The Times hears from readers about a local store, global poverty and COVID-19 vaccine refusal.

Dissatisfied with local Fred Meyer store

I read the editorial in The Times from Thomas Busse regarding Fred Meyer/Kroger ("'Track and scan' may not be safe for shoppers," letter to the editor, published July 8, 2021). If Fred was alive today, he'd be appalled how his namesake has been turned into.a corporate mentality monstrosity where everything is clearly bottom line.

Refer to the July 8, 2021, letter to the editor regarding Fred Meyer.

The employee turnover in these stores, specifically the one at Beaverton Town Square is flabbergasting to say the least, a classic red flag for a business that is not exactly wonderful to work for — yet the CEO of Kroger currently makes $20.6 million a year not counting bonuses, but the shoppers and staff are nickel and dimed every time they turn around.

And it's really the little things customers notice, like getting rid of the quarterly rebates based on your spending habits, or dropping fuel points from 50 to 25 when you fill a prescription. If the heads of Kroger don't think we noticed, they are wrong, but here's the final straw. At the Beaverton Town Square store next to Vista Optical, they removed a bench — a simple bench. Why, I have no idea.

Today, I helped a woman probably 90 to get to her car. She told me she used to wait on the bench inside the store for her husband to bring the car to the door, but today, she had to wait outside in the hot sun on her walker.

Why the powers-that-be at Fred Meyer decided to remove said bench, I have no idea, but I'm sure someone does. Now there is a candy display where the older folks used to quietly sit and wait for their rides.

Thank you, Kroger, for all you do — this just stinks.

James Maass, Beaverton

Selfish behavior threatens pandemic recovery

This is for all those people who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID, prefering instead to cling to vague notions of personal freedom and liberty.

Do you folks realize that if everyone followed your lead, we would still be deep into this pandemic, with more loss of life and more limits to real, practical liberty and freedom through shutdowns? Fortunately, most of us got vaccinated and we are now enjoying the benefits, as the unvaccinated are, but it is no thanks to you that we are where we are.

Now we are being tested by the Delta virus threat. We could lose the progress we've achieved — even though you had nothing to do with that — by your continuous refusal to get vaccinated. You now threaten the freedom and liberty we've gotten back, again no thanks to you.

You are either part of the solution or part of the problem. Please do your part and quit freeloading off those that have done their part, and jeopardizing the progress you yourself have enjoyed against COVID, and get vaccinated.

John Scherner, Tigard

U.S. must support global poverty efforts

Oregon is home to thousands of refugees — in our classrooms, relying on the help of a stranger, or owning their own businesses.

Due to the impacts of COVID and climate change, the World Bank estimates that in 2021, we will see the first rise in global extreme poverty in 20 years. This reverses a steady decline of extreme poverty in the world due to U.S. aid and the efforts of many NGOS.

The impacts of COVID-19 are expected to cause between 143 million and 163 million people to fall into poverty just this year. Oregon will feel the effects of this rising catastrophe.

Now is the time for our Oregon senators to advocate for an increase in international poverty-reducing development and humanitarian assistance in fiscal year 2022. The innovative programs that this funding supports can help ensure that decades of development gains are not lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just as we and our senators cannot ignore the pain of those who suffer from homelessness and wildfires, neither can we ignore the plight of refugees. Addressing the root causes of poverty and climate change with sustainable solutions, will begin to alleviate the need for displacement.

The U.S. currently spends less than one-half of 1% of the total budget for poverty-reducing development and humanitarian aid. These funds support programs working to end world hunger and malnutrition. We have seen the positive effects of funding for vital humanitarian programs. It is essential to increase this support for basic human rights.

Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Jeff Merkley, take the lead in securing additional aid for these critical life-saving programs. Your constituents support you.

Eileen Sleva, Hillsboro

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