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This week, we hear from readers on the Jackson School Road project, a recall effort and more.

Not how community development should work

My family continues to be deeply troubled by the Jackson School Road development project. Over the dinner conversation, we concluded that people have become more passive in government because they just don't feel valued or heard.

Joining the ranks of countless community members that have expressed concerns, I too felt that my voice went unheeded. Within minutes of my passionate plea at the Oct. 15 Hillsboro City Council meeting, and without any discussion, Resolution 2649 passed allowing eminent domain to proceed with Jackson School Road homeowners.

This project will cut down over 300 gorgeous trees along Jackson School Road. All along, citizens have repeatedly asked the city to revamp the project and scale it back. Yard placards abound and yellow ribbons, adorned by citizens, hug the trees about to be chopped.

Many homeowners, forced to give up property rights and forced to property acquisitions, felt they had no other choice.

Further, the lack of city transparency has been deceptive and astounding. Beauty lost, habitats destroyed; our community will never be the same. Of particular personal angst, gone will be my parents' beloved 75-year-old willow tree, along with 50-plus other trees to be razed on their lot.

Destruction aside, with an initial budget of $5.4 million, taxpayers are left holding the now-$19.3 million cost for the project that likely will end up costing a lot more than that. Unbeknownst to most, the project isn't even bid yet.

I can only hope that lessons will be learned by our city and our city officials. When citizens and city can work together, our community can be that much stronger. That's what I want for my daughter. And that's what I want for Hillsboro. A place where we all can win and where citizens can have a voice.

Kimberly Harrington, Hillsboro

Feeling unrepresented by state representative

Representatives are elected to represent the interests of we the citizens. They are there to advocate for us.

They are not there to implement their own interests or bureaucratic agendas of myriad state agencies.

I would like to have a representative who more closely resembles my views on our environment and other topics.

There are other effective ways to address environmental concerns besides ever more legislation. Voting for legislation that suppresses earlier voter decisions is not an ethical way to make laws. Sound ethics in my representative's voting record are sorely lacking. That's why I support the recall effort of Rep. Tiffiny Mitchell.

Laws are not the ultimate solution to society's problems. The bigger government grows, the more problems we seem to have.

I would support a candidate of any party who embraces honest public policy, real transparency, and respect for the will of the voters.

Deborah L. Knapp, Gaston

Cascade Policy Institute fueled by oil, gas

I was troubled that you recently published an article by a Cascade Policy Institute hired hand without providing readers with the knowledge that this organization, funded by the far right, opposes anything that undermines the profitability of oil and gas companies, including public transit and green policies.

Look at their funding sources: desmogblog.com/cascade-policy-institute

David Gaynon, Southwest Portland

Hillsboro council isn't listening to its citizens

I attended the Oct. 15 Hillsboro City Council meeting. Although a Hillsboro resident for 17 years, this was the first time I have attended a meeting, and sadly I left feeling very disappointed and disenfranchised.

I was there to support my friend and her parents as they are dramatically impacted by the Jackson School Road project. After an impactful citizen statement by Kim Harrington, the city immediately voted to allow eminent domain to proceed. There was only one council member, Rick Van Beveren, that spoke before the vote. He at least acknowledged the angst that the families are feeling over the cutting down of so many trees, yet said he still had to vote in favor of the eminent domain.

It took courage for Mrs. Harrington to step up to the microphone and speak about the meaning of these trees, their family property, and to address the way the city has handled this project (particularly the poor communication with affected property owners) along the way.

The council members were unmoved and appeared to have had their minds made up before she even spoke. There wasn't any acknowledgement of the impact of bulldozing their way onto a residential property and taking mature trees (including a 75- to 100-year-old willow tree) away from hardworking, longtime residents.

The lack of compassion or engagement brought tears to my eyes.

I will be mindful of this experience when I fill out my ballot. A community is not just roads and money and increased populations.

Stefanie Shilling, Hillsboro


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