The Northwest Connection

A Community Newspaper for the way we live

Progress & Prosperity or Status Quo & Stagnation?

Steve Bates

Steve Bates

By Stephen Bates, Candidate for Clackamas County Commissioner

This article was published originally in 2014. It is being published with minor modification as it has the same meaning today as it did then.

Progress doesn’t happen by itself.

Progress will never come for Clackamas County as long as commissioners stand in the shadow of Portland decision makers. Continue reading

Mark Fitz

By Mark Fitz, Chairman, Damascus Planning Commission

The City of Damascus is the Metro region’s first city since Oregon started regulating land use. There are many reasons why the City was formed, but my favorite excuse was a demand for Local Control.

Let’s start with why Damascus is such a battle ground. The little known fact of this battle is that those most involved in forming the City are now the ones trying to destroy it. The big reason, they are more worried about who gets to be in control than with results. The battle is really about who gets to claim to be in charge. But much like the Jerry Springer show, the simple problems are insurmountable not because you can’t figure them out. It’s because the people appear to be more interested in slapping other people than focusing on the result they are causing. Disincorporation will not solve the personal differences and might even make things worse. Helplessly delegating your own ability to make decisions has never helped anyone, usually things are made worse. Continue reading

The Vote in Damascus On Disincorporation Is Unconstitutional Says Damascus Resident and City Councilor.

James De Young, long-time resident of Damascus and current member of the City Council, announced on Wednesday, April 20, that he, as a private citizen, is challenging the constitutionality of Measure 93 which the people of Damascus will be voting on during the May 17 primary. Measure 93 is a vote on whether to disincorporate the City of Damascus.
In mid 2015 the State Legislature passed, and the Governor signed into law, House Bill 3085 which forces the people of Damascus to vote on disincorporation a second time (after such a vote failed in November, 2013). De Young has filed his complaint that this law is unconstitutional for three major reasons.

First, HB 3085 violates the Oregon Constitution. The legislature does not have the authority to mandate or initiate a special election on the issue of disincorporation. The legislature also cannot alter Damascus’ Charter and it cannot reduce the necessary majority to pass disincorporation. The legislature’s actions violate clear provisions in the Oregon Constitution that protect the right of a city to determine what legislation it will vote on when that legislation affects it alone. Continue reading

Elementary School Exposes Kids to Depictions of Graphic Sex Acts: School Board and Parents Blindsided

By Lori Porter, Parents Rights in Education.

Lori Porter

Lori Porter

On April 14, 2016, Portland, Oregon’s KPTV Channel 12 broke a story (later reported nationally) that 9 year-old students at a Rainier, Oregon elementary school were given access to “It’s Perfectly Normal”, a book using graphics to instruct elementary students in sexual intercourse and masturbation. The Rainier School District (RSD) claims that under the supervision of Hudson Park Elementary School (HPES) librarian Allison Dale-Moore, eleven-year-olds “accidentally left the books out” where a 4th grade class found and read them. School officials added that it was “an honest mistake”.

In an April 14, 2016 ‘The Daily News’ (Longview, Washington) report, parent of a fifth grader in the district, Darren Vaughn, said that “several board members were in the dark about the books” even though Superintendent Michael Carter had received multiple complaints as early as March. Continue reading

Flexibility Is Key: The Next Generation of Parental Choice Solutions

By Kathryn Hickok

Kathryn Hickok

Kathryn Hickok

Families in five states now have access to a special program called Educational Savings Accounts.

Educational Saving Accounts, or ESAs, allow parents to take money the state otherwise would spend on their children in the public system and put it on a restricted use debit card. Parents can spend this money on a wide variety of approved educational options, including private school, individual tutoring, online classes, and other services. Any money not used is rolled over for parents to spend in the future.

The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice surveyed Arizona families to see how they are choosing to spend the resources allocated for their kids. The survey found that more than a third of participating families used ESAs for multiple educational purposes, not just private school tuition. It also found that families saved a significant amount of their ESA money for future expenses. Continue reading

Bill Wehr

By Bill Wehr, Damascus Council President

The poet Emerson once wrote, “ The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.” The louder the clamor for disincorporation grinds on, the more our voters should consider what eliminating the city would mean when voting on Measure 93. A yes vote would surrender our City’s local governing existence to the County. All cash reserves, city property, citizens property rights and public policy matters would then be in the hands of Clackamas County. A No vote on Measure 93 retains our citizens’ ability to directly influence the course our City takes in the future.

