Supports motel project
I am writing in support of Mid-Columbia Community Action Council (MCCAC)’s motel project. As the sister agency that provides homeless housing in Klickitat and Skamania counties, I am all too familiar with the community reaction we are currently witnessing.
I am dismayed but not surprised by the pushback. When my agency set out to bring emergency homeless shelters to our community, we were greeted with the same rhetoric and fears. We were told we would bring crime to the area, we would bring more homeless, we were creating a problem, not solving one. None of those fears have come to pass. Many people don’t even know we operate shelters and have been doing so for a number of years.
Any time I speak to groups about the housing and homeless crisis we’re in, I always say, “I can guarantee you that you know someone who has been homeless or is affected by this issue,” and so far after every presentation someone has come up to me and shared either their story or the story of a friend or family member. This is an issue that affects all of us. We can either face it and solve it, as MCCAC is trying to do, or continue to ignore the suffering of our neighbors.
What MCCAC is proposing is exactly what we need. This project provides dignity to those who are trying to find housing and make a better life for themselves.
Over the years, we have had to ask a guest to leave from time to time; we have rules for the safety of our staff and guests and they must be followed. MCCAC also does this and will continue to do this. Our guests deserve safety and security.
They are helping to revitalize the downtown community. They are bringing a potential workforce to the downtown area. I can’t tell you the number of businesses I’ve heard complain about a lack of workers. Our business community should be embracing and partnering with MCCAC, not fighting them.
We all want the same thing, safe and healthy communities. Let’s get there together.
Executive director, Washington Gorge Action Programs
We deserve healthy fish, clean water
This month marks one year since the EPA prioritized toxic-pollution cleanup at Bradford Island and surrounding waters of the Columbia River, designating the area a Superfund Site. That decision, spurred by years of advocacy from tribes and river communities, was a huge political lift because the polluter, and entity responsible for cleanup, is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“This is a day filled with hope for communities along the Columbia River,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in announcing the decision.
Hope is turning to anger. First, the Corps is dragging its feet, failing to execute the key agreement needed to develop cleanup plans. Second, the Corps has attempted to shut out tribal nations from the government decision-making process. In so doing, the Corps ignores treaty rights and tribal nations cultural and technical expertise.
Public health is on the line: The area is one of the most popular subsistence and recreational fishing sites in the Mid-Columbia. Yet resident fish, like bass and sturgeon, caught in the vicinity contain some of the highest levels of toxic pollution in the Pacific Northwest. Columbia Riverkeeper is calling on EPA and Northwest elected officials to hold the Corps accountable for cleanup.
Executive director, Columbia Riverkeeper
I feel the need to express my congratulations and admiration to the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students at Mosier School. On Friday, March 31, I had the opportunity to attend the open house display of the students’ research projects.
It was amazing and overwhelming. Sixty students had selected their own choice of subject ...WOW... there were no two alike. Subjects were all original, beautifully arranged, covering a world of topics from animation, to how to sing, Kanye West’s shoes, mushrooms and balloons.
One student selected Dec. 7, 1941, the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I was able to provide her with Honolulu newspapers published right after the attack as well as a 10-year-old’s memories of that Sunday.
I’m so thankful that I could have a tiny part in one student’s endeavor. All the students exhibited imagination and ability to produce amazing results. The community of Mosier can be very proud of their students and teachers!
For years I have watched city leaders, law enforcement, ER doctors, and neighbors wring their hands over the plight of the homeless. During the last three years, countless hours have been utilized to tackle the homeless issue throughout the Columbia River Gorge.
This collaborative, as stated by Mid-Columbia Community Action Council, “includes members from nearly 40 organizations, local governments, and individuals with lived experience of houselessness, and has adopted a 5-year strategic plan to reduce houselessness in the Gorge by expanding housing capacity and ensuring supportive services are provided in culturally affirming ways that uphold human dignity.”
The main leader of this effort has been Mid-Columbia Community Action Council led by Kenny LaPoint, and it has been his vision to bring dignity to the disenfranchised of our community. Under LaPoint’s leadership, the ground has been broken for a navigation center called the Gloria Center named for Gloria Schultens, who donated the land. The former Oregon Motel, now called the Annex, is now being remodeled to offer temporary housing for people who do not have a place to stay.
Systemic change takes time, both for those who need the most help, and for those striving to understand the location or process to facilitate that change. It is much easier to say, “Let someone else deal with the homeless,” but thankfully, this is not how life should work. A community must find ways to support those who need help. It is easy to buy-in to the old-fashion premise, “If the homeless person will change, then I will change my attitude toward them,” but compassion for “the least of them” doesn’t work that way. Compassion has the grit to say, “I’ve got your back.”
For you see, one person may have a vision, but it takes a community to share in the ongoing effort to “affirm” dignity to every breathing person.
Rev. Marilyn Roth
Wasco County 4-H would like to thank Insitu for its generous support of our Girls Who Code Program. Last month, more than 85 individuals participated in the Boeing Women Inspiring Leadership walk-a-thon which served as a fundraiser for Girls Who Code. The donations will be used for purchasing micro-computers to get girls creating and innovating in our free after school coding program. Thanks so much to all of the employees who donated time and energy to this event!
Lu Seapy, Wasco County 4-H
I did not vote for Rep. Helfrich. In fact, I contributed to his opponent. But I have to acknowledge that up until today his tenure has been characterized by good communication, and an even-handed approach to representing our district. However, I am beginning to rethink that position.
I strongly disagree with his statement in the Columbia Gorge News that “most Oregonians agree that our laws regarding abortion are extreme.” They are not. They just support living breathing women, and their rights to govern what happens to their own bodies and their own health, because pregnancy is not risk-free. In fact, Oregon is a beacon of light in these retrograde times of curtailing women’s rights. To characterize Oregon’s abortion laws with the single phrase that it is permitted “up to the moment of birth” is misleading at best, and disingenuous false propaganda at worst. In fact, abortions are rarely performed after the end of the second trimester. According to data from the Oregon Health Authority, 89% of Oregon abortions occur at or before 12 weeks.
In recent occurrences in the state of Kansas or the state of Wisconsin, Republicans unsuccessfully tried to criminalize reproductive health care and lost by large margins. I think that is because most people know that for each dubious story about a “late term abortion”, there are myriad tales of the heartbreaking number of ways a pregnancy can go horribly wrong. Laws hamstringing healthcare providers only serve to confuse and delay, endangering the lives of living women. The Texas lawsuit is a good example, where, because of unclear draconian legislation, one of the plaintiffs nearly died, and may not ever be able to conceive again.
There is no other situation where a government law can force an individual to use their body to support another. At least not now; slavery is illegal.