This week's mailbag includes responses to News-Times opinion pieces and President Donald Trump's State of the Union.

Pelosi's behavior at State of the Union a disgrace

I watched the president's State of the Union Address tonight. Pretty well done, except of course he was reading off the teleprompter (almost every politician does), and he isn't the gifted orator that some of his predecessors were. I expected (and perhaps hoped) an attack on the House for the sham impeachment, but there was none, and I suppose that was the best course of action.

But I have to say that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi behaved very badly. The fidgets, gestures and comments made by her during the speech were in poor taste, but when she tore up the copy of the president's speech that he gave her, that was over-the-top. I hope she is ashamed of that action, which makes clear that it is time for a new Speaker. What will it take to get the Democrats to vote no confidence in her, and replace her with someone from their party with less animosity toward the president?

It is obvious that the country has suffered from their feud. Time to get over it and get the two sides to come together.

Harold Hutchison, Forest Grove

Column nails reality for girls and women in sports

Wade Evanson's column last week, "Women want a fair shake. They're closer to getting it," was right on the money.

Read News-Times sports editor Wade Evanson's column, published online Feb. 4, 2020, about women's sports.

Well-written review of the long trek for women athletes to be taken seriously. I hope every woman (or girl) participating in sports reads it, and appreciates a sportswriter who sees the whole picture, including the growing excitement, careers and improving compensation for pros, in women's sports.

Sue Bliss, Hillsboro

Terrible side effects from Jackson School Road project

The Citizen's View "In Jackson School neighborhood, 'State of the City' means something else" that appeared in the Feb. 5, 2020, edition of the News-Times does a great job of describing the devastation now present on what was once a beautiful living legacy to our heritage.

Refer to JoDee Clark Lompa's commentary in the Feb. 5, 2020, issue of the News-Times.

The old-growth trees that were taken down won't be replaced in our lifetime, despite the city trumpeting about how they are planting new trees when the project is over. The personality, charm, and beauty of Jackson School Road is changed forever.

And the tree-taking isn't yet done. Many more trees have yet to come down. Safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, something we all want, didn't need to come at such a huge cost. The cost is both in terms of lost beauty and livability as well as dollars and cents.

The city accepted the low bid of $21.5 million to do the road construction. This is $2 million over the most recent project cost estimates on the city's website up until Feb. 3. And this $21 million doesn't even include all the other costs to the road that writer JoDee Clark Lompa lists. These costs will most likely bring the project cost up several more millions of dollars.

On their website, the city lists several sources for paying for these costs. However, all of this money comes from our pockets, whether it's paid by property taxes, Oregon state income taxes, fees on utility bills, vehicle registrations, or other sources. We are all paying for a project that is vastly over budget and out of scope.

As Clark Lompa puts it, "A community that wanted safe sidewalks is now getting a 68-foot wide swath of concrete." Safety could have been designed in a project that had a much lower impact on the livability of our community. And a smaller-scoped project would also have a much smaller cost.

Cindy Easton, Hillsboro

Instead of building new bridge, consider a tunnel

In 2013, Washington and Oregon canceled the construction of a new Columbia River Bridge after eight years of planning and spending nearly $200 million. Now $44 million is committed to exploring a new Columbia River Crossing.

The Joint Oregon-Washington Legislative Action Committee should travel to Vancouver through the George Massey Immersed Tube Tunnel (ITT) built under the Fraser River in 1956. British Columbia spent 10 years and $40 million trying to decide on a new Fraser River Crossing. British Columbia canceled a bridge plan and is moving ahead with a new eight-lane ITT (six vehicle and two transit).

After British Columbia, fly to Japan and travel through Japan's 25 earthquake-resistant ITTs.

Stop in Hong Kong and travel by car or train through the five ITTs that connect to the mainland, then drive through the 4.2-mile ITT to Macau.

Fly to the Netherlands and tour their 30 ITTs. Talk with the Dutch engineers, the most prolific builders of ITT's and world leaders in their design. Rotterdam's Maastunnel, completed in 1942, was Europe's first ITT and the model for 150 worldwide.

The canceled 2013 massive bridge design would have blighted the Columbia River for a century. Our transportation agencies need to look beyond our borders for the best Columbia River Crossing solution.

Bob Ortblad, Seattle

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