Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.

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Park district is planning to increase system development charges once again

To the editor:

A Jenga block in the wobbly tower we call "affordable housing" is about to be pulled by the Chehalem Park and Recreation District in the form of another system development charge (SDC) increase.

A decidedly "un-sexy" topic for a letter to the editor, but critical for the citizenry of Newberg to understand the hurdles faced by developers looking to deliver much needed starter homes and workforce housing. Developers are the low hanging fruit for municipal fees and taxes of all sorts. There is little public outcry when "fees for parks" is part of conversation; parks and greenspaces are important to all of us, myself included.

However, a lack of public education has allowed the SDC fee system to run amok, grow bloated with no fiscal discipline, at taxpayer expense. While CPRD SDC's are not the sole drain on housing affordability, the costs add up.

Most of Newberg's significant employers have difficulty hiring and retaining workers due to the lack of affordable housing. For the health of our business, schools and citizens, we benefit by having jobs and housing here locally. Local also reduces wear and tear on our tax supported infrastructure and the environment. At the last public CPRD board meeting, citizen testimony was about crumbling infrastructure and underfunded projects. This didn't seem to be a wake-up call that CPRD is "out over their skis" on the current properties they manage, while pursuing a growth mode strategy. It was seen as justification for the fee increase being proposed.

How CPRD is managed is not my place to say. However, if the community values affordable housing and significant employers need it for job creation, it certainly seems irresponsible to fee increase versus. live within your means.

Please plan on attending the Dec. 5 board meeting and let the CPRD board know your thoughts on affordable housing.

Philip Higgins, Newberg

Maybe there's hope for the latest generation after all

To the editor:

I felt I needed to share a story from a 30-year veteran of the military served in the Vietnam era. I got it from him while greeting and thanking him for his service at the casino buffet. I always try and make a point of stopping the ones with a jacket or cap signifying that they have served to express my thanks to them for their service.

But this gentleman shared this story that I feel bears repeating. He was in the Salem Costco and felt that someone was following him. He looked around and only a little girl was there; she was only about 5 or 6 years old. He continued on and everywhere he walked this little girl was still behind him. He said he finally stopped to ask if he could help her or if she was lost.

With that she said, "No sir, but I wanted to say thank you for your service to our country!"

With that he said thank you and looked up and her mom was not far behind watching. He looked at mom and said, "Wow, what a wonderful girl you have!"

Mom's comment back was, "I have to schedule at least an extra half hour to my shopping trips since she insists on finding all the vets to thank them."

Maybe there is still hope for our younger generation after all. And I send a big thanks to that young girl, whoever she is, and to our vets.

Roger Currier, Newberg


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