East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, June 11, 2019, Page A4, Image 4

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East Oregonian
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
News Editor
Hermiston Editor
Founded October 16, 1875
Their memory must remain alive. Always.
ast week the nation and
Europe marked the 75th
anniversary of the D-Day
There were ceremonies and lau-
datory comments and editorials.
Then the day concluded. The cer-
emonial bunting, the speeches, the
replicas of World War II vehicles
were put away and reserved for the
closet of history.
We waited until today to mark
the day to make a point. Less than
a week later, the ceremonies of that
fateful day can seem like a year
That should not be so.
Traditionally Americans reach
for the future. We spend vast
amounts of time projecting and
fashioning a future of prosper-
ity. Collectively, we tend to spend
only the necessary amount of time
reviewing the past.
We are nation continually
focused on the future. Wars, after
all, are difficult and horrible and
best left to the fading tentacles of
Yet we cannot, and should not,
forget the sacrifice made on June
6, 1944. Millions of Allied soldiers
AP File Photo
U.S. reinforcements wade through the surf as they land at Normandy in the days follow-
ing the Allies’, D-Day invasion of occupied France.
stormed the beaches of Normandy
into an unknown future. As a
group, they were hopelessly young
but impossibly optimistic about
what the United States could do.
We as a nation rightly marked
D-Day and the sacrifice of our ser-
vice members last week.
As time goes on, though, and
fewer and fewer D-Day veterans
remain with us there is a real risk
their memory will fade.
We can’t let that happen.
We can also not allow the sac-
rifice made by our service mem-
bers in any conflict fade into obliv-
ion. A good case in point is the
Spanish-American War. A conflict
fought more than a 100 years ago,
the war impacted small communi-
ties across the nation — including
Pendleton. Oregon soldiers fought
in more than 40 battles and fire-
fights and 16 were killed in action.
Another 48 were wounded.
Oregon sent its youth to fight in
that war but their memory, what
they did for our nation, remains
largely forgotten.
When the drums of war begin
to beat the nation should support
our service members. When they
deploy to foreign shores we should
be behind them. And when they
return we owe those brave men and
women support as well. Yet we also
owe them our memory. We owe
them more than one day of recog-
nition. Their faces and names and
sacrifices should not evaporate
with time.
In the end, it is up to us, those
who did not or could not serve, to
ensure the memory of those who
forfeited safety and security to pro-
tect our values.
Their memory must remain
alive. Always.
taxes the
trust of
The PDC’s
downward spiral
The Pendleton Development Com-
mission (PDC), better known as our
city council, has pulled off the unthink-
able. With over $33 million in property
taxes at their disposal, they’ve been able
to spend but a small portion. The city
manager, as executive director of the
PDC, for one reason or another elected
to appoint an assistant to administer the
program. Since the creation of that posi-
tion, the number and value of grants has
steadily risen. However, administrative
costs have skyrocketed. Let’s face it,
giving away money ain’t cheap.
The council’s plan from day one
was to rebuild Main Street and develop
the River Quarter into a shopping and
tourist mecca from downtown to the
Round-Up Grounds, creating a large
Unsigned editorials are the opinion of
the East Oregonian editorial board. Other
columns, letters and cartoons on this page
express the opinions of the authors and not
necessarily that of the East Oregonian.
increase in the tax base by raising prop-
erty values with new retail space (we
already have a large surplus) and sec-
ond-story housing. Had they done their
homework like the property owners did,
they’d have discovered the whole proj-
ect was not financially viable. Unlike
the property owners, the people that
developed these plans incurred no
financial risk. Fortunately, after years of
hemming and hawing, the River Quar-
ter plan was scrapped.
With only a little over $5 million of
those PDC funds remaining and time
running out, the race is on to see who
gets their hands on it first. The city
manager is asking for $3 million to use
for streets in the Urban Renewal Dis-
trict (URD), hoping for swift approval
so future budget cuts can be avoided
in other city departments. PDC funds
have been diverted before to help pay
for statues, speed bumps, and to sup-
port the Pendleton Downtown Associ-
ation. Projects that have nothing to do
with raising the tax base, the goal of the
Al Plute, the largest benefactor of
the PDC, thinks using the money for
streets is a bad idea. He seems to be
the only one willing to take the finan-
cial risk and has the backing to take full
advantage of the program. The assistant
director has suggested hiring an assis-
tant to assist in accelerating spending of
PDC funds.
If all goes well, the PDC experiment
will end. That’s one less meeting for the
city council. Future property taxes can
be spent taking care of public property,
streets included, where they’re desper-
ately needed. Most importantly, PDC
administrative costs will disappear
Rick Rohde
he reason Oregonians can put
their absolute trust in state gov-
ernment is because our elected
leaders would never do something
unfair with taxes.
For instance, legislators would
never ever tax a business that wasn’t
Gov. Kate Brown would never ever
take away tax rebates that voters them-
selves approved at the ballot box.
And legislators would never ever try
to sneak new taxes by Oregonians and
avoid constitutional requirements to
pass taxes or requirements governing
how tax dollars must be spent.
But then this legislative session,
state government seems on track to do
all three. A shifty, scheming trifecta of
House Bill 3427, passed by the Leg-
islature and signed into law by Gov.
Brown, may raise revenue for a good
cause — education — but it could tax
businesses even if they are not making
a profit.
Brown has proposed slashing the vot-
er-approved kicker tax rebate that would
return taxes paid to Oregonians.
And as Willamette Week reported on
Tuesday, a legislative counsel’s opinion
raises serious questions about how the
carbon-reduction bill, House Bill 2020,
could be passed and how revenue could
be spent. The bill functions like a tax,
the opinion says. Shouldn’t that mean it
requires a three-fifths majority per the
state constitution? Other issues raised
in the opinion question whether Oregon
law would allow the proposed invest-
ments in the bill in energy efficiency
and alternative energy.
But don’t worry. The Democratic
leadership in control of the state would
never let anything questionable happen
with taxes.
The East Oregonian welcomes original letters of 400 words or less on public issues and public policies
for publication in the newspaper and on our website. The newspaper reserves the right to withhold
letters that address concerns about individual services and products or letters that infringe on the rights
of private citizens. Letters must be signed by the author and include the city of residence and a daytime
phone number. The phone number will not be published. Unsigned letters will not be published.
Send letters to the editor to
or via mail to Andrew Cutler,
211 S.E. Byers Ave.
Pendleton, OR 97801