The Times publishes reader letters on COVID-19 vaccinations, the Washington County Fair and more.

Protecting and serving means getting vaccinated

I am a registered nurse at a local hospital.

Recently, I admitted an incarcerated patient who was accompanied by a Washington County police officer. As part of the patient's health history, I asked whether she had a COVID vaccine. She had, so I thanked her for doing her part to stop the deaths and the virus.

I also ask visitors whether they have had one, so we can let them know that we offer the vaccines downstairs at our pharmacy. I was stunned when the officer said he hadn't gotten one. He said he "didn't have time."

His job is to protect our community. Given the number of people he comes into contact with and could infect, or become infected himself, it is so irresponsible to not be vaccinated. The time and millions of dollars spent to combat this virus is unbelievable, and unvaccinated people are responsible for this.

Part of my job is to help educate the public, so I discussed why the vaccine is necessary to stop the pandemic. You can imagine my amazement when another officer came to relieve the first and said he had not been vaccinated either.

Responsible community members? Certainly not a role model for our community.

Thankfully, the third officer said he had been vaccinated, but it is frightening that two out of three had not.

Washington County, what are you going to do about this to combat this virus and protect our community?

Kathleen Jones, Garden Home

Washington County un-Fair

The recent Washington County Fair was certainly the disappointment predicted by so many in the past decade.

For 160 years, this annual event was a time to showcase the pride of Washington County. During that time, the fair was put on by, and for, the residents of the county. It was a time to welcome all. Families (young and old alike) gathered to learn, socialize, and share what made our county unique.

Recently, the county government took over the management of the fair and fairgrounds. The shift is to focus on a profit motive at the expense of those that entrusted it to their care. This year, most of the traditional participants were left out, including the youth, which were forced to hold some of their events in private settings.

I realize that the COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges. However, we appear to be one of the only fairs in Oregon that has sidelined most of what a fair should be.

Those that still believe the fair should be more than a carnival and commercial exhibits are left not knowing what to do to recapture the true nature of a fair. It is disappointing and a true fair is needed now more than any other time. This is un-fair.

Lyle Spiesschaert, Verboort

Small businesses deserve better from officials

In all my 46 years as the co-owner of a brick-and-mortar store, I never thought about how important it would be to have reliable access to broadband.

After the pandemic paralyzed our economy, small businesses like mine quickly set up online shops for the first time ever. Our community of entrepreneurs, and our customers, greatly benefitted from this new outlet.

However, I've seen firsthand that too many Americans still lack reliable access to broadband and our national infrastructure as a whole needs solid investments to boost our local economies. That's why small businesses need Congress to move swiftly on a bipartisan plan to invest in a 21st century infrastructure.

But small business needs don't stop there. Hard-hit small businesses like restaurants, shops and salons are still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe that increasing access to loans and grants, boosting workforce development programs and increasing access to affordable healthcare will make a difference between closing permanently and surviving the pandemic.

The work continues, and we need our elected officials to put their differences aside and put small businesses front and center. Our recovery depends upon their support.

Mike Roach, Southwest Portland

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