Letters to the Editor: June 18, 2020
Police chief says it's time to re-examine policing practices
The Hillsboro Police Department values the unique opportunities our diverse community presents to those who live, work, and visit, along with the right of every person to thrive in this great environment. We hold sacred the lives and aspirations of our Black community members and all communities of color and diversity. Every person in America has the right to live without fear of death, injury, or deprivation at the hands of racism, discrimination, or poor police practices.
The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 revisited these fears upon our country and community. No matter how vile and inhumane we as Hillsboro police officers find the actions leading to his death, we must accept the fact they were perpetrated in a police uniform by a police officer. We know this fractured and eroded the trust we strive for each day with those we desire to serve.
For many reasons, including out of respect for George Floyd, his loved ones, and all victims of racism, we are recommitting to all of the aspects contributing to safe and equitable public safety in Hillsboro. To that end, we have replied to numerous individual inquiries and expressions of concern, and we welcome the continued dialogue with community members. Additionally, the department immediately began to reassess our measures of prevention and accountability.
We are participating in a Hillsboro City Council work session on Tuesday, June 16, at 6 p.m. via Zoom video conference. The session will be focused on where Hillsboro Police stands on policies and practices designed to reduce incidents of excessive use of force, injuries, and death. These approaches are known by multiple references, including "Eight Can't Wait." Many of these approaches are already in place at HPD through existing policy or training, while others require a careful and thoughtful examination of practicality and intent.
As chief of police, I believe our department is positioned to be a model of how a police agency can be an asset to its community. As part of the city of Hillsboro's hiring process, HPD asks every potential employee to articulate this to us when they are considered for a position. We have the means for success through the adoption of the highest ideals and by leaning on the deep and historic partnerships with individuals and organizations from all corners of our community nurtured every day by the men and women of HPD. We can never be fully successful without the trust of our communities of color, especially our Black community, and we are committed to earning it every day.
Chief, Hillsboro Police Department
Student offers proposal to curb climate change
Global warming is cornering the world, and here is what we can do to fix this.
A large portion of global warming is caused by big companies and corporations. This is an important issue because air quality is decreasing, making it harder for humans and animals to breathe through all the smog. Not only that, but the pollution in the air puts us at risk of a decrease in lung function and capacity.
Scientists have claimed that we have only months to change in order to save our planet from irreversible damage.
We can stop these companies from polluting by implementing a policy similar to the carbon tax. This policy would have a purchase tax of fossil fuels at 40%. This would force companies to either cut down the amount of fuel purchased and/or make them switch to eco-friendly equipment. There are many types of equipment that don't have an eco-friendly alternative, and that is where those taxes would come into play. The taxes generated by companies buying fossil fuels would be put into developing these alternatives.
I believe that once there are many cheaper eco-friendly options, companies will switch over to save money and promote a cleaner atmosphere.
I am a 16-year-old student at Health and Science High School with a goal to live in a world with clear skies and clean air.
Danie Lepe, Beaverton
Stop noise, air pollution from Hillsboro Airport
I am really concerned because the Hillsboro Airport has a flight school that is operating and causing irreparable harm to citizens. Even during this time when there is supposed to be social distancing, the flights over the area are frequent, noisy, and in old aircraft that are more likely to emit lead. A particular problem is their use of an older twin-engine prop plane that is constantly doing "touch and go's" over Hillsboro residents. This also happens with "Piper Cub-type" flights.
There should not be a flight school in Hillsboro. It should be located a long way from a city/town of 100,000 people and not in the heart of it. Small children are constantly being exposed to noise and lead.
Why is this school operating? It is training mostly pilots from South Korea and China. This should not be our priority — it is not an essential service. It only provides the private operator with profit. The U.S. government should not be subsidizing that operation, and it should be regulating it to make sure that U.S. citizens are not harmed.
Katie Riley, Hillsboro
Something is happening in this country
We marched down Hawthorne, across the bridge we stood, fists in the air, the tension palpable. We waited, we watched, we cried, we sang and we listened.
There are so many who question our intentions, who fail to see the motives, who choose not to see the purpose, but within the crowd, it was undeniable.
Let me tell you about a feeling I'll never be able to fully describe. Through muffled voices, you hear mine, unintentional at first, I followed the crowd screaming, "No justice, No peace," and then in an instant my voice carries over the rest. I scream, "No justice," and the echoes return, "No peace." Realizing in that moment what's happening, I scream louder, and my screams turn to cries.
We marched and the echoes rang strong. In an instant my voice was heard above the rest, and for the first time in my life, I feel an unshakable strength. For years we have been silenced, but last night, we were heard louder than ever.
