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Opinion

Opinion

Rachel Dawson, Policy Analyst, Cascade Policy Institute

Portland hasn’t seen 50 road fatalities since 1996. With 43 fatalities already, it looks like 2019 will be a record-breaking year, with no thanks to Portland’s Vision Zero Action Plan.

Placing concrete pedestrian islands in the middle of the road, giving little to no room to turn onto side streets, installing plastic pylons against the roadway, and using confusing signage and lines—all Vision Zero road changes implemented to decrease road fatalities—don’t seem to be making streets safer.

While many factors are involved, perhaps distracted and dangerous walking, driving, and biking habits play a greater role in traffic accidents than the number of car lanes or crosswalks on a given street.

As a pedestrian, I’ve walked across a street with my eyes glued to my phone. Luckily, I haven’t been hit by a car. But if I had, it would’ve been due to my inability to separate my attention from my mobile device. The same goes for distracted drivers. I’ve watched drivers on the Sellwood Bridge pull out their phones when traffic slowed. Our failure to pay attention to the road and take safety precautions, especially at night, is putting ourselves and others at risk.

Portland’s approach of downsizing roads is punitive and counterproductive. Instead, everyone on the road system should take responsibility for their own behavior, regardless of what mode of travel is being used.

Rachel Dawson is a Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

 

Helen Cook

This summer, I was walking on an old logging road in the middle of thick forest, not a person in sight. The only sign of human activity were signs nailed to the trees prohibiting fungus-collecting. A tattered strand of red tape displaying the print, “Invasive Species,” waved in the wind.

You wouldn’t know it since no signage exists, but I was hiking through Metro’s biggest natural area: Chehalem Ridge. In fact, you wouldn’t know this was public property. The trailhead is on the side of a gravel road after driving miles through rural countryside. A gated fence blocks the entrance alongside a sign forbidding a long list of activities, including dog-walking. (Ironically, later in the day, I observed a couple walking their dog in Chehalem. There was no one there to stop them.)

Metro bought Chehalem Ridge Natural Area in 2010. The land is nestled between Forest Grove and Gaston, about a 20-minute drive to Hillsboro. The size of the parcel is actually bigger than Central Park in New York. In other words, this land’s potential is not that of a typical neighborhood park. Continue reading

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)

When I was a small boy in Sweden many years ago, the Swedes were emphatic. At movie theaters where American Westerns were being shown, signs proclaimed “Barn Förbjudna” or “Children Forbidden.” That was the first Swedish I learned. The Swedes were trying to protect me from the very mild violence in American Westerns of that era. But I was not happy with a steady diet of Walt Disney pictures featuring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. At six years old, I thought that I was more sophisticated than that!

Fast forward almost seven decades and the Swedes are today far less protective of children, especially sixteen year old autistic girls like Greta Thunberg, whose Asperger’s syndrome makes her very vulnerable to exploitation. Her parents and many others promoting the climate religion find her a very convincing advocate for their cause. They have scared her to death, not with American Westerns, but with American climate hysteria. And she has gone forth throughout Europe and now America to proclaim her fears and accuse adults of stealing her future with man-made Global Warming. It would be very sad, if she had not become such a hardened and sometimes nasty advocate at the still tender age of 16.

How much better off she would have been if her heroes had been cowboys like John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, William Boyd, Clayton Moore, and Jay Silverheels. They were mine. Continue reading

Bill Wehr

Bill Wehr, Damascus Council President

In the popular TV science fiction series Star Trek there was a storyline where space aliens created their own new world through mental force. This phenomenon was described as a “reality distortion field.” This has been used to describe the abilities of persuasion that Steve Jobs of Apple had, and Bill Clinton has, upon other people. The Clackamas County Commissioners are using this approach to overcome the reality of the Appeals Court unanimous ruling in favor of the City of Damascus to exist. The Commissioners, by convincing themselves that Damascus is not now a resurrected city, feels justified in blocking, ignoring and ridiculing the efforts of the City”s taxpayers who are restoring local governance.

There has been a sequence of events since last May’s ruling by the Oregon Appeals Court that the Oregon legislature forced ballot Measure 93 in 2016, resulting in the disincorporation of Damascus, was indeed illegal. Each of the recent developments are significant in demonstrating how the Commission responds to obeying the Courts. Continue reading

John R. Charles, Jr. President, Cascade Policy Institute

In 2016 Val Hoyle, then a legislator from Eugene, introduced a bill to guarantee postage-paid envelopes for Oregon’s vote-by-mail system. She argued that having to find and apply a stamp was a barrier to voter participation, especially to young people.

