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Readers write to us about the Forest Grove social justice mural, the Cornelius transfer station and more.

Mural puts a welcoming, inclusive face on Forest Grove

Tammi McLaughlin's criticism of the Forest Grove City Council's approval of the social justice mural as "promoting one political ideology" (commentary, published Jan. 7, 2021) misrepresents the project and undervalues its significance.

The exciting mural project meshes with the Public Arts Commission's comprehensive plan to enhance our community and incorporate diverse voices. Instead of portraying the mural as representing "one political ideology," as McLaughlin does, we should laud the initiative of those committed to beautifying our surroundings and representing all citizens.

Instead of suggesting that approval of the mural was based on the "political activism" of two city councilors on a council that "dictates ideology and leads with political activism," as McLaughlin states, we should recognize the mural as a celebration of Oregon's growing diversity.

Refer to Tammi McLaughlin's Jan. 7, 2021, commentary on the Forest Grove City Council and social justice mural.

According to an Oregon State Employment Department publication from January of 2020, Race and Ethnic Diversity in Oregon's Workforce, Oregon's population is becoming increasingly more diverse. In 2018, the share of people of color in "Oregon grew to 25 percent, a 32 percent increase from 2008." Thus, the "share of people of color in Oregon grew more quickly than the national average over this 10-year span."

To attract and maintain tourism and businesses, we need to respond to this shifting demographic. The two Pacific University students behind the mural project persevered over months, responding diligently when told to change their design, seek other means of funding and revise their proposal for approval. Along the way, they consulted numerous people and groups.

I often ride my bike by Forest Glen Park and lament the dilapidated benches sitting atop the park and the faded, peeling paint of the American flag on the present mural. This is no way to welcome visitors and residents to Forest Grove.

The social justice mural will provide an aesthetically welcoming climate in which all feel represented.

Lorely French, Forest Grove

Wasteful planning for waste transfer station

Would you like to have a nice picnic near a garbage dump? How about a meeting?

If Metro has its way, these are just some of the frills that will come attached to its newest waste facility.

A new transfer station is being planned in Cornelius to expand waste management services to the west side of the region. But instead of providing a functional facility that benefits the region, Metro is pitching expensive features that have nothing to do with waste management, such as meeting spaces, parks, and education centers.

If Metro continues down this path, the new transfer station will have flair instead of function. Waste management debt will be used to fund unrelated goals, while regional improvements still beg for attention.

Metro's systems planning manager says both of the current transfer stations in Portland and Oregon City are "at capacity" and "increasingly costly to operate."

Metro should focus on improving waste management, not adding expensive extras. If the region really needs a new transfer station, there is no room for frills.

Vlad Yurlov

Policy Analyst, Cascade Policy Institute

Students need financial support too

Many college students have been upset over the recent bills passed about the COVID-19 stimulus check because many feel that students are left out. This is due to the fact that because of our parents paying our tuition, we are considered financially dependent on them.

However, many students need second jobs in order to pay their own bills and fees because most middle-class families cannot afford tuition and daily living expenses such as rent. As a primarily college town, Forest Grove needs to help take action and support students to help their economy.

Isabel Lawson, Forest Grove


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