Letters to the Editor
U.S. only developed country without family leave for health
I believe that many Oregonians would be shocked to learn that the United States is the only country in the developed world without paid family leave for health reasons. With House Bill 2005, we have a chance to change that in Oregon. HB 2005 will set up a fund to provide some paid family leave for all employees.
Most of us, I am sure, know how hard it is to lose income because you have to take a sick day or stay home with a sick child. My mom has had cancer on three separate occasions, which means that my dad must take time off to care for her after her cancer treatments and surgeries. Most of us have experienced something similar and know how hard it is to struggle with the decision to go into debt or to leave a loved one without adequate care.
I urge your readers to call or write our local legislators and urge them to vote for HB 2005, the FAMLI Medical Leave Act, which would insure that all working people would have access to paid leave to care for themselves and their family when they need it.
Pass FAMLI Medical Leave Act
I recently learned that the U.S. was the only developed country that doesn't offer paid leave for workers. This came as an eyeopener to just one more problem present within our country. It is such a disgrace to see so many hardworking folks not be able to take time off work to properly care for themselves and their children.
Growing up in a low-income household, I was very aware of the strain that the absence of money carries. I was told by my parents that due to the financial burden that missing a day — or even an afternoon — of work would put on our family, it was impossible for them to pick me up from school if I got sick. This story is not unique. I can tell you about so many folks that faced that same problem as kids and now face that same reality with children of their own.
I urge your readers to voice their support towards HB 2005, the FAMLI Medical Leave Act, by contacting their local legislators to help ensure that parents won't be financially restricted to take a day off work to care for themselves and their children.
Rural neighborhood needs a fire hydrant
We are a rural area that is approximately 6 miles to the west of Madras, near the rim of the Deschutes River canyon. The area has recently been designated as an extreme fire hazard area.
During the 2018 fire season, our area endured one structure fire, and three forest/range fires, one of which elevated to a level 3 evacuation notice. We were displaced from our home for about 24 hours. There are at least four veterans living in this area, ranging from World War II and Vietnam, to Gulf wars. Most of us carry a VA disability rating; at least two of us are rated at 100%. Approximately 30 or more other persons live in the near vicinity.
We enjoy very good fire protection through Jefferson County Fire Protection District No. 1. However, the proven, minimum response time is 15 minutes. This assumes the emergency response equipment are not already rolling, committed to other incidents.
Deschutes Valley Water District has a 4-inch water main running right by all of our properties. However, the nearest (and only) hydrant is over a mile away from my front door. We have approached Deschutes Valley Water District about installing another hydrant. Their written estimate is well over $6,000. We have gathered subscriptions totaling $2,500 for this project.
Does anyone know if there are community development or other grant funds available to make up the subscription (cost deficit)? If so, how would we go about applying for such funds?
A hydrant in this area would allow those of us with prior firefighting skills the ability to apply mitigating water to a problem while awaiting the arrival of the professionals, plus providing a closer water source for the professionals, when they arrive.
Lieutenant, Retired U.S. Coast Guard
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