Letters to St. Helens Update
Letters to the Update are the opinions of the writers and do not
necessarily reflect the opinions of Bill Eagle, or that of his wife, children,
mother, father, sisters , brothers, domestic pets etc..
From: Joe Turner 11/25/23
On the third Monday of August 1979, nine years before receiving my
accounting degree, I was volunteered by my battalion commander to assist
Senators Phil Gramm and Warren Rudman and six accounts from the
Congressional Budget Office to investigate Pentagon budgets.
Prior to starting I asked one question, “Do I follow Army Regulations or can I tell the truth?”
President Trump is on trial for fraud for overstating the size and value of his
assets on his financial statements. Did he make misstatements, yes, but did he
commit fraud? America’s entire economic system is based on perceptions and
deceptions so just what is on trial?
In 2010 I asked my bank for preapproval for $175,000 to purchase a house
with a payment of $1125 a month, the bank responded with an offer of
$250,000 with a payment of $1500 a month. In 2012 the Federal Reserve and
Obama White House kept interest rates near 0% to encourage citizens to
continue to spend and grow the economy out of the recession.
Interest income for my bank would have tripled had I purchased a house on
their terms but I didn’t. Because most of the country fell prey to near 0%
interest rates set by the Federal Reserve and White House and went into a
spending frenzy we now have unaffordable housing, cars and trucks, and
inflation. So who is defrauding whom?
From: Richard Ellmyer 10/22/23
Your support is needed to continue the important work started by Portland
State University. This public research institution Is currently unable to
provide continued support, updating and maintaining the Metro/Oregon
Public Housing Location Maps. These maps are the only free, easily
accessible and understandable, online interactive source of data for elected
officials to determine if their jurisdictions are overloaded or underserved by
Public Housing Units. It is a valuable, unique public asset which allows
jurisdictions to develop Equitable Distribution of Public Housing as their
official Public Housing Policy.
Portland city commissioner Dan Ryan has acknowledged the usefulness and importance of the Metro/Oregon Public Housing Location Maps by placing them on Portland’s Civic Life website. Thank you Dan. If you have not yet examined them go here now and check them out: Metro/Oregon Public Housing Location Maps . Help your constituents and fellow Oregonians by placing a pointer URL on your personal, group or jurisdictional webpage.
From: Robert Tromletz 10/14/23
The city determined (a belief) that an Epoxy paint job would be a satisfactory
repair to correct a 16,100 gallon per day 2 MG leaking reservoir. Kennedy/
Jenks was providing the Plan. Plan A failed, so Plan B was the Plan that would
require a Geotextile mat, 2500 stainless steel bolts, and two coats of Epoxy.
This required drilling a blind hole to hold a socket for the 1/4-inch bolts and
washers. When repair was completed, the reservoir was leaking 74,000 gallons
per day. The city then repaired the reservoir’s leaking drain line. I was given
emails of pictures of the fractured drain line dated May 1, 2017, with drawings
of the repair. I believe this was repaired in 2017.
Using simple math with the city’s numbers and the repaired reservoir’s drain
line, there was a correction of water loss.
The city hired Bear Investigation and Consultants in 2017 to find the source of
the reservoir’s leaking 42,000 gallons per day. The City’s fixing the drain line
reduced the reservoir’s leaking by 32,000 gallons per day. The pipe repair
resulted in a 32,000 gallon per day improvement to the water loss of June 23,
2016, when the water loss was 16,000. The improvement of 32,000 gallons is
more than double the original loss of 16,000.
The city neglected the due diligence of testing and the repairing of the drain
line. The numbers proved there wouldn’t have been a need for the 2 MG
reservoir rehabilitation at this time. The rehabilitation construction resulted in a
Someone is just ignoring the facts. This proves that if the city had earlier done
their testing, there wouldn’t be an empty damaged 2 MG reservoir.
From: Patrick Klein 10/16/23
Legislature forms committee to address concerns. What a joke. They form
committees, they have town halls, they discuss it they write about, and they
have even allocated money for it but not a damned thing gets done.
