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Readers share their take on 'social distancing,' flood preparedness and more. (There's even a poem in here!)

Thoughts on maintaining our distance

I note these Ransom House dictionary definitions: (i) physical — of or pertaining to the body; (ii) social — pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship...; and (iii) distancing — the extent or amount of space between two things.

We mostly accept the mandate to practice "social distancing." Why? I rebel at the thought.

For the record, I always wear a mask when outside my home and maintain an ample 6-foot separation. My 20-minute walks turn into 40-minute outings. I talk to neighbors, greet someone I have never seen before, and engage a passing friendly dog and its walker. They on the sidewalk and I appropriately distanced.

I wash my hands obsessively, forgo attending on-site religious services, shop sparingly, partake of curbside meal takeouts, and regularly visit family, friends, colleagues and neighbors via social media.

So let's get this right. Distance physically? Yes! Distance socially? No way!

David A. Nardone, Hillsboro

Engineer seconds state rep's flood advice

Rep. Ken Helm was 100% correct in encouraging Congress to implement federal risk assessment and flood planning standards ("Careful planning needed to prepare for floods," published Sept. 3, 2020).

Floods can be catastrophic for communities and businesses in the best of times, but, in the midst of COVID, flood recovery is extremely difficult and compounds the economic pain communities are experiencing.

Refer to state Rep. Ken Helm's column from the Sept. 3, 2020, issue.

You do not have to look much past Washington County to see this stark reality. Vernonia has seen multiple major flood events. The February 1996 flood on the Tualatin River put streets in downtown Tualatin under as much as eight or nine feet of water. While that was a historic flood event, the county sees floods almost every year. In January of this year, flooding caused multiple emergency road closures which was reminiscent of February 2019.

I lead a water resources firm that engineers floodplain projects across Oregon and the country. Where rivers have access to broad forested floodplains flows and energy is dissipated reducing damage to communities. While natural floodplains are critical to reducing flood risk, so too is the resilient infrastructure that Rep. Helm referenced.

Before the pandemic, I flew to Washington, D.C., to speak to our congressional delegation about proactive, smart solutions that Congress can adopt to reduce flood risk. By ensuring that federal infrastructure investments, like bridges and roads, factor in flood resiliency, we can help local communities' better prepare for and recover from flood damage. Because of COVID-19, critical infrastructure like hospitals and roads, now more than ever, needs to be built with resilience in mind.

Projects must account for extreme weather conditions that happen ever more frequently. For every $1 invested in future mitigation spending saves $6 in disaster relief spending. The federal government can help by establishing flood risk standards that ensure federal infrastructure investments are flood-ready.

Marjorie Wolfe

President, Wolf Water Resources

A coronavirus poem

We live in a scary

World today

It's different than

Before

No more hugs kissing

Our happiness gone away

Like never before

The virus has taken our

Loved ones away

Families suffering

Like never before

The fear of the unknown

Has arrived

The worry of what will happen

Tomorrow to you and me

Coronavirus on our mind's

Coronavirus everywhere

Our lives in danger

Like never before

We practice social distancing

Every day to keep the virus

At bay as we shop in different ways

Were asked to stay at home

Like never before

When will this

Virus ever go away

But I promise

I'll love and pray for everyone

Suffering

Every day.

David P. Carroll, West Haven-Sylvan

Still want to 'defund the police'?

For all of those people who keep calling for the defunding of the police, maybe if you look around you will change your mind.

I am in awe of the police who are working hand-in-hand with the firefighters, emergency personnel and military to protect and defend the rest of us from the ravages of these terrible fires that are destroying so many lives and homes.

If we defund anyone, it should be Congress, which produces no marketable goods or services, and then provide more support to those who serve so selflessly day after day, hour after hour.

May God bless our police, firefighters, EMTs and military, and may God bless America.

James Kolousek, Gaston

Feeling like a stranger at home

I have lived in Sherwood for all my life. I'm 23 years old. In those 23 years, I have never felt welcomed or accepted in Sherwood. I feel like I don't belong and or fit in here. I feel like there's not a place for me here. I get the feeling that my life doesn't matter.

Why do I feel this way? For starters, I was adopted from Seoul Korea at five months old.

I'm Asian, but most importantly, I'm an American. But I feel as if my fellow citizens don't view me as an American. I'm looked at differently. People look at me as if I'm illegal. As if I'm in the wrong town.

I love this country, this state, and town just as much as anyone else. I'm not looking to start a fight. I'm not looking for special treatments. I'm just asking for acceptance from my fellow community members.

John Meissinger IV, Sherwood

Tired of local politicians being denigrated

In reading Readers' Letters in recent weeks, I am struck by the coded language certain writers used in their support for candidates opposing incumbents in Districts 26 and 37. One wrote that her candidate "hates taxes." The other wrote that her candidate "has nothing to gain by running," and she "is not running to further her political career, nor to climb the political ladder."

If these opposing candidates are running because they think they can do better, then have them make their case specifically.

