhere in the state. In 2013, 10 percent of Columbia County teens reported being sexually assaulted in a survey by the Oregon Health Authority. This April, the campaign will be called, “It’s time ... to talk about it!”

The campaign is about your voice and our future, and we have a goal of preventing sexual violence and encouraging individuals and communities to support healthy sexual development.

Young people face many challenges during adolescence. Stereotypes and negative massages in the media do not make the process any easier. By learning and talking about healthy sexuality, adults are able to support the teens in their lives. It is time for adults and communities to be a resource to teens so they learn and grow.

How can we support teens during this time of change and discovery? Young people need age-appropriate information about healthy sexuality and relationships from trusted adults. The first step is to start an open dialogue. Ask questions and, most importantly, listen. We can all play a role in modeling healthy behaviors, promoting positive skills and creating safe environments. It is important to empower the voices of youth and challenge negative, unhealthy messages.

It’s OK if you do not have all the answers. It is more important to welcome questions and learn together.

SAFE of Columbia County offers a variety of resources to help prevent and respond to sexual assault, and you can learn more at www.safeofcolumbiacounty.org. To create a vision for a future without sexual violence, every voice can play a role in a healthier, safer tomorrow for all.

You can use your voice to start the conversation. You can support the voices of young people, and together we can amplify our voices for a healthy future.

It’s time ... to talk about it!

Naaman Cordova-Muenzberg

SAFE of Columbia County

St. Helens

Can I double up a bit here?

First, to those who so foolishly would totally disarm our citizens, let me say this: I never thought I would be agreeing with a communist, but, “One man with a gun can control 100 without one.” The quote is from Russian communist disctator Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924).

And no way is this administration, or any other, going to give us its guns. And, who wants to do the controlling? Well, not the individual who only wants to defend himself and/or his family.

Second, there is a strong, behind-the-scenes move to call a Constitutional Convention (aka Con Con) to, it is claimed, “deal with gun violence.”

No, no, no. Through the disarray in Congress now, our Constitution would be destroyed. And, among other things, we would be left with no guns with which to defend ourselves. No, no, no Con Con.

We must retain our Constitution with its clear reliance upon the God of this universe. And, since this is a moral question, our churches surely should be speaking out, clearly and especially, on that very point.

If not the church, then who?

Dean Nichols

Scappoose