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The Columbia County Spotlight is hearing a lot from readers in the run-up to the Nov. 8 election.

Editor's note: Have a letter to share? Email your thoughts to Editor-in-Chief Mark Miller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Letters should be no more than 400 words. All submissions must include the name and hometown of the author. Submissions should not include profane or defamatory language. We may lightly edit submissions for style and clarity. We encourage writers to suggest their own headline when submitting a letter; otherwise, a headline may be generated based on the contents of the letter.

Klug checks boxes for Columbia County clerk

I would like to add my endorsement to those of many who support Debbie Klug for the office of county clerk.

The Clerk's Office provides us with the orderly retention of thousands of documents, and as deputy clerk, Debbie has 16 years of experience making sure that these documents are safe and accessible.

In addition, in these turbulent times regarding elections, Debbie and her crew have run a tight ship, providing a clear and transparent process that ensures the safety of the ballot in Columbia County.

I can't think of anyone more qualified to be elected to the office of county clerk.

Josette Hugo, Scappoose

Shedding light on Candlelight Apartments

It's known some members of the Scappoose community feel the Candlelight Apartments were a poor addition to our city. I can recognize some of those concerns, but there is another issue we should be shedding light on.

The Candlelight Apartments fall within an Expanded Commercial zone. Some would like to think the 2018 code amendments, triggered with the adoption of the Housing Needs Analysis, was the reason this development was later approved. However, the adoption of those code amendments did not impact the property owner's ability to build an apartment complex. In fact, multifamily developments on Expanded Commercial zones are an outright permitted use, allowing the project to be approved without any special review.

To suggest our elected leaders had no sense of vision with regards to the Candlelight Apartments is disingenuous and lacks understanding on how decision-making occurs.

The citizens of Scappoose need their next mayor to be someone who will stand for our property rights, while also being knowledgeable in how our local government actually works. What they don't need is a someone trying to play Monday-morning quarterback, believing they can "pick and choose" future development projects.

Brandon Lesowske

City Councilor and Mayoral Candidate, Scappoose

Walk away from Ballot Measure 113

In just a few weeks, Oregon voters will be getting their ballots in the mail.

In addition to voting for a new governor, legislators, and members of Congress, Oregonians will face several ballot measures. There are always a bunch of bad ones, and Measure 113 is one of the worst.

Measure 113 amends the state constitution to punish legislators for 10 or more unexcused absences from floor sessions. Any legislator with 10 or more unexcused absences would be banned from holding office in the next term.

Measure 113 is designed to put an end to the legislative walkouts that have succeeded in stopping odious bills from passing. The majority party gets mad when the minority party stands in the way of ramming through their agenda and Measure 113 is seen as a way to clear the path.

This measure should offend anyone who cares about the exercise of freedom of expression and election integrity.

A walkout is one of the clearest forms of expression, and should be protected under the state's constitution. Perhaps more importantly, many constituents want their legislators to walk out if doing so serves those constituents. The legislators who walked out were serving their constituents effectively and were rewarded by being re-elected.

Measure 113 doesn't just punish legislators, it punishes the voters of their districts.

Eric Fruits

Vice President, Cascade Policy Institute

Pixley ignored citizen's concerns

After reading about the difficulty Terry Massey, Columbia County sheriff candidate, encountered in his attempts to obtain public records, I became even more concerned about the transparency and intentions of elected officials in the county.

In July, we had a dog attack our llama in Warren. The Oregon statutes are clear what is to happen when a dog attacks livestock in Oregon.

It was necessary for me to call Animal Control several times. The officer, finally, came out three days after the incident. At that time, he told me there were few animal control ordinances in Columbia County, and they went by state statutes.

The dog is from Multnomah County, and their ordinances, 28 pages, as well as the state statutes (law), require immediate impoundment for attacking livestock, running large and being a nuisance. Animal Control did not impound the dog, nor cite for running at large, trespassing, or not having a license.

As Massey, we tried to obtain the documents from the county and Animal Control concerning our incident, without success. Eventually, nearly a month later, we were sent 40 documents two business days before there was to be a hearing on the attack. Another 102 documents were sent less than 24 hours before the hearing.

We sent a complaint letter to Sheriff Brian Pixley concerning the 22 issues we had with Animal Control, immediately following the hearing. Those included: not examining the llama, not talking to witnesses that we identified, not applying or citing several statutes, the three above, made-up forms for special circumstance, and more.

After a reasonable time, and no response from Pixley, we sent a complaint letter to the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training and found that Animal Control officers who work for sheriff's offices are not certified in Oregon, so they sent the complaint to Pixley. There was never a response from Pixley.

I am 100% certain Terry Massey would have met with us and appropriately taken care of this convoluted situation.

This is especially important as the owner is a Portland police officer and the dog is a Portland police dog. It was amazing to me that with the Portland Police Bureau being too short-staffed to be able to respond to the calls in the city, they sent four officers and an attorney to the hearing.

Sheriff Pixley may be competent and efficient at many of his duties. However, his first duty is to the taxpaying citizens of this county. Knowing what I do about Terry Massey, he gets this citizen's vote.

Yvonne Pea, Warren

Scappoose school board member backing Backus

It is with great enthusiasm that I support the candidacy of Joe Backus for Scappoose mayor.

I have known Joe and his family for decades in both a personal and professional capacity. I know Joe to be a positive and engaged voice within our community and inclusive of all ideas and perspectives. Joe wants what's best for our growing community and will be an asset to Scappoose as our next mayor.

Please join me in supporting Joe Backus for Scappoose mayor.

Phil Lager

Director and Vice Chair, Scappoose School District

Backus for mayor? It's a home run

Dear Scappoose,

Please vote for Joe Backus to be the next mayor for our town. I'm confident that his vision, leadership, enthusiasm, care and hustle will be a much-welcome boost to the lifeblood of Scappoose.

When I first got to know Joe 10 years ago, it was primarily through our mutual involvement in Little League. It didn't take long for me to realize that Joe Backus is a special type of volunteer. He's the type that works relentlessly for the entire community, and for the longevity of everything he touches.

Joe's dedication goes beyond the fact that he volunteered to serve on the boards, coach and umpire/referee for many organizations long after his own kids had aged out of them. It goes to the relationships he tirelessly built between local programs, to cultivate cooperation and long-lasting productivity, including the relationship between youth sports orgs and the City of Scappoose.

Joe is the type of volunteer who goes way above and beyond in order to leave everything he touches in a better place than how he found it, and that's exactly what he will do as the next mayor of Scappoose.

Scott Harrah

President, Scappoose Little League

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