How about you open up some real long-term treatment centers that house
people for more than a week then kicks them back out on the street. The
approach that is being taken now doesn’t and will not work for any extended
period of time. It so far has been nothing but a bunch of bureaucrats getting in
front of camera talking about how they are devoted to solving the problem
while people die on the streets in Oregon from overdosing daily.
Quit discussing the problem to death and do something about instead of taking
photo ops pretending like you care to gain support for your next election. Every
problem has a solution just do it.
From: Dixie Rae Smith 10/1/23
This evening I noticed someone(s) has created a welcoming bicycle lane
between Gable and our Chevron Gas Station (on the west side of Hwy 30). At
sundown I noticed: One cigarette butt, one piece of unopened taffy, and one
scrap of paper.
Flat repair runs around $10.00 - $20.00 (or more) depending on the tube, tire,
wheel damage. Also, Road debris, in bicycle lanes create serious and deadly
situations for a bicyclist and motorist. All can be prevented by simply clearing
our bicycle lanes.
Here’s a big thank you to the bike lane angels of Columbia County!
Also a shout out to Barlow and the crew at our local bicycle shop.
From: Kristin Edmark 7/22/23
Proposed large rail yard for NEXT diesel facility would be disruptive
The Planning Commission should deny the modified proposal by NEXT
Renewable Fuels to build a 400-car rail yard.
The community was promised that trains would be kept short and would have
minimal impact on roads and businesses. The current proposal is a clear bait-
and-switch broken commitment. The long trains would disrupt local road
access on Kallunki Road and traffic along the Highway 30 corridor. Miles of
tracks are required leading to water, air, and noise pollution.
Many are speaking out about impact on nearby farms, wetlands, the drainage
district, pollution, noise, and lack of adequate buffer areas. This large diesel
facility could produce up to 50,000 barrels per day. NEXT has not yet
committed to using low-carbon or waste product feed stocks. No contracts
have been signed for the large amounts of feedstock which would be needed.
NEXT has shown it cannot be trusted.
From: John Riutta 7/21/23
As one who regularly praises small town life, I was curious about all the
fuss over a country song called “Try That In a Small Town” by some
fellow named Jason Aldean. I’d not previously heard of him or heard the
song, so I listened to it.
It’s not a well written song. The video is even worse.
It’s not a country song; much closer to frat-rock in my opinion.
He’s clearly trying to make hay on popular right-wing talk show buzz
words and themes. The song isn’t about community; it’s about fear —
fear of people not from small towns.
Interestingly enough, Mr. Aldean is not from a small town; he’s from
Macon, Georgia (population 156,197), the fourth-largest city in that
state. He presently lives in Nashville, Tennessee (population 692,587),
the 21st-largest city in the U.S.
As Mr. Aldean doesn’t, judging by his song, seem to understand — and
from his biography, how would he? — living in a small town isn’t about
violence and vigilantism. It’s about knowing your neighbors, helping out
in the community, and learning to get along with people, whether you
personally like them or not.
As our daughter so correctly says, you may not like someone there,
but when they’re seriously ill or hurt, you still show up with a casserole
and offer to help walk their dog.
From: Tom Ford 7/13/23
I live near the “30 Freeway.” You may never have known there is a 30 Freeway, it was called
“Highway 30” for years, but now it is a freeway.
The newly designated 30 Freeway starts at the Cornelius Pass signal and runs north through
Scappoose and St Helens on toward Warren. The ignored and obviously outdated speed limit
signs read 55 mph, but the standard vehicle speed is 70 and 80 is not uncommon. Driving at 65
in the right-hand (slow) lane and being passed by a dual trailer log hauler or a tandem gravel
truck is an adventure, especially in the rain. Windshield glass insurance is a must.
When attempting an entry onto the 30 Freeway at any signal, it is prudent when getting the green
light to pause and count to three before entering the intersection as the before-mentioned heavy
haulers will sometimes make no effort to slow as the signal for them turns yellow, there is no
way they can stop that loaded truck and they will blow right through the intersection They might
blow their horn, but don’t bet your life on that happening.
