Thank you

Monday afternoon, I sat in our yard with binoculars and watched a forest fire burn on Red Hill across the valley. Fixed wing planes flew over and helicopters darted in and out of the smoke for hours, dropping water on the fire as sheets of orange flames lit up the clouds of smoke. These brave pilots, and all the firefighters, deserve a great big thank you for preventing this fire from rampaging beyond control.

Elaine Kirby

Mt. Hood


For the second time in less than two months, Sen. Chuck Thomsen has decided not to show up for work to do the job the taxpayers pay him to do.

The first time, Thomsen attempted to hold up desperately needed education funding. Now, he has disappeared from public view in an attempt to stop legislation that would markedly decrease the toxins in the air we breathe.

Thomsen needs to put on his big-boy pants, come out of hiding, and end this cowardly stunt. At the very least, he needs to publicly condemn the outrageous threats made against the Oregon State Police by his Republican colleague, Sen. Brian Boquist, who suggested he would kill any state trooper sent to bring him back to the Capitol to do his job.

Sen. Thomsen seems to have forgotten that he won the last election by just over 200 votes; a margin of a mere .35 percent. Or perhaps he is such an ideologue that he simply does not care. Voters will not forget Thomsen’s abdication of his duties as an elected official or his failure to forcefully condemn the death threats by Boquist against the state police.

Laurent Picard

Hood River

HB 2015

Driving is an essential part of everyday life, especially in rural communities. A driver’s license provides access to food, work and education which are critical social determinants of health. Our mission is to eliminate health disparities impacting Latino Oregonians. That is why Oregon Latino Health Coalition is proud to support an expansion in eligibility for a standard (Class C) driver’s license to all Oregon residents regardless of citizenship status. HB 2015: Equal Access to Roads Act supports the health of our communities by increasing access to essential resources through transportation.

We often hear stories of community members unable to make their medical appointments due to fear of driving without a license. Stories such as a pregnant woman, who takes two buses and spends over an hour on the road to get to her critical prenatal check-ups. This often results in missed appointments, putting mother and baby’s health at risk and creating unnecessary stress.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unchecked stress can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. All of which contribute to the leading causes of death among Latinos nationwide. Latinos are the least likely of any racial or ethnic group to have health insurance, and with limited access to health care, they are also less likely to be advised by a healthcare provider or to receive adequate screening to prevent chronic illness.

Transportation is a socio-economic factor that influences the health of a community. Immigrants are disproportionately impacted by state policies which produce inequitable conditions based on an individual’s legal status. Since 2016, deportations increased by 138 percent due to traffic stops. Oregonians should not live in fear of being deported or worry about their families being torn apart, for simply having to drive their children to school or to a medical appointment. We have an opportunity to place Oregon as a national leader and protect the prosperity of all communities.

Olivia Quiroz

Executive Director, Oregon Latino Health Coalition

Protest HB 2020

Thank you, Oregon Republican Senators for protesting House Bill 2020, a Cap & Trade mechanism on carbon emissions.

Republicans in both chambers have argued that this bill will decimate Oregonians.

Under HB 2020, gasoline prices are expected to jump 22 cents per gallon to begin with and go up significantly from there. Heating by natural gas is also expected to take a major leap in price, causing average working families significant stress on their personal finances.

All of this to lower Oregon’s carbon emissions to a level deemed acceptable by the extreme environmental intelligentsia.

Tom Yates

Hood River 

Do your job

Republican state senators are going further down the road of doing nothing about climate change, literally. All the Republican state senators have left the state so that they can obstruct the legislature from getting anything done about climate change or anything else. For 20 years, they have gone from silence on climate change, to denial that it is happening, to now actually running away from having to do anything about it. Not only have they turned their backs on science and the moral imperative to act, but they have embraced the political buffoonery of their counterparts in D.C. and the kindergartner-in-chief. Moreover, they are finding protection and support by out-of-state anti-government right-wing militias, the same groups that have recently protected and supported white nationalist rallies. Last weekend, the state Capitol was closed because of credible threats posed by these groups. Absentee state Sen. Boquist said that anyone coming for him better be armed after Gov. Brown directed Oregon State Police to retrieve the missing senators. So, he threatens the very people who usually work to protect him? Talk about a role model. This is not how government should work and these sorts of antics only erode the system more. What world is this where elected officials don’t understand that it is a bad look to be cozy with fringe extremists whilst maintaining a complete dereliction of duty? These walkout senators should be ashamed, but likely incapable of such a feeling. They were elected to do a job; they should at least show up to it.

I am calling Hood River’s Sen. Thomsen to tell him to get back to work ASAP and to think about the company he keeps: 503-986-1726.

Adam Mims

Hood River


 Shame on the Hood River News for their biased publishing of editorials. I opened my paper this morning to see several negative letters criticizing Chuck Thomsen and the Republican Senators for walking out of paid positions merely because they were not willing to be part of a vote which would not go their way. 

I bet there were dozens of intelligent letters submitted which explained how justified the Republicans were to walk out on their sworn, paid duties. I encourage all conservatives who submitted letters in support of this dereliction of duties to resubmit their letters so I can learn just how right the Right is on this behavior.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Serve the rest

I recently visited Hood River where my daughter lives. I love the city. It would be an honor and privilege for anyone to serve the area.

In the last election, Chuck Thomsen received 29,472 votes to Chrissy Reitz’s 29,263.

Now, Chuck has chosen to represent only those who voted for him and has abandoned his oath and duty to serve the rest.

