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Readers letters

Port a poor choice for investment

Port Westward is not in a suitable transportation corridor

Location. The port is eight miles from Highway 30 at a slow 24-minute drive time. Beaver Falls and Quincy Mayger roads were built when trailers were 20 feet and 27 feet in length and become dangerous one-way traffic for trailers more than 30-feet long.

Environment. With the surrounding hills, the flatlands around the port are ideal for agricultural and wildlife habitat. Expanding the port facility by nearly 1,000 acres would require fill along with the installation of utilities and additional roads, which create a direct environmental impact of the entire valley drainage in addition to the port being on the eastern border of the Pacific Tsunami Zone.

Railroad. To be economically profitable, a train should have between 110 to 125 cars of freight, and travel between 35 to 55 mph. Communities between Linton and Deer Island have marked crossings and can handle 35 mph rail traffic but lack public support for increasing rail traffic, not to mention the problem of Rainier having the tracks running down the center of town.

Transportation access to Interstate 5. The Lewis and Clark Bridge is a two-lane road, has a 35 mph speed limit, is currently running at near maximum capacity and has major traffic control problems at the Longview, Wash., approach.

Since the completion of Interstate 82 in October 1988, a majority of economic growth in the Northwest has been along major transportation corridors, Interstates 5, 82, 84, 90 and Highway 97. Google is now in The Dalles, Yahoo in Redmond, and Apple in Prineville, with the Wal-Mart Distribution Center and the UPS Distribution Depot in Hermiston.

The Port Westward Industrial Park’s isolated location with limited access and environmental sensitivity deeply impacts opportunities derived by expanding the facilities, which makes the port a poor choice for a major investment of county resources. A bridge between Ridgefield, Wash., and Warren, for example, could increase industrial interests in the port properties located near the marina and at the airport, and would provide somewhat unlimited access for the county to the I-5 corridor and industrial areas of the Portland/Vancouver metro area using state and federal funding while the port expansion will use county resources and local tax revenues.

Joseph Turner

Columbia City

Appreciation for our Police Chief Greisen

First off, outside investigators are uninformed and without a realistic grasp on the situation (see “Report provides details of police chief’s violations” Sept. 20). This goes for local government all the way up to congressional investigations. It is all just a political tool.

Secondly, Greisen caught the "bad guy!" Proper training or not, he and his fellow officer caught the "bad guy." And let's not forget, it was the "bad guy" who was endangering people, not the cops who caught him. And obviously the training the officers received at the academy was good enough to manage the maneuver.

Thirdly, the guy who cried foul, and filed an official complaint, was Doug Carpenter. Doug also is crying hostile work environment, stating Greisen made him participate in a fitness for duty evaluation. I am left to ponder what this means....fit for duty? Does this mean physically fit for duty? I often have wondered that myself. Mind you, I have never actually been pulled over by him — but that may soon change. I am also curious if this vendetta against Greisen is due in part to job envy? In my many years working as a nurse in large hospitals, I have often seen the underlings throwing stones at their managers in hopes to one day have their jobs.

In conclusion, I went to grade school, all the way through high school with Doug Carpenter, and I have never known him to respect authority or get along well with others. It is too bad Doug could not commend Greisen instead of jealously complain about how Greisen actually does more than just write tickets. He actually caught the "bad guy."

Danielle Flockhart

Scappoose

Gee, thanks!

We have been receiving the Spotlight since we moved out here around 13 years ago, and we have noticed over the past months that it keeps getting better and better. We especially enjoy your articles about local people, local businesses, special events and your Opinion columns. Unlike the Oregonian's "In Your Face" liberal agenda, and mostly AP articles, your paper appears to be trying to take a more neutral approach to issues, which we like. Unlike the Oregonian that mostly talks about what is happening in Portland, you are trying to cover all of Columbia County. For those who go to Scappoose and St. Helens high school, your equal coverage of each school is awesome. We also like the many-colored photos that now appear in the paper.

In reading today's issue, Sept. 20, we especially like how you are covering the Scappoose police chief’s situation. We are glad you are encouraging residents and officials to view this investigation with an open mind and wait for the conclusions on the merits, and are discouraging rumors and gossip. We do not know the Greisen family, or the families of any others involved, but we can imagine they are all fine families and this puts them all in a difficult position. I think the way you present this investigation in the Spotlight will go a long way in how the local people view this situation and those involved. The one person in your story who I have talked to in person is Mr. Jon Hanken, Scappoose city manager. I found him to be a very accommodating, courteous city official.

