Your Voice

Why pay Port of The Dalles?

To the editor,

I am wondering why we have to pay the Port of The Dalles on our taxes?

They sold land to Google. Lent money to Dufur. The board drove to the Hood River Hotel for dinner. Held a budget meeting at the country club.

Betty Richmond

The Dalles

 

We can do better

To the editor,

Since 2003, the year the United States invaded Iraq, our government has also directed huge amounts of money toward enforcement along the U.S. border with Mexico and toward pursuit and removal of undocumented immigrants.

Between 2003 and 2018, the number of Border Patrol agents doubled, and the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents has nearly tripled.

During that period, spending on border patrol has ballooned from $1.5 billion to nearly $4.5 billion.

In return for these investments, we still see an average of one death a day, fractured families and dozens of detainees languishing in jails without hope of case resolution.

Over $8 billion has been redirected from other budgets to fund expansion of border barriers. (For more information, see the website of the American Immigration Council.)

In short, taxpayer money under three administrations has been used to criminalize desperate people, while Congress has dithered on the question of immigration policy reform.

I urge our representatives—Rep. Greg Walden, and Sens. Merkley and Wyden—to roll back funding for inhumane enforcement, detention, and work toward a real immigration solution.

We are a nation of immigrants. The great majority of people who want to come here also desire the same things native-born Americans want—work opportunities that let them support families and help children pursue the dream that many of us have been blessed with by the accident of birth location.

We can do better. It’s long past time.

Tracie Hornung

Parkdale

 

Howard announces candidacy

To the editor,

I’m Jack Howard, a Democrat and former Union County Commissioner. I think it’s important that good people of our rural counties have the most effective, fresh voice in Congress. That’s why I have decided to run for the Oregon House Congressional seat being vacated by the retirement of Greg Walden.

As your Oregon Congressional Representative I’ll fight every day for rural Oregon:

• To create new good jobs, support small businesses and agriculture, including Congressman Walden’s work on broadband access and my priority of federal support for designating an inland port in Union County.

• Continue my support for the disabled, our seniors and vets: including my service with the State Independent Living Council and with the State’s Disabilities Emergency Management Council.

• Provide access to quality health care, including the mental health service crisis in our jails and communities.

• Make sure our kids have good quality education and opportunities, by advancing lasting guarantees for PILT and SRS funding, for the federal use of our local lands.

• And most importantly, protecting and promoting our unique quality of life and the values that make us strong: which includes looking at the B2H project as an issue affecting energy corridors as a matter of national security and not corporate profits.

Please visit me at VoteJackHoward.com

Jack Howard

La Grande

Deschutes needs cleanup

To the editor,

We, John Schwartz and Steve Pribyl, are both members of the Board of Directors for The Deschutes River Alliance, an organization that advocates for water quality, a healthy ecosystem, and for the establishment and protection of salmon, trout, and steelhead throughout the river’s watershed.

As residents of The Dalles and users of the lower Deschutes River, we read with interest the recent article in the Chronicle (11/23/19) titled, “Deschutes Water Quality Study Completed.”

Portland General Electric, who in conjunction with the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, released the recent results of their water quality study of Lake Billy Chinook and the Deschutes River below the dams. Their results mirror our own findings, specifically, that the water being passed downstream from the dams has changed for the worse over the last decade.

Prior to 2010, the water released through the dams was from the bottom of Lake Billy Chinook. It was cold, clean water that made the Deschutes the jewel it is: a federal and state designated Wild and Scenic River, with a healthy ecology.

After construction of the dams was completed, steelhead and salmon were unable to pass the dams and were extirpated from the streams above those dams.

In 2010 PGE changed the way water was passed to facilitate the trapping and hauling of salmon and steelhead around the dams in an effort to reintroduce self-sustaining migratory fish populations above the dams. Those changes resulted in the passing of warm surface water from Lake Billy Chinook, polluted with nutrients and algae, downstream rather than the clean water from the bottom.

The addition of these nutrients and warmer waters are having negative effects on the river environment which both of us have seen first-hand. These unintended, negative changes to the lower Deschutes have also been documented by numerous studies.

After almost a decade, the number of reintroduced fish returning is disappointing, appears unsustainable, and shows no trend towards improvement. However, degradation of the lower Deschutes continues unabated.

PGE’s studies have identified operational changes that would result in the restoration of cool, clean water to the river and still allow passage of the fish. Those changes could, and should, be made now to begin the healing process after a decade of harm.

With the current degradation curtailed, future collaborative efforts can be directed towards cleaning up the sources of nutrient pollution throughout the entire Deschutes River Basin.

John Schwartz & Steve Pribyl

The Dalles

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