Changing Civic Dialogue in Gladstone Now Reaching Some New Low Levels

Former Gladstone Mayor Wade Byers

Gladstone and its 11,400 people at the confluence of the Willamette and Clackamas Rivers in the heart of North Clackamas County is not what it used to be. The spacious home of the founder, Judge Harvey Cross, once considered one of the finer buildings in town, became a funeral home and is now housing Mr. Rooter, a sewer pipe cleaning operation.

Gladstone does have serious roots. It hosted the first State Fair, the first Clackamas County Fair, and the Northwest’s largest Chautauqua meetings, attracting thousands before 1900. We’re talking some serious roots here.

As the town has changed, so has its level of civic discourse. In 1896 it hosted a grand Chautauqua featuring famed orator William Jennings Bryan. Theodore Roosevelt visited before it was incorporated in 1911. By 1920 it had a population of 1,069 with basic employment at the mills in Oregon City and West Linn.

Those days are gone now. The mills are closed, the community is now famous for its auto row on historic McLoughlin Boulevard and its great fishermen’s hog lines on the Willamette River. But there’s not a whole lot going on. Unless you go to a city council meeting or follow city goings-on. Continue reading

Gilliam, Very Ill, Resigns Legislative Position

One of Clackamas County’s five Republican members of the Oregon House, Vic Gilliam, resigned his seat two days before the legislature was set to convene Feb. 1. He is 63.

Rep. Gilliam, of Silverton, has been very ill with ALS, reportedly unable to leave his home to campaign in the Republican-dominated House District 18 when he ran against Democrat Tom Kane last year. Regardless of his efforts, he was easily re-elected. Continue reading

Is Ron Wyden the Next Senator Sam?

Most heroes don’t set out on a path of heroics. Instead, they’re thrust into a sudden situation where their character is unexpectedly revealed.

Oregon has had two such men in recent history. Both were U.S. senators. Another just might come from that same branch of government. Continue reading

Sonya Fischer Appointed Clackamas County Commissioner

Sonya Fischer has been unanimously appointed as Clackamas County Commissioner, Position #5.

Fischer is an attorney with local law firm Fischer Family Law. She is a former Legislative Director for the Oregon Department of Human Services. She holds a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School, a Master of Public Administration from Portland State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology/Social Work from Warner Pacific College. Fischer lives in Lake Oswego. Continue reading

How to Pay for Road Upkeep? Road Problems Plague Bernard, Brown

By Peter Toll

Jim Bernard and Kate Brown share a problem: their respective road systems are falling apart from lack of proper upkeep, and there’s no money to fix them.

Clackamas County Commissioners put an advisory measure on the November ballot asking voters if they liked the idea of a gasoline tax to raise money to maintain our roads. Portland voters approved a 10-cents a gallon tax, after all, to fix roads there.

Two years ago, Governor Brown and the Legislature tried to put together a package involving a clean fuel proposal and a gasoline tax. In both cases, voters representing largely rural areas shot both tax ideas down.

Clackamas voters told Chair Bernard by a 2-to-1 margin that they already had enough taxes, thank you, and a gas tax was a bad idea. Find another plan, is what Chair Bernard and the commissioners heard. Continue reading