When we moved here, some of the first things we read about in the Spotlight were the horrible comments in the paper about the hospital that some wanted built and others did not want built. The banter, rumors and inappropriate comments went on and on for years in the paper. Many times the people writing opinions didn't even know what they were talking about. We are happy to see your readers Letters column appears to finally have some class and the people writing in have actually done their homework on whatever subject they are talking about. We do not appreciate people writing in and personally attacking other people by name, especially when they don't know the whole story.

There is usually two sides to every story. The local newspaper is not the place for personal attacks.

Keep up the good work!

Mr. and Mrs. Bill Thomas

Warren

Make your voices heard

Remember a couple of years ago when the former Columbia Health District board was collecting 32 cents per thousand from your property taxes? For eight years this money was collected supposedly to build a hospital which could never be built. More than $8 million of your taxes disappeared and you got fleeced.

Well, guess what people? It is happening once more — only this time it is the Port of St. Helens. The port collects millions of dollars per year from your taxes, fees from tenants, leases, etc. When we bellyache about how this money is being spent, we have a right to do so. It is the public’s money.

I am offended by the fact that the Port of St. Helens has an attorney,

Robert Salisbury, on retainer year around. Yet the Port feels it is necessary to hire an “outside” attorney to attempt to shove coal, crude oil and unit trains down your throat. Don’t let them tell you this decision is not about coal. It is exactly about coal, crude oil and unit trains. You just got fleeced again.

County Commissioners Tony Hyde, Earl Fisher and Henry Heimuller put on a show at the Clatskanie High School on Sept. 18 supposedly to have a fair and impartial hearing on the merits of rezoning Port Westward.

Their show included a drawn out report by Glen Higgins of the Columbia County Land Development Services. They paraded speakers from the railroad companies who said what a great idea increased rail traffic would be throughout our county. There was no allusion to the fact that the RR companies stand to make a mint.

There also was no allusion to the fact that the railroad companies were the largest contributors to the reelection of Commissioners Hyde and Fisher.

They brought on the Port’s “outside” attorney who extolled the wonders of shutting down the farmlands at Port Westward and bringing on the coal, crude oil and unit trains — only not in those words. Instead he attempted to downgrade the people who are fighting to keep these aberrations from infesting our county, and he fabricated the number of people who would be employed.

I’m sure you got fleeced big time on this guy’s fees.

So now we get to the purpose of this letter. None of the people who oppose the rezoning were allowed to speak, not their attorneys, not their representatives — nobody. The commissioners have reset a hearing date for Thursday, October 3 — once again at the Clatskanie High

School.

Over 70 percent of those who signed in to speak are not from

Clatskanie, and the people of Clatskanie will not be impacted while the rest of the corridor will be severely adversely impacted. Yet the meeting will be held in Clatskanie.

Don’t let the county commissioners, the Port of St. Helens or any of those who intend to make a lot of money from our county shut you down.

Please attend the second meeting.

Stop the fleecing of our taxes.

Nancy Whitney

St. Helens

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We will miss you, Tim

I will never forget the first time I drove down our road nearly three years ago. We were looking at a home not yet finished, a beautiful lodge in the woods with room to roam and play.

Turning onto our road, we drove past two older looking cabins. Out in the front of one was a short little man wearing a blue tarp like a super hero. He kindly looked up and waved. I waved back with a moment of hesitation due to his unusual choice of attire.

That was the first time I saw Tim Wagner.

I asked the builder about the man in the blue tarp and he told me, “Oh, that’s just Tim, he’s harmless.” The builder told me there were many stories about him and that we would be living next to a local legend.

Tim was also know as “the moist man”, “the wet man”, etc.

We moved in. Though I think of myself as nonjudgmental, as a mother I was somewhat leery of the wet-blue-tarp wearing fellow. Over the next three years I got to know this local legend and he not only became my neighbor, but he became a good friend.

Tim taught me a lot about myself and life in general: not to judge a book by its cover, to be kind, listen to those you think have nothing to teach you or say, and that we’re all unique. Tim Wagner was one of the kindest people I ever met, always willing to help, always looking out for the people around him, intelligent and well read, local historian and he loved animals.

