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Letters from readers for 5/2 issue


On the Morrow Pacific project

I have lived and worked in Columbia County since 1973, employed in the timber industry and, later, in my small surveying company. I have always held a deep concern about the health of rivers and air quality. As the economy has gone up and down, our area has suffered more than most from the down side.

This “project” is an opportunity for us, for jobs and long-term benefits to our county. And, most importantly, it is a boost to our school revenues.

I see the project as environmentally safe. Oregon has high standards to ensure this protection. I have worked with such rules for much of my career.

This is a huge step in the right direction, both with jobs and needed revenue. It is a win for us in Columbia County, one we should not miss.

Jerry Keenon

Vernonia

‘Keep up the good work

That is what Wayne Mayo said to me the other day. Not only does Wayne care about Columbia County as a whole, he also cares for individuals and their part.

Columbia County is made up of many individuals who need to work together to make this area prosperous, safe and a great place to live. We need commissioners who have integrity, ingenuity in creating jobs and concern for the families of this area.

We have known Wayne Mayo for over 16 years. In that time, he has worked hard to raise successful children, hire employees through his contracting business and better the lives of residents in Columbia County.

In 1999, Wayne wrote the measures for the takeover of the Enron PGE distribution system for Scappoose, St Helens, Columbia City and Rainier. In the middle of the campaign, Lori Piercy convinced Wayne that Rainier should go to Clatskanie PUD as a better fit for that town. Over the last 10 years, these four towns have saved over $30 million over the rates PGE has charged in the Portland area. This is the kind of servant leadership that we need in our next commissioner of Columbia County.

Vote for Wayne Mayo.

Janice Rice

Rainier

Vote for Mayo for county commissioner

I understand federal dollars helped get the bus system going, but what is the cost to this county? Our jail might close, schools are struggling to meet budgets, roads go unrepaired, yet empty busses are what our commissioners chose to spend our money on.

Taking funds to set up a system that is not sustainable is irresponsible. The new transit office was used for years in the private sector for the executives that ran Friesen lumber. Why did the county have to have it remodeled? Was it not good enough for the public employees who run the bus system?

Wayne Mayo went campaigning door to door in Rainier on Sunday. He was out in the rain, wind and hail because he believes in this county and cares about the people.

Wayne is passionate about financial responsibility. He has proven himself as a strong leader. He is creative when it comes to finding solutions. When elected, he will work hard for you, the citizens of this county.

Wayne Mayo wrote the initiative for the PUD takeovers. Wayne, with several others, stood outside the post offices collecting signatures to get the takeover on the ballot. Since the initiative passed, we have been saving on our electricity costs. The current PGE rate is $.11/kWh, Columbia River PUD is $.064/kWh and the Clatskanie rate is $.0455/kWh.

If you are in the Columbia River service area, you are saving 42 percent over Portland ratepayers. If you are a Clatskanie PUD customer, you are saving 59 percent. It all adds up to a lot of money saved by Columbia County residents.That is the kind of creative savings Wayne comes up with.

Please join me in electing Wayne Mayo for Columbia County Commissioner.

Paul Rice

Rainier

Not buying ‘It’s my turncampaign

No matter how many times someone takes a driving test, they will not be licensed to drive on the merit that they have taken the test repeatedly.

You actually have to study and then prove that you understand how to operate a vehicle in a responsible, respectful and cooperative way on the public roadway.

The belief that one should be elected to public office on the grounds that “it’s my turn” says little about a motivation for public service, or the willingness to represent the rights of a diverse community.

It does express a belief in personal entitlement and a desire for political power, which is not necessarily attached to the needs, or interests, of the public at large.

Ann Mathers

St. Helens

Mayo for commissioner

I was encouraged to hear that Wayne Mayo was running for commissioner (Position 2). He is the right man for the job.

Mayo has a history of standing up for the citizens of this county. He led the fight in taking Enron/PGE’s supply systems and handing them over to the PUDs, against the advice of many of our “local leaders,” resulting in much lower electric rates.

He stood strong again when he warned of the multiple problems that would develop with the disastrous hospital project, in which $7 million taxpayer dollars were wasted and much of the money is still unaccounted for.

He has recently proposed a depletion fee of $8.45 per truck load of gravel. That would generate over $1.9 million in revenue that would be dedicated to keep our jail open.

