Letters to the Editor
Elect Blake Petersen to GB School Board
As a parent of three elementary school students, I'm writing to express my strong support for Blake Petersen in the upcoming Gresham-Barlow School District (GBSD) Board elections on May 18. He has been, and will continue to be, the type of leader that is essential to navigating the many challenges that lie ahead for our incredible students and families. Now more than ever, our community requires strong vision and direction in this position.
Blake is a man of great character — deeply compassionate and principled, who's willing to advocate for the sake of all GBSD students' social, emotional, and educational development. As a father to seven kids, he directly understands the challenges faced by students (and parents) struggling with online distance learning for over a year. He firmly supported Gresham-Barlow students transitioning back to in-person learning based on established research and data (and majority support from surveyed school parents), always keeping the well-being of students and staff as the priority. He has worked with those who see things differently, navigating complex issues and understanding the different circumstances and experiences of families in the district. No matter the issue, he's quick to listen to all sides of discussion before leading in critical decisions that ultimately impact the entire GBSD community.
I believe skilled leadership will be crucial moving forward at Gresham-Barlow schools. Blake is a proven leader with experience as an officer in the military, as a youth sports coach in his community, and as the current Chair of the GBSD Board. He has helped guide the school board through an extremely difficult and ever-changing past year with grace and honesty. Join me in voting for school board candidates, like Blake, that value our students' success over political agendas.
Jake Freshour, Gresham
Now is not the time for inexperience on board
I want to thank the Outlook for the kind words said of me in their Opinion piece.
I would respond with the following thoughts. We are still battling with the pandemic in our schools. The current board has been front and center in the calculus of the district's response to the ever changing risk levels put out by the Governor's office. We are still not sure how long the pandemic will linger. The longer we are the under unusual strictures of response on how to deliver education to the student learners, we will need directors with the experience with the pandemic, built only by those having already served in defense of the onslaught of viruses being aimed at our students.
We need a School Board that responds through team work, not individual concerns that are already being addressed through the district superintendent's Destination 2023 initiatives and budgetary modifications.
Unless the city and county governments step up with a comprehensive, well funded and sustained support of the food insecurity and houselessness, the meager budget of one school district will not make the dramatic advances promised by an inexperienced laden school board.
That being said, there are more challenges facing the district than there are promises from first time candidates to fulfill.
If I have a "legacy" over 29 years of service, it is the ability to know, through personal experience, prior board deliberations and study, how to approach the teamwork and problem-solving nature which is the essence of school board work. We survived the school name-change challenge by not ignoring the hard truths of educating children who reported inattention to their safety needs. Rather, we did both the right thing by the kids and also left the heritage of birth of our school district in better stead than it had been.
Rod Boettcher, Portland
Measure 26-221 funds local historical societies
The Troutdale Historical Society needs your support in voting "yes" on Measure 26-221 to help us collect current events as well as past history.
When we travel to Europe the first things we want to see are ancient sights and places. The Troutdale Historical Society keeps the history of our community in the museums along with managing many historical artifacts, letters and photos.
History helps us define our past and our future direction.
The funds we receive from this ballot measure ensure that we can continue to collect history, organize it and make it available to everyone.
Norm Thomas, Troutdale Historical Society president
Firwood grateful for less litter along road
Volunteers from the Firwood Community Planning Organization recently completed our semi-annual cleanup of Firwood, Wildcat Mountain, Pagh, and Kleinsmith Roads and would like to share an observation.
The amount of litter found along these roads has been decreasing in each of the last four years of our cleanups. We would like to pass along a big thank you to the drivers who use these roads and the residents living along these pathways for their efforts to maintain a more appealing roadside scenery. We hope this trend continues to the point where our services are no longer needed.
Until that time, we appreciate the efforts of our local volunteers who show up rain or shine to scramble into the roadside ditches and blackberry patches to snag debris left by others. Help is always appreciated in this task of keeping our neighborhood cleaner and more livable.
The Firwood CPO provides feedback to Clackamas County on planning applications and livability issues impacting the Firwood area. We welcome any resident of the community to attend our Zoom or in-person meetings on the first Tuesday of the month. Details may be found by searching "Firwood CPO" on Facebook.
Ric Sward, Vice President, Firwood CPO
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