Constitutional democracy requires not only that the 29,263 losing voters respect the winner as their jurisdiction’s elected representative, but also that the winning candidate serve all the people within the jurisdiction, not just the 29,472 who voted for him. When you take the oath of office, in effect you sign a contract to serve the whole community — all the voters. And you don’t back out of a contract merely because you can’t have it your own way.

You can still speak up for your principles; you can argue against the ones you received support to fight, but in the end, you do your job. And that way, Chuck, you gain more respect.

Douglas Johnston

Raleigh, N.C.


Our U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, and other Republicans — like our state senators — would rather go AWOL than participate constructively in our democracy. Last week, Mr. Walden joined all of his Republican colleagues and voted against funding for Labor, Health and Human Services, Defense, State, Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water Development. The appropriations bill passed the House and is now in the U.S. Senate.

Mr. Walden, in effect, voted against provisions in Defense funding that would repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). The AUMF has been used by Presidents since the 9/11 Terrorist attacks to justify at least 41 military operations in 19 countries and counting ... a never-ending blank check for war.

Even some notable Republicans, such as Sen. Rand, have questioned the continued use of AUMF, but Mr. Walden is silent. Where is there a voice of reason in the Republican Party? Mr. Walden certainly hasn’t found his voice. Perhaps he should simply take a vacation with his colleagues hiding out in Idaho and save the taxpayers the expense of sending him to and from Washington.

Richard Withers

Hood River


Why punish locals and neighbors? The Port of Hood River stealing from us again! Last year, we came across the bridge in our dual wheel pickup. I was charged my usual dollar. Then, last month, we came by and it was doubled to $2! Yesterday, we went across and they charged me $6. Triple! Three times what I was paying for the same truck. On top of that — I was told if I was pulling a log splitter, it would be $9 — $18 total to come back across bridge compared to a year ago. With my splitter $5 to go both ways last year. Who is lining their pockets? Talk about highway robbery! Oh, don’t make a wrong turn with all the lane confusion — you have to cross the bridge and because of no turn out, it will cost you $12. It’s one thing to make money off tourism, but the local people here who support local businesses are penalized. I will use the free The Dalles bridge. People living here should speak up and it’s us hard working people who are getting picked clean. I heard if the fast pass stickers on your car don’t work, you will get a $35 ticket with a camera setup. Things cost too much now as it is — this is robbery! This needs to be investigated!

Carl DeWitt

Gilbert, Ariz. 


I have driven by, many times on my way to see my 3-year-old grandson, the church sign on Belmont that says “Untolerable, Abortion, LBGTQ, Islam.”

When I was growing up at church, we often sang and believed in the words, “We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord … they will know we are Christians by our love.”

We were taught that Jesus taught us to love ourselves and others and to not judge and condemn others. Jesus set the example by how he loved others through his words and actions. I think what matters the most is not going to heaven after I die, but what good I can do for people while here on our precious earth. What I hope for is that people will remember me as a kind, loving person who reached out to anyone including those who struggle in life because of the challenging life they face.

What matters the most is that others feel loved, respected, accepted, and supported.  When one dies it is your kindness and love that lives forever in people’s hearts. Thank you to Amy K.W. Heil (June 26, “A Mom with Pride”) for a very heartfelt and educational LBGTQ article on loving and accepting her daughter for who she is, and that love is love.

We all have a decision to make today. How are we going to treat people, including ourselves? It is sad that President Trump and several U.S. Congress members beliefs and actions resemble the beliefs on the church sign.  I think we have become a more hateful country. If you aren’t sure what love is, read my favorite chapter of the Bible: 1 Corinthians 13: “Love is patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude…”

What kind of country and world will my grandson live in when he is an adult? I am worried about this country and the earth. Are we helping to make our country and the earth better or worse?

Nancy Johanson Paul

Hood River

Thanks from ACT

On behalf of the Adult Center Theater committee (ACT) and the Adult Center, thank you for making the first half of our 2019 season successful and supporting our productions: Parents and their Adult Children, Love in 4/4 Time, Singers, Songwriters Showcase and Short Plays by Local Authors.

ACT creates accessible theater, highlights contemporary issues, engages, inspires and challenges audiences to laugh, cry and re-think life — all while providing financial support to the Meals on Wheels program.

We’ll be back in October with three more productions: CELL, an immigration story in October; our joint production with Plays for Non-Profits, Our Town, in November; and in December, Christmas Radio Theater, ACT’s tribute to 1940s and ‘50s radio. I hope you’ll join us at ACT where there is always room for one more — in the audience, behind the scenes or on the ACT stage. So, if you’d like to help out or join our growing list of supporters by becoming an ACT Patron, contact us at: or visit our website:

Gary Young

ACT Committee Chair

Speak up

 I am writing to implore every citizen of Hood River County to speak up. This is not a debate on immigration, this a crisis of humanity. Children are being separated from their parents and detained at our borders. They are being kept in horrifying, unsafe and unsanitary conditions. We may share vastly different opinions, but I think we can all agree that children should remain safe and cared for with their families. Children should not be left alone to care for other sick children. Children should not be sleeping on the ground or deprived of showers and clean clothes. These are humans, this is a crisis. I know that there are a lot of Americans that are suffering, that there are children that live in this very town that need our help. I am not asking you to turn away from our fellow countrymen, if you know of a way that we can help them, stand up and give us guidance. We are ready and able to help. I am asking you to show the rest of the world what it means to be an American. We do not stand for this; we will not allow this child abuse. Please educate yourselves on what is going on at our border. Please call your representatives. Please don’t turn a blind eye. This will never stop if we remain silent.

Thank you for listening,

Melanie Salisbury

Hood River

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