We need a citizen commissioner who brings sound fiscal discipline to the table and will work to create a business-friendly environment that will bring family-wage jobs into our county.

Wayne Mayo is that person.

Jeff Maloney

Scappoose

Congrats to Judge Jean Martwick on OSB poll

Martwick won the recent Oregon State Bar poll of local lawyers about her race to hold her position as incumbent Circuit Court judge, Position 1 (see “Martwick narrowly wins state bar poll,” page A10).

The Oregon State Bar allows its members to vote for their preferences in judicial races. The lawyers in a local community often have worked closely with the judicial candidates and know their history, scholarly ability, and judicial temperament.

I give Judge Jean Martwick my highest recommendation. I am a litigation lawyer with over 19 years of experience. I have known Jean Martwick 16 of those years. Judge Martwick provides the quality of legal experience, leadership and integrity that Columbia County deserves.

Karen Wilson

Hillsboro

A failed jail levy poses uncertainties

I am writing to provide additional information associated with the county jail levy that voters may wish to consider. The information is derived from analyses performed to try to measure the possible monetary impact to the city of St. Helens. There are many pros and cons associated with the jail levy with some very valid points. Here are some facts I believe salient from my perspective.

1. In 2011, according to county booking information, the city of St. Helens was averaging 23 beds per night at the jail facility. All Columbia County agencies combined utilized 100 beds per night.

2. The current cost of the jail levy is 58 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation which, based on the fiscal year 2013-14 for inside the city of St. Helens assessed value, would generate approximately $450,000 per year.

3. If the jail closes and the city opts to continue to prosecute misdemeanor offenses, the city will need to rent jail beds from a jail in another county. To maintain an average of 23 beds per night, we would most likely have to contract with the regional jail facility in The Dalles and pay for daily transport services to and from The Dalles.

4. The cost to the city of St. Helens for these services would run well in excess of $500,000 per year.

5. To fund the level of service provided in 2011, the city would have to cut services in other departments and/or go out with a local levy, which would exceed the 58 cents per $1,000 currently being proposed by the county jail levy.

6. Currently, the county is only maintaining 25 beds, resulting in the book and release of all but the most extreme criminal violatiors. An example would be a person being arrested for allegedly molesting his neighbor’s children. This person would be booked, assigned a court date, and then released based on the offense being lesser then the inmates’ already using local assigned jail beds.

Jon Ellis

Finance Director

City of St. Helens

Callahan for judge

I am voting for Cathleen Callahan because of her temperament, honesty, common sense, and the fact that she is knowledgeable and experienced in so many areas of the law. Callahan is locally rooted, works with all types of clients, and practices law in St. Helens after having an office in Clatskanie. She knows and understands the concerns of the people in this county.

The job of a judge is difficult. Limiting one’s legal practice area tends to limit one’s experience in the law and experience with people of different backgrounds. A judge needs to have a large base of experience and legal knowledge to draw from when making decisions. Callahan has this base. She has helped injured employees, people needing bankruptcy protection, divorcing men and women, business owners, employers, the city of Clatskanie prosecuting crimes and banks. She has also handled real estate transactions, wills, trusts, estate issues, landlord-tenant matters and court appointed defense cases.

If I could choose what kind of judge would decide my case — either as a lawyer or party — I would pick a judge who understood me and my situation, and who had a large base of legal knowledge and practical experience in helping people like me.

Callahan is the best choice based on the criteria I think is important.

Mike Clarke

Scappoose

Post-candidate forum thanks

I wanted to take this public opportunity to thank Rosemary Lohrke and Alta Lynch for the time and effort it took to develop the candidates forum, get everyone involved, locate the venue, remind candidates and others, make sure it was advertised and, of course, the execution.

Alta was a great moderator and Rosemary was the kindest when informing the candidates that their time was up, as well as making sure the candidates were greeted and made to feel welcome. Rosemary and Alta demonstrate the importance of bringing our community together to ask questions and listen to each other.

It was a great turnout.

Again, my thanks to Alta and Rosemary for their continued interest and concern for Columbia County.

Cathleen Callahan

St. Helens

A view from inside the jail

Over the last few months I have watched the debate about the jail and its funding from a unique position; that is, as one of your deputies who has served over 19 years in the jail.

I think maybe we should take another look at this from another view — one from the inside.