Regarding taxes: No one likes taxes, but responsible adults know that everything costs money, and I ask this supporter what she and her candidate would give up. If they only refer to programs and services that they don't use, but which may be vital lifelines for others, then they have an unrealistically narrow view of what taxes pay for. If this candidate honestly wants to represent all her constituents, she must pay attention to all her constituents' needs, not just those screaming at her to cut taxes.

The supporter who implies that the incumbent is in it only for gain and to climb a ladder has no idea what effort goes into the legislator's often thankless position. Is her candidate ready for long hours away from family, endless fundraising, difficult reading of dense legal documents, listening to countless people pleading their cause, making agonizing voting decisions on innumerable bills, and then facing constituents' ire? These aspects describe just the surface.

I have great respect for those who have the character, will and determination to run for office. However, I have zero patience for those poised to make broad, loaded statements about officials with whom they disagree. Support your choice, but please leave the innuendo for the tabloids.

Brian McGahren, Tigard

We need Kelly Sloop for West Linn and Tualatin

With the Oregon Legislature almost entirely in the hands of one party, we are finding what that means: more taxes and little or no consideration for differing opinions and supporting our rural communities. Look at what's happening in the single-party-state of California, where there are high taxes, rolling blackouts and wasteful spending.

It's time to elect Republican Kelly Sloop for the Oregon House of Representatives to start reclaiming the voice for those who are going unheard. She is local, having deep roots in our community — compared to Rachel Prusak, who recently moved here and who voted like she still lives in North Portland.

George Detrick, West Linn

Boothe-Schmidt needs your vote this fall

Debbie Boothe-Schmidt is running for Oregon House District 32, representing the north Oregon Coast, and part of western Washington County.

As the owner of a small business In Astoria, Debbie understands that small businesses drive our economy. She will fight for them in Salem to make sure they receive adequate support and a level playing field.

We need Debbie to step up and take action to support every citizen in our communities, not just those beholden to large special interests that support her Republican opponent.

Please vote in this November election as if your life depended on it. It does.

Bob Westerberg, Astoria

Neron a champion for climate

As a grandparent and environmental advocate, I have a responsibility to watch out for my children and grandkids. When we heard about the spraying of harmful pesticides in Wilsonville Parks, it was beyond terrifying. Thankfully, someone in our community stepped up and demanded action: state Rep. Courtney Neron.

Today, Rep. Neron is standing up for our safety by fighting in Salem for stronger environmental protections. She voted to ban fracking and offshore drilling safeguarding vital resources, supported oil-by-rail safety legislation, and stood up to the federal government with Oregon's Environmental Protection Act when Trump's administration tried to roll back policies Oregonians value. She will continue to fight for climate action that includes job training and accountability, stronger standards on toxins with negative health impacts, clean transportation infrastructure and safe drinking water solutions.

These issues are impacting all Oregonians, now. We do not get do-overs when it comes to the air we breathe and the clean water we need to survive. The time for the transition to a clean energy economy in Oregon is here, and Courtney is an important voice in getting us there.

Support a healthy future for all Oregonians and re-elect Courtney Neron Nov. 3.

Bernie Sims, Sherwood

From internet access to racial justice, Neron 'gets it'

All students must have access to affordable broadband coverage. Courtney Neron understands the importance of this, and it's one of the reasons I'm voting for her.

As an educator, Courtney supports and appreciates the need for all students to have the resources they need to attend school virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes access to affordable Broadband for low-income and minority households.

I've spoken to Courtney and she understands that access to broadband is no longer a "nice to have" but a necessity for households with K-12 children. I've found her to be a thoughtful and compassionate person who listens to what you have to say. When I approached her about the need to ensure all students have access to affordable broadband, she immediately responded to me with an understanding of its importance. I could tell this resonated with her.

Courtney also shares my values. Her stance on confronting racism is in alignment with mine. She believes in a thorough review of embedded racism in our systems and stands with the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) in our community. This is why I support Courtney Neron, and I hope you will too.

Aaron Woods, Wilsonville

Boothe-Schmidt will fight for HD 32

Hello, my name is Nicholas Bowling and I am writing to tell you why I will be voting Debbie Boothe-Schmidt for state representative of House District 32.

As a registered nurse living and working on the North Coast, I have seen countless residents struggle to access local affordable healthcare. Some residents struggle with transportation to Portland for specialty appointments. Others have to decide whether to buy food or life-saving medications each month. Other people have difficulty accessing local, affordable mental health or drug addiction services on the North Coast.

Debbie will work to lower healthcare costs while increasing access to quality, affordable care. Debbie will also work to increase funding for mental health services and drug addiction treatment. This is why Debbie Boothe-Schmidt is the best candidate for state representative.

Suzanne Weber is not the right choice for state representative. Suzanne Weber supports Donald Trump, even though he ignored the COVID-19 pandemic for too long, continues to deny science, and refuses to listen to medical experts. Suzanne Weber does not care about our health, access to affordable quality healthcare and should not represent House District 32.

Debbie Boothe-Schmidt will actually fight for quality, affordable healthcare. Debbie is the right choice.

Nicholas Bowling, Astoria


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