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The Times' readers write in about Beaverton's tree policies, U.S. history education and more.

'Tree City' sells out urban forest for bicycle lane

An oxymoron is saying or doing one thing, then doing the exact polar opposite.

Beaverton bills itself as "Tree City."

I live in close proximity to Western Avenue in Beaverton, and I have watched the current project of installing a bike lane on Western Avenue between Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway and Allen Boulevard. In order to install this bike lane, over a dozen old-growth trees have been ripped out.

There is no delicate way to put it — it's appalling and not a well-thought-out pet project being done by the city that bills itself as tree-friendly.

It's hard to see how the death of all these trees is beneficial to the planet. We all know what the benefits of trees are to the planet. A bike lane that connects to two roads with no bike lanes is ludicrous.

Someone will rebut this editorial, and I welcome it, because from a logical standpoint, I would enjoy hearing the justification for killing all these old trees that the city took it upon themselves to kill in the name of a 1-mile bike lane. Welcome to Tree City.

You honestly could not make this up, because who in the logical mind would believe? Seriously?

For anyone who thinks I'm not doing my part regarding trees, please come by and help me clean up my annual fall mess. I also desperately need these trees trimmed but can't afford it now, as I'm bracing to pay my increased property tax bill that I just received, but I'll save that story for another day.

I need to go rake up leaves and pinecones now.

James Maass, Beaverton

'Restorative justice' is more than a slogan

In the recent Q&A with District Attorney Kevin Barton, DA Barton shows a lack of understanding of restorative justice.

Refer to our Q&A with Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton, published online Oct. 25, 2021.

I am a mediation professional and a leader in the restorative justice field in Oregon. Restorative justice is an approach to crime or harm that takes into account the needs of victims and community along with supporting meaningful accountability from the person who caused the harm. It centers relationship building and repair for those most impacted by harm. Restorative justice asks the questions: Who was harmed? What are their needs? And what needs to be done to make things as right as possible?

Compared to traditional criminal justice, restorative justice reduces victims' trauma and makes the community safer by reducing the chances that the person who caused the harm ever commits a crime again. It also costs substantially less. Restorative justice meets the needs of all most impacted by crime/harm in a more meaningful and direct way than traditional criminal justice.

In the interview, DA Barton claimed that the specialty courts that have existed for years in Washington County incorporate restorative justice principles. There may be probation and treatment or services attached to various specialty courts, but they are a traditional approach to prosecution, with some rehabilitative aspects. Victims and the community have little to no voice in the processes — that is not restorative justice.

Carley Adams, Beaverton

Students need to learn American history

A recent citizen opinion suggested that the only fit subjects to teach children are literacy and mathematics ("'Identity politics' don't belong in schools," guest commentary published Oct. 28, 2021). But I would submit that ignoring our history is a perilous course to chart.

Read the guest commentary written by Tiffany Jacob, first published online Oct. 18, 2021.

The writer used the words of Thomas Jefferson from the Declaration of Independence to somehow try to buttress her argument. When Jefferson wrote, "All men are created equal," he surely could not have believed those words himself.

First of all, he left off half of the population. Jefferson and the all-male contingent who later wrote our Constitution did not believe in equal rights for women.

And, Jefferson was a slave owner. He most decidedly did not believe that the people he enslaved on his plantation were his equals.

These are the kinds of truths we need to share with our young people so they can begin to get a grasp of the complicated history that has made our country what it is today. That is how we build a better future.

David Pauli, Forest Grove

Johnson doesn't stand up for environment

I am surprised at Pamplin Media's recent editorial regarding Sen. Betsy Johnson running for governor of Oregon could be good for Oregon.

Read our editorial on Betsy Johnson and her run for governor, first published online Oct. 26, 2021.

Sen. Johnson's voting record shows that she is an anti-environment candidate, which should alarm any voter. Oregon's future is at stake, and Sen. Johnson has voted against 100% clean energy for all, electric vehicle incentives, energy-efficient appliances, upholding Oregon's strong land-use laws to allow luxury homes to be built on exclusive farmland.

We need a governor who will continue to lead on protecting Oregon's environment and address climate change with effective legislation, and Sen. Johnson does not meet this criteria.

Ann Scherner, Tigard

Coral bleaching hammers home need for climate action

I've had the fortune of visiting Earth's vibrant underwater world through one of my favorite hobbies, scuba diving. From Hawaii to Guam to the Great Barrier Reef, to many times in the cool coastal waters off Washington's and Oregon's shore, diving has helped me appreciate the abundant life, beauty and sophistication of the oceans systems.

Over the years, I've seen the same areas of coral reefs that were once vibrant and full of life become white, bleached and lacking life.

Why is it doing this? As we burn fossil fuels, gasses are released and trapped in our atmosphere. Right now, there's so much gas that it's trapping extra heat.

Our oceans, two-thirds of the Earth, in all their vastness, hold much of the Earth's heat. The heat is too much for the underwater ecosystems to handle and causes these bleaching events.

Since the Industrial Revolution and the beginning of human-induced global warming, our oceans have absorbed 90% of the extra heat and become at least 30% more acidic. For those who live, work, play in and around the ocean, this is a dire situation.

For our oceans and our communities, we need to take action now to decarbonize every sector of our economy. The Build Back Better plan delivers this in a historic climate investment package.

I'd like to thank Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici for standing up for the boldest climate action possible, and for advocating for coastal restoration and resiliency projects. This is what our country and coastal communities need.

Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader, who represents some of Oregon's coastal communities, please take note of what your coastal constituents need now and, in the future, and vote to Build Back Better.

Jan Gwin, King City


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