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The Times' weekly mailbag runneth over with readers' opinions about candidates and causes.

Editor's note: Have a letter to share? Email your thoughts to Editor-in-Chief Mark Miller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Letters should be no more than 400 words. All submissions must include the name and hometown of the author. Commercial solicitations will not be accepted as letters to the editor. Submissions should not include profane or defamatory language. We may lightly edit submissions for style and clarity.

State rep supports Decker for DA

As a state representative and as a nurse practitioner, I understand the significance of holding a position of trust. It's a solemn duty to be responsible with the influence I have as a lawmaker and as a caregiver, and it's crucial that I trust and respect the people I serve.

It's from this perspective that I am alarmed by the failure of Washington County's district attorney to bring charges against the man accused of sexually assaulting 27 women incarcerated at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility.

I'm disheartened that the perpetrator was a health care worker abusing his authority. His victims were failed again when DA Kevin Barton and his staff did not conduct a robust investigation of the reports of abuse. They seemed to dismiss the validity of the accusations because they came from women with criminal records. In fact, Barton's deputy reportedly described the victims and their claims by saying, "Even if it happens, no one believes them." That tells me the office needs new leadership.

The pursuit of justice is for everyone. It should not be withheld when the victim has a troubling past or a criminal history. In fact, those attitudes embolden abusers, allowing them to intentionally target victims who will have a harder time getting anyone's support if they disclose they were victimized. Our local district attorney should understand this manipulation for what it is and stay clear eyed in examining the facts.

Instead, it seems the current Washington County DA remained unmoved by the evidence collected in the Coffee Creek case by the victims' lawyer and the Oregon State Police. When leaders do not trust the people they are expected to protect, they erode their own value to our community.

The people of Washington County deserve a DA who will seek justice for every victim. For this reason, I am supporting candidate Brian Decker for District Attorney.

Rachel Prusak

State Representative, House District 37

Hutzler unjustly accused

Pamplin Media has not endorsed in the race for Washington County auditor, and I do not claim their endorsement. [Ed.: This letter was received prior to Pamplin Media Group's endorsement of Kristine Adams-Wannberg for auditor.]

To include a previously published quote in the Voters' Pamphlet Candidate Statement, Form JCVP-01 requires that a candidate reference the name and date of the publication in which the statement appeared, which I did.

Form JCVP-02 specifies the format for including a previously published statement as an endorsement. The required language to attribute a quote to the Pamplin Media Editorial Board is "'John Hutzler is the clear choice to remain Washington County Auditor.' Pamplin Media Editorial Board, Beaverton Valley Times, March 3, 2022." I did not submit this statement as an endorsement.

The Elections Department strictly enforces the specifications for a candidate statement and has confirmed that, for the statement I submitted, Elections requires a reference, not an attribution.

I regret that following those detailed instructions created the impression that I was claiming an endorsement by Pamplin Media. My intention was only to identify when and where these statements were published, not to attribute the statements to Pamplin's Editorial Board. The suggestion that, by following those instructions, I intentionally mislead voters is unfair and unsupported by the facts.

When Pamplin Media brought their concerns to my attention, I promptly contacted Washington County Elections. It was too late to amend the Voters' Pamphlet, but I recommended that, to avoid such problems going forward, Elections should revise Form JCVP-01 to require that previously published quotes be attributed to their author, in addition to citing the publication in which they appeared.

John Hutzler

Auditor, Washington County

Change red-light rules for motorcycle riders

As a motorcyclist, one of the most frightening moments I have encountered on the road is stopping in traffic at a red light where I'm vulnerable to getting rear-ended by traffic behind me. Lane filtering would allow me to proceed in a safe and orderly manner, to the intersection stop line where I can safely wait for the light to turn green.

Concern about getting rear-ended on a motorcycle at a stop light or in stop-and-go traffic is not unfounded. Just recently, a motorcyclist in Oregon City was crushed between two cars and died when he was rear-ended in traffic. His death would have been prevented if Oregon had a law allowing lane filtering during high-congestion traffic.

Currently only four states are progressive enough to recognize the benefits to motorcyclist safety and reduced traffic volumes that lane filtering has been proven to result in. I urge Gov. Kate Brown, Rep. Dacia Grayber and Sen. Akasha Lawrence Spence to use their position as a law-makers in our state to help enact lane filtering laws that will make our streets less crowded and safer for everyone.

If my elected officials are uncertain of the benefits of lane filtering, or are unfamiliar with the concept, please consider reading the informative article published online by the American Motorcyclist Association, who endorses laws allowing the practice. That article can be found at americanmotorcyclist.com/lane-splitting.

As a constituent of Oregon, and an avid motorcyclist, I hope Gov. Brown, Rep. Grayber and Sen. Lawrence Spence will consider enacting laws allowing lane filtering, so that no more of us have to die simply by obeying current traffic rules.

