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The Times publishes reader letters about the Sherwood School Board, Portland Children's Museum and more.

Time for a change on Sherwood School Board

In the past year, I've watched as our kids have increasingly become political pawns.

From COVID-19 and the subsequent shutdowns, to racial/political tensions — they have been the ones who've suffered most at the hands of politicians and their decisions on what is and is not important regarding their education.

Last year, like many of you, I received a letter from the Sherwood School District containing links to materials that encouraged the readers (presumably our kids and their teachers) to vote for a certain political party and to "seek out and engage" those of the other party. Why is our school district spending precious time and resources on political propaganda? [Ed. The Sherwood School District included a link to a website encouraging people to vote for Democrats in an online list of anti-racism resources on June 4, 2020. The school district later apologized and removed the link, saying it had not been properly vetted.]

Read our July 11, 2020, story about controversy in the Sherwood School District.

Within days of my son's return to school, he was presented with an assignment "COVID-19 vs. Polio" — an assignment whose only purpose was to perpetuate fear of the virus and force the answer that the only path back to hope is a vaccine.

I do not send my child to school to be trained to be an activist, to be taught values (that is my job) or be directed as to who he should vote fore or what he should/should not do to his body. I send him to be taught reading, writing, math, science…you know, the things employers are going to want as they enter adulthood.

Sherwood, it is time for a change. That is why I am writing this letter in support of Duncan Nyang'oro and Krista Thorne for Sherwood School Board. I've personally met with both of them and I can say unequivocally that their only agenda is to see our children receive the absolute best education possible. They have children in the district, and their passion for education is undeniable. Contact them and find out for yourself — our kids, our future, deserve it.

Dan Mackenzie, Sherwood

Keep Allen on Sherwood School Board

We are faced with challenges this past year that we never could have imagined. Our community, school and families are experiencing trials and hardships that are so difficult.

During these challenging times, I cannot think of a better person to serve on the Sherwood School Board than Pat Allen.

He has proven over his lifetime of service and leadership to be the perfect candidate to get us through these tough times. He is invested in the well-being of our school district. He is an excellent problem-solver, a great mediator and a great listener. He has been a parent of children who have gone through our schools, and has quietly volunteered and supported his children's interests along the way. Even after his children graduated, he continued to volunteer countless hours to support school activities. This makes his views relevant. He's been there, in the schools for years.

For those of you who have not had the chance to work with or get to know Pat personally, I hope that you will join me in voting for Pat Allen for Sherwood School Board, the best choice for our schools.

Lennae Bishop, Sherwood

Portland can't only be a playground for adults

The Portland Children's Museum is a cherished venue for my family, and this is inarguably true for countless other local families. Affordable, convenient and accessible, a visit always meant hours of unfettered, sheer delight and education for my toddler.

We are troubled, as is much of our community and its youngest denizens, over the impending loss of the museum. This longstanding institution, which is nothing less than a physical embodiment of each child's playful spirit and curiosity, cannot be restored once it is dismantled.

Read our March 25, 2021, story on the impending closure of the Portland Children's Museum and Opal School in the West Hills.

How does its dissolution represent our community, if we fail to put our energy and financial resources together to preserve a place that is inextricably linked to our children's happiness and development?

The things that survive this pandemic are unquestionably evidence of our values. Portland is a community that values social justice, the environment, beer, artisan eateries, dogs, and above other things, children and education, is it not? Can we allow for this museum, beloved to our youngest residents, to be hurriedly taken away from them without deliberation or a chance for a coordinated, public effort to save it? What will be left to enjoy, especially for families on limited budgets that can't easily replace this loss?

Whatever financial obstacle the Portland Children's Museum is facing, it surely is not "insurmountable." A few days prior to the board's announcement, enrollment invitations were extended for the Opal preschool. This is a problem that can be remedied and it comes down to whether it's something we will do together as a community.

Portland, we don't need more coffee shops, marijuana dispensaries or breweries, however enticing those things may be for we adults. Our children need and deserve a chance to experience the joy of childhood again in this fashion — please don't let it (and Opal School) slip away.

Amanda Wernli, Beaverton

County needs to step up on environmental issues

Washington County Citizens Action Network is very disappointed that two critical issues, addressing climate change and protecting the dwindling Significant Natural Resources (SNRs) did not show up on any Washington County commissioner's priority list for the upcoming year.

The state website notes that "Climate change poses one of the most significant threats to Oregon's economy, environment, and way of life," but unfortunately, we don't see this issue reflected as a priority in Washington County.

Regarding SNRs, in the county's Significant Natural Resource Assessment Staff Report (May 2020), the board direction (pages 51-52) clearly states there is more work to do and the board supports this work. Yet there wasn't a single line item mentioned in their town hall presentation.

Last fall, much community testimony about Ordinance 869 also included requests for developing an effective county-level climate strategy to address both overall climate issues and SNRs. Expert testimony stressed that protection of SNR areas is an integral part of climate strategy solutions.

Regarding the "State of the County" address this month, we call upon our commissioners to reconsider expanding your priorities and publicizing to residents the fact that addressing climate change is a high priority for Washington County, including protection of remaining Significant Natural Resources areas.

WC CAN will fully support this effort in every way possible.

Dale Feik, Chair

Greg Malinowski

Jim Long

Faun Hosey

Brian Beinlich

Glendora Claybrooks

Mary Lu Savara

Ellen Saunders

Gerritt Rosenthal

Dan Bloom

Deke Gundersen

Board of Directors, Washington County Citizens Action Network (WC CAN)


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