In My Opinion: August 2021

142

The Sound of Gunfire

On any given day in Tualatin or Sherwood, you can hear the sound of live, continuous gunfire from morning until late into the night. The sound carries to our local park where kids can hear gunfire; and where a banner for a rifle company hangs on the softball cage.  

The noise comes from The Tri-County Gun Club (TCGC) located between Tualatin and Sherwood on a private range used by law enforcement from around the region, as well as NRA members. 

In the past, the gun club was surrounded by land and trees, somewhat protecting our neighborhoods from its noise pollution.  But when land and trees were cleared to connect SW 124th to Basalt Creek Parkway, and the adjacent communities continued to grow, it forever changed our quality of life.

How will we know when to call the police in an emergency situation when the sound of gunfire has become so commonplace?  How do we differentiate between a potentially deadly situation and the sound of the gun club we hear on any given day? How do we expect our children to react to an active shooter in their school if they don’t associate the sound of gunfire with danger?

Our law enforcement agencies should be using their state-of-the art facilities for practice, not this private gun club.  If it is necessary for law enforcement to have a facility like TCGC, it is the responsibility of our government to provide the facility and soundproof it. Taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for both.

In the late 1990’s, Oregon passed laws [ORS 467.131 to 467.138], exempting gun ranges from noise ordinances, allowing them to operate without consideration for others in the surrounding areas.  I’m proposing a change to this law.

I am also calling on our local City Council members, Mayors, County Commissioners and law enforcement agencies to collaborate with the community to find a solution within the bounds of the current law.   This may include applying for grant money and resources from local, regional and state agencies.  

It is the responsibility of our elected officials to protect the communities they were elected to serve and help us to create a more livable community. 

We must demand a solution from our Senators, State elected Representatives, County Commissioners, Mayors, City Council Members, and our local law enforcement agencies.  

If you would like to get involved, please contact me at [email protected], and I’ll help you connect with your elected officials on this issue.    

Patricia Parsons
Tualatin Resident

Term Limits in Tualatin

At the Tualatin city council meeting on June 14, 2021, several long-term city volunteers recommended that term-limits voters passed in 2016, after a hard-fought battle to get it on the ballot, be changed to allow the current Mayor to serve another term. If you’ve lived in Tualatin for a decade or more, you will know how contentious the fight for term limits was and how it left scars on this city. Yet 66% of voters were in favor of it and it passed. This meant the old Mayor termed out and a new Mayor took office. 

However, now that the folks who fought for the original term limits have someone in office who is more agreeable to their causes, they’d like to change those same term limits to allow the position of Mayor to serve another term. They have also requested that they not have to go out and engage with the community by gathering signatures and instead they have asked the Council to use their power under municipal code 1-24-020 to place this initiative onto the May 2022 ballot, citing COVID as the reason. 

It was explained that it takes more than 4 years to build the necessary relationships to be successful as Mayor. I do wonder though how America elects a new POTUS every 4 years to run our entire country, domestically and internationally, they get up to speed and build relationships but there’s concerns the small city of Tualatin couldn’t flourish under new leadership? I don’t think we are giving those who may want to run for Mayor much credit. 

Many also think it’s a conflict of interest and poor judgment in light of the last fiasco over this issue for the Council & Mayor to vote on this without any regard for voters who live in this community. They are voting on an issue that ultimately serves them to agree and to date seem to only be listening to those volunteers they have access to instead of reaching out to the rest of the 99% of the population who lives in Tualatin. 

Finally, we don’t accept concerns about COVID as a valid reason to not get out and collect signatures. Just yesterday, OHA stated that Washington County has a rate of 75% of vaccinated residents. Our numbers look very good in the Tualatin area and the risk is low if you’ve been vaccinated. Masks are an option if there is still concern but it’s certainly doable now, since our state re-opened fully on June 30th. And due to this being a reversal of what we already fought for, I think it is in their best interest to do their due diligence and get the signatures and interact with their neighbors. They’d earn some respect and perhaps some votes if they were willing to put the work in. 

Please let the council know where you stand on this issue before August 9th:  [email protected].

Sincerely, 

Sheri Esser
Tualatin Resident