Letters to the Editor: Feb. 29, 2024

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ECFR firefighters grateful for levy ‘lid lift’ consideration

East County Fire and Rescue firefighters want to thank our board of fire commissioners for considering a fire levy lid lift to provide the funding necessary to address the district’s staffing and apparatus requirements.

The district is struggling to maintain staffing at its stations on both sides of the Washougal River and almost half of our fire engines and water tenders have reached the end of their useful life. Historically, the district has used part-time firefighters to help maintain staffing, but over the last year, we have seen over 100% turnover in the part-time firefighter program and have often been unable to fill these positions. To maintain staffing, these vacancies have been filled with overtime, which places a tremendous burden on our members and an increased cost to the district.

State law limits increases in the district’s tax revenue to 1% per year, which does not keep pace with inflation. In 2019, the district’s voters passed a fire levy lid lift restoring the fire levy rate to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation (APV). Since that time the district’s levy rate has fallen to $1.08 per $1,000 APV.

Placing a levy lid lift on the ballot will allow the district’s voters to determine if they would like to increase full-time staffing to keep the district’s two, on-duty staffed stations open and provide the necessary funding to replace fire apparatus and equipment when needed without incurring debt.

Cody Sorensen,


City should not ignore questions about cell tower’s health impacts

Regarding the article “Camas hearings examiner OKs ‘stealth’ cell tower,” published Feb. 22, 2024 in The Camas-Washougal Post-Record, my takeaway is that this might be a good thing for my neighborhood (I’m two blocks away). Or it might not.

Bear with me: as I understand the formation of democracy in our nation, difficult conversations were a part of the painful process of working through our horrific differences (slavery vs. non-slavery) in order to find a common path.

And so, while I appreciate the value this tower might offer our local community, I applaud Bonnie Jean Ione for questioning the wisdom of this tower, and her claims of potential damage to local citizens. Her claims are not being addressed by law. They may or may not be scientifically verified. I think her claims need to be respectfully investigated because she is not exposing herself on this on a whim. She is seriously concerned. The current process plans to ignore her concerns and refuse to investigate the science she claims, and that worries me. I think my community should be worried as well.

This woman has risen up to ask critical questions. To have them be blown aside because health concerns are outside of regulation is deeply alarming. Her concerns deserve respect and thoughtful investigation beyond the constructs of current lax regulations that choose to ignore public health. If Camas truly cares about its citizens, a deeper dive into the health consequent needs to be investigated, shared and debated.

Either we care for our constituents, or we ignore their needs at our peril. Ms. Ione has expressed concerns which are currently being swept away. She may or may not be correct in her concerns, but to ignore them simply because of convenience is a contravention of everything we once held dear in our democracy: that a single voice deserves consideration, and needs to be considered if there is a flawed process.

Is this Methodist Church embracing a flawed process simply because of monetary gains?

I am not a fan of Ms. Ione, but I object that her claims — which might be valid — are being ignored, and that worries me deeply. There are so many children and young families in the Crown Park area. Is their health being taken under consideration? Only time and deaths will tell, unless this process does a deeper dive into scientific research. Without that, shame on the future of this venture.

My best wishes for the Methodist church in my neighborhood. You have a beautiful, historic church. I hope you will bring a democratic process, including listening and opening your heart to dissenting opinions, and can prayerfully consider whether our community is best served by a new tower, or whether we can connect with one another by less innovation, and more face-to-face community.

Churches have difficult times these days to retain a healthful, vibrant community. But installing a tower that might hurt others is something worthy of reflection. Please ask more questions before moving forward on this.

Ms. Ione might be wrong. But what if she is right?

With respect to everyone on both sides,

Gail Burgess,


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