Letters to the Editor for March 22, 2011

BPA should ‘do the right thing’

BPA appears to take the position that since they have an existing right-of-way they can do anything on it with impunity no matter how it affects the community.

When BPA was granted the right-of-way in the late 1930’s, a power line of the size now being considered wasn’t envisioned in Clark and Cowlitz counties. These counties were sparsely populated.

The new line is a game changer in physical size (15 stories high), power, voltage, radiation, etc. The present line is much smaller in every way. It is farther away behind a treed buffer area, out of sight and mind. To accommodate the new line, the trees will be removed and this monstrosity will butt right up to the property lines of homes, sometimes within 30 feet of the house itself.

BPA claims it has no intention of compensating property owners for the loss of property value because “it is just aesthetics, and a price can’t be put on aesthetics,” therefore the property value is not lowered. Ask anyone with experience and/or training in property valuation (which I have), and they will refute this. Property values are lowered, period.

What BPA is doing is transferring the true cost of the line to Clark and Cowlitz county residents so they can save a minuscule amount of money per kilowatt sold over the life of the line.

BPA, put the line to the east of town in the forested area away from the populated area of Clark and Cowlitz Counties. Do the right thing. Don’t shift the true costs to us.

Christopher Weingartner, Salmon Creek

Tunnels are a waste of money

As a resident of the west end of Skamania County, I travel on Highway 14 anywhere from two to six times a day. I am glad to see that the current road construction in the Cape Horn area will result in some straighter roads, and some turn lanes.

I scratch my head, however, at the waste of money to construct not one but two pedestrian tunnels. I never see hikers crossing in these two areas, and to tell the truth, why do we want to encourage more Oregonian hikers to come crawl around in our backyard anyway? Makes about as much sense as turning E Street in Washougal into a two-lane road from a four-lane road.

Putting workers to work in this economy is great, but let’s find something for them to do that isn’t a waste of taxpayer money.

Laurie Johnson, Washougal

Aviation Trust Fund dollars have specific purpose

If you believe the Aviation Trust Fund to be so over funded that spending upwards of $9 million of your tax dollars on Federal Aviation Administration design standard upgrades to Grove Field in Camas is inappropriate, then lobby your Congressmen to reduce the taxes collected on commercial airline tickets and aviation fuel sales, the sources for that fund.

Aviation Trust Fund tax dollars already collected, as much as we might like, cannot be spent on schools or library books or parks.

Asking the Port of Camas/Washougal commissioners to accept grant funding for those upgrades is the responsible thing to do and ensures that our tax dollars are returned to our community rather than spent upgrading someone else’s airport.

Neil Cahoon, Fern Prairie

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