Letters published May 17, 2019
Upcoming veterans event at Oaks Park
I was hoping to get some information out to Spotlight readers about this weekend's Veterans Community Event, Vet Fest PDX, at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland.
Vet Fest is an event designed to redefine the narrative of veterans in our community. All too often veterans are all categorized as broken human beings who are all down on their luck or homeless, or mentally unstable.
This event is different. This is an event meant to showcase the accomplishments of veterans. It is an event where veterans and the non-veteran community can come together to enjoy each other's company without there having to be a tragedy attached to it. An event where the veteran community can engage with each other and learn about the different programs that are out there for veterans that want to accomplish things.
We have gathered veteran-owned businesses for event-goers to engage with and see if they want to support them by purchasing their products or engaging in their services. We have veteran-led nonprofits on site for individuals who always wanted to support veterans in some way but don't know how.
Vet Fest PDX is being put on by The Veterans and Family Resource Center of Oregon (VFRC). It is a community-based nonprofit that serves veterans, military personnel and their families with assistance in obtaining VA benefits, mental wellness programming, food boxes, clothing and emergency financial assistance.
Events for the festival include:
¦ A benefit concert on Friday night, May 17, to raise funds for the VFRC of Oregon's Emergency Financial Assistance Program, featuring Portland's own all-firefighter band, Fifth Alarm.
¦ A car and motorcycle show Saturday morning, May 18, with a pancake and sausage breakfast courtesy of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary of Lake Oswego.
¦ Free family learning sessions featuring Worksource, The Red Cross, Multnomah County Veterans Services, The ODVA, Lines for Life and more.
¦ Discounted and free ride bracelets for active military personnel, reservists, veterans and their families.
¦ Free outdoor concert courtesy of veteran-owned record label Effin Records.
¦ A USO-style veterans' sweethearts dance featuring Vanport Jazz ensemble playing old standards from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.
¦ A beer garden serving veteran-crafted libations.
This will be a great event to bring our community together and show support for veterans, military personnel and their families who accomplish so much in spite of barriers or disabilities.
A community thank you
A special thank you to all the community businesses for their support of the Columbia County Master Gardeners Spring Fair (Tomato Sale).
To all the vendors and the community members who made our day a "blooming " success.
Twofold kudos to Spotlight
I have followed local track and field results in the Oregon Journal and McMinnville papers back in 1958. Then the Emerald Empire (Eugene) paper, Pendleton newspaper four years, Seattle Times a couple years, now the Oregonian, and have never seen this kind of stats put in print by a newspaper after being reported, as such.
I have followed local coaches (Vella and Harley) stats keeping here for many years (50) as they advanced stats and I know they, as well as the athletes and parents, will appreciate seeing someone carry on with "a better mouse trap," so to speak. Great reporting and printing.
By chance if you haven't noticed what is so special, is that the Personal Records (PR) and Season Records (SR) that are listed. This I have never seen before in print even though a lot of coaches have something like this in their record files.
Thomas "Skippy" Valet
Avent, Ericksen and Trapp for Columbia County prosperity
Last month I attended the Port of Columbia County commissioner candidate forum held at the Elks Lodge in St Helens. This is my takeaway from that forum:
Current Port Commissioners Patrick Trapp -(executive director for six years at the port and 10 months as a port commissioner), Larry Ericksen-(just completing his fourth year as a commissioner) and Mike Avent -(16 years working tirelessly as a port commissioner for the people of Columbia County), are determined to capitalize on both the existence of the railroad here in our county and the unbelievably fortuitous deep-water ports in Columbia County in order to provide family-wage jobs.
Their list of accomplishments: eight industrial centers countywide, the $3.5 million spec building; an entire business (and the 40 jobs they bring with them) moving from Hillsboro to Scappoose; and the port/city of Scappoose partnership to enhance the sewer line to allow for the continued $700,000 development of Scappoose Industrial Airpark at OMIC.
In addition, Port Westward now produces power for the Pacific Northwest (though it will take a total of 10 to 15 years for full development of the resource to be realized).
And that is the crux of the issue of whom to vote for this May. All of the groundwork laid by these three commissioners — Avent, Ericksen and Trapp —over their time on the port is on the line. That groundwork, and all of the future financial rewards it represents, is squarely in the crosshairs of their three challengers, Nancy Ward, Stephen Hanson and Chip Bubl, and their environmentalist supporters.