Justin McCarley, Tigard

Former Wilsonville mayor is all in for Woods

As a past Wilsonville mayor and Clackamas County commissioner, I have often wished we had more representatives in Salem who really understood Oregon's unique land use laws. Maintaining the livability and unique character of our cities while preserving our rural lands has always been a high priority of mine.

Aaron Woods is a City of Wilsonville planning commissioner who previously served on the development review board. He understands on a deep level the importance of balancing goals like agriculture, natural resources, and housing needs while emphasizing citizen participation. He is committed to careful planning, housing affordability, and preserving our livability.

As a member of the Clackamas Community College board and local, state and national committees, Aaron is an expert in workforce development and career and technical education. He sees education as a preschool through post-high school continuum. He's committed to providing multiple affordable pathways to family wage careers, while fulfilling the workforce needs of our communities.

After an outstanding career in IT, he's working hard to improve internet access for all. Aaron understands the challenges Senate District 13 faces and will serve us well in the Oregon Legislature. Please join me in voting for Aaron Woods.

Charlotte Lehan

City Councilor, Wilsonville

King will bring her leadership to Senate

As a more than 25-year resident of Tigard, I care deeply about making this a thriving community for all who live here, and ensuring our schools are welcoming and supportive places of learning for each and every child.

That's why I'm enthusiastically supporting Chelsea King to represent us in the Oregon Senate.

As chair of the West Linn-Wilsonville school board, Chelsea has expanded districtwide support and opportunities for students. Thanks to her leadership, a new career and technical education-focused high school will open next year, K-12 students in the Spanish immersion program are poised to become the first in the state to earn a bi-literacy seal, and more counselors and school psychologists are on staff to support students.

Chelsea is a mother and a business owner and will champion policies that help families in our diversifying economy. Most important, she has a thoughtful mind and a compassionate heart. She truly listens to all points of view, and brings people together to advance a common goal.

We need her voice and her advocacy in our Legislature. Please join me in voting for Chelsea King on May 17.

Shirley Skidmore, Tigard

Incumbent Harrington deserves another term

In some races in this primary campaign, we have an embarrassment of riches — two or more candidates who look like they would do a good job. So I have developed a couple of guidelines for myself as I make my voting decisions.

In an election with two or more candidates who bring strengths to the race, I will vote for a second term for an effective incumbent. Especially during this time of pandemic, it takes time to get fully engaged in a new role and become effective. After someone serves a second term, I am open to seeing what a challenger may bring to the job.

That said, I am writing in support of Kathryn Harrington for Washington County commission chair.

I have been serving on the WashCo Behavioral Health Council and numerous county and nonprofit groups during the last four years and have seen the strong support Kathryn has given to mental health, addictions treatment, solutions for homelessness and inadequate housing, and equity during this time. Kathryn has increased the visibility and accessibility of our county government, which is seen as well managed and effectively run. I am grateful for Chair Harrington's service and hope to see it continue.

Carol Greenough, Tualatin

Fields for common sense in House District 26

I am writing today to inform constituents of my endorsement and support for Jason Fields for House District 26.

Jason has been very involved in our community, from volunteering as a precinct committee person, to a budget committee chair for the Yamhill County Republican Party. He is passionate about representing us!

Jason is willing to truly listen to people in his district and stand up for common-sense values that seem to be lost in our state today. This includes parents' rights in education, school choice and transparency of curriculum. He's also supporting law enforcement, holding criminals accountable and advocates our Second Amendment rights.

Jason is committed to voting against any new sales tax that has not been approved by voters. His love for Oregon and our community is evident and inspiring.

Jason has the superior experience to do the best job as our representative.

Bryre Lowe, Sherwood

Who do you want leading Washington County?
This May, we get to choose the next Washington County Board of Commissioners chair. When selecting who I vote for, the most important question is their approach to governance and their ability to work with peers and regional partners like Sherwood and other cities in Washington County. Why is this race important to Washington County and cities like Sherwood? Here is just one example. We are experiencing significant safety issues on critical roads in Sherwood. Like Edy and Elwert, many of these roads are owned and maintained by the county. To solve congestion and safety issues, we need a solid, effective, and timely partnership from the county. Without that partnership, it is challenging to effect positive change. We need leadership at the county that promotes partnership over mandates and results over headlines. We need leadership that genuinely represents the desires and needs of the communities, not just a few special interest groups with self-serving agendas. We need leadership that understands and embraces a proactive partnership with cities like Sherwood to solve the challenges that affect all of us.