I will truly miss him, our neighbor, our friend, our local legend. Our beautiful lodge in the woods doesn’t feel quite the same.

My family will miss you, Tim.

Laura Wright

Scappoose

‘Stuff the Bus helped kids get ready to learn

To the volunteers and businesses in Columbia County who helped with “Stuff the Bus”

Thank you to all of the businesses and volunteers who helped to make the 8th Annual “Stuff the Bus” event a success. Your generosity with time and donated supplies has made a difference in the lives of many families in Columbia County. We had several new businesses and volunteers participate this year. Your participation made a big difference. One of our St. Helens volunteers reported that some of the participating businesses requested pick up for two to four boxes of school supplies. That is just fantastic!

The donated school supplies help students return to school ready to learn, not worried about the lack of school supplies. The school supplies collected stay in the community where they are collected and are disbursed differently in each school district.

The disbursement in St. Helens was held the last Wednesday of August. It was reported that 276 students received supplies. We want to give a big thank you to Rosie Amos who has been the lead volunteer in disbursing school supplies for many years at Grace Baptist Church in St. Helens. She announced her retirement for this year. She will be greatly missed.

We haven’t heard from the other school districts at this time. However, in the past we have been able to report helping 650 students throughout Columbia County.

Although this event is not able to provide everything a student needs, it does help provide several of the required items, and this makes a big difference to those families who have a difficult time with all of the back-to-school necessities.

Want to be a volunteer or have a drop box at your business next year? Call 503-556-3614 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will put you on our list. We begin planning and getting set up in July and collection usually runs the month of August.

We can always use more volunteers to help with this.

Or you can donate to the Stuff the Bus program to help purchase school supplies for this community event.

Working together we can make a difference.

Kathye Beck

Executive Director

United Way of Columbia County

Matt Moquin run organizers say ‘thank you

Thank you to all who participated, sponsored, volunteered and donated to the 13th Annual Matt Moquin Memorial Fun Run/Walk.

Thank you to our local sponsors: Evergreen Anesthesia, Grime Stoppers, Hudson Portable Toilet Service, Jan Hildreth Associates LLC, Kendall R. Liday DDS, Kessi Construction, Lisa Couch- Mary Kay Cosmetics, Matt McHugh – Mortgage Broker, Portrait Homes Northwest, Reeder Beach, The Fitness Center, Scappoose Outfitters, Troyco Windows and Doors and Werner Brothers Construction.

Thank you to Scappoose Fred Meyer for their donation of bottled water and to The Fitness Center for providing water on the course and bars for all participants.

Congratulations to our top finishers:

Women’s 1st Place, Grace Reiman (25.06); Women’s 2nd Place, Trina Spang (25.07); Women’s 3rd Place, Angel Tuttle (27.03).

Men’s 1st Place, Jeff Spang (19.45); Men’s 2nd Place, Joey Wagenknecht (22.44); Men’s 3rd Place, Matt Wagenknecht, (24.10).

Youngest Participant, Andrew Morten, age 10, (27.0).

Most Senior Participant, Tom Moquin.

Because of the support and generosity of this community, we enjoyed another successful event and will once again be able to provide a scholarship to a graduating member of Scappoose High School.

Congratulations to the Class of 2013 recipient, Molly Orr.

We look forward to seeing all of you next year on the third Saturday in September!

Paula Holmason

Coordinator

Matt Moquin Memorial

Press for Saeed’s release, Mr. President

American citizen Rev. Saeed Abedini, 32, was sentenced Jan. 27 to eight years in Iran’s worst prison for “threatening the security of Iran.”

His crime? Saeed met with fellow Christians in homes “encouraging their faith.” On his last visit that apparently triggered his arrest, he was asking officials about building an orphanage in Iran.

Iran appears afraid of differing approaches. This behavior betrays a deeper insecurity.

The President may meet with the new President of Iran this week. He should press for Saeed’s release.

America’s response to differing religions may seem to lack conviction, but it doesn’t. The West has been tempered over time by antiquity’s clear teaching to, “bear with great patience those who oppose you....”

This proverbial directive guides the West’s practice of government fostering debate, printed and broadcast dissent, noisy public protests; all that developing public policy in America includes.

As it turns out, what a luxury.

Wayne Mayo

Scappoose