Our forest industry is gone. All of the timber-related industries are gone. The revenue, jobs and tax base that industry provided, and all of the small businesses that flourished because of that industry, are either gone or struggling. All of this is due to environmentalists.
Is Columbia County now going to reward the very environmentalists who closed our timber industry down with port commission candidates who have pledged to ensure that no heavy industry replace that revenue, those jobs and that tax base? All three of the challengers, Ward, Hanson and Bubl, stated their opposition to the current plans for the industry our current Port Commissioners have worked so hard to secure for us.
For the financial health of Columbia County and her families, please vote for Avent, Ericksen and Trapp for Port Commissioners before May 21.
Ruth R. Nelson
Ward, Bubl for a better port
It's been awhile since I have written. I've had a bout of Influenza A followed by pneumonia. And — yes — I did have all the vaccinations recommended by my doctor.
Anyway, I am all better, my garden is in and I have a lot to catch up with.
Let's begin with the election for the Port of Columbia County. Way back in 1847, George Perkins Marsh was repeating that "man cannot at his pleasure command" nature, "yet it is certain that climate itself has ... been gradually changed ... or deteriorated by human action."
One hundred and seventy-two years ago there was a concern for the future of the world and for 172 years the fact has been ignored that climate change is the most disastrous single thing humans have ever done to our planet, and the overuse of fossil fuels is the largest contributor.
But here we are — stuck with port commissioners (with no term limits) who continue to base their management of the port on allowing and encouraging fossil fuels to be the mainstay of the Port Westward facility, which, by the way, is owned by the citizens of Columbia County, not the Port of Columbia County.
Crude oil and methanol, along with other explosive materials, are shipped in tank cars on a daily basis to further this development. I do not have the space to present how many, many explosions have occurred in the United States and Canada with these tank cars.
There has not yet been an explosion in the county but that most certainly does not mean it will not happen. The railroad track runs directly through Scappoose, St. Helens and Rainier. The explosion, when it happens, will be catastrophic. Your insurance will not cover damage to your homes and your vehicles. Many will be injured and killed and the railways and companies shipping material continue to be grossly under insured.
How long can our port and county commissioners continue to expound they are very concerned about the environment in Columbia County, while at the same time advocating for fossil fuels to be shipped through our county to Port Westward?
Once again you have a chance to replace Port of Columbia County board members with new people with new ideas — people who will in actuality be open and transparent with their decisions — with no backroom deals.
I strongly urge you to vote for Nancy Ward and Chip Bubl for commissioners for the Port of Columbia County, thereby replacing the incumbents. I have known both these people
for many years and I know them
both to be open, transparent — and honest.
And I am just getting started on next week's letter to the editors.
School board challengers have integrity
Over the last month or so we heard the word "integrity" tossed around quite a bit. Almost every single Scappoose School District board candidate has used the word integrity to describe their value system.
Integrity is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as "the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles." The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines integrity as "firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values."
We teach our children to be honest, kind and respectful. We teach our children to be tolerant of others, accept others for who they are, and not to bully. Thus, we teach our children to have a good moral compass from a very early age — i.e. integrity.
I find it quite disheartening that as a parent we teach all these wonderful qualities to our children, and then exhibit quite the opposite.
During the course of this election cycle we have been blasted with rumors that the challengers are part of the Parents' Rights in Education group, that the challengers are backed by this group, that the challengers will not represent all the students in our district, and having an "agenda." All of these accusations are just that ... rumors. Not a single shred of proof has been provided, other than hearsay. These rumors were then perpetuated by gossip. How can we, as grown adults continue to exhibit these very poor behaviors, and then expect our children to be upstanding citizens? The truth is we can't. Parents, family, and community members are our children's first teachers. We have to show our children what integrity looks like, and I believe our challengers have shown our children just that. Throughout all the slanderous accusations every single one of the challengers held their heads high, without resorting to mudslinging.
It baffles my mind that people are mindlessly spreading rumors about people who are truly wanting the best for our schools. I am disheartened that our community will resort to these kind of tactics. My husband and I moved to Scappoose, because we believed that our children will have a better education in the smaller environment. Thus far it has been a rocky road, but overall we still believe that we have made the best choice for our family. However, watching all this unfold has been really hard, and does make us question whether our current board truly has the best interest of the children at heart.
