Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor May 8-15

Readers respond to Greg Walden's AHCA, proposed bike lanes, prescribed burns and that whitewater park

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Local citizens staged a die-in Friday to protest the Greg Walden-backed American Health Care Act.
  • Local citizens staged a die-in Friday to protest the Greg Walden-backed American Health Care Act.

Whitewater Park

Do you pay property taxes? Over 20 percent of your property taxes goes to Bend Park and Recreation. I love our parks and facilities however the amount of money spent on the Whitewater Park is criminal. The safe passage is virtually the same as last year. Cement dribbled in cracks did nothing to make the family float experience better. Families floating from Bend River Park don't want the "river experience," they expect to continue the uneventful float all the way to Drake Park. The money spent to make a handful of people in wetsuits happy could have been spent so many other ways. Get the rocks out.

— Helen Carter

In Response to, Controlled Burns - A Safety Hazard (5/10)

Yeah Don, I too opened my windows the night of May 3, to cool my house only to spend the next two weeks getting rid of the smell of smoke and appease my angry sweetie who was off on training only to come home to a smoky house. Yet, as a retired wildlife habitat biologist I also worry about how long the forest floor can go without fire before it starts to lose its biodiversity. Our forests and associated plants and animals are a product of a fire adapted environment. Without fire, we'll start to lose some of them. I also recognize we've spent the past 100 years putting out fires, which has given us clear skies, free of irritating smoke, while creating a huge fuel load that can explode under the right conditions when wildfire strikes. Then we get to experience smoke for weeks and even months on end. I also know smoke affects the health of about one third of society, so concerted effort is made to ensure a prescribed fire minimizes impacts to this population. As a member of the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project, I'm working with a cross section of societal interests, resource specialists and community leaders to manage our forests to provide for and protect public values while restoring forest processes and functions. Protecting our forest is essential if we want to retain its aesthetic, ecological, recreational and economic values now and into the future.

Unfortunately, even after doing all we can to reduce fuel loads we still need to used prescribed fire to ensure our desired values are provided and protected. Thankfully, prescribed fire is planned, is short lived, and produces much less smoke than we get from an unplanned wildfire. Balancing the risks and trade-offs to our public values, such as prescribed fire versus wildfire, is a key component of forest restoration. The next time I see a column of smoke from a prescribed fire, I will diligently shut my windows at the first hint of smoke. Being scorned by an angry woman once is once enough for me.

— Glen Ardt

In Response to, Safer by Design: Thinking Green(ways) (5/10)

The answer to what's stopping me biking? Drivers will swerve into the bike lane because they don't want to wait behind a car turning left, or behind a car at the stoplight, so until that stops (it won't) it gets a little scary to ride in some areas.

Also, my husband has been hit twice in roundabouts by drivers who don't know the laws on how to share them with bikes, so he doesn't really ride any more. I'm not saying cyclists are perfect either but it really seems like we need some better "share the road" education.

— Monica Helms, via facebook.com

I was pretty disappointed the city is not putting in sidewalks on 27th where the sewer construction is happening. It's pretty sketchy to ride a bike along 27th with cars doing 45-50 mph. I'd ride more if it was safer.

— Arne Cherkoss, via facebook.com

In Response to, Inside Planned Parenthood (5/3)

To the staff at Planned Parenthood — thank you for all that you do.

— Amanda Crabb-Copeland, via bendsource.com

In Response to, Greg Walden's statement regarding Friday "Die-In" Protests

As a voting constituent and participant in Friday's protests I am disappointed, if not surprised, by Congressman Walden's response to our actions. Rep. Walden has claimed that our opposition to his bill is misguided, inaccurate and driven by vague outside interests but he fails to address or rebut any of the concerns of the citizens who live in his district.

Our concerns are founded in the analysis of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) already performed by institutions such as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO.) Our criticisms of the AHCA aren't very different than the criticisms already offered by over 50 professional, industry and advocacy groups such as The American Medical Association and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

The opposition to Walden's bill is bipartisan and includes Republicans like Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Missouri Rep. Billy Long who said the AHCA, "Strips away the guarantee that pre-existing conditions would be covered and affordable." The fact of the matter is that Greg Walden's AHCA represents a tax break for the wealthy — paid for by increased healthcare costs for seniors and those with preexisting conditions.

It is my hope that by continuing to express our concerns over this terrible piece of legislation that Rep. Walden will begin to seriously consider the needs and concerns of his constituents in OR-2 instead of wealthy donors and party elites.

— Matt Cowell



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