The issues that are facing our city are immediate. We are in a particular geographical location that is right next to growth pressures coming from metropolitan Portland urban development. Happy Valley, on our western border, has absorbed extraordinary urban development in recent years. In addition to the existing stack and pack hillside residences there is the starting of Scouter’s Mountain 600 home project. The new Fred Meyer, under construction bordering Damascus at 172nd/ Sunnyside, now causing traffic delays, will bring more congestion. In addition to shoppers attracted to the mall, there will be a large apartment complex at the site. Continue reading

Paul Savas

Paul Savas

My travels around Clackamas County have made one thing clear: our citizens want a change in how government behaves. They want to end discord now, and want decisions made that are in their best interests.

Consider this, though, common sense decision-making on behalf of the “citizens” is often different than when done on behalf of the “voters,” politicians often follow what appeals to the voters.

The misinformation circulated in past elections for Clackamas County races, in particular, was targeted to the voters, but loaded with rhetoric and distortions. So much so, that a May 2014 Pamplin Media article described my opposition’s efforts as a defamation campaign. Continue reading

Operation Cowboy

May 7, 1945, was an important day by any measure.

Lipizzaner Dressage

Lipizzaner Dressage

For Gen. George S. Patton, it started early, with a call just after 4 a.m. from Gen. Omar Bradley, who said, “Ike just called me, George. The Germans have surrendered.” This was mixed news to Patton, who was convinced the war was ending too soon, leaving the Russians as a future threat and, in any case, leaving Patton, a man who lived to fight, without a war. “Peace is going to be hell on me,” he had complained to his wife, Beatrice, four days earlier.

The commander of Patton’s 2nd Cavalry Group, Col. Charles Hancock Reed, was with his unit in western Czechoslovakia, where they were forming a defensive line southwest of the large city of Pilsen. The 2nd Cavalry had been spearheading the Third Army’s advance, the deepest American penetration of the war. But as of 8 that morning, they and the rest of Patton’s Third Army had been ordered to “cease fire and stand fast.”

Peace was not on the mind of Col. Alois Podhajsky as he prepared for the most important day of his life. Podhajsky, a tall, aristocratic Austrian of extraordinary single-mindedness, was looking for a way to guarantee the safety of the riding school and horses he supervised as the Third Reich collapsed around him. Continue reading

This Could Be Just What Your Teenager Needs – By Jim Kight

cadet civil air patrol

cadet civil air patrol

Do you have a young person in your family between the ages of 12-20 years old? This article could be important for you to read for their future success. If they need to broaden their skills this might be just the ticket. It doesn’t make any difference if they are a boy or girl or if they are handicapped. They will learn skill sets they wouldn’t learn, otherwise, in school and have fun doing it at the same time.

The Civil Air Patrol cadet organization is nationwide and has more than 25,000 young people from ages 12 to 20. They are responsible for training in leadership, aerospace, fitness, and character development—just what our next generation needs. The benefits go on from there to orientation flights in powered and glider aircraft as well as flight training scholarships. They provide activities and competitions for cadets at the local, state, regional and national levels. It gets even better because they award college scholarships in a variety of disciplines. Cadets can explore careers in aviation, space, and technology through dozens of summer activities. Continue reading

Venturing Out to Discover the Great Northwest – By Paula Olson

Mount Hood

Mount Hood

East County is full of treasure undiscovered by many. Natural beauty and recreational activities abound, just east of Portland, but with a lot more elbow room.

Apartment buildings have long-since filled in the fields where berry bushes thrived when I was a youngster. And thirty years ago, I could spot bald eagles and hawks en route to PDX before Airport Way became Warehouse-Parking-Lot Central. With growth and development such prices are paid, but heading east on I-84, I can shut off the Joni Mitchell (and now Counting Crows) hit playing in my smoggy head. I inhale freely.

If there is one thing that the Pacific Northwest can boast, it is the Cascade Range. Upon seeing Mt. Hood for the first time, a friend from New England exclaimed, “Wow—that’s a mountain. And it’s right here!” Along with the relatively nearby Mt. Adams, Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Bachelor, the slopes of Mt. Hood offer recreational opportunities for adrenalin junkies, crunchy earth-lovers, and average Joe naturalists alike. Think snowboarding, downhill and cross-country skiing, Pacific Crest Trail hiking, flora and fauna unique to certain elevations and terrain. Let’s not forget historic Timberline Lodge. Continue reading

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