News-Times readers write in about tolling, gun control, candidates for governor, and more.

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. Submissions should not include profane or defamatory language. We may lightly edit submissions for style and clarity. We encourage writers to suggest their own headline when submitting a letter; otherwise, a headline may be generated based on the contents of the letter.

Proposed tolls are in the wrong place

In my humble opinion, there should be tolls at the Oregon-Washington border, not Wilsonville.

Barbara Falck, Aloha

Too many guns in Washington County

I am concerned about the increasing number of guns in the hands of citizens in Washington County.

As a member of Moms Demand Action, I recently had the opportunity, at the Hillsboro Farmers' Market, to speak with people about safe storage of firearms. I was shocked at how many readily admitted to having insecurely stored firearms, and a little freaked out by the three people I spoke to at the market who had guns in their pockets, "just in case."

Many others I spoke with admitted to feeling unsafe when in crowds. How have we allowed this to happen in our country? I recognize the "right to bear arms," but perhaps we have gone just a bit overboard with "securing" that right.

I believe that everyone should have the right to walk about in a crowded city without fearing for their life.

The first step we can take would be to prohibit carrying loaded weapons in public spaces in Hillsboro and unincorporated areas of Washington county.

Another step would be to encourage a gun buyback program sponsored by the county.

Recent research has suggested that buybacks can be effective if they are part of an overall program to reduce gun violence in a community. They can serve as an opportunity for authorities to show the community that they are serious about reducing gun violence; provide educational opportunities; and offer help to those in need.

Gun buyback programs are essential to reduce the overall number of firearms in a community.

Everyone, especially our children, deserves to feel safe in their communities. Anything we can do to change our cultural fixation with guns is a step in the right direction. Contact your local and state officials to let them know you are concerned.

Eileen Sleva, Hillsboro

Oregon has a brighter future with Kotek

As a young female, I am constantly peppered with questions about my future and if it involves children.

Most conversations go something along the lines of, "Oh, you're growing up so fast! Have you thought about having kids yet?"

I usually respond awkwardly with, "Oh, I don't know."

What I wish I could say is that with the state of our planet's climate emergency, I don't even know if it is ethical to have children.

The state of climate change is constantly nagging at me, as if the children I might never get to have are pulling at my arm. While I plan my future, I think, "How could I ever pass this burden down to kids?"

Tina Kotek is leading the fight to end climate change in Oregon. While her opponents Christine Drazan and Betsy Johnson have consistently fought against climate change reform and even, in Christine Drazan's case, walked out of a legislative session to kill a climate bill that would decrease carbon emissions, Tina Kotek has been proving herself again and again by successfully passing climate legislation as the speaker of the House.

Please, for my future and yours, vote Tina Kotek for Oregon governor.

Aidan Pace, Hillsboro

Gorbachev deserves credit as world leader

Much ink has been spilled commenting on the recent death of Queen Elizabeth II.

But within the past few weeks, a much more significant person passed on who merits our attention for the stunning achievements of his life: Mikhail Gorbachev.

Although, like his mirror opposite, Vladimir Putin, he was a product of the brutal, repressive Soviet system, Gorbachev came to realize the necessity if reform. In the course of his reign as the last president of the Soviet Union, he released political prisoners from prison, established a free press and freedom for artists, writers and scholars. He granted freedom to the Eastern European nations that had been under Soviet control since World War II. And, he opened negations with the West which resulted in historic arms control agreements, reducing the threat of nuclear war.

All of the has now been wiped away by Putin. But these accomplishments should be celebrated nevertheless.

David Pauli, Forest Grove

Johnson is best choice for Oregon

Betsy Johnson is the right choice to lead Oregon forward.

Unlike her two opponents, she's not beholden to the far left or the far right. She's unafraid to call out extremists on both sides. I truly believe that she can and will bring both sides together.

Like many of Oregonians, I'm mad at the condition Oregon is in. A homeless problem, rising crime, failing schools, rising costs, you name it. Betsy will work to solve all of these problems and help get Oregon back on track. That's why both Democrats and Republicans have endorsed her. She's a no-nonsense, problem solver who has a history of working with both parties to improve the lives of Oregonians.

I hope you will join me and others in supporting Betsy Johnson for governor!

John Meissinger, Sherwood

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