There is no "one size fits all" solution to challenges like congestion, public safety, and homelessness. Instead, we have to work together to determine what works best in each community. Our current county chair is not that kind of partner. Over the last four years since Kathryn Harrington was elected, we have seen a shift away from a tradition of regional partnership. Collaboration has given way to mandates and tactics designed to minimize public and regional input that might oppose her agendas. Unfortunately, these are the same tactics we have seen infest Metro, Salem, and our federal government. We need a change at Washington County; we need a return to the "Oregon Way." We need leadership that embraces all good ideas regardless of where they come from. We need proactive engagement that aligns with our diverse communities and cities, not just the special interests that fund campaigns. So many people talk about the "Oregon Way," few embrace it. This is why I am endorsing Beach Pace for Washington County Chair. Beach Pace is a veteran and West Point graduate. She currently serves on the Hillsboro City Council. She has a pragmatic, direct approach to problem-solving that leans heavily on collaboration and partnership. Sherwood needs this kind of leadership at Washington County. Beach is committed to the "Oregon Way." Don't believe me; just look at who has endorsed Beach versus the incumbent Kathryn Harrington. Ten mayors in Washington County have endorsed Beach. Only Two mayors have endorsed Kathryn Harrington. That says it all. The majority of Kathryn Harrington's endorsements come from Salem and D.C., not the people in Washington County that are on the front lines of creating positive change in our communities. So, who do you want leading Washington County? Tim Rosener

President, Sherwood City Council

Beaverton schools haven't earned vote for bond

I am a senior citizen on a fixed income.

I have supported every school bond issue put forward by the Beaverton School District in the past 30 years. I am "pushing pause" on the current bond proposal and voting no.

I pay $4,703 in real estate taxes, and $1,500 of that goes to the Beaverton School District, and now they want more.

I am not convinced they have been good stewards of the tax payer's money and at a minimum are tone-deaf to go forward with this proposal at this time. Inflation is high, we are all loosing on our retirement accounts and millions of COVID relief dollars have been funneled to schools. I know these were one-time dollars, but these funds could have used to buy new "computers and upgrade HVAC systems." Enrollment is down in our district by 2,000 students, and this additional money will do nothing to reduce class sizes.

Lastly, I attended virtual board meetings during COVID and begged for schools to reopen with precautions, yet Oregon was nearly dead last in opening schools and the Beaverton school board was mostly silent on the issue. My grandchildren and many others suffered; while the Beaverton school board may have forgotten or ignored how their decisions impacted families, I have not and am not in a "giving mood."

Marcia Callender, Beaverton

Decker is the candidate for change we need

Washington County needs a change in the District Attorney office.

Kevin Barton, says, "You get more of the same if you vote for me." As a Hillsboro resident, I don't want more of the same, I want our county to do better.

What we have been doing isn't working. In recent years, violent crime has gone up, community trust has gone down, punishments have spiraled out of control, and there's been a notable lack of transparency from DA Kevin Barton's office.

As both a former prosecutor and public defender, Brian Decker has a balanced understanding of how the justice system works. As district attorney, Brian will focus on:

• Real safety and accountability. Anyone who commits a crime will be held accountable.

• Prioritizing prevention. Addiction, mental illness, and poverty with no safety net or exit pathways are the real drivers of crime. Smart public safety solutions means addressing these issues before crimes occur. Otherwise perpetrators and victims of crimes simply cannot escape the trap of familiar patterns.

• Trust and transparency. Building community trust in law enforcement is fundamental. Brian Decker is committed to ethically and fairly enforcing the law — without deceptive practices or racial discrimination.

A vote for Brian Decker is a vote for change: real safety and true justice.

Debby Garman, Hillsboro

Woods the best choice for Senate District 13

Aaron Woods is the real deal.

In over 24 years in Wilsonville, Aaron Woods has become well-known as a hard-working, affable and respected member of the community. He listens carefully and contributes significantly. A member of the development review board and then the planning commission, as well as the board of Clackamas Community College, he was a 2021 finalist for Wilsonville Citizen of the Year and is co-chair of Wilsonville Alliance for Inclusive Communities (WAIC). He has had a long career in senior management at Tektronix and Xerox Corp.

Aaron's background and life experiences include his education in Chicago's technical high schools, his U.S. Army service in the field of digital communications, his work for CompTIA to develop and certify digital skills as a part of a global system of education and certification for PC technicians (recognized by the Internet Hall of Fame), and work for Digitunity to broaden computer access. His is deeply committed to helping provide opportunities for success to all.

In short, the life experience, education, achievements, record of public service, and expertise of Aaron Woods equip him to provide uniquely valuable service representing State Senate District 13 in Salem.

Kate Greenfield, Wilsonville

Justice matters to everyone but DA Barton

It's reasonable to expect the district attorney to play by the rules. To be firm, fair and impartial in matters of justice.