What could be the possible expense to the cities of Scappoose and St Helens to have a traffic
officer whose singular duty is traffic control? There would be no doubt the cost of that officer
would be covered by the tickets issued. Do the Oregon State Troopers perform this duty? If they
do, I haven’t seen flashing lights on the 30 Freeway in months. I remain amazed no one has been
killed recently on that stretch of freeway.
From: Ron Trommlitz 7/12/23
Again the City of St Helens shows a lack of concern for transparency.
On June 6th 2023 and June 7th, I suggested the City should give an
updated report on the failed 2 MG reservoir. I got replies of no intention
and it's not necessary. The Spotlights, Scott Keith was given the Pittsburg
Road 2 MG reservoir statement on June 28th. The newspaper's request seems
to have received an overdue update. This is lack of transparency, and this
information should have been shared voluntarily with The Chronicle.
The City has possessed a lot of information that the City failed to utilize when
trying to determine the cause of the leaking reservoir, especially when the
Rehabilitation repair work caused increased leaking. The reservoir condition was
plagued from the beginning with not knowing what was the source of the high
The City failed to identify the leaking from 2009--2016, then hired Kennedy/Jenks
as Engineer. I haven't determined what investigation Kennedy/Jenks performed,
but provided the Plan for Rehabilitation. BIC noted water infiltration, and there
was a lack of oversite inspection performed during the Geotextile mat and
Carboline reactamine application. The project was to be inspected by the
City of St. Helens. The City claims it was workmanship that caused the
failure. BIC assessment was that the Geotextile- epoxy liner couldn't account
for leaking 44,000 gallons per day. So Walker Consultants was hired to
investigate the failure.
This action results in the Walker Report being withheld by the City claiming
From: Bill Eagle 6/28/23
Last night I got to sit through a CRPUD rate setting advisory committee meeting.
The PUD staff pointed out that although Bonnyville Base rates and Transmission costs
are relatively stable, other fixed cost have risen. The cost of Transformers
have tripled (and in some cases quadrupled).
Wages have increased, power line transmission wires, poles, and all other parts have increased.
In addition the cost of gas and fleet expenses have also increased.
These fixed increases are not just limited to one utility but have affected
all the electric utilities in our region.
Despite these increases, the PUD made an effort to keep consumer costs
to a minimum and decided to limit their rate increase to 5%, They also do
not plan to see any other increase for the next two years.
We thankfully have a utility owned by rate payers, and we don’t have to
worry about paying corporate dividends. We should all be thankful that
our Columbia River PUD is still able to offer to its’ users some of the
lowest rates in the region.
From: Ryan Ferrie 6/16/23
The Oregon Legislature is currently considering many pieces of legislation
that could impact our pocketbooks.
House Bills 3242 and 3243 should be easy no votes for legislators given the potential
they have to increase insurance rates for all of us.
That’s why I was shocked to learn the House passed both of these bills.
If these bills also pass the Senate, they would have drastic implications
for our insurance system, changing the way insurance claims are resolved
from a proven model to one that incentivizes lawsuits.
While proponents of these bills claim they will bolster consumer protection
by taking aim at insurance companies, the bills would
actually undermine the existing strong protections we have for
consumers and risk hiking premiums- as similar policies
already have in other states.
When California, Washington, and Florida have tried similar policies,
it has led to significantly more lawsuits and skyrocketed premiums
because of them.
The reality is these bills would hurt Oregonians already struggling to afford
the rising cost of living. It is an unneeded policy that the
Legislature has rejected repeatedly over the past decade.
Our local senators will be key decision makers on whether this policy
moves forward. Join me in urging them to oppose House Bills 3242 and
From: Wayne Mayo 6/9/23
NATO allies need to spend toward collective defense
In 2014, Germany agreed with other signatories to raise their NATO commitment from 1.4% to 2% GDP. To this day, they’ve never come close.
