Letters To The Editor
Implement 21st century policing strategies now
On Tuesday, Gresham released a damning independent report highlighting the need for reform within the Gresham Police Department. As 2020 highlighted the inheritance of racism in our country, community, and own lives, we now decide where to go next.
One practical step that we can take to make Gresham more welcoming and just is to re-commit to implementation of 21st century policing reforms.
These recommendations are practical and substantive, and are a step we can take to foster a community that is more welcoming and just. Implementing them will require the commitment and leadership of our mayor, City Council and management.
I urge city leaders to embrace this challenge. Because Robin Sells has shown a deep resistance to these reforms, she should no longer serve as Gresham's chief of police.
Not only no, but hell no!
I couldn't make it past the first page of the Gresham Outlook's Friday, Feb. 5, edition. The story "Will Headwaters move ahead?" detailed the proposed development of the Headwaters housing development in Southwest Gresham near the headwaters of Fairview Creek, and caused me abhorrent disgust.
It's obvious that neither the city of Gresham, Metro or Bend-based SGS Development LLC understand the environmental significance of the project being proposed.
Removal of the large growth of old Douglas Fir trees on the Shaull property at 3535 W. Powell Blvd. would have devastating consequences for the natural ecology of the area, Fairview Creek, as well as Gresham businesses and residences.
If the goal of this proposed development is to overwhelm the headwaters of the Fairview Creek, causing major flooding events there as well as downstream from the area, then moving ahead with the proposal is recommended.
If the developers and builders would like to decrease the air quality in Gresham, then it's a good idea to move forward with the clear-cutting and development. If the goal of the city of Gresham is to hypocritically avoid complying with its own code (prohibiting removal of more than three trees with diameter 8-inches or greater from any property in a single year, then clearcutting the Shaull property is a smart move.
If the future occupants of The Headwaters would like to experience flooding that causes property loss once the large growth of water-gulping trees is removed, we should by all means proceed.
If the goal of the citizens of Gresham is to drive away any and all natural wildlife from the area that humans have staked as ours, then let's do it.
However, if the city of Gresham pays any mind to the fact that the "Tree City" is already nature-deficient, or that Greshamites are in need of more natural areas (not less), then this proposal should be declined.
If Metro is serious about protecting sensitive areas of the city in an effort to disallow urban sprawl from taking over, then they should fight to put a stop to it.
If the developers at SGS feel that Gresham is in such desperate need for housing that we should roll over and allow the property to be developed, maybe they should consider over-developing Bend.
If we hold high in our opinions the plight of natural wildlife in this age of modernization, all of us should fight to prevent this project from moving forward.
Finally, if we want to do everything in our power to keep the threat of global climate change and the ever increasing summer heat from affecting the city even further, we need to develop less asphalt/concrete/metal/plastic surfaces, and allow nature's green heat and carbon sink to flourish.
Unless we act now to prevent overdevelopment of the few remaining natural areas of our city, we will have no ability to stop the last square mile of natural areas from being overwhelmed when our children's children's children eventually inherit the mess that we have created.
Ombudsmen needed now more than ever
With vaccines for COVID-19 now being administered, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. However, Oregonians living in long-term care facilities continue to be isolated while having some of the highest rates of infection and deaths.
And as we look to return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, there will be an increased need to ensure that quality of care and quality of life will be protected for fellow Oregonians living in long-term care.
Community volunteers are needed to become LTC Ombudsmen to advocate for those who live and receive care long-term care facilities. Oregon's LTC Ombudsman program has continued to fight every day for residents' rights and dignity, and now needs over a hundred more volunteers across Oregon for the advocacy that is needed coming out of the pandemic.
Residents in care facilities frequently face impossible decisions regarding their care and quality of life. If they push their call button and no one comes for 45-minutes, do they report the issue and possibly suffer retaliation? Do they take a deep breath and continue to wait, knowing this problem will continue to be an issue? Many residents also feel isolated and alone, especially now due to COVID-related limits on visitation with family and friends.
The pandemic has spotlighted the need for long-term care ombudsman services in a time when it is difficult to visit loved ones residing in long-term care. Unfortunately, only 49% of Oregon's facilities have a volunteer Ombudsman assigned to them. This leaves many residents especially vulnerable.
Oregonians who live in long-term care need community members to become their voice and advocate. We are an independent state agency that was established to advocate for those who reside in long-term care.
Our volunteers come from all different walks of life. Successful applicants need good communication and listening skills, the ability to work through conflicts, determination, tenacity, and a passion for helping people.
We have two upcoming online trainings scheduled for 2021.
To report a concern at a long-term care facility, or to learn more about volunteering, call 1-800-522-2602 or visit www.oltco.org. Staff is available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Volunteer Recruitment Specialist
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