Letters to the Editor: April 2, 2020
Seeing parallels between crises
There's been a lot of dialogue, opinions, and admittedly some quality memes surrounding the pandemic caused by COVID-19. It's all anyone's talking about, rightly so with the abundant regulations being placed by Gov. Kate Brown.
However, I believe a key discussion has been woefully ignored, and that's the resemblance this issue has to another top concern for our community: the climate crisis.
As a member of Gen Z, the generation facing the brunt of failures to mitigate climate change, I've been doing everything in my capacity to raise awareness and enable strong action from my community and elected leaders. Unfortunately, it's often the mindset of older generations that this climate crisis is one they'll outlive and, therefore, have not made it a priority to resolve. The irony is we're seeing a very similar mindset develop in the eyes of Millennials, and Gen Z individuals like myself. A perspective that we will likely outlive this virus and, therefore, the serious nature of the pandemic fails to sink in — spelling disaster for the Boomers we interact with.
In light of this notion, that the way my generation is reacting to COVID-19 is how Boomers are reacting to climate change, what we need to do is bridge the empathy gap on both issues. And you may be asking, how do we teach people to care? I recommend in the same way individuals are convincing themselves to stay inside and continue critical work on climate change policies: by following the science and staying informed.
Sharona Shnayder, Tualatin
Supporting Grant for re-election
I have had the pleasure of living and practicing law in Columbia County, Oregon, for the last 20 years. I am pleased to support Judge Jenefer Grant for a third term as a Columbia County Circuit Court Judge.
I do so because I believe she has sound judicial judgment. But moreover, and in my view most importantly, it is clear that she genuinely cares about this county and its people. Along with my confidence that her decisions will be well thought out and that the competing positions presented to her will be carefully considered, the fact that she cares so deeply is truly the best thing we could ask for.
Please join me in voting for Judge Jenefer Grant for Columbia County Circuit Court Judge.
Mark A. Gordon, Columbia City
A glaring lack of leadership in Washington, D.C.
Leadership is always tested in times of crisis, and I can think of few crises as great as what we are facing in the world today.
Great leaders of the past such as Churchill and Roosevelt rose to the occasion with inspirational words and actions. They gave people hope in the darkest of times.
Contrast that with what we in the United States are getting from our current president. Magical thinking and lies are his first defense against unpleasant truths. As a longtime believer in ridiculous conspiracy theories, denial of the truth is his stock in trade. This is neither helpful or inspirational, but creates confusion and anxiety.
Please keep in mind his total lack of leadership as we struggle to cope with this worldwide pandemic when you cast your vote next November.
David Pauli, Forest Grove
Voters should elect Peggy Stevens
It is a distinct pleasure to recommend Peggy Stevens, Republican for House District 26, which encompasses Wilsonville, Sherwood, King City and part of Hillsboro.
Peggy raised her family in Sherwood and volunteered in her community for over 30 years. She served on the Sherwood School Board for 12 years.
She finds it amazing that Portland Public Schools receive more money per student from the state than Sherwood or Wilsonville or Hillsboro schools, and the Portland schools are failing miserably. She is in favor of creative ideas for learning instead of more taxes.
State government has more money than ever, but they are still passing billions in new taxes every session with no noticeable improvement or benefits.
Peggy Stevens knows there is an imbalance of power at the state level. She finds that unacceptable and is willing to give her time, energy and experience to helping Oregon make better decisions for all of us.
Will you join me in voting for Peggy Stevens on the May 19 primary ballot?
Doris Wehler, Wilsonville
What's different about COVID-19 in Washington County?
Some hunches about why the rash of cases in Washington County:
• Intel flies six jets daily out of the Hillsboro Airport at least five days a week (used to, anyway).
• Intel has international presence — flies in as large a jet as the Hillsboro Airport can accommodate, people in and out from various parts of the United States and maybe internationally.
• Intel has many people from different countries working under special visa arrangements.
• Intel quit flying people to various international sites, but...
• Intel still is operating 24/7 in Hillsboro and Aloha; Intel's mantra has been under former CEO Andrew Grove, in his book titled "Only the Paranoid Survive," or at least that is Intel's goal, to keep operating 24/7/365.
