We want to hear from you. Discuss an important issue, respond to a request for comment or address a concern you want to call to the attention of the community. Letters to the editor are edited for space, style, grammar and issues of clarity. Please include your full name and identify the neighborhood in which you reside. We prefer e-mailed letters to the editor sent to editor@midcountymemo.com. Please put “Letter to the Editor” in the subject line. You may also mail letters to 3510 N.E. 134th Ave., Portland, OR 97230. Deadline for the February issue is Sunday, Jan. 15.

Dumpsite for city problems
To the Editor,

This letter is in response to the December 2016 Mid-county Memo article “Rehab, homeless housing hits Hazelwood.”

Driving around in our neighborhood nowadays reminds me of New York City, specifically Manhattan, when Bellevue Hospital and similar places closed due to President Reagan shutting down their funding in the 1980s—the patients were released into the streets to fend for themselves.

As I drive west towards 122nd Avenue, I see the homeless living very much in a similar fashion as those in Manhattan, which has brought back unwanted memories. The city’s indication that east Portland has been the hub of the homeless for the last 20 years and, therefore, it is necessary to build a two-block structure at 122nd Avenue and East Burnside Street is a ruse, since prior to the city’s recent attempt to push out the homeless from downtown, such problems did not exist in this area. Closing the Old Town Clinic/Old Town Recovery Center in downtown Portland and opening it on the fringes of the city of Portland amounts to sweeping the homeless under the rug where they can neither be seen nor heard. It was just a few months ago, when the city indicated that there is no money to invest in maintaining the Wapato building, and yet millions of dollars suddenly were invested to fund this development on 122nd Avenue and East Burnside Street.

Shutting down the sheriff’s office (the Hansen building) at Northeast 122nd Avenue and Glisan Street and replacing it with a homeless shelter has reduced police visibility in this area considerably. As I had indicated in my previous letter to the editor of Mid-County Memo, we have become a dumpsite for the city’s problems. The homelessness and the need for low-income housing will grow in the future, and most likely exponentially, as the city and the country continues to rely on a roulette method of economy. This means our neighborhood will continue to be targeted for shelter and low-income housing projects.

Shahab Nahvi
Wilkes resident

Parkrose schools committed to student safety
To the Editor:

In the days following the Nov. 8 presidential election, and even in the days preceding it, it has come to our attention that there are students and families in our school district who are fearful of what may happen to them and their loved ones. Students across our district have been sharing with staff that they feel afraid for their families with regards to deportation possibilities, and they have shared that they have been the victims of increased racial and sexual harassment since the election. Recently, when our students played a girls basketball game in a city south of us, our girls were taunted, called racial and sexual slurs and generally harassed both during and after the game. While we and the other school district have worked to investigate, and resolve this incident, we know that it is not isolated. Since the presidential election, reported acts of racism and harassment have increased across our nation. We will NOT tolerate racist, sexist or hateful behavior in Parkrose School District.

The Parkrose School District stands together with all Parkrose students and families, staff and community to ensure that our schools are safe, welcoming and free from bullying, discrimination and harassment always. No one should ever be fearful in our schools. School should be the safest place a student and staff can be. This includes during off-campus school sponsored events.

Parkrose School District will remain committed to equity and ensuring that all our students receive the resources, education and support they need as individual learners. We remain committed to making sure that every student reaches their maximum potential as a learner and human being regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sexual orientation and special education status and that they do so in a hate-free environment.

Our commitment to student rights and safety must be in actions and not just in words. Our school district has specific board policies against all discrimination, as well as against harassment and bullying of any sort. We will uphold all our district policies that vouchsafe the security of our students and staff. Our school board is in support of this statement.

In conclusion, we would like to share a recent quote from Oregon State Board of Education Chair Charles Martinez:

“This is the time to use our voices to speak up when we detect injustice and to listen with kindness and acceptance to the lived experiences of those who have suffered injustice. This is not a moment for passivity but for boldness; this is a moment to stand behind our commitment to the well-being of students, families and communities across the state of Oregon.”

Thank you very much,
Dr. Karen Fischer Gray
Parkrose School District

Another reader recalls early Parkrose neighborhood newspaper
To the Editor:

In the December issue was a letter from another reader referring to a previous Parkrose neighborhood newspaper. I also do not recall the name of the paper; however, if memory serves me correctly, I believe the name of the owner/publisher was Margaret Thompson Hill. The paper’s office was located on the west side of Northeast 102nd Avenue, about three or four houses north of Prescott Street.

The paper was in existence at least in the early 1950s, because in August 1954 it published some photos of the old Federal School building, which burned that month. The building was located between the original elementary building on Wygant and the junior/senior high building on Prescott. Those photos were on a roll of film I’d shot of the burning building and given to the paper saying they could use whatever shots they wanted.

Earle C. DeKay
Parkrose resident

MHCC embraces sanctuary principles
To the Editor:

As with any election in a democratic society, and especially so in the wake of the recent presidential election, change can bring about great uncertainty, confusion and worry about what impact it has for us as individuals and as a community. There are students and people in the Mt. Hood Community College community that have fears and anxiety around deportation, accessibility of financial resources to attend college and potential impacts on our laws that protect individuals from harassment and discrimination. These concerns are very personal and very real.

It is one of the college’s core beliefs that “we are a dynamic community of intercultural learners committed to meeting the evolving needs of an increasingly interconnected global society.” As the president of Mt. Hood Community College, I must reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment on our campus and throughout our district. MHCC is committed to providing a respectful, inclusive and accessible learning environment for every student.

In accordance with state legislation, Oregon is already a sanctuary state. Oregon law provides that no state law enforcement agency will be called “for the purpose of detecting or apprehending persons whose only violation of law is that they are persons of foreign citizenship present in the U.S. in violation of federal immigration laws.” We are embracing the principles of a sanctuary state through our actions, and we will continue to do so as we support and welcome current and future students at MHCC.

To that end, MHCC:

• Will not release confidential student information on any matter, including immigration status, to any federal agency unless required to do so by law.
• Will take steps to provide information and support to undocumented students confronted with immigration challenges.
• Will form a DACA/undocumented student task force to work with community partners in providing access to appropriate expertise for legal and other supports services.
• Will provide training to faculty and staff on supporting students experiencing discrimination.
• Will be a safe and respectful venue for debate, discourse and discussion about these important topics.

Serving our students and community is why we are here, and we have proudly done so in the east county for the past five decades. At the heart of our mission is this phrase: “Transforming Lives/Building Communities.” Through our actions, we hope to embody that sentiment in everything we do.

My actions will be to continue the conversation, make every effort to provide a safe and welcoming environment and drive further goals in support of the united and positive vision of who we are here at Mt. Hood Community College.

Dr. Debbie Derr
Mt. Hood Community College President
Susie Jones
Mt. Hood Community College Board Chair