Even hardening on-ramps to handle heavy armor would count towards their commitment. No; haven’t.
Germany’s 2023 shortfall is $17.1 billion. Over 10 years, they’re in arrears $171 billion.
The USA spends consistently close to 4% of GDP on defense.
For newcomer Poland to exceed America’s percentage should sound a loud wake-up call in not just Berlin, but Ottawa, Madrid, Rome and Paris as well.
Time to step up and deliver.
From: Bill Allen 6/5/23
The Debt Ceiling, as currently implemented, is an Unconstitutional Official Act.
Paying our existing debt is not negotiable or open to political extortion. The big
question for every thinking American is why our elected officials so poorly
understand the Constitution that they swore an oath to defend.
including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in
suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."
expenditures that increased the debt, and no one is questioning their validity.
Check and check! Unless future debt limit legislation prohibits any further
expenditures the moment that they will exceed a previously defined debt limit, it
is an unenforceable and dangerous diversion. Bring it into compliance with the
constitution or eliminate it, but pay our debts as mandated and stop playing
politics with America's economic welfare.
2d, Sec 256:
appearance of law constitutes the law of the land. The U.S. Constitution is the
supreme law of the land, and any statute, to be valid, must be in agreement. It
is impossible for both the Constitution and a law violating it to be valid; one
must prevail. This is succinctly stated as follows:
name of law is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any
purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment and not
merely from the date of the decision so branding it. An unconstitutional law, in
statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the
statute not been enacted. Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general
principles follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office,
bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies
no acts performed under it..... A void act cannot be legally consistent with a
valid one. An unconstitutional law cannot operate to supersede any existing
valid law. Indeed, insofar as a statute runs counter to the fundamental law of
The land, it is superseded thereby.
From: Bill Eagle 5/30/23
Sometimes it is worth while taking a moment to count our blessings and
realize how fortunate we are,
We are not perfect, but here are somethings that I like about our
We are a small city and we are still able to maintain rural atmosphere
We are a safe place to live. We have very little in the way of violent
We have a well trained and professional police department, that is
willing to serve the public on an “around the clock” basis.
We have parks where anyone can play Pickleball, Tennis or
Basketball, and trails for people to walk.
We have a City Council that thinks it more important to improve our
city than it is to personally enrich themselves.
We have a Public Works Department that really works for the public.
The people in our community are willing to improve and support our
Our Schools are turning out educated and responsible people. Young
citizens who make us all proud.
We have clean air, good water and a place where our children can
grow up healthy.
I am sure that there are many things that others could add Including ways to improve.
We are not perfect, but it is right to be thankful for what we have.
From: William Allen 5/19/23
Why do we even have a debt ceiling?
The debt ceiling, as currently implemented, is an unconstitutional
Paying our existing debt is not negotiable or open to political extortion.
The big question for every thinking American is why our elected officials
so poorly understand the Constitution that they swore an oath to defend.
United States Constitution, Amendment XIV, paragraph 4:
“The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law,
including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services
in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”
This is really the end of the discussion. Budgets passed by law
authorized the expenditures that increased the debt, and no one
is questioning their validity. Check and check! Unless future debt
limit legislation prohibits any further expenditures the moment that
they will exceed a previously defined debt limit, it is an unenforceable
and dangerous diversion. Bring it into compliance with the Constitution
or eliminate it, but pay our debts as mandated and stop playing politics
with America’s economic welfare.
From: Bill Eagle 5/16/23
I noticed that Rudy Giuliani has been accused of rape in a law suit filed by a former staffer.
In addition to rape, this former staffer, has also accused Giuliani of
conspiring with Donald Trump to sell pardons for Two Million dollars
each. The plan, according to the former staffers lawsuit was to split the
money between them. The New York Times reported only 25 of the 240
pardons and commutations Trump granted during his term came through
the regular Justice Department process, instead being routed through a private process
developed by the Trump White House.
I wonder if any of this is true, and if it is, why this has not been
investigated and brought to light sooner than now?
