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Dec 072014

BallotIf you think your one, lonely little vote doesn’t count, listen up. You’re dead wrong.

Recounting votes in Oregon City’s county clerk’s office has brought two local surprises. Just one vote made the difference in both cases.

Gladstone’s long-time Mayor Wade Byers was hoping a six-vote loss in his re-election bid could be overturned by an automatic recount. If the margin was five votes or less, Byers would still have a chance. Instead, the final count had him losing by six votes. He’s out. It is hard to find anyone in Oregon who has been a mayor longer than Byers.

One vote also made the difference in whether Happy Valley residents will pay for more police protection. After the first count the vote was tied. With the re-count, the levy proposed by the city had failed by one vote. It’s back to the drawing boards for the city council.

Next time someone tells you they didn’t vote because their vote doesn’t count, they might be interested in these little factoids.

Dec 032014

By Peter Toll

Trash_canAfter 30 years of elementary school teaching, my wife knows a good deal about educating children. She has lots of powerful stories. One of her favorites is how the fifth grade teacher helped his class understand human nature and social classes. It goes something like this:

With his pupils all at their desks in the usual four rows, the teacher put his waste basket on the floor beneath the white board at the head of the room. Then he gave every student a piece of paper and told them to write their name on it and then wad it up into a ball as if they were going to throw it.

Once they were ready, he asked them all to throw their paper wad into the waste basket at the front of the classroom. Not a lot went in. Continue reading »

Nov 202014
open cell with marijuana

open cell with marijuanaJoining his colleagues in Multnomah County who dropped 50 cases last week, Clackamas County District Attorney John Foote has announced he is dropping 12 pending marijuana cases now that the pro-marijuana initiative has passed; it will take effect in seven months. That’s July 1, 2015.

Measure 91 saw mixed opposition and support. Hard to ask a DA to suddenly do a 180 on the weed. Cursory research doesn’t reveal if Foote took a position. If he did, it wasn’t prominent. He did, however, lead the successful opposition to a legislative measure last year that would have reduced marijuana case sentences and devoted a great deal of time and money to drug rehab programs. No, Bro Foote doesn’t want to appear soft on crime.

Look for other Oregon counties to follow the lead now that at least two DAs from big counties are acknowledging a reality over which they have little control. By the way, your Clackamas Democrats endorsed passage of this measure.

Finally, Oregon is already fairly gentle on marijuana, unlike Texas or other states where a 1-ounce baggie will get you five-to-ten. No, many folks will be staying home now.

Nov 182014

Concept Of Us National Healthcare System - State Of Oregon“Open enrollment” for health care began Saturday and continues through Dec. 15. Many Clackamas County folks call this the month of confusion because of all the mixed information floating about. Example: If you live in Clackamas County you have to enroll for Medicare Plan B (presuming you’re over 65 and already have Plan A) at county offices. Wrong. Social Security now handles that, and you can do it over the web or on the phone; they’ll mail you the easy paperwork. Continue reading »

Nov 162014

BallotWas your vote actually counted? Ballots can be challenged if there was no signature on the back of the return envelope or if the signature does not match the one on record at Clackamas County Elections. Check if your ballot is on the list of challenged ballots. (“No records found” means you’re not on the challenged list.)

If your name is on the list, you should have got a letter from the County Elections office. You can contact the county elections office on (503) 655-8510 or go pay a visit to them at 1710 S Red Soils Ct in Oregon City.

This needs to be done before Tuesday at 5 pm, when all the votes are finalized.

Nov 152014

fred nelliganMost of our Clackamas County communities have people who step forward and get things done. They are out of the ordinary. People like the late Dick McQueen in Sandy or Roberta Schwarz in West Linn, the driving force behind the White Oak Savanna at the 10th Street Exit on I-205, and a host of other community interests. Fred Nelligan, of Oak Grove near Milwaukie, was such a person.

Fred served on Clackamas County committees, was a key search and rescue player on Mt. Hood, and was TriMet’s big local supporter in getting the light rail Orange Line to Milwaukie over the objections of the likes of John Ludlow. He hosted many meetings in his home to generate enthusiasm and a sense of welcome to the Orange Line. Enthusiasm was his middle name. He was a dedicated, hard worker striving for the best for his community.

Fred died this week. Coincidentally, The Oregonian has been closely tracking the last four months of Fred’s life for its series on Death with Dignity. The article is revealing, touching, and brings true dignity to the end of life. The article by Molly Harbarger is long but solid. Well worth reading and a fitting public conclusion for Fred.