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Other News-Times readers write in to urge more care with COVID-19 and back Janeen Sollman for Oregon Senate.

Editor's note: Have a letter to share? Email your thoughts to Editor-in-Chief Mark Miller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Letters should be no more than 400 words. All submissions must include the name and hometown of the author. Commercial solicitations and campaign announcements will not be accepted as letters to the editor. Submissions should not include profane or defamatory language. We may lightly edit submissions for style and clarity.

Run for Ralph this weekend

Ralph Brown is an avid runner and race organizer who started the annual Oregon Road Runners Club "Y2K Run" in 1986. The race has been going strong every New Year's Day since, and this year's run is dedicated to Ralph, with proceeds going to assist in the search for him.

I encourage everyone to come out to run, walk, or show support for runners, honor Ralph, and raise awareness about his missing person's case and the benefits of a strong Silver Alert program.

Ralph and I have crossed paths in many ways over the years. We were both educators, and when I was a Metro councilor, Ralph was mayor of Cornelius, and we often worked together on issues important to the community. I also got the chance to know Ralph and his lovely wife, Carol, through many community events and activities, and I always loved having the opportunity to visit with them. Ralph is quite simply a wonderful man. He is a role model, was a great educator and mayor, and above all else, I am proud to call him my friend.

There are many of us, including people like Rep. Janeen Sollman, who have been advocating for improvements to Oregon's Silver Alert program for Seniors, which assists in cases where seniors like Ralph go missing. I am very excited that the Oregon State Police, in conjunction with the Oregon Department of Transportation, has begun working this year to update their rules to the law so that alerts can be more widespread and synchronized across the state. Efforts like these will assist in searching for Ralph and for all Seniors who go missing.

Let's spend New Year's Day together, honoring Ralph, raising awareness about his case, and getting the word out about the benefits of the Silver Alert program! See you on Jan. 1 at 9 a.m. at Tom McCall Upper Elementary School and at breakfast following the race at the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center.

Susan McLain

State Representative, House District 29

Sollman deserves Senate appointment

I am endorsing Janeen Sollman for appointment to Senate District 15. I have seen her in action for many years advocating for students, families and community members through her role as Hillsboro School District board member and as a legislator in the Oregon House of Representatives. She advocated and helped pass the Student Success Act in 2019, which invests $2 billion in Oregon education every two years.

Janeen listens and communicates regularly with her constituents. She follows through on what she says. Her honesty, integrity and willingness to give of her time and talent make her an outstanding candidate for the Oregon Senate.

Nadine Zimmerlund, Hillsboro

Protect the people for whom you work

Why do unvaccinated contractors feel it is OK to come into our houses and put us, their customers, at risk?

Some of their customers are elderly. Some have coexisting medical conditions. These issues mean we are at extreme risk for severe consequences of a COVID infection. The omicron variant is even more infectious than delta.

The CDC says COVID can be transmitted for days before symptoms become noticeable. Increased exertion creates increased aerosols. The CDC also says fine droplets from our breaths can remain suspended in the air for "minutes to hours."

Contractors do heavy physical labor, which means they will be inside our home, breathing hard, for many hours.

Contractors who put their customers at risk by not being fully vaccinated — including a booster — are engaging in unconscionable behavior during a public health emergency.

Elisabeth Genly, Forest Grove

Oregon must invest in caregivers

The human services sector is facing a historic workforce shortage of frontline caregivers. The impact of COVID-19 has pushed our statewide system of care past the breaking point. If Oregon doesn't take immediate action, it's poised for failure and collapse.

Insufficient reimbursement rates from the state and private health insurance payers have created an ongoing struggle for human services providers to recruit and retain qualified staff, especially child and family therapists, who deal with children's mental health, and direct support professionals (DSPs), who provide 24/7 essential care for people experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities and behavioral health issues.

These highly trained professionals and caregivers perform physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging work. However, the long-term underfunding and lack of investment by Oregon to ensure the stability of care has taken its toll. The job is unsustainable financially for many employees.

The state needs to show it values caregiving with compensation reflective of this challenging work. Lawmakers need to significantly and immediately increase reimbursement rates or provide funding streams, so human services providers can offer equitable, competitive wages that compete with other sectors.

In February, Oregon's Legislature will convene for a special session. It's our hope they'll pass critical legislation to address the need for long-term, ongoing investments in our caregiving workforce.

Without additional state funding, human services providers will have to reduce services and close programs. For those who need around-the-clock residential care, they could end up in a hotel monitored by overwhelmed state workers, a homeless shelter, or worse, in crisis waiting in an overcrowded emergency room or even jail.

People who spend their career caring for our most vulnerable citizens deserve our admiration and respect. The need to invest in these workers is greater than ever. We're counting on our elected officials to do the right thing.

Miki Herman

Interim Chief Executive Officer, Albertina Kerr

Affordable housing approach is all wrong

Jules Rogers' article on Metro's regional housing bond listed seven projects approved by Metro to be built. I was flabbergasted to see that the Tistlilal Village will cost $26.6 million for only 24 units. That equates to $1,108,333 per apartment.

Really?

Read about the Metro-endorsed housing developments in our Dec. 6, 2021, story.

Of the seven projects, the least costly was at the Meridian Gardens project, of $305,888 per apartment.

Is this really the best use of our tax dollars? Why do subsidized apartments have to cost way more than regular built housing?  Existing apartments for sale could be purchased for much less.  

I would personally prefer to see the money going to Home Forward (Portland Housing Authority), to help pay renters to stay in their current homes or to help subsidize rent in existing units. Portland does need more housing, but the city's new inclusionary zoning has stopped most new buildings, as they want the rich landlords to subsidize the new housing, charging regular rent-payers in the new buildings roughly $200 more a month to cover the forced subsidized units. This new city regulation has prohibited thousands of new units from being built in the last three years.

Repeal the inclusionary building demands and see a rapid response to new building permits. 

John Winquist, Tigard

Sollman has shown leadership

I am writing in support of state Rep. Janeen Sollman for appointment to Senate District 15.

Having raised two children in the Hillsboro School District, I have been privy to Janeen's extensive involvement in both the school district and within the community. Her strong presence in the community has given Janeen the unique chance to develop a strong sense of camaraderie with the youth and help empower and mentor them just as she has done for my daughter.

Interning for Rep. Sollman throughout high school has given my daughter the invaluable privilege to be a working part of our community. A community where she has witnessed Janeen's commitment, passion, empathy and sympathy for all of her constituents.

For these reasons and more, I implore others to join with me in support of Janeen to represent all of us in Senate District 15.

Maura Donis, Hillsboro


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