Guest Opinion: Library
The Deschutes Public Library and I have a history. When I was 11 years old my mother and I would make the five and one-half block walk once a week to borrow and return books. The branch library was one room in the Redmond City Hall and Mrs. Ward was "my" librarian. Mom would read Runyon and Hemingway. I would read Twain and Churchill. The library was able to provide a valuable part of my education and I am appreciative of their support to the citizens of our communities.
Jumping ahead over 60 years I was asked to vote on a bond issue expanding the library and creating a "central" library on a 12.75 acre parcel off Hwy 20 northwest of Bend. The price for the parcel was $1.35 Million. The Bond $190 Million.
I voted yes.
After missteps with the City over the Hwy 20 location the Deschutes Public Library board announced they had made a $10 million dollar offer on a 10-acre parcel. The price had jumped from $100,000 per acre on OB Riley to $1,000,000 an acre on Stevens Ranch. A ten-fold increase. On Oct. 12 the board voted three yes, one no and one abstain to make the $10 million purchase.
I was shocked at the change and wanted to know what happened. My attendance at library board meetings revealed most of the events as I understand them. At the first meeting I reminded the board that conditions change. My trust was the board would focus on building branch libraries to reach all the public. Instead, we have a goal of building a very large symbol to the misuse of funds. There are so many ways the board could do good things and they are not recognizing the opportunity.
Decisions are being made working under unreasonable restrictions. Listening to the discussion at meetings; some of these restrictions are self-imposed. Comments of "we need to get on with it" are not the course for decision making. Other comments about not considering other options for library size ignore the request from the public to generate more branches, not an edifice to our ability to spend money. The "central" library, as proposed, costs almost the same as Caldera High School and is less than half as big. When I voted yes, I was not voting for this type of development. I was looking for the library to develop more branches to reach our population. The board takes pride in saying they consulted with the public. I contend that consultation, when needed, was avoided. Why didn't the board ask the public's input for the location of a new site? Was there only one site considered? If so they should have retracted and required additional options. I provided a list of potential sites in southeast Bend using the misinformation provided and never heard a word. I did find out at the October meeting that any additional sites were not considered. I am offended the board does not ask for alternatives and allows themselves to be carefully led to a predetermined conclusion.
The board should consider every child in Deschutes County needs a library close to home. We do not need a commute to the "great OZ" on 27th Street.
Thank you, Mom.
Thank you, Mrs. Ward.
—Christen M. Brown is an Oregon licensed public accountant and served on the Deschutes County planning commission for seven years.
Please vote yes on Measure 111
I am writing in support of Measure 111.
I was born to a single mom who lacked health insurance. OHSU provided charity care to my mom during my birth. Two years later, the Chemawa Indian Health Service Center in my hometown of Salem was established. I was able to get the care I needed that my family may not have been able to otherwise afford.
I joined the U.S. Army at 18, a blue-collar kid in the hopes of adventure, a vocation, money for college—and seeing the world while serving the country I love. I served in Army hospitals for eight years in the U.S and around the world, to include Afghanistan. As an active-duty soldier, I always received high-quality care from the military health system.
I received an Honorable Discharge from the Army in 2003. Ever since I have been eligible and received "the best care anywhere" from the VA.
Whether because of my status and eligibility as a Native American; as an active duty soldier; or now as a Veteran—the federal government has always ensured that I had the care I needed to thrive. I want this right to health care for all my fellow Oregonians regardless of their background or demographic. Measure 111 will add language to the Constitution which establishes health care as a human right for ALL Oregonians.
I encourage voters to vote YES on Measure 111.
About Christina Stephenson
Christina Stephenson is far and away the most qualified candidate to be Oregon’s next Labor Commissioner. In fact, I would go so far as to say she is the most qualified candidate for this position in 20 years.
The Labor Commissioner directs BOLI—the Bureau of Labor and Industries—and plays a critical role in protecting workers’ rights, enforcing civil rights laws that protect all Oregonians, and administering job-training and apprenticeship programs that benefit both workers and businesses.
Christina Stephenson has a strong track record—as a civil rights attorney and legal advocate for working people, as a small business owner who has helped workers and employers comply with the state’s workplace laws, and by developing legislation that expanded family medical leave for working families.
She probably knows more about how BOLI operates than anyone in Oregon. She has detailed plans for making it better, by:
- Investing in apprenticeship programs so everyone can earn a raise, whether or not they go to college;
- Creating more school-to-career pathways;
- Staffing schools, construction sites, and hospitals by expanding job training;
- Protecting workers’ rights, including guaranteed paid sick days, paid family leave, fair wages, and fighting against all forms of harassment and discrimination at work, in housing, and in public spaces.
Labor Commissioner is not a job that you learn by being a state legislator or school board member. It’s a job you learn by working with and on behalf of working families and small business owners every day. Christina Stephenson has been doing that work for years and electing her Labor Commissioner will benefit all of us. She will hit the ground running.
You can learn more about Christina Stephenson at www.christinastephenson.com.
As election season is in full swing, and will (thankfully) be drawing to a close in the next two weeks, I'd just like to gently remind my neighbors and friends here in Bend and Central Oregon that it is very likely someone with a campaign, cause, or political party may be knocking on your door, including yours truly.
Door knocking and canvassing are essential components of political campaigns. Canvassers typically only have a quick question and don't want to take much of your time. For some like myself, it is a job, but the vast majority are volunteers who are sacrificing their time because they care about their community.
I would like to applaud and praise the overwhelming majority of people I've encountered, who have been kind, polite, receptive, and generous. From the gentleman who offered me a can of coke on a hot day to the lady who invited me in to warm up with some tea, most everyone has truly lived out the "Be Nice You're In Bend" mantra.
If you don't want to participate in a survey, a simple "no thank you" will do. I'd encourage everyone to treat canvassers of "the other side" with the same respect and courtesy as you would someone who aligns with your own beliefs. If you don't want to be bothered, a "No Soliciting" sign costs as little as $8 or you could make your own. Thank you for being kind.
Letter of the Week:
Matthew: Sounds like a tough job. For your efforts, you get letter of the week. Come on down for your gift card to Palate!