Do you have a point you’d like to make or an issue you feel strongly about? Submit a letter to the editor.

Require prevailing wage

My father was an oil worker and union rep for 40 years. I owe my middle-class childhood and college education to the living wages he negotiated. But it wasn’t just about our family.

My father understood a fair wage is about more than what’s in the pay envelope. It’s about building strong and vibrant communities. Middle-class workers pay taxes that support our schools and parks, volunteer through our civic organizations and form the heart of our communities.

In Oregon, state law requires publicly funded construction projects to pay prevailing wages. However, within Enterprise Zones, property tax breaks, which can amount to tens of millions of dollars, are not considered public funding. Currently some companies exploit this loophole by importing low-wage workers from other states for large, publicly funded projects. They are exporting our tax dollars and robbing our communities of needed resources.

House Bill 2408-A, which is under consideration by the Oregon Senate Committee on Workforce, ensures construction workers are paid the local prevailing wage rate for the specialized work in their crafts. It’s an investment in Oregon and our local workforce. It ensures the people building our communities can afford to live in and contribute to our communities. It strengthens Oregon by encouraging the development of the local skilled workforce required for success in the 21st century.

I encourage you to support ­HB 2408-A to guarantee that Oregon tax dollars are invested in Oregon companies, Oregon communities and Oregon workers.

James Cook


Sediment is not the city’s fault

In his May 2 guest column “We need to remove the silt from Mirror Pond,” Ned Dempsey blames stormwater outfalls from the city of Bend as the source for the sediment load in Mirror Pond.

His point of view is not widely held. “Sediment from the upper portions of the subbasin is carried into Mirror Pond by flows in the Deschutes River.” (Upper Deschutes Subbasin Assessment, page 176, available online.)

The Department of Environmental Quality has listed the Deschutes River between Bend and the Wickiup Reservoir as a 303 (d) impaired stream due to excessive turbidity and sediment load. The source? Streambank erosion.

Mr. Dempsey asserts, “Actual silt samples taken from the pond do not support this concept.” Yet, the 2016 Apex sediment study commissioned by the Bend parks district shows no significant variation in particle-size distribution in sediment samples taken throughout the pond, even in samples adjacent to stormwater outfalls.

Such a uniform outcome in analytical results suggests a common source for the bulk of the sediment, namely upstream erosion, not, as Mr. Dempsey claims, the widely varying material found in urban runoff.

The Bend City Council should not be shamed into spending precious public funds for a nonurgent and unnecessary dredging operation. Any “blame” for the Mirror Pond sedimentation must go to mismanagement of the river and the presence of the Pacific Power dam.

Finally, if the Deschutes River carries only buoyant material that never settles out, then how, Mr. Dempsey, do you explain the recent formation of the Colorado Street dam wetland?

Foster Fell


Don’t use abortion as birth control

Alabama adopts some very strict new rules governing abortion and the usual suspects go into their usual high dudgeon and faux outrage about “women’s rights and women’s health.”

It’s all nonsense, of course. Abortion on demand is not about “women’s rights and women’s health.” It’s about a woman’s “right” to use abortion as a form of birth control.

Let us be very clear here about one thing. If a fetus has a heartbeat then abortion is murder.

The abortion-on-demand crowd does not want to hear this. The U.S. Supreme Court has even legalized this form of murder but legalization does not invalidate morality.

Women contemplating abortion might wish to consult with their religious adviser about the morality of this practice. They might also wish to consult with their medical advisers about using other, less morally reprehensible, forms of birth control.

Mike Koonce