Letters to the editor for Jan. 11, 2011

Door-to-door sales take a scary turn

I think something needs to be done about the recent rush of pushy door to door salesmen in the area. I know several people who are scared to answer their door anymore and I don’t blame them.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand they are trying to pay their bills like the rest of us – but the anger and rudeness they exude is becoming too much to deal with. I have had three or four salesman in the last year alone scare me. Sometimes they yell if you don’t agree to give them your information. And recently they have been coming back after we tell them we are not interested (trespassing?).

I know that it’s not illegal to sell door to door, but maybe it should be. It used to be middle school students and friendly salesman, and now it’s half drunk and mean teams of people walking around the neighborhood like organized gangs. It’s really starting to cause fear in the community.

I advise all residents to stop answering your doors before asking who it is, and don’t answer at all if it’s someone you don’t know. Chances are, you are going to get into an unnecessary fight with a salesman if you do.

Becky Vredenburg, Washougal

Grove Field is an asset

I am an airport resident in Fern Prairie. The two acre farm that I live on abuts airport property on two sides. I live under the traffic pattern at Grove Field.

The airport has been a part of this community since 1945. Over that time, aircraft maintenance services and flight instruction has continued, uninterrupted for the past 66 years.

The FAA, WSDOT and Clark County government have identified Grove Field as an essential public facility in our national network of airports. Yes, Grove Field is managed by the Port of Camas-Washougal, but the airport is owned by the public and is a valuable emergency command and control asset to our entire region. At 429 feet in elevation, Grove Field is the only airport in the region not in the 100 year flood plane.

In October 2009, Cobra helicopters used Grove as a base for successfully fighting the Jones Creek fire. In August 2010, a wildfire known as the Hilltop Fire burned in the Larch Mountain area of Camas. Over a hundred fire fighters battled the blaze along with helicopters dumping buckets of water - all based from Grove Field. Emergency blood supplies are flown in and out of Grove Field on a regular basis.

Local youth are introduced to careers in aviation through activities at Grove Field including Summer Aviation Camps, Saturday Aviation Academies and an annual Aviation Career Day open house. Unless our country figures out a better way to get from Seattle to New York, an additional 42,000 new commercial pilots will be needed in the next 10 years.

Today, less than 25 percent of new commercial pilots receive their training in the US Military versus 90 percent just 15 years ago. Grove Field serves as a prime incubation center for new pilots. Over the last decade, hundreds of local youth have learned to fly airplanes at Grove Field with many continuing on to pursue careers in aviation.

At a public hearing on Jan. 11, port commissioners may hear a variety of myths. Those may include things like general aviation is dying. This is not true. Ask Grove Field instructors Dave Luse and Jim Gray about their current student loads. Both instructors are currently operating at capacity, even in a terrible economy.

You may hear another myth that when safety improvements are made at Grove Field, large jets will land in Camas. This is completely false. After improvements, the airport will be made safer for the type of aircraft that is already based at Grove Field.

Another myth is that improvements will increase taxes for Port residents. The exact opposite is true. After improvements are complete, the Port may apply for up to $150,000 annually for grants to maintain the airport. This will actually lower airport operation costs by up to $150,000, saving Port district tax payer dollars — totaling up to $3 million over a 20-year period.

Another myth is that by accepting FAA funding and obligating the airport, the Port will lose control over Grove Field. This also is not true. Port Commissioners will continue to be final decision makers on airport issues. The airport will continue to be managed by the same Port staff as it is today.

This is not just the Port’s airport. It is a regional asset recognized by the FAA, WSDOT and Clark County government. That is why all three Clark County Commissioners Boldt, Mielke and Stuart support this project. This is why 18th District State Reps. Ed Orcutt and Sen. Joe Zarelli are all urging Port Commissioners to move forward with this project. Could all of these courageous leaders be wrong?

Grove Field belongs to the entire Southwest Washington region that would rely on it in case of emergency. How will Port Commissioners explain their “no” vote then? This may be the most important decision of our current Commissioners’ careers. Will they seize a great opportunity to protect and improve an important regional asset without having to take any additional money from Port tax paying constituents? Or, will they leave a legacy of dispassion for this federal, state and county recognized treasure?

Liz Pike, Fern Prairie