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The Times hears from readers on gun violence awareness, the value of public schools and more.

Take a stand against gun violence

Friday, June 4, was Gun Violence Awareness Day, initiated by friends of a school-age girl, Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed in Chicago just one week after performing at President Barack Obama's second inaugural parade. It was their hope that by wearing orange to honor Hadiya's life, they would increase visibility and encourage others to come together for a future free of gun violence.

Since the movement began in 2015, more individuals and groups such as Moms Demand Action have participated, writing letters to their local newspapers and requesting city councils to pass resolutions recognizing June 4 as a day to join in ending gun violence.

We support our local communities' efforts to prevent the tragic effects of gun violence. These include mass shootings such as those that took place in San Jose and Miami, and the death of a 6-year-old that resulted from gunfire during a road rage incident in Southern California.

At the request of the Tualatin Chapter of Moms Demand Action and under the leadership of Mayor Frank Bubenik, the Tualatin City Council unanimously passed a proclamation during the May 24 meeting, urging neighbors, friends, and family to wear orange to honor of gun violence victims and survivors.

We all must pledge to keep firearms out of the wrong hands and encourage responsible gun ownership to help keep our children and families safe.

Teri Mills

Debbie Henry

Members, Moms Demand Action Tualatin Chapter

Unhappy with photo choice for web story on anti-noose bill

Really? You display a noose in your story about Senate Bill 398? How unthoughtful, offensive and racist can this publication get?

Read our June 1, 2021, story on the legislation that would make displaying a noose with intent to intimidate a crime in Oregon.

There is nothing else to say than that.

Richard Crimi, Beaverton

Homeless programs are promising excuses

The Portland region's top homelessness officials delivered another set of promises and excuses in a statement last Thursday.

Instead of cutting off funds to failed approaches, our policymakers promise to "permanently end homelessness" with another $1 billion over ten years. In the same breath, they blame untreated mental health and substance abuse disorders for the homelessness crisis, the very thing their programs failed to do.

These are the direct results of programs that promised to "end" homelessness with a "Housing First" approach since 2005. A Housing First approach believes that homelessness can be solved by simply keeping people in some sort of supportive housing with no requirement that any of the support services are used. Unfortunately, the people who are most in need of treatment are also the most resistant to being treated.

You can see that the Housing First approach failed, because as homeless services budgets tripled, the streets are more hazardous, the sidewalks are increasingly impassable, and the total number of homeless isn't decreasing.

Our public programs do everything but require harmful problems to be solved. And our public officials intend to keep pouring money into this failed approach, so it's time to demand that your dollars go to those who want help.

Vlad Yurlov

Policy Analyst, Cascade Policy Institute

Schools attract businesses to Washington County

Strong public schools are a huge part of why families and businesses choose to call Washington County home.

We'd like to second Kristine Baggett's commentary. We are fortunate to live and work in a community that is committed to helping students reach their highest potential. Despite significant hardships from the pandemic, our local business community is working together to come back strong, and as they fully reopen, they'll be in search of employees with the highest potential.

Read Kristine Baggett's commentary, published online June 1, 2021, on keeping kids engaged and learning throughout the year.

Helping kids thrive requires resources — both human and financial. Teachers and staff work to do their part, and in Beaverton, they're bolstered by the Beaverton Education Foundation (BEF). Through individual classroom projects that meet the unique needs of just one class or a broader multi-school initiative, BEF drives private philanthropy into Beaverton schools so students can aim high.

Private investments in BEF and a strong partnership with Beaverton School District led to the Safe and Sound 4 Student Success Program (S4) that supports critical and at-risk middle school students with academic support, mentorship and opportunities to play sports. In addition to increased school attendance and fewer disciplinary incidents, perhaps most impressive was the higher grades S4 students earned, compared to peers.

Our kids benefit from this collaboration between private and public partners. When public funding falls short, Beaverton schools benefit from BEF, which means our entire community benefits. We're supporters of BEF, and we encourage others to join us.

Betty and Jim Flad, Cedar Hills


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