Vote YES twice for Hood River

The time is upon us to vote on two local ballot measures to help address our county’s fiscal situation and maintain county services and jobs. We need to pass both ballot measures in order to stop dipping into our reserves and to maintain current county staff and services.

Although residents along with visitors to Hood River enjoy a thriving downtown, our county has been struggling for years as we have the ninth lowest property tax rate of the 36 counties in Oregon. We largely welcome our tourists, though an example of the mixed bag they bring is that the county is mandated by the state to provide Search and Rescue on Mount Hood and the Columbia River, yet out of over 100 rescues each year, only one or two are for our county residents.

We have not had adequate resources to fund very basic and needed services for many years, leaving our commissioners and staff with excruciating choices of what basics to forgo to make ends meet. Over the past five years, county program and staffing cuts have already been made.

If we do not raise new revenue for our county, we will face possible cuts at our Health Department, Veterans Service Office, and elimination of 24-hour coverage by the Sheriff’s Department, along with closures of county parks and trails, and more.

Please join me and vote YES twice for the future of Hood River County!

Scott Franke

Mt. Hood-Parkdale

Replace Thomsen

Sen. Chuck Thomsen voted against the Student Success bill to fund Oregon schools, even though he spent the entire session on education committees at the legislature. He was also a part of Republicans who insisted that Democrats kill legislation on gun safety and vaccines.

We will not forget that Thomsen voted against legislation important to educators and Oregon students. Thomsen needs to be replaced by a person who cares about our educators and students.

Lucy Hill

Mt. Hood-Parkdale

Ayles’ response

I may have struck a nerve or gotten somebody’s attention. My past has been the recent focus of the editor. Through intense and likely exhaustive investigation, my dastardly criminal history has been drudged up to discredit my candidacy for school board and beyond.

My open, honest and condensed response (350-word limit of the editor): I was in a relationship with a partner who was not responsible with finances. We worked together to improve the family budget. The plan was for us to use one credit card, that was in her name, to pay the household bills and pay that card each month.

This arrangement was in place for two years, with two purposes: One, help her learn to balance a budget; two, to help build her poor credit. After our relationship ended, I continued to use the card a few months while continuing to make payments. The “ex” became upset over unrelated issues and reported “unauthorized use” of her credit card. Although I never did anything with malintent or malicious intentions, I was charged with a misdemeanor, that included payment for the remaining $200 left owed to the card company.

As I had continued to pay each month, I paid this amount immediately.

I never signed any name other than my own, I paid all debts owed when owed. I have no felony or violent crime record. I still hold security clearance at federal facilities, no rights removed and could still acquire a concealed weapon permit, if I so desired.

Some will judge me on this, and I understand. I simply hope voters will vote for what they believe is the best for our students, their future as well as all our future. I have nothing to hide, and I encourage people to reach out to me about anything they wish: or 541-399-4666.

Win or lose, I will continue to grow and learn each day, as I pray the same for the great students of our blessed and varied communities within Hood River County.

Loran Ayles

Hood River

Editor’s note: Ayles is a candidate for Hood River County School District Board Position One.

Vote Chapman for port board

I have known Kristi Chapman and worked with her on many occasions, to include a recent campaign.

She has many skills and qualities that she will bring to the port position, to include, the ability to listen receptively to other points of view, can communicate well, organize priorities, plan and problem-solve. She is a doer and gets things done. She believes transparency and collaboration are key in partnering with our other local governments and knows good intergovernmental relationships are imperative to getting the job done and getting it right.

She will continue to promote economic development and recreational features of the port that attract both new business and visitors. She would work to ensure both are supported and balanced keeping Hood River thriving.

Kristi Chapman is my choice for Port of Hood River Commissioner Position 4.

Susan Johnson

Hood River

No new taxes

All of us appreciate the important services we receive from Hood River County. I think most residents also have some understanding of the tight financial situation that the county finds itself in. But I don’t believe that raising taxes on local residents in order to create a “Safe and Healthy” community is the answer. What is needed is an “Affordable and Sustainable” solution.

As has been mentioned by previous letter writers to the paper, the answer for the county’s budget woes is not higher taxes on local residents, but greater consolidation of services between the county and the City of Hood River. Conversations should be happening now about how to consolidate public safety, public works, planning and building.

The days of each trying to solve problems within their individual silos needs to end. We are one county and if all parties worked together, problems can truly be solved and local residents and tax payers won’t have to be further burdened by higher prices on entertainment and their property.

So please join me in voting NO on both tax hikes on the May ballot. Its time to push the reset button on the organization of our local government services. Its time we demand “Affordable and Sustainable” solutions.

Rick Larson

Hood River

Reform PERS first

Reform PERS, don’t punish small communities. Vote NO on all new taxes.

Look deeper into the new taxes on our ballot. Are these a result of PERS draining the state every way possible to cover the demand for retired public employees?

According to a recently released report by the Oregon Legislature, PERS faces a $27 billion debt. Why? Simple: The governor, mayors, judges and teachers are eager to raise our taxes to make sure they get their retirement. Okay, but did you know that you and I guarantee they earn 7.2 percent on their money, where Pacific NW Federal Credit Union pays between 0.5 percent and 1.5 percent to the rest of us?

Why do public employees need to be guaranteed by the rest of us of a return over seven times greater than us? Vote NO on all new taxes until PERS payouts are recalibrated to match the returns the rest of us earn.

Jon Nigbor

Hood River

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