Letters to the Editor for Jan. 12, 2015

Animal shelter should help local cats

I was aghast after reading the story about West Columbia Gorge Humane Society in your Jan. 5 issue.

Having been involved in rescue for over 25 years, it is absolutely impossible that there are no adoptable cats younger or otherwise in the Portland/Vancouver area. If the shelter reached out to local groups, they didn’t look very hard. I personally called three who are swimming in cats. Wouldn’t it be better to help cats in our local community rather than get some from a group in Utah?

Would a better approach have been to reach out to the Post-Record and The Columbian announcing the need for adoptable cats at the shelter?

On the other hand, if this is true we can commend the work being done for trap, neuter and release and spay and neuter in our area to produce a lack of animals needing forever homes.

In all my years in rescue, I have never heard of a lack of animals to help and place in good homes. I never thought I’d see marijuana legalized either so who knows?

Stephanie Chamberlin, Washougal

Arguments for transporting coal and oil by train

My family and I live east of Washougal behind the BNSF Fallbridge line and the old Port of Camas-Washougal siding. I can say that the trains are a daily part of our life. I’ve seen people call themselves stakeholders. I believe having my home 300 feet from the tracks makes me a stakeholder also.

Some points that I would like to make:

The Fallbridge line has been in existence since 1907. I have not seen any reference to a tragedy on the line mentioned anywhere. That’s a pretty good track record.

Coal Dust: When the controversy regarding fossil fuels being transported on the Fallbridge line began, the rally point was coal dust. I attended a town hall in Camas where I heard dozens of people readily shouting stories of the coal dust. When I spoke I mentioned our property is right on the tracks and we have never seen or experienced any coal dust. I offered anyone who wanted to confirm my statement to come to our property and find proof of coal dust. No one took me up on my offer. The whole topic of coal dust faded away when the announcement of the oil terminal was made.

Safety: I agree that oil trains have an inherent danger and there is the possibility of an accident that has the potential to cause damage.

A couple of points.

Living alongside the railroad I see the crews checking the tracks on a daily basis. The railroad also has sensors to detect issues on the trains placed along the track. I know this first hand because as a said earlier, we have a siding blocking access in out of our property. When the sensors detect a problem the train is parked until it is resolved. This on occasion blocks our access.

Other hazardous material: Oil and coal have been singled out. I see chlorine, ammonia, acid and many other hazardous materials go by every day that have a much greater potential to cause damage. I don’t hear any concern about these other cargoes. Why is that?

Jobs: Recently the Oregonian Editorial Board published an article calling for local leaders to focus on creating blue collar family wage jobs. There are no longer mills, shipyards, etc. to work in as there were in my fathers age. Why are 60 green jobs fantastic and 60 oil jobs dirty?

Traffic: Come spend some time along the tracks as Mayor Sean Guard of Washougal did. I recently had the opportunity to discuss the mayor’s experience with him. I started by asking if most of the train traffic was at night. He answered yes, because they were working on the tracks during the day. I’ve known this for years. The majority of train traffic happens at night. This isn’t to say there are no trains during the day. But, the reality is the repair and construction crews are out working during the day and slow the traffic down is order to be on the tracks themselves.

As a stakeholder I favor the building of the oil and coal terminals. The railroad has existed since 1907. My house was built in 1940 with knowledge of the tracks being 300 feet away and I bought the house with the same knowledge.

As a consumer of carbon based fuels I will not be a hypocrite and say no to the transportation of coal and oil on the Fallbridge line. I am also in favor of the port building the terminals and expanding the SW Washington industrial and job base.

Chris Hickey, Washougal

Keep Camas schools top notch

The story of why we move to Camas may be different, but the reason we stay is the same. We are a small town with a big community. Whether we have lived here for a year, a decade or a generation, we stand together. We have big dreams, long-standing traditions, and we celebrate our successes together. Papermaker pride is known throughout Washington state and beyond.

Camas schools continue to be the bedrock of our growing community. And now we have an opportunity to set a future course for a level of performance we’ve come to expect. When you vote yes for Camas schools in the February bond, you are saying:

Yes to state of the art, inspiring buildings that will continue to make us proud and motivate our students to learn and grow;

Yes to the educational professionals that work here & talent we attract that their environment will be an uplifting & safe place to work; and

Yes to the growing number of students who are in Camas schools to be challenged with learning critical thinking skills in an exciting environment.

We stay in Camas because it’s a great place to live, work, learn and play. The Camas School District has provided a excellent education for so many and the February 9th bond ballot asks us to continue to preserve that level of opportunity for future Camas students. I am voting yes for Camas schools to grow and expand with learning opportunities in safe and inspired environments. I am voting yes for Camas schools because as our community grows, we stand together in support of our children and in support of each other. Please join me in saying yes for Camas schools and maintaining the level of integrity, security and advancement in our district that we all take pride in.

Erika Cox, Camas