However, Kevin Barton has a different view. To him, the DA exists to punish people he doesn't like and to let the people he likes off the hook.

Barton's first test came in 2018, and he failed miserably. A certain Deputy Rian Alden committed two counts of second-degree assault. In plain language, an inmate was beaten to the point of brain damage because said inmate got mouthy with said deputy.

The Oregon State Police investigated the incident and found the deputy in the wrong. But when the findings were presented to Barton, no charges were filed! That is, until the video was viewed on the news. [Ed.: Alden is awaiting trial on assault and official misconduct charges. The misconduct charge was filed before the video became public.]

Barton is extremely proud of his conviction rate. Because, to him, it's like a scorecard. But who does he convict? The poor, the homeless, and the minority all better run. But the people Barton protects need not worry at all.

C. Jack Callahan, Aloha

Calling for a new approach in DA's Office

Our justice system needs reform. Accountability is demanded from the powerless, but seems optional for corporate interests and well-funded defenses. Punishments tend to be excessive and unproductive. We need change, a return to expectations of accountability for all.

Here's my vision, and my standard for Washington County's next district attorney:

• Stop measuring justice in numbers of convictions. Prosecutors obsessed with winning will favor trials against people unable to mount an expensive defense.

• Focus on protecting from fraud, grievous harm, and theft at every level. Go after bank financiers or heads of corporations as readily as the DA prosecutes small-time burglary.

• Be smarter with sentences. Incarceration costs are between $14,000 and $70,000 per year per, draining state and county resources. Turn to evidence-proven diversion and prevention programs for nonviolent infractions.

I want a better justice system. The U.S. has about 4% of the world's population and about 20% of the world's prisoners. Injustices have deepened the divide between the entitled "haves" and the rest of us.

The stakes are high. Without real change, I fear we will stop being a functioning society. When you cast your vote for DA, make the choice that will restore our sense of fairness and justice. I ask you to vote for Democrat Brian Decker.

Heather Rode, Helvetia

Aaron Woods will lead in Senate

It's a pleasure knowing Aaron Woods and supporting him for Senate District 13.

He and I both value community service — he's a Wilsonville planning commissioner, serves on the Clackamas Community College board and co-chairs the Wilsonville Alliance for Inclusive Community. We also share a background in information technology.

Coupled with his MBA and solid financial management skills, he is well prepared to follow through on his priorities, including housing affordability, lowering costs and improving access to services for seniors, healthcare, affordable pathways to good jobs, protecting our environment, with an added focus on equity for all he serves.

Aaron Woods is the well-rounded, committed leader we need to serve Senate District 13, and all of Oregon!

Elaine Swyt, Wilsonville

Senate could use King's experience

As a psychologist, I know how transformative mental health services can be for people's well being.

I was excited when I heard that Chelsea King was running for state Senate because of the amazing work she did on the West Linn-Wilsonville school board broadening access to mental health services for students. During her time on the school board, she expanded the number of counselors and psychologists in her school district and fought for equitable and culturally appropriate mental health services.

Even still, Chelsea seeks to expand and diversify the behavioral health workforce pipeline to meet communities local and cultural needs. In critical developmental periods such as childhood, it is imperative that mental health resources be widely available.

Knowing that I have the opportunity to help elect such a health-conscious individual to our state Senate greatly encourages me that our district's best days are ahead of us.

I know Chelsea will take the same time, consideration, and care in crafting legislation in the Senate as she has for the students of the West Linn-Wilsonville School District. That is why I will be voting for her May 17 during the Democratic primary.

Amy Schlapper, Sherwood

Reward for school district's dysfunction shouldn't be Senate seat

As a longtime resident of the West Linn-Wilsonville School District, I have major concerns about the district/board's financial management and transparency. They blamed their auditor for delays causing what will be $26 million in frozen state school funds and terminated the auditor, but it turns out the auditor was finding material weaknesses, management deficiencies, and failures.

Likewise, the board blamed the bank when our tax rates increased after approving the 2019 $206 million-plus bond, we were promised they would not. We were also told the bond was needed because of enrollment increases, but enrollments have decreased — even before COVID.

The Board's solution? Open enrollment to out-of-district families who don't pay property taxes. And we were promised there would be regular bond audits, but we have yet to see one.

Moody's decreased the district's bond rating because of over-indebtedness and low reserves. Is that why WL-WV is using construction taxes for operating expenses, contrary to law?

I also wonder what happened to the $7+M state construction grant WL-WV has received, which doesn't appear in financial statements.

There have been three auditors in three years. When firing the current auditor, district staff complained about the auditor requesting records related to the bond, grants, etc. Seems the auditor was onto something.

I was a supporter of board chair Chelsea King Martin. But I can't support her for Senate District 13, based on the lack of transparency she has shown.

Roberta Schwarz, West Linn


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