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This is the last group of readers' letters the Columbia County Spotlight has to publish before Election Day.

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.

Scappoose mayoral candidate offers rebuttal

As a mayoral candidate of Scappoose, I'm rebutting Brandon Lesowske's readers' letter dated Oct. 21, 2022.

2018 building code changes approved by City Council allowed an increase to height structures up to 60 feet in commercial areas. The height changes made it financially viable for out-of-town developers to create large, Portland-like structures in our city, within our limited commercial space along Highway 30. This takes away land inventory that could be used for amenities such as more restaurants and larger retailers.

Understanding the effect of these changes is exactly what a mayoral candidate should be doing. Which is why I am listening, raising the issue and as mayor, looking to create a better vision for Scappoose that is driven by our citizens, not outside developers.

My opponent has publicly stated that high-density Portland-like structures are his vision for the future. My vision is on livability and keeping our sense of family and community.

Make the right choice Nov. 8.

Joe Backus, Scappoose

Pixley has an ugly record as sheriff

By now, most of the voters have received their ballots for the Nov. 8 election.

There are some very important decisions to make. I would like to comment on the Columbia County sheriff race.

Incumbent Sheriff Brian Pixley has been in office since January 2019. In that relatively short period of time, several lawsuits have been filed against him and his leadership. He admitted — in a local paper on Jan. 24, 2020 — to misspending $190,000 of county money. He said he was going to replace that money, but to date, that has not happened.

I found information that in March 2020, an inmate filed a federal lawsuit against Columbia County Jail's indifferent response to COVID-19.

In October 2021, Columbia County was ordered to pay $140,000 to an inmate denied adequate medical treatment when another inmate broke his jaw.

Sheriff Pixley and the county were sued for releasing a disturbed prisoner in the middle of the night who then attempted to kill his mother. That lawsuit was settled out of court for nearly half a million dollars.

A case is now pending by the family of a woman who was arrested and jailed for DUII/alcohol charges. Apparently the woman repeatedly pleaded for an ambulance, which was denied. She was found dead in her cell.

I easily found this information on the internet. You can too.

We need a new sheriff in town. Terry Massey.

Officer Massey has been with the St. Helens police force for five years.

For 20 years, he and his wife have been — and continue to be — the owners of several successful businesses throughout Oregon. He has been trained as a law officer and obviously he knows management and accounting. This is who we need.

Thanks for reading.

Nancy Whitney, St. Helens

Sheriff responds to bereaved mother's letter

The loss of any child is tragic beyond any comprehension, so I sympathize with Mrs. Zuber (letter to the editor, published Oct. 28, 2022). However, her letter does not reflect the evidence of the case.

The Major Crimes Team (MCT), led at that time by Norm Miller, conducted the investigation into Sarah's death with officers from Scappoose Police Department, St. Helens Police Department, Rainier Police Department, Columbia County Sheriff's Office and Oregon State Police. The autopsy from the medical examiner declared the cause of death as accidental due to "combined deleterious effects of acute ethanol (beverage alcohol) intoxication and hypothermia due to exposure."

I have children and I can't imagine what the Zuber family is going through with the loss of their daughter.

I'm saddened that politics has come into play when the family needs time and space to mourn.

Brian Pixley

Sheriff, Columbia County

Waiting for Massey to debate Pixley

Seems Terry Massey avoided nearly every forum or opportunity to let the public know who he is or what he stands for.

Massey refused forums with the Democrat Party, Republican Party plus showing up for South County Chamber of Commerce in Scappoose at a time where few would be able to attend; he performed poorly.

Massey spent close to $50,000 on a race usually costing about $12,000 to $15,000. That is just what he spent before the primary with no opponent. This guy is trying to buy the election and must be relying on his trolls' propaganda and lies about our real sheriff.

Massey claims that he has "25 years business and police experience" but said on a recent interview that he had 16 to 17 years of business experience, 6.5 years as a cop, which adds up to 23.5 years experience. Look at Massey's DPSST record, it shows he has a year as a reserve officer and around three years as a police officer.

When you reflect on the fact that this guy can't seem to tell the truth, he is not qualified to lead our Sheriff's Office. I can't figure if his decision to spread lies and refusal to debate is cowardice or just good sense.

Vote for Brian Pixley.

William Tack, Deer Island

Best candidate for governor is Johnson

Life is about changes. Betsy Johnson is the change we and Oregon all need. Her work ethic, intelligence and ability to to bring all aspects of a problem or opportunity to the table are second to none.

You have the ability to change Oregon's future. Please exercise your right and responsibility to vote and elect Betsy Johnson governor of Oregon. She will represent all of us.

Scott Parker. Scappoose

Johnson can't win, so don't give her your vote

This letter is addressed to those thinking about voting for Betsy Johnson.

Betsy has been an advocate of the North Coast for a long time. She has helped many in the district solve problems with bureaucracy and raised funds for our many nonprofits. I admire your loyalty and belief in her.

It has become very clear, though, that Betsy cannot win the governor's race, so you have a decision to make. A vote for Betsy can very well result in victory for the Republican candidate. Electing an anti-choice, climate change-denying, NRA supporter who will channel public funds to private schools as our next governor scares the heck out of me.

If it scares you, too, please don't vote for Betsy Johnson.

Let's give important legislative changes a chance to be fully tested. Funding for addiction services that resulted from Measure 110 have only just begun to hit the streets. Modifications of land use policies that will bring more affordable housing haven't had time to see footers laid or walls built. The long-term effects of the pandemic on Oregon public schools have been devastating, yet public schools have only been solidly funded for a short time.

If Christine Drazan becomes our governor, clean air and water regulations and our common sense gun safety measures will be slashed. We will have to start all over to solve the problems facing us.

So please, vote for Tina Kotek for governor.

Cheryl Conway, Astoria

Backus understands what makes Scappoose, Scappoose

As a candidate for Scappoose City Council, I have been following the mayoral race closely and listening to both candidates priorities.

After much thought, I am endorsing Joe Backus for mayor of Scappoose.

Joe will be the mayor that will make 24-hour Scappoose police protection a priority. He will put livability first when it comes to planning the future of Scappoose.

We need to make sure that we grow in a way that maintains the things we feel are amazing about our community, and I am confident Joe is the candidate to do that.

Vote Joe Backus Nov. 8. This is a chance to ensure the future of the Scappoose that we want.

Kim Holmes, Scappoose


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