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Plus, our readers also want to save sea lions and question whether helping the homeless has become a business opportunity

At Latino Network, we take pride in working with our community through programs that range from early childhood services, working with gang-involved and adjudicated youth and families, and providing academic support to high school youth.

Our involvement with community members in Oregon has given us a clear understanding of the issues that impede families and their lov

ed ones from fully self-determining their own lives and contributing to our community. Freedom — being able to move across the state — is one of them. Driving is an essential part of our daily lives, from commuting to work to picking children up from school, to attending doctor appointments — having a driver's license is a life necessity, not a luxury.

Today, entire families are living in fear. These families are subject to laws that limit their ability to legally get a driver's license, and the impact of this law in Trump's America makes them extremely vulnerable to facing deportation if stopped by the police. This is not the Oregon way, where we believe in safe and unified families, and in the strength of a diverse and inclusive community.

Fair and equitable access to all Oregonians, regardless of immigration status, is pivotal to the safety of our communities. The Equal Access to Roads Act allows all Oregon residents who have taken all necessary training to keep their current license or apply for a standard driver's license.

HB 2015 will make Oregon roads safer for all — allowing all drivers, regardless of their immigration status, to obtain a driver's license will allow law-abiding residents to commute freely, identify themselves, and work toward building their American dream; the same dream that brought my family to this country two generations ago, and the many families I have the honor of working with every day.

Carmen Rubio

Northeast Portland

Stop killing sea lions; clean up toxic mess

For over 40 years, the U.S. government dumped toxic pollution in and along the Columbia River's shorelines at Bradford Island, located within the Bonneville Dam complex in Multnomah County.

Currently every resident fish out of the Columbia River comes with a toxic fish consumption warning, and nobody is supposed to be eating resident fish above and below the Bonneville Dam.

Moreover, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is actively engaged with scapegoating and killing beautiful native sea lions for eating toxic fish below the Bonneville Dam under the fictitious guise of protecting endangered fish.

Sea lions have an important job to do in creating the health and productivity of the Columbia River estuary, and these animals have an ancient relationship with the wild fish that PCBs, dioxins, furans and dams do not.

Therefore, it is time for the Corps of Engineers to clean up their toxic mess on Bradford Island, which will protect the fish that the corps' scapegoating and erroneously killing sea lions will not.

Humans have many other food and habitat choices that the sea lions and the wild salmon don't.

Ninette Jones

North Portland

Is homelessness problem or business opportunity?

The nearly inane utterances by Mayor Ted Wheeler in the Tribune (May 16) must confirm the dire condition around the homeless/drug problem and the mayor's bizarre attempts at reproducing failure.

While admitting he was taken by surprise by the massive size of the growing homeless population, he goes on to say he believes Portland has some of the "right formulas" for solving the growing scourge that infests all of the city.

This defies understanding. What Portland has done is to encourage homelessness/drug use/vagrancy and squalor.

Wheeler reluctantly acknowledges this behavior by stating "Portland's willingness to provide services is attracting homeless people from outside the city," yet somehow doesn't see a connection between advertising for homeless benefits and ease of living for junkies and the decline in livability in Portland.

There must be a fundamental disconnect between the ivory tower elitists at City Hall and the citizens who pay their salaries. Why can residents of Portland see the wasted money thrown at the issue very clearly, while the mayor and his advisers see their failed actions as the "right formula?"

More money from many sources is being touted by Wheeler, however, the results remain the same. The money disappears as the homeless population grows.

Whatever Wheeler and crew are doing is not working if the actual idea is to end/remove the homeless from our community. At this juncture it appears the homeless issue is no longer a "problem" and has turned into a business opportunity.

Government, state, county and city programs are expanding. Bureaucracies are growing. Payrolls are increasing. Employees are being added.

The reason for this: More homeless/dependent people are hearing the call from Portland, "Come here and enjoy the good life."

Wheeler's words are hollow. His actions nearly contemptuous. Portland residents see the results. It's too bad Ted doesn't see the same.

Jim Speirs

North Portland

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