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Spotlight readers sound off about the upcoming election, the Port of St. Helens rezone effort, and much more in this week's letters installment.

FILE PHOTO - Political opinions dominate the conversation in the May 5, 2017, letters to the editor section.

Brooks for Scappoose School Board

I would like to encourage a vote for Tim Brooks for Position 5 on the Scappoose School Board.

I've known Tim my entire life and he has always been a huge supporter of children and youth. Having been involved with youth sports and the wrestling program, Tim has always been a very involved supporter and participant over the decades in Scappoose youth activities.

He has now taken the step to enter into the Scappoose School Board race. 

Tim has genuine concerns for not only the youth of Scappoose, but very much so for the parents and how district decisions affect their lives and livelihood. He feels all issues that come forward deserve delving into with concentrated attention in order to bring about the best possible outcome.  

Researching an issue is high on his priority list.

Tim is very motivated and upbeat when dealing with people. He is very willing to work with others, yet is firm in confronting decisions that affect people's lives.

Please consider this longtime Scappoose man, Tim Brooks for Position 5 on the Scappoose School Board.

Brenda Havlik

Scappoose

Supporting Brooks and Maloney for Scappoose schools

I am supporting Tim Brooks for the Scappoose School District, Zone 5. Many of the board members have been on the board for several years in a row. I believe it is time for some fresh faces and ideas on the board.

Even though my children are grown, my tax dollars continue to support the school system. I have been unhappy with many decisions made over the past few years and hope new life will bring much-needed change.

Tim Brooks will bring new ideas to the table.

Join me in supporting both Tim Brooks and Lisa Maloney.

Rhonda Watson

Warren

For our children and grandchildren's sake

I am writing this letter to the editor for my kids and grandkids. I want them to be able to live and work in the same community where I do.

Our window of opportunity to attract and retain employment opportunities is now. With manufacturing optimism at a 20-year high, business owners, like myself, would take the financial risk to relocate.

These peaks in the manufacturing economy only last 18-24 months. This short window of opportunity requires our community to put our best foot forward now.

Experience and knowledge of all the facets of the Port of St. Helens are vital. Most business owners looking to relocate want answers that are fast and correct. They also need to feel confident our community and the Port will not waste their time or resources.

I will tell you from my experience with relocating Pacific Stainless here 10 years ago: Dealing with like-minded business owners and community leaders instills confidence in the investment of relocation, and is one of the main reasons why we are here and not in Kalama, Wash., or Pendleton.

I believe the best candidates for the Port race are Chris Iverson and Robert Keyser. Both have the experience, the knowledge, and are well-respected business owners with a commitment to the community, both in economic wealth and human wealth. Join me in voting this election, and please join me in voting for Chris and Robert. Activists have a place in every community, but activism from a board is not that place.

Jeff Kemp

President

Pacific Stainless Products Inc.

Warren

Bradley for Scappoose School Board

I am writing to support the election of Mike Bradley to the Scappoose School Board, Position 3.

I have known Mike both personally and professionally for nearly 40 years and can attest to his solid work ethic and abilities to work within a team environment to attain the goals of the organization.

His longtime standing in the local community makes him the right choice for the position.

Randy Lederbrand

President

C.H. Murphy \ Clark-Ullman Inc.

Portland

Keyser for Port Commission

Please join me in voting for Robert Keyser for Port Commission.

Robert brings to the Port Commission leadership and experience that will keep the Port of St. Helens moving forward. Robert understands there must be balance in growing the Port's portfolio of industrial and recreational properties. He knows you must have both to sustain the Port's many missions.

Robert's clear-eyed vision for the Port encompasses all modes of transportation. He understands the Scappoose airport is more than hobby fliers — it's home to some of Oregon's most innovative businesses.

The investment in rail by Port users preserves the rail line and encourages rail investment that can sustain passenger rail in the future.

The marine highway system is the most economic and ecological method to move freight; Robert has steadfastly supported maintaining and improving this critical infrastructure.

Robert Keyser is a proven good steward of public resources. He will be a great asset to the Port.

Paul Langner

Rainier

Lewis is good for Scappoose schools

I am supporting Joe Lewis for Scappoose School Board.

Joe has lived in Scappoose his entire adult life. His children went through the Scappoose school system, so he knows the school district from both sides, as parent and present board member.

As a current board member, he understands the challenges the school district is presently working on, as well as those problems we are beginning to see with all the new development in the Scappoose area.

Joe worked for the city of Scappoose in the past and can work well with both the school district and the city as we face the future in our area.We need the experience and hard work Joe will bring to the Scappoose School District.

Kay Fail

Scappoose

Parvey-Leskowich for Port Commission

I had the pleasure of meeting Port of St. Helens Commissioner candidate Natasha Parvey-Leskowich at the forum hosted by Envision Columbia County. The first thing I noticed about her was her high energy level — this is a person who clearly works hard at her own business while simultaneously helping other business owners try to achieve success.

She is the administrator of the keepitlocalcc.com, a website dedicated solely to Columbia County businesses and services. As a former retail business owner, I see the incredible value this site has for our local business to get much needed name recognition.The second thing I noticed about Natasha was her open and honest communication style. She answered pointed questions with diplomacy and grace and was willing to engage in a conversation about specific ideas for Port Westward under her potential leadership at the Port. Her integrity and honesty in answering difficult questions will play a vital role in working with the cities and towns of Columbia County, as well as other commissioners.

Natasha is a breath of fresh air. She is neither part of the "old boys' network" nor the "rich housewives club." She is a solid, middle-class local who understands our struggles of not having enough living-wage jobs in our county.

Because of her energy, excellent communication skills and fresh perspective on old problems, Natasha will get my vote for Port of St. Helens commissioner, Position 4.

Stephanie Cox

St Helens

It's about time

After almost two years it is about time the Port of St. Helens moved forward with the rezoning request to the county for Port Westward. As a businessman previously engaged with both large and small enterprises, and a resident that believes the Port has a responsibility to plan ahead for future opportunities, this rezone request was a welcome move to preserve the attraction of recruiting companies to Columbia County.

Keep in mind that the rezoning request will only allow farming and timber; everything else will require additional public input once a suitable opportunity has been identified.

There are those that would have you believe this land is a utopian garden growing corn and potatoes to feed the masses. The land is currently used to "farm" cottonwood trees for the paper pulp industry.

Some would also have you believe this has all been done behind closed doors when there have been public meetings on this for years. As it is currently zoned, even a green industrial tenant would not be able to build there.

No one should expect that a credible company would be willing to wait seven-plus years for the rezoning process just to see if land would be available to build. Who knows where the county would be if this was completed a couple of years ago.

I applaud the three commissioners — Chris Iverson, Mike Avent and Terry Luttrell — who fulfilled their duty by actually showing up to make the hard decision to move forward. Thanks for doing what we elected you to do. Represent us all and not just the special interest groups at commission meetings, evaluate options, promote opportunities, and then put yourself out there by voting what you believe is best for the residents of the Port district.

A big thanks and well done from me.

I can only hope the county will follow suit by demonstrating the same vision.

Chuck Garman

Columbia City