Letters to the Editor: August 18, 2017

Health-care bill flawed

As your state representative, I would like to take a moment to make you aware of my views regarding a petition being circulated for a referendum on parts of House Bill 2391, a law passed by the Oregon Legislature that creates an unprecedented new system of taxes on the health care for some, but not all, consumers of health care in Oregon.

I voted against the law and signed the petition for three main reasons:

It is unfair. Powerful special interests like large corporations, public employee unions and the like were able to carve out exemptions for themselves while groups without political muscle, like students at Oregon colleges and universities and many small businesses, are left paying increased costs.

It props up a failing institution. U.S. News and World report calls Oregon a “cautionary tale” in a recent article about Oregon’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Cost savings have not materialized. Many people are familiar with the Cover Oregon debacle, the Oregon Health Authority’s failed health care portal that resulted in $305 million in wasted taxpayer dollars.

More recently, light has been shed on the Oregon Health Authority’s paying out millions of dollars in Medicaid assistance to ineligible recipients, taking from those who are eligible and need it most and their unethical behavior of planting negative stories about a Portland nonprofit. I believe we need to bring back accountability and competency before making this kind of multibillion dollar health care expansion.

Bad process usually results in bad decisions. Oregon cannot afford to make another big mistake on health care. Please join me in signing the referendum so that we can send this tax back to the Legislature where we can (hopefully) work in a less partisan fashion.

Rep. Ron Noble



Bypass will help

Am I confused, or did I miss something?

Regarding the letter that appeared Aug. 4 by Mike Sullivan, I do not think the bypass will alleviate congestion on Highway 18, nor was that the intention.
Instead, “the congestion” to be fixed (avoided) is Highway 99W through Dundee.

I am not disputing the concerns surrounding what will soon be open for use, but I think we need to be patient and hold opinions until the whole project has been completed.

Linda O’Hara



Waste process stinks

Mount Riverbend is a sad reminder of the failure of governments and businesses to address the need for proper management of solid waste
I believe that examples of better technologies exist, but the easier path to profit wins out and the mountain of trash just gets bigger. Our local and state governments are responsible to provide leadership and oversight but have failed their duty.

Our recycling centers do not adequately provide for all items that could be recycled. I have seen other communities in our state that have one-stop locations to accept second-hand goods, building materials and basically everything recyclable before you get to the landfill drop-off point. A salvage store was operated onsite.

The loss of the wood-recycling operation in Newberg was a great loss for the effort to recycle wood and other burnable materials. Why was there not a greater effort made by our government officials to find a way to keep the power generation plant operating and the thousands of tons of this material out of the landfills?
The waste incinerator at Brooks is another example of how waste can be turned into a smaller volume and energy can be extracted. There are examples of composting operations that are enclosed for odor control but are effective if properly designed. Some cities do garbage sorting that provides better recycling.

We can do a lot better in solid waste disposal. As citizens, we should demand our government leaders at all levels be more creative in finding solutions to solid waste handling.

Steve Wozniak


Bill helps everyone

As executive director of the League of Oregon Cities, I appreciate state Sen. Brian Boquist for his leadership during the 2017 legislative session in passing a $5.3 billion transportation package that will significantly benefit all Oregonians.

The senator also played a critical role in efforts to negotiate legislative solutions to protect local flexibility, while ensuring accountability for public dollars being spent on local public improvement projects. His efforts will help to ensure that local communities get the best value when making investments in local infrastructure.

In addition, Sen. Boquist was instrumental in passing a pilot program creating a more equitable property tax assessment method for new construction while defeating harmful property tax exemptions. Local governments and schools rely heavily on property tax revenues to fund their budgets.

Mike McCauley