I suspect that we have not scratched the surface when it comes to Trump
From: Cpt. David DePriest CRFR Retired 5/10/23
To say that I am bitterly disappointed concerning the inactions of Columbia
River Fire & Rescue’s current Board of Directors is an understatement.
To ensure public safety, minimum staffing is in place at every station,
St.Helens Station (four personnel), Rainier Station (four personnel) and
Fairgrounds Station (two personnel). However daily minimum staffing IS NOT
being met. The Board is now allowing the district to run short of contracted
They recently staffed Rainier station with only three personnel, enough to
handle one transport. When a second alarm is dispatched additional personnel
and apparatus comes from St.Helens, 20 minutes away! If it’s critical you or
your loved one may not have 20 minutes.
CRFR had 33 Firefighter/Paramedics when Chief Joel Medina was hired,
currently there are 24. A reduction of 27%!
Did the chief reduce staffing because he remodeled the Administrative Offices
at at cost of $500,00.00?
What is taking place under the leadership of Chief Joel Medina is not only
unprofessional, he is putting every individual who lives in the CRFR response
area at risk.
It’s time for a change, this is your opportunity to make your voice heard, please
vote in the upcoming May election.
Mark your ballot, elect Ryan Welby, Austin Zimbrick and Rick Fletcher as new
board members for Columbia River Fire and Rescue.
From Tammy Maygra 5/2/23
Read the article in the Sunday Oregonian Front Page,
Scarce bourbon funneled money to rural GOP committee
Columbia County Rupblican's are in deep trouble. Chair of the GOP Central
Committee, Traci Brumbles spearheaded the event to raise funds, by selling
rare bourbons. Bourbons which should have been sold to the public in her liquor
store, that is if you cold even get them..
The illegal sales brought in at least $35,000.
This money will be used to help elect, republican county
commissioners, the Sheriff, and Port of St Helens commissioners.
Along with other illegal actions by the republicans.
From: Bill Eagle 4/25/23
Ballots for the Port of Columbia County will be arriving in the mail shortly.
This is an extremely important election, when you consider the billions
of dollars in responsibilities that we have given to the Port.
I am supporting three candidates, Chip Bubl, Nancy Ward, and Greg
All three of these people have a deep understanding of the port, its’
operation and its’ budget. None of these people are being backed by any
special interests. Their primary concern is to ensure that the port is
successful and will attract industry and business that will enhance, rather
than degrade our quality of life.
These three people know what is needed for port commissioners and
have not been “bought off” by anyone or beholding to any special
This is a very important election; please consider casting your ballot for
people who will help all of us, rather than just a few.
From: Stacy Mendoza (St. Helens School District) 4/14/23
Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici joined Career and Technical Education
teachers at St. Helens High School on Tuesday to tour
their school programs.
The tour started in Jay Groom's Auto Tech classroom, where he spoke about
the opportunities in the auto trade for students. Advanced students can be
found working on community members' vehicles who bring their vehicles into
the shop for service or repair. Jay also shared that St. Helens High School is
developing a diesel program to address growing industry needs next year for
its students. In addition, many of the advanced students in this program will be
participating in a school-to-work program next year, where students attend
school in the morning and work in local automotive shops in the afternoon.
The tour then went into Bonnie Adams' Metals and Manufacturing classrooms,
where she informed Congresswoman Bonamici about the opportunities for
students in her program. Bonamici even witnessed EVRAZ employee, Cole
Fairbrother, working with students and sharing his expertise. EVRAZ is an
industry partner, and Cole comes out to work with advanced students to teach
them Gas Tungsten Arc Welding.
Students from the student-run business, Lions Manufacturing, explained their
enterprise and showed the Congresswoman some of their product lines. She
supported their business by purchasing a handmade leather keychain.
The tour finished with a walkthrough of our Early Learning Center and a
discussion of our Early Childhood Education and Introduction to Education with
teacher Rachael Sara.
We want to thank Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici for coming out and
allowing us to share our exceptional CTE programs with her!