A united community
Last week's Lake Oswego Review article by Anthony Macuk ("Key Lake Oswego leaders band together to fight hatred," Feb. 1) is inspiring me to start participating in our community by helping expand the message of inclusion and acceptance that Lake Oswego Police Chief Don Johnson, Superintendent Heather Beck and other City and school employees, as well as LO for LOve and Respond to Racism, are all driving toward.
Reflecting upon the community in which I live, including my family, friends and acquaintances, I don't see the ugliness and darkness of hate and racism. I see a group of citizens with different personalities, beliefs, religions, ancestry, political views, social and economic classes, etc., who live together with kindness, love and acceptance.
For me, a healthy, united and inclusive community is one that can join together in not only what we have in common, but also bask in the joy of our differences. Life would be quite unenjoyable if we were all the same.
After reading about all the racism and hate speech that has surfaced in Lake Oswego over the past years, I believe that, as individuals, we all have an obligation to inquire within ourselves what influences, beliefs and stories we so adamantly cling to that can dehumanize other individuals, political parties, religions, etc., and put our community in a shroud of darkness.
In Macuk's article, he mentions that the group of city leaders traveling to a training class at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles still needs $7,500 to pay for their trip. I have started a GoFundMe Page, "Tolerance Within Lake Oswego," where 100 percent of the proceeds will go toward the $7,500 that Johnson's group needs. Please feel free to donate.
Regarding the recent racial incident at Lake Oswego Junior High ("District responds to 'racial incident' at LO Junior High," Feb. 1), Principal Sara Deboy wrote a thoughtful piece in the school blog, (sailorpride.edublogs.org). However, the piece lacked the simple strength and leadership and firm line in the sand I was looking for in response to the sad and cruel incident.
She speaks almost too tolerantly of intolerance. She relays that in discussions with these young offenders, she believes kids when they say they meant it to be a joke, or offer other excuses. She suggests that the problem stems from the communitywide need to have the "difficult" discussions with their families.
Hmmm. No, much of the community has no difficulty with having had those simple discussions early and often regarding right vs. wrong, kindness vs. ignorance.
I wish she had been more clear and firm stressing zero tolerance, and that offenders and their parents will be involved in tough and meaningful discussions with the district, as well as effective sensitivity training, joke or no joke.
Of course, working with the young offenders on proactive relationship mending is part of the answer, but so too are meaningful, impactful consequences.
I was appalled to hear of the racial bullying that went on at Lake Oswego Junior High ("District responds to 'racial incident' at LO Junior High," Feb. 1). Of course we all know where that comes from — the bullies' homes.
My two white grandchildren (one of whom goes to LOJ and participated in Monday's protest) would never think of doing anything like that. But then they come from a home where a person of color is welcome.
I was also shocked that the main bully got a one-day suspension. He should have been expelled to send a message to all LO students that this behavior will not be tolerated! If the school feels that's too extreme, my suggestion would be an extended suspension, during which he would not be allowed to stay home and play video games but would have to perform community service in disadvantaged communities and go to anti-bullying classes.
Support for project
I reside on D Avenue and have been a resident of First Addition for 25 years. I support all the efforts of the City of Lake Oswego, lead engineer Rob Amsberry and the professional design team who work on this much needed project.
The comments of those representing the First Addition Neighborhood Association ("Lingering concerns surround design of A Avenue project," Jan. 25) don't represent the residents I have spoken with. Have they not driven down D Avenue? It's a mess on the surface, and has infrastructure concerns and safety issues for all neighborhood residents.
There have been multiple public information project meetings, street-walk design tours and personal visits to our block by project coordinators. The City has a website with all of the project information, design options, schedule updates and contacts for questions. We receive regular e-mail communication on the project.
D Avenue has diseased, old and ugly trees that property owners have neglected to properly maintain themselves. The project team includes a professional tree and landscape expert to provide advice on the correct species and placement in all areas. Has the neighborhood tree committee even reviewed the detailed plan?
The meandering design is similar to Tenth Street from A Avenue to E Avenue, which had major safety issues. This street design will have safer intersections and a sidewalk system for everyone. The primary purpose of this project is to fix infrastructure issues to protect our neighborhood and property value.
Thank you, Rob Amsberry and all of your team members, for the excellent work in involving the D Avenue residents since the beginning. We look forward to the completed results this year. Other First Addition residents will soon ask the city, 'How about our street?'