Polk County itemizer observer. (Dallas, Or) 1992-current, March 01, 2017, Page 4A, Image 4

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    Polk County
Polk County Itemizer-Observer • March 1, 2017 4A
Take responsibility
for playtime at parks
We’ve seen it happen. A young boy is playing with his
friends at a city park. He falls off the slide, and limps back
to his mother who puts an makeshift ice pack on his knee,
which is scraped and swollen.
He doesn’t need the doctor — mom doesn’t think he’s
broken anything this time, thank goodness — but he’s out
of commission for the rest of the day, resting with the
adults under the shade of the gazebo.
It wasn’t the slide’s fault the boy fell off. It’s not as though
it had gaping rusty holes. It wasn’t even wobbly. But chil-
dren sometimes fall.
When they do, often it’s because they are exploring the
world around them.
Adults aren’t immune to injury, either. With the miles
and miles of walking trails throughout Polk County and its
cities, adults could fall victim to a twisted ankle.
The question is: Whose fault is it? When someone is
recreating outdoors and gets injured, is his or her accident
something the city or county or private landowner should
have to pay for in court?
A recent ruling by the Oregon Supreme Court says it
might be.
The court struck down recreational immunity in a 2016
decision after a sight-impaired Portland jogger was injured
when she stepped in a hole dug by a parks department
employee. The court ruled that the employee was liable —
which makes the city, which pays for the employee’s insur-
ance, liable.
It’s a tricky situation. If a city or other government
agency is negligent in maintaining its public spaces, it
makes sense that a lawsuit should be filed — and maybe
But we need to err on the side of caution when it comes
to suing cities for injuries obtained at public spaces, or we
could see the public spaces disappear.
Two identical bills have been introduced in the Oregon
House and Senate to address the issue, clarifying that em-
ployees or agents of landowners are covered by recreation-
al immunity when acting in the scope of their duties. But
one Sentate Bill (504) would allow people to sue for negli-
gence if the property is not properly maintained.
While that seems like a good compromise between
landowner and land user, it is a slippery slope. It requires
agencies to create and follow a “safety plan,” something
that probably already exists under a different name. This
bill would create more red tape for public landowners —
and may make for more rules for land users, too.
Public Agenda is a listing of upcoming meetings for gov-
ernmental and nongovernmental agencies in Polk County.
To submit a meeting, send it at least two weeks before the
actual meeting date to the Itemizer-Observer via email
• Monmouth Historic Commission — 6 p.m., Volunteer Hall,
144 Warren St. S., Monmouth. 503-838-0725.
• Monmouth Planning Commission — 7 p.m., Volunteer
Hall, 144 Warren St. S., Monmouth. 503-838-0725.
• Central School District Board of Directors — 6:30 p.m.,
Henry Hill Education Support Center, 750 S. Fifth St., Independ-
• Independence Planning Commission — 7 p.m., Independ-
ence Civic Center, 555 S. Main St., Independence. 503-838-1212.
• Dallas City Council — 7 p.m., Dallas City Hall, 187 SE Court
St., Dallas. 503-831-3502.
• Monmouth City Council — 7 p.m., Volunteer Hall, 144
Warren St. S., Monmouth. 503-838-0725.
• Polk County Board of Commission work session — 9
a.m., Polk County Courthouse, BOC office, 850 Main St., Dallas.
• Independence Heritage Museum Commission — 4 p.m.,
Independence Heritage Museum, 112 S. Third St., Independ-
ence. 503-838-1212.
• Monmouth Library Advisory Board — 7 a.m., Monmouth
Public Library, 168 Ecols St. S., Monmouth. 503-838-0725.
• Monmouth Parks and Recreation Board — 7 p.m., Volun-
teer Hall, 144 Warren St. S., Monmouth. 503-838-0725.
• Polk County Board of Commissioners — 9 a.m., Polk
County Courthouse, first floor conference room, 850 Main St.,
Dallas. 503-623-8173.
Light is better,
cheaper solution
Lynne Bowen’s comment
about the plan to construct
a roundabout at Clow Cor-
ner and Highway 99 at
quadruple the cost of in-
stalling a traffic light was
right on given that a traffic
light would serve the need
(however, teaching pedestri-
ans in Oregon how to cross
a street safely is still an
issue). It is truly amazing
how little control taxpayers
have over elected official’s
careless decisions to waste
It’s equally amazing that
the issues that come to vote
are so carefully henpecked
by the powers that be.
Jessie Rice
House set to roll
back tax limits
The elderly on a fixed in-
come will be harmed if the
Oregon Legislature passes
HJR 3 and then acquires
voter approval to remove
current property tax limita-
According to
Bankrate.com, Oregon is the
third worst of all 50 states
for retirees. One reason is
high taxes. HJR 3 removes
the property tax limitations
of Measure 5 and Measure
It increases the tax cap by
20 percent and also bases
taxes on market value rather
than assessed value. If
passed, your property tax
bills will skyrocket by thou-
sands of dollars. Many eld-
erly on a fixed income are
unable to afford such a dra-
matic tax increase on their
As a result, they may lose
their homes.
Your local legislators need
to be made aware of the
devastating draconian im-
pact on fixed income elderly
people. Please contact your
legislators and Gov. Kate
Brown to voice your opposi-
Steve Mannenbach
Yeager weaves
fabric of Dallas
Woven into the fabric of
any community, there are
many strands of thread that
quietly comprise the gar-
ment. But as you look clos-
er, you begin to notice one
strand that stretches
throughout the entire piece
of fabric and holds together
or touches so many other
I believe that is the analo-
gy here with Jinett Yeager
and the clothing closet.