Finally, I find it quite interesting that all of the negative commentary and beliefs were solely geared toward the challengers, which makes one wonder who is really behind the rumors and hearsay. Is this truly who we want on our board?
Supporting incumbents for Scappoose schools
I write in support of Will Kessi, Michelle Graham and Jim Hoag for the Scappoose School Board in the May election.
As a former board member, I served with them during the last recession and can't think of three better people to continue to protect the education of our kids and our community's resources.
I know and trust that they understand the processes, people, goals and responsibilities of the district.
This is a critical time in our community as we face difficult financial decisions. The key to navigating upcoming budgets is experience and a track record of stewardship.
These outstanding candidates serve with distinction and have proven their commitment and skill in responsibly guiding our district through complicated issues. With our newly hired superintendent and two new principals in mind, we need to vote to retain their collective knowledge of school operations.
Join me in voting Kessi, Graham and Hoag for Scappoose School Board.
As caring Oregonians, help all get driver's licenses
As a Native Oregonian, born in Lakeview, a community full of American spirit and often conservative values, I can say that creating a driver's license option for all people living in Oregon makes good safety sense. Getting a license involves learning the rules of the road and passing a basic driver's test.
Why wouldn't we want that?
In getting to know our immigrant community members, I have come to see and experience how hardworking, family-focused and community-oriented they are. For some people, a driver's license is currently not an option and it creates an incredible hardship for their families. Moms are not able to transport their kids to school, medical appointments or afterschool activities. These kids are at risk of missing out and trending behind their peers. Others have their ability to be employed impacted by not having a license, limiting their economic opportunities. Sometimes, out of desperation, people drive without having been tested and granted a license. The list goes on and on.
While we'd all like to see the issues around immigration magically solved at the federal level, that's not going to happen anytime soon. In the meantime, what we can do, as caring Oregonians, is to care for everyone in our community and pass House Bill 2015 that will help our communities thrive economically and be safer.
We've been hearing about the importance of transparency on the Scappoose School Board. However, the challengers in this election have not disclosed who is financing their campaigns. They are not required to do so, but it is a fair question which they are repeatedly unwilling to answer.
Transparency starts now. Why not disclose who has paid for your campaign signage?
Why did one candidate's spouse sign her maiden name to a letter to the editor that was published in the Spotlight recently?
Not very transparent in my book
Michelle Graham, Jim Hoag and Will Kessi are three of the most honest, qualified and community-minded leaders we could hope for on our local school board. They have proven many times that they care about all of our kids and that they know how to handle the difficulties of serving on and facing the school board. In every way, their knowledge, experience, qualifications, and leadership skills are far superior to the challengers'.
The next generation should definitely get prepared to serve on the school board, but in my opinion, these challengers aren't ready.
I know if I were to decide to run I would attend the budget meetings. I would become knowledgeable about the budget. The three challengers admitted they know little of the entire budget or the budget process at the recent candidate forum.
Change is inevitable, but now is not the time. We need experience and leadership on the school board
Vote to retain Graham, Hoag, and Kessi — it's important for the future of our whole community, especially our kids.
Not the time for change on Scappoose School Board
The Scappoose School Board election has been described by this paper as "highly contested."
I'm sure that all of the candidates bring something to the table, but this school district is in the throes of major changes that will set the course for many years to come, and now is not the time to replace those who have both the skills and the experience to manage those changes.
Will Kessi, Jim Hoag and Michelle Graham have successfully guided this district through major facility expansions, innovative educational opportunities, and rewarding extracurricular activities. They did all of this through a major recession. I can't wait to see what they do with the additional funding that the State has promised to allocate to schools!
As voters, we have the duty to choose the best people to manage both the business of the district and the educational progress of our children, progress that is marked by exposure to a wide variety of educational opportunities and experiences. Kessi, Hoag and Graham will not let us down. We are so lucky to have them on the ballot, and I hope that you will join me in voting for them.
Bye Bye, Witt
Some of you may know that I have been in a concerted effort to rid our county of Rep. Brad Witt, a Democrat from Clatskanie. For those who do not know; he is our so-called representative that only represents himself, chooses party over principle, runs as pro-gun but is anti-gun (anti-rights), and thinks that we elect kings.