• Intel and Nike (Nike has two hangars, one to house Phil Knight's three large private jets, and another hangar to house Nike Air jets) fly a lot out of Hillsboro Airport.
• Nike and Intel got established a customs office at Hillsboro Airport, so...
• Intel does not want to stop the construction of their $600 million wastewater treatment plant and their $3 billion add-on to their other two $3 billion fab plants at Ronler Acres site.
• How can construction workers adhere to Gov. Kate Brown's directive to maintain a six-foot distance between workers?
• Mike Rogoway reports that Intel employs 20,000 workers in Washington County. I think Mike changed that from employees to workers on site. Intel does a lot of their work via contractors — who will possibly work even when they could pose a risk to self and others.
• Day care centers are still operating to house employees, while public and private schools for older students have been shut down.
Dale Feik, Forest Grove
Fighting back against the virus
We are deluged with news about COVID-19 and hear unsettling stories about questionable evidence, insufficient protective equipment, lack of timely testing and outright resistance to social distancing. Yet, there have been countless stories of leadership, ingenuity and generosity that give us hope.
We have watched briefings from Drs. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dawn Mautner, senior health advisor, Oregon Health Authority. They describe science in ways we can understand.
Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite ably portrayed the model for building temporary medical facilities.
Governors, including Gov. Kate Brown, have effectively communicated the gravity of COVID-19, appropriately reminding us that government cannot do all the heavy lifting.
The American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association jointly have issued an open letter pleading for the public to stay home.
Abbott laboratories is developing a COVID-19 test with rapid completion times. Jo-Ann Fabrics has provided kits, free of charge, so consumers can make masks and gowns. Retail grocery outlets have dedicated separate hours for vulnerable shoppers.
Residents in Atlanta and Ireland paused to celebrate the contributions of front-line health care workers. Mount Sinai Hospital sought recovered COVID-19 patients, requesting plasma donations. Within an hour, 500 volunteered. An upholstery business owner in Florida started making specialized masks, which he plans to donate. Most amazing is the case of Italian priest, Father Giuseppe Berardelli, who gave up his ventilator to benefit another patient, leading to his own demise. A saintly act!
Thus, in the midst of uncertainty, suffering, and death, we are reminded that the goodness of many is evident. They have answered the call. For young and old(er), it is our duty to join the collaborative effort to defeat COVID-19.
David Nardone, Hillsboro
Metro Council candidate urges support for tax measure
Regarding the proposed Metro homelessness tax increase — Ballot Measure 26-210.
I am a candidate for Metro District 3 and a longtime tax fairness activist. I have listened to hours of public testimony, attended numerous Metro work sessions, and discussed these issues in detail with public officials and business people in the Wilsonville, Sherwood, Tualatin and Tigard areas.
I prepared an in-depth analysis (10 pros and eight cons) for my associates at Tax Fairness Oregon. The problems with this tax increase are not trivial, but my opinion is that we must support it because it will effectively address a problem that the COVID pandemic will make worse: an increase in housing insecurity for Oregonians because of the economic downturn now starting.
Tax increases are never convenient, but homelessness is already a daily personal crisis for thousands of Oregonians. We must do what is in our power to not let it get worse — which is what COVID threatens.
We have two options: one, trust our community experts on housing, addiction, and mental health that this tax is needed and will make a huge difference for those in desperate need, or two, make the homeless wait for absolute economic and rollout guarantees we can never provide.
A 1% tax on those who can still afford it, though a hard ask, is necessary, and I ask you to support Ballot Measure 26-210 in May.
Gerritt Rosenthal, Tualatin
ODOT, please change merger signs
Road rage frequently crops up in the Portland area when drivers using zipper-merge and drivers using single-line-merge share the freeway.
Recently, a driver appealed to Judge John Hodgman: "Please order Portland to get on board with the zipper-merge."
Oregon's Department of Transportation advocates zipper-merge (use both lanes all the way to the merge point), but uses signage that shows a single-line merge (leave the deprecated lane as soon as possible). Could ODOT replace that with signage that shows zipper-merge?
Douglas Stevens, Northwest Portland
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