This was not just my voice but the voice of the many, of those who can't speak for themselves, the voice of those who moan from the grave, the voice of the bloated bodies that liter the ocean depths. "They tried to bury us, but they didn't know we were seeds."
Last night, I looked around and thought, this is it. This is where I was meant to be, and I took it in because after this, nothing will be the same.
Can you feel it? Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals wash from shore to shore. And so we marched down Hawthorne, across the bridge we stood, fists in the air. We marched, and the echoes rang strong.
Yarden Shnayder, Beaverton
Police should be treated like everyone else
Why do cops get discounts at some businesses?
I sure don't think they deserve a discount when the public do not even have jobs, can't pay rent. Why don't these people get discounts?
I know this is minor compared to everything going on. The only thing I want cops to get is defunded and fired if they are bad cops, nothing more.
If white people do nothing to help the Black Lives Matter movement, they are most of the problem.
I do not understand people who think they are superior to others. They will never be. It's been 400 years of continued abuse of African Americans. You don't think they have a reason to be pissed off?
Cops are not any more special than anyone else. Before being hired, they need to have their brains examined for many, many hours. If they have a bad past, do not hire them.
Cops think they are above the law. Let's show them they are not. Fire every bad abusive cop, no more chances. Bob Kroll should be the first one to go. [Ed.: Kroll is president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis and an opponent of police reforms in Minneapolis.] I will never make excuses for bad, abusive, power-hungry, lying, blue-line cops. Get rid of them.
I'm tired of cops using the blue line to abuse people without other cops reporting the actions of bad cops. This makes them worse than the offensive bad cops.
I will never condone seeing crime and not reporting it. You are criminals if you do that.
I don't know if it matters, I'm 64 years old, white and right now, I have no use for cops. I have never called them, cops, for help, too afraid, I keep up on them, scary.
Kenneth Basham, Hillsboro
People are waking up to injustice and racism
The recent protest rally in Tualatin for Black Lives Matter made me so proud of our community. Our mayor, Frank Bubenik, estimated there were more than a thousand in attendance at the Tualatin Commons.
There were no outside agitators causing property damage. At appropriate times, the entire crowd went down on one knee. Kneeling is a sign of reverence, submissiveness, deference — and sometimes mourning and vulnerability.
When NFL football players kneeled during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality in the United States, some influential people who did not or did not want to understand the message demanded they be fired for what they interpreted as disrespecting the American flag.
The first player to do this was San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who got advice from former Seahawks player and Green Beret Nate Boyer that kneeling was the best way to convey this message. Kaepernick has not played in NFL since 2017.
I listened to Colin and am happy so many other "silent" folks also did.
Dale Potts, Tualatin
Where's the Farmer's Market?
Isn't the Farmer's Market supposed to open in May?
Well it took three tries, but I finally located Hillsboro's iconic Farmer's Market — no banners, no signs, just rumors to guide my search.
I parked my car, grabbed my basket, but in my hurry, left my mask in the car and walked over, only to be denied entrance. I was not in a fossil fuel-spouting vehicle.
Nope. Today's, open-air Farmer's Market is "drive-through." No getting out of your vehicle, no browsing, no joyful conversation, just peering out your, preferably clean windows, pointing and paying.
Today's Market is conveniently located three blocks from downtown Hillsboro. Yes, Hillsboro, the historical site of farmer-consumer interaction in Washington County.
Today's Market is ironically located on First Street behind where the cannery, Terminal Ice and Bird's Eye — important Depression and post-World War II industries in Hillsboro — processed the county's bounty, then shipped it out over the same rails as today's MAX line.
Since I was not permitted to shop, I can't comment on the content of today's market — but the atmosphere is not the same. Not much joy and happiness to be heard. I just hope the "reopening of downtown Hillsboro" brings the market back to its vital self and original location, and that the hollow sound I heard was not a death knell for Hillsboro's Farmer's Market.
S.J. Jensen, Hillsboro
Trump's cruelty is a threat to our society
I have worked in human services for decades. This has let me know people from all walks of life and many value systems. But I have never encountered the depth of cruelty that I see in Donald Trump's actions and words.
This letter was prompted by Trump's gutting of transgender healthcare protections. He chose to attack this group of vulnerable people, not only during Gay Pride month, but on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse shooting, a slaughter at a gay nightclub that left 49 people dead. His capacity to find an open wound and rip it further open is frightening. It is hard to know where this will end.
But I do know one thing, each of us is faced with a choice — humanity or Trump. This is not politics, this is a choice of where we draw lines that we will not cross in a functional society. I urge each person to not only make the choice for humanity but to speak out that choice — to your church, to your family, to workgroups and in your community.
Please speak up for humanity. Speak up in outrage at the cruelty. We have so much to lose.
Carol Greenough, Tualatin
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