I have audio of Witt wanting to sponsor around six anti-gun laws, including making it illegal for military age young adults to exercise their inherent rights that some have died to support; the same rights that protect Witt. Because of the left wingnuts in Salem, Witt was able to let others write his anti-rights dream bills, so that he can run around saying that he is pro-gun. Don't be fooled. All he cares about is the next election.
I will report more after the session, but this nitwit just voted yea on the vaccine bill while calling the anti-vaccine people "Russian Trolls." He also voted to steal $108 million of your kicker. There is much more tyranny in Witt's resume; I will elaborate at a later date.
The point is, have you had enough yet? The crazy majority party in Salem is stealing your rights, the fruits of your labor, ruining this state by killing small business and the middle class, and destroying your children's future while leaving them in perpetual debt. Traitors like Witt are all too quick to protect illegal invaders and criminals while trying to turn as many law-abiding citizens into felons as they can overnight.
The far left radicals are on a path to totally extirpate liberty in the name of their religion — cultural Marxism.
Well I just want to say bye bye to Witt. Enjoy your last term. We almost rid ourselves of you last November and you are gone in 2020. You are a pathetic excuse for a human be-
ing and need to go to the rocking chair.
We do not elect kings. You are our employee, not our monarch. You are an oath-breaker and a traitor to this country, and anyone who is as out of touch as you are needs to go.
By the way, where do you live?
Do you even live in Columbia
Vote for Brian Stout, a Republican from Bethany, to be your representative in 2020. Mark your calendars now. He will protect your rights and bring some common sense to Salem, where there is a shortage.
Preheim's rebuttal to Lynch accusations
I am a lot of things, but a liar is not one of them — unfortunately the same cannot be said of Alta Lynch.
First, Ms. Lynch lied in her letter when she said she listened to Odd Friday with Nancy Ward, Steve Hanson and Pat Trapp. In fact, she called me on Monday April 29, because she said she had not heard the show and wanted to listen to the KOHI rebroadcast. But, another old show was playing instead. Ms. Lynch accused me of conspiring to not have Mr. Trapp rebroadcast. I told her I had nothing to do with KOHI's technical issues that caused only part of the show to be recorded — resulting in another show being rebroadcast. Nancy Ward was also on that same show and she did far better than either of her competitors — so why would I not want her to be heard?
I made available to Lynch the first 22 minutes of the show that was recorded on the Clean Columbia County website.
The rest of Lynch's letter mainly talks about her opinion rather than anything I said incorrectly or lied about. The only item in my letter Mr. Lynch actually disputes is that I did not ask Trapp about making a decision before the meeting at the forum where I sat next to her partner, Ralph. I did not say in my letter that I asked Trapp at the forum about making his mind up before the meeting. I asked him about it on Odd Friday — the one she lied about listening to.
Part of that conversation can be heard in the recording where Mr. Trapp admits he talked to a lot of other resources before the meeting. He specifically said "I don't have the time to read everything that comes across, so we do cherry pick" the information he needed before the meeting. He also made it clear that the port does not have public hearings with testimony, but public comments — which is way different. In other words, he can just ignore it if he wants to because it is just comments.
Further at the forum where Ralph sat next to me, if he took better notes he would remember that Port Commissioner Larry Ericksen, not Trapp, apologized for not listening to all of the public comments before a decision — and that he would never do that again.
Ralph would have also recalled that Trapp said the port messed up when giving Global Partners LP the API increase to not use that as leverage to find out how much insurance Global has. Then, on the following Odd Friday, on May 3, Mike Avent a current port commissioner, said that the entire board had already made up its mind to approve the API increase at the Nov. 28 meeting and only decided to have the Dec. 12 meeting because Avent was going to abstain from voting. Avent did this because he felt the cities of St. Helens and Scappoose wanted to be included in the API process, and wanted time to talk to
Ms. Lynch does not disagree with my statements that Trapp is only interested in listening to corporations and not people — instead she argues it is a "feature" of Trapp. I guess it is up to the voters to decide who is right. But it is interesting to note that Trapp moved his signs from his corporate masters after my letter published. Wonder why.
She also did not dispute the claim by Catherine Mater of the Oregon Transportation Commission about the fraud that Trapp as executive director of the port committed on the state of Oregon. It makes me wonder if Trapp left his position as executive director to escape prosecution for the alleged fraud.
It is clear there is one and only one choice for Port of Columbia County, Position 1 — Nancy Ward. She is the only one who will put people over corporations, and it is about time we matter.