Many lives in the Polk
County area have been im-
pacted by this program.
Children pulled from drug
homes now have clean
clothes to wear.
Foster children, and the
families who care for them,
now have clothes, and even
toys, or a Merry Christmas
they may not otherwise
have, and the story contin-
Jinett, your sincerity and
warmth to others has been
an inspiration. You saw a
need, and literally on faith,
reached out to those in
It has been a joy over the
years to work with you and
partner in this important
community program with
Operation T Shirt and Toys.
Keep it going. Continue to
be that inspiration to others.
Operation T Shirt will be
there with you as you reach
out to more children, teens,
and families in need, in the
coming months.
Congratulations Jinett.
Well done.
Paul Pfinster
Operation T Shirt
Border wall would
be useless, waste
No money for schools, so
the state has to sell public
No money for roads and
highways, so we are stuck
with inadequate and poten-
tially unsafe bridges on
major interstates.
No money for infrastruc-
ture repair and improve-
ment over the past eight
years, but, wow, we do have
enough money to spend on
a useless wall.
A wall that will cost dou-
ble the $12 billion that is
stated, and require ongoing
maintenance that will run
in the hundreds of millions,
if not billions of dollars
every year.
“The wall” will not pre-
vent those who are willing
to work harder from getting
jobs. This wall will not make
us safer. Far more people
die on the roadways of
America every single year
than have died in terrorist
attacks on U.S. soil, ever.
Just ask the Chinese how
well their wall protected
That wall took well over
200 years to construct, most
of it is now returning to
dust, and the little bit that is
celebrated is nothing more
than a pretty tourist attrac-
The only people who will
do well on this “wall” are
those who are awarded
over-priced government
contracts to build it and
maintain it.
Do not fool yourself into
thinking someone else will
pay for this wall.
We will pay for it in taxes,
added costs to goods and
services, a slump in our
agricultural economy, in en-
vironmental degradation,
and in personal hardship.
It is my belief that politi-
cians of all parties and
stripes should cowboy up,
and actually tackle compre-
hensive immigration reform
sooner than later, rather
than demonizing “the
other” for the sake of votes.
That would cost a lot less
than building “the wall,”
and will not saddle our chil-
Letters to the editor are lim-
ited to 300 words. Longer let-
ters will be edited.
Election-related letters of all
types are limited to 100 words.
Writers are limited to one elec-
tion-related letter per election
season. Election letters from
writers outside of Polk County
are not accepted.
Each writer is restricted to
one letter per 30-day period.
Letters that are libelous, ob-
scene or in bad taste will not
be printed. Attacks by name on
businesses or individuals will
not be printed.
Letters to the editor that are
obvious promotions for a busi-
ness, products or services will
not be printed.
The Itemizer-Observer does
not guarantee the accuracy of
facts presented by letter writ-
ers; dissenters are welcome to
respond. Letter writers who
disagree with other published
letter writers should maintain
a civil discourse and address
the subject, not the author.
Letters, like all editorial ma-
terial submitted to the news-
paper, are edited for length,
grammar and content.
Letters must include the au-
thor’s name, address and tele-
phone number. This includes
letters submitted via the I-O’s
website. Names and cities of
residence are published; street
addresses and telephone num-
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purposes only.
Letters must be submitted
from individuals, not organiza-
tions, and must be original
submissions to the I-O, not
copies of letters sent to other
Letters of thanks to busi-
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izations are limited to 10
The deadline for letters to
the editor is 10 a.m. Monday.
Letters submitted may not be
retractable after this deadline.
Reach us at:
Mail: Editor, Polk County
Itemizer-Observer, P.O. Box
108, Dallas, OR 97338.
Phone: 503-623-2373.
dren’s, children’s, children
with the damaging costs in
dollars and animus.
Danny Jaffer
Roundabout bad
idea on rural road
I would like to comment
on, and agree with, the let-
ter to the editor in last
week’s newspaper by Eliza-
beth Smithson.
She was writing about the
proposed roundabout at
Clow Corner and Highway
99W. In that letter, she men-
tioned the roundabout on
Springhill Road in West Al-
I had an experience with
that one that I would like to
One day as I was ap-
proaching that particular in-
tersection, an 18-wheeler
was towing an empty Low
Boy trailer and was coming
from the west, turning
north onto Springhill Road.
As he was making that left
turn, the bottom of the trail-
er scraped the reflectors
right off the top of the
That roundabout has
since been removed and put
back to its original layout.
I wonder what that cost
the taxpayer, first to put it
in, then again to take it out.
Going back now to the
Clow Corner proposal, just
think how many 18-wheel-
ers, combines, swathers,
and other large agriculture
equipment use that inter-
section each year.
Will a roundabout make
it safer for those equipment
operators or the motoring
public that encounters
Will they actually be able
to get around on it?
Think of how slow they
will have to go just to get
through it and how much
that is going to backup traf-
Think back to when we
would see a convoy of four
or five swathers going down
99W and how traffic would
be so backed up.
Now imagine them trying
to get through that round-
about and how much worse
the backup is going to be.
Remember this is a very ac-
tive agricultural area.
I must admit that I do not
want a traffic light there, but
I really don’t want to see a
roundabout put in.
Don Hein
Emily Mentzer ..............Editor/Monmouth/Independence Reporter ....ementzer@polkio.com
Vol. 142, No. 9
(USPS) - 437-380)
The official newspaper of Polk County • Serving Polk County families since 1875
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from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association
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which is in error if the Itemizer-Observer is at fault.