This week's News-Times reader mailbag includes thoughts on mental health care and animal rights.

Psychiatric hospital probably won't happen

First the state closed down Dammasch State Hospital (where Villebois now sits) and closed other Oregon mental facilities or allowed them to deteriorate.

The state said they were going to integrate these patients into our communities. With few exceptions, this was a bust.

You've only to talk to homeless or incarcerated individuals to quickly realize as many as half have mental health issues. There is certainly a great need for mental health facilities.

Universal Health has applied to build a psychiatric hospital at the corner of Boones Ferry and Day Roads. So instead of the Oregon Health Authority welcoming the plan, they continue to put up road blocks. One of their demands is that only 60 beds be built instead of 100, making the whole project financially infeasible. Universal Health offered to build only 60 beds for two years, but to increase to 100 after that. It was turned down.

So instead of having a facility to help some people, the state would rather not help any. Thus, Oregon will remain 49th of 50 states for mental health care.

Just another bad decision made for Oregon by useless legislators and their appointees.

Doris Wehler, Wilsonville

Congress shouldn't kneecap animal welfare

The recently introduced Exposing Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act (H.R. 4999 / S. 2619) is a threat to animal protection laws and agricultural standards across the country.

This bill would prohibit states and local jurisdictions from implementing their own regulatory standards for agricultural products. This will force states, against their will, to allow the commerce of products derived from the lowest level of humane practices. As such, this act would invalidate dozens of state and local laws requiring additional standards.

Oregon farmers have already faced enough challenges ranging from drought to wildfires and deserve better to also have a bill passed that would relinquish their control over the products they produce.

Oregon consumers care deeply about animal welfare and have passed legislation reflecting this. In 2007, Oregon passed legislation that banned cruel gestation crates used to confine pregnant pigs in industrial farming operations. In 2019, this was extended to prohibit cruel battery cages and ultimately banned the in-state sale of products from battery cage systems by 2024.

The EATS Act would force states like Oregon to overturn our farm animal protection laws including both mentioned above. Effectively, it would force Oregonians to allow the sale of products from inhumane factory farms and overturn all of our previous legislation.

For these reasons, I urge Rep. Suzanne Bonamici and Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley not to cosponsor the EATS Act and to vote no if it comes up for consideration.

Oregonians are counting on our elected officials to uphold the laws we have in place, and preserve our right to pass future laws to protect animals, people, and the environment. Please join me in contacting our federal representatives and urging them to vote no on the EATS Act if it comes up for consideration.

Paige Lemhouse, Beaverton

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