You need to know that this is about more than numbers. We all have seen plenty of those. There is an effect that this jail has on this community that most of you are not aware of. We save lives.

A bold statement, I know. How? As we are all aware of, a drug problem exists here. As most of us are also aware, most of the crime here can be traced to the use of drugs.

When they come to the jail, many of them have used or are trying to get that next fix. Good people get caught up in this cycle who would never see themselves like this, but here they are. So when they are remanded or sentenced to the jail, they have a chance to heal, get healthy, and maybe a chance to go to a rehab facility.

Is this the best way? No. It is what we have, though.

The question is, what happens when this safety net is gone? As you can see, this is not just about numbers. It is truly about lives.

I can also tell you that, despite the current funding crisis and the many negative comments made, the staff at the jail still believe. You should know that the men and women that I work with are good and decent people doing a job that is unappreciated, inherently dangerous and always demanding. To see them deal with all of the uncertainty about their professional futures and the future of this community is truly heroic. If you could see them at work, see what they try to accomplish day in and day out, you would truly be proud of them.

I am.

Lee Rigdon

St. Helens

Please vote yes for the jail levy

I’m voting yes because I want Columbia County to be a safe, livable and family-friendly community. I want new businesses to consider opening their doors here, so that more of our talented, hard-working residents can find meaningful work close to home. I want a criminal justice system in place that can house more than 10 criminals at a time.

Without a local jail we will put our local law enforcement officers at great personal risk and increase workload for our 911 staff and local fire and rescue. More criminals and predators will walk free, increasing crime throughout the county.

The consequences of a jail closure would strike a blow to our criminal justice system that I fear could lead to our county becoming a haven for criminal behavior. That’s not what any of us want, so let’s not let that happen.

Libby Calnon

Columbia City

Prepping for CRF&R ballot measure support

On May 20, you will be asked to support ballot Measure No. 5-237 for Columbia River Fire and Rescue.

The board understands how important it is for voters to be informed about this issue. District households will receive, within the next few days, a flyer explaining what the bond will fund and why, and the benefits to your community. We encourage citizens to attend our next board meeting scheduled for 7 p.m., May 13, at the district administration office located at 270 Columbia Blvd., St. Helens, to make comments or ask questions.

You are also encouraged to stop by the administration office and arrange to meet with the board president and/or the fire chief to discuss the bond.

The board appreciates your continued support of the services Columbia River Fire and Rescue provides and looks forward to answering your questions.

Board of Directors

Columbia River Fire and Rescue

Easter Egg Hunt was fun

The Scappoose Easter Egg Hunt was fun for all this year. We were able to hide thousands of eggs filled with candy and prizes at the Grant Watts Elementary School playground.

The Scappoose Kiwanis Club would like to thank the following community members for their generous contributions to the 2014 Easter Egg Hunt:

Ace Hardware - Scappoose, Columbia NW Heating & Air Conditioning, Cascade Accounting & Tax, Columbia Feed & Seed, Grabhorn Enterprises, Ichabod’s Restaurant, J & J Automotive, Kessi Construction, Means Nursery, Jim and Gina Means, Scappoose Garden Club, Scappoose Sand & Gravel, and St. Helens Community Federal Credit Union.

I would like to thank Carol Girt and Karen Stoel from the Scappoose Kiwanis Club for all their hard work in organizing the event this year. A big thank you goes to Principal Dana Larson and Grant Watts Elementary School for the use of their playground fields for our event.

I would also like to thank Boy Scout Troop 294, and all the other volunteers that helped to fill the Easter eggs, hide them and clean up after the event. Finally, we would like to thank all the local children and their parents for coming to the event, and for supporting our activities throughout the year. We will see you all next year.

Tammy D. Lukinbeal

Secretary, Scappoose Kiwanis Club

Garden Fair was a ‘huge success’

The Columbia County Master Gardeners’ Association’s 19th annual Spring Garden Fair was a great success. We want to thank the hundreds of gardeners who made purchases at the fair, the vendors who participated and the many local businesses and agencies that helped us prepare. We would like to thank all who posted our event on reader boards, published news releases, listed us in event calendars, posted fliers in their businesses, mentioned us in radio spots and allowed us to post signs on your property.

Your participation in this event was vital.

Thank you all for your support. See you next year at the fair.

Wes Bevans

Publicity Coordinator

2014 Spring Garden Fair