That idea was widely ridiculed, and the bill died.

Unfortunately, the political culture has changed. In March the Oregon legislature quietly passed SB 861, which requires the state to pay for ballot envelopes that can be returned by business reply mail. It will go into effect on or after January 1, 2020.

Implementation will cost an estimated $1.6 million to the state General Fund for the first 18 months. There will be an additional cost to Counties of $84,000 to destroy obsolete ballot return envelopes. Continue reading

Bryan Fischer

While President Trump may get impeached by the blindly obsessed Nancy Pelosi and her band of rabid Trump-haters, there is absolutely no possibility – as in zip, nada, zilch – that he will be convicted in the Senate.

The reason? Evangelicals.

In 2016, 81% of white evangelicals voted for Mr. Trump. It is no exaggeration to say evangelicals put him the Oval Office. There is a less-than-zero chance they will be inclined to participate in a coup d’etat against him.

The reasons are obvious. This is a president who has kept the large promises he made to people of faith. He has used the authority of his office to protect the sanctity of human life, and just recently stripped Planned Parenthood of $60 million in blood money.

He has appointed over 150 judges to the federal judiciary who believe, as the Founders expressed in the Declaration of Independence, that the “right to life” is an inalienable right of every human being in the womb, a gift from their Creator. Continue reading

Alyssa Ahlgren

My Generation Is Blind to the Prosperity Around Us!

I’m sitting in a small coffee shop near Nokomis (Florida) trying to think of what to write about. I scroll through my newsfeed on my phone looking at the latest headlines of presidential candidates calling for policies to “fix” the so-called injustices of capitalism. I put my phone down and continue to look around.

I see people talking freely, working on their MacBook’s, ordering food they get in an instant, seeing cars go by outside, and it dawned on me. We live in the most privileged time in the most prosperous nation and we’ve become completely blind to it. Continue reading

Mary Jo Conniff, The Northwest Connection

Senator Ted Cruz, Photo Credit: Wikipedia

This brave man never waivers in his support of a border walls! He has experience on how these walls, along with professionals, tough immigration legislation, and technology, are effective.

In a recent speech to the Senate, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_NMWxkjUis&feature=youtu.be)

Ted said that politicians from states that don’t share borders with other nations are very supportive of anti-wall rhetoric. He tells us that it’s convenient for them to have that opinion because they are unaffected.

I know what Sen Cruz means, but in the last 10-20 years EVERY STATE has suffered with drugs that are killing our children; gangs that promote the death of our family units (both literally and figuratively); that traffic people for the sex trade and to illegally, for thousands of dollars and terrible danger, to trespass into the U.S. Continue reading

Bryan Fischer

The problems with the so-called “whistleblower” complaint against President Trump are legion. For one thing, this guy’s not a “whistleblower” at all. A true whistleblower – an NFL referee for instance – blows the whistle when he actually sees an infraction of the rules with his own eyes. This anonymous dude, whoever he may be, by his own admission didn’t see nothin’. That’s nothin’ as in nada, zip, zilch, nothing.

This is the equivalent of an NFL official who throws a flag because somebody told him that he’d heard from a trusted friend that the friend had seen pass interference.

The entire complaint is a rehearsal of rumors this scandal-mongerer had heard from anonymous sources or from the Talking Snake Media, people who lie for a living. This report belongs on the pages of the National Enquirer, not in the halls of Congress. Continue reading

Eric Fruits, Ph.D.

Portland City Council has just learned that what it thought was a $500 million water filtration plant will now be an $850 million project–and may go as high as $1.2 billion. The reason for the 70% spike: The water bureau did not include the cost of the pipes leading to and from the plant. Those forgotten pipes are going to add more than $130 a year to the average water bill.

Truth is, those pipes weren’t forgotten. They were omitted so the bureau could low-ball the cost of the project. This isn’t a first. The Portland Aerial Tram was three times over budget in part because the city “forgot” to include soft costs. If they included these costs, the eye-popping prices for the tram would have given even a spendthrift city council some pause. Portland Public Schools intentionally low-balled the cost of school construction so voters would approve a school bond measure. Continue reading

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