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Our weekly mailbag includes letters on the presidential inauguration and the St. Helens police station project.

Inauguration was moving musical, patriotic experience

I listened to the inauguration. I loved seeing and listening to Lady Gaga sing the national anthem. She sung it great and she was so very good. I shed a tear when I heard Jennifer Lopez sing a version of America, and Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" was wonderful. Garth Brooks sang and asked us to sing "Amazing Grace" with him.

But above all, I was in awe in listening to President Joe Biden's wonderful speech. A great historic day and a wonderful and historic speech.

It is good to have hope again and see a mature adult in charge of our nation instead of an angry madman.

Bill Eagle, St. Helens

St. Helens off to a bad start on police station project

So, what do you think about the St. Helens City Council deciding to build a new 22,000-square-foot police department building — to house 16 police officers?

Of course, the council also thought it would be best to form an ad hoc (formed for a particular purpose only) committee to ensure the legitimacy of this proposal. The two proposals are to either put an initiative before the people for their vote or to charge the entire project to the city water bills through a public safety initiative.

Apparently, the city would start with a $6 increase on all water bills with the option to add to that amount yearly for 20 to 30 years. The city at this point denies knowing the amount which will be needed to build this 22,000-square-foot building. But say it will take $25 million to complete the project. At this amount and this rate of increase in water bills, in 20 to 30 years, the interest may be paid on this loan, but the $25 million will still be owed.

Read our Jan. 19, 2021, story on planning for a new St. Helens police station.

The difference in these two proposals is that with the property tax initiative, the citizens/voters get to make the decision on whether or not to build a new police building. A public safety initiative measure does not require that vote.

Several of the persons asked to serve on this committee, including George Dunkel and Chris Iverson, are not even citizens of St. Helens. Choosing the same old "leaders" for the committee probably is also not a good idea. I suggest the city look for new people and new ideas.

The "same old, same old" people who have been asked to serve on these committees appears to have not worked out in the past few years. We have over 30 closed businesses, the majority of businesses in downtown St. Helens are resale stores, our population has declined and our police department has less officers than it did 12 years ago.

Make your voices heard. Thanks for reading.

Nancy Whitney, St. Helens


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