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We share reader letters about COVID-19 relief, police staffing levels in Hillsboro and Oregon's dairy farms.

In praise of the American Rescue Plan

Good news is upon us! Not only is spring here, but COVID numbers are going down and our legislators have passed a comprehensive COVID relief bill.

I, for one, am quite grateful that there seems to be a light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel.

As a member of CRS (Catholic Relief Services) Portland Advocacy Chapter, I want to express much gratitude to Sen. Jeff Merkley, Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici for voting to pass the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

We have seen through this pandemic how small our world really is and how closely connected we are to our brothers and sisters around the world. This legislation not only provides relief for the American people, but also addresses the needs of the most vulnerable people outside of the U.S.

We are especially grateful to the staff of all three of our legislators for meeting with us and listening to our concerns as this bill travelled through Congress. This much-needed assistance is a blessing for all who share this one earth.

Eileen Sleva, Hillsboro

Not seeing signs of Hillsboro police

Where have all the flowers, er, policemen gone?

When's the last time you saw a Hillsboro police officer, patrol car or motorcycle officer?

If I didn't know better, I would think that 80% of the force has been let go.

Take for an example the drivers who now speed down our streets without impunity. On my street alone, the speed limit is posted at 25 mph, yet 40 or even 45 mph is now common.

It's been at least since last summer that I've seen a police officer. Whoops, I forgot that I did see one black police SUV in January.

It's really is frustrating to pay my property taxes in full each year and only get back about half of the services that I'm supposed to get.

Jerry Schneider, Hillsboro

Legislation could save Oregon's dairy farms

Oregon dairy farms are in crisis. In 1992, Oregon had 1,900 dairy farms. Today, only 228 remain.

Nationally the number of dairy farms has plummeted while the amount of milk produced has skyrocketed. Why? Because of massive dairy factories.

When most Oregonians think of dairy farms, they likely imagine a few hundred cows ranging on pasture eating grass. Today, Oregon's largest dairy Threemile Canyon Farms, which supplies two-thirds of the milk Tillamook uses to make cheese, houses 70,000 cows.

Is this the food system Oregonians want? One with only a few farms, each raising tens of thousands of animals in near total confinement? I don't think so. Since the 1970s, farmers have been told to "get big or get out." This push led to the decline of small family farms and to moving animals indoors into cramped, inhumane confinement with no access to pasture.

The Oregon Legislature should pass House 2924 and Senate Bill 583, a bill that would halt the construction or expansion of mega-dairies (farms with more than 2,500 cows).

We have a unique opportunity to shift the trajectory of our farming system to one that uplifts our values and serves our farmers. Let's hope we don't let this chance pass us by.

Erin Eberle, Portland


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