Letters published Jan. 3, 2020
A prosperous 2020, and thank you
for your support
All of us at the Scappoose Historical Society would like to wish the community a very happy and prosperous New Year, and to thank everyone for their support of our work this past year. The support has come in many forms and means so much in our efforts to preserve the history of Scappoose and to share it with all who are interested in learning more about the community in which they live and the surrounding area.
We would like to thank all the vendors who supported our Old Fashion Christmas Party and fundraiser. The gifts they donate have made our fundraisers very popular, especially when guests many times can receive a gift valued more than the price of the ticket. The generosity of these businesses has been an integral part in keeping us operating, and we hope that they be supported by you in return.
There have been many other donations this year in the form of items for the House, the Museum, historical material for our records, and other monetary donations. We appreciate all the support we receive in whatever form. Some special new items this year are artifacts for Chapman Landing, the organ belonging to Irene Watts has been returned to the Watts House after over 60 years, and many historical pictures and records. People are also donating their time to give their personal histories with recorded interviews of their memories.
To everyone who is supporting our work, a big thank you. The Watts House is your House. Come visit whenever you can. We are definitely a working group, and you might find us in the middle of some project or another, but that makes it like any other home you might go to visit.
A very happy New Year to everyone.
president and curator, Scappoose Historical Society and Watts House Pioneer Museum
Hope considerations for 2020
Prior to March 2001 I had a letter published in the Portland Tribune regarding housing for low-income residents. The Tribune had earlier published a series of articles that covered many aspects of the problem. Two decades later and there is still no movement on this issue.
In business, your personal finances, or an accident, there is cause and effect. Our leaders — city, county, state and national — do not want homelessness but yet we see the effect. But what are the causes?
The Spotlight guest columns by Adam Davis (Nov. 15) and Greg Pettit (Dec. 11) are the spotlight for your readers to consider. Focus your attention on how you think.
Consider how we can, in Columbia County, make affordable housing available to low-income people. My daughter, who deals with clients in a county program, says high rents are a major and constant problem. She tells me that $10,000 yields zero for a down payment due to fees on the very cheapest homes. Checking online, I found that to build an average house in Scappoose cost $60,000 in fees. Back in 2001, Portland charged $18,000. Why so much?
Compare Josephine County's property records to yours. Why is theirs less? They vote together. Why do "starter" homes cost so much here? Add $60,000 and automatically property taxes go up. This is taxation without real representation. Your option isn't considered. Our leaders, being human, want to fix ever-increasing problems that always can be fixed with money. Our money. Wiser use of our tax money is almost always blocked due to a normal desire for what "my party" — fill in the blank — wants. That is all of us. Our leaders didn't make the system; if you want any change, they need to be directed. Leaders are in the hot seat. Giving them position direction, not ire, with civility, dignity and truth, will give them incentive.
First, you need a group of truthful, dignified and civil people as a base who will understand the need for change. That will mean they have common traits that others will identify with. I suggest that base is all of this county's churches and the rest of us who share common values. Give them, and us, a reason and present a great purpose based on our common values.
Go to "The Book." To trust what it says, here are a couple "hot button" issues it resolves. These are prove-it-for-yourself issues.
How can you believe The Book? Begin with a proper non-biased translation of Genesis 1:2. It says the earth was without form and void. The word "was" is translated as "became" in nine other places in Genesis. That Hebrew word is "hayah." This shows the earth became destroyed prior to our creation. What was earth before that? Jude 6 says the first estate (home) for the angels was Earth. They and Satan were cast back here after they brought war to heaven. So a world before mankind could have all the serpents or dinosaurs you want to fit into prehistory. Learn it, teach it. This paradox presented a problem for me for decades.
Look at carbon-14 dating. Was there a warm, thick atmosphere for the dinosaurs or not? Genesis 1:6-7, and again in 7:11, indicates an upper atmosphere was filled with water. Cosmic rays form carbon 14 when they strike a molecule of nitrogen. They would have hit H2O first. Paradox? No. Learn it, teach it.
Second, when does life begin? "The Book" tells us explicitly in Luke 1:26-44 about the birth of Christ. Notice that after Mary is told she will be pregnant she hurries to her relative's house and, as she enters, the Holy Spirit causes Elizabeth to speak of Mary (pregnant now for how many days) as the Mother. You aren't a mother in our society till your baby is born. But "The Book" defines life has begun at conception. This is what our Supreme Court should come to grips with — God's opinion is a fact. Or are we still "under God"? In the Roe vs. Wade decision the court needed an opinion. This, too, should be taught.
Third, how do we stop antisemitism? Logic and education. Matthew 13:55-56 identifies Jesus' physical family with four brothers and at least two sisters. After dozens of generations the Jewish people are still "His brethren," by blood. So, when Matthew 25:40-45 tells us, "as you have done it to the least of these my brethren you have done it to me." It takes on a whole new meaning. This too should be taught.
With common values cleared away and proofs established, consider the poor, the low income, seniors on Social Security and our kids (on whom the highest taxes and school costs are borne) and ask, how do they afford housing, and why is it so out of reach financially.
"The Book" actually has a couple of things to guide us in this regard. Remember: Translation sometimes leaves us short on meaning. So the Amplified KJV (Amplified Bible) in Isaiah 5:8 warns against adding house to house (like apartments, rezoning for the higher taxes, enormous fees, etc.) so that poorer occupants are forced out. But the other, an indictment, is severe: Ezekiel 16:49-50 lists the sins of Sodom (they aren't what you'd expect), among which is "neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor."
This is at the heart of the problem: To strengthen their hand is to produce low-, and I mean low-, cost housing — not for rent, but for sale, so that instead of enriching people who use housing to build their fortunes it allows a first rung for low-income people to buy. If it takes new zoning laws, so be it. Our county can be a leader even if we have to force our politicians to hear us.
But, they will cry, what about the high cost?! Just think about the savings that will come in the way of lower crime rates, fewer people on government programs, fewer suicides (that's what hope produces), and far more security when economic hard times come.
This is 2020's hope. Consider it.
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