As a Rogue Valley native and lifelong outdoorsman who loves our rivers, streams and wildlife, I can't help but be worried by recent statements from Rep. Peter DeFazio and Sen. Ron Wyden that call for increased logging near our rivers and streams.

As a Rogue Valley native and lifelong outdoorsman who loves our rivers, streams and wildlife, I can't help but be worried by recent statements from Rep. Peter DeFazio and Sen. Ron Wyden that call for increased logging near our rivers and streams.

Rather than this short-term view, I was hoping to hear a commitment to finding a balanced plan for our forests in Oregon that will safeguard our clean drinking water and protect salmon habitat, not proposals that would log streamside and require a significant increase in the existing road network that will dump habitat-damaging, sediment-laden runoff into Oregon's treasured waterways. I believe it is possible for our elected officials to find a responsible approach that will create jobs while also leaving a legacy of fish, wildlife, ancient forests and clean drinking water for future generations.

Is it not yet time that we expect our lawmakers to do the jobs we have all elected them to do? I hope Sen. Wyden and Rep. DeFazio will step back, take another look and work toward a balanced approach to managing Oregon's forests that will not compromise the future of clean water for Oregonians. — Joe Lee, Medford

How strange that reporter Vickie Aldous would choose to focus on the putative loss of parking spaces in downtown Ashland (July 1), instead of the positive and much more important news that unsightly vacant lots in downtown Ashland are finally under construction.

Only at the very end of her article does she quote a couple of visitors who say they have no problem parking in Ashland. In fact, out-of-towners think claims of insufficient parking in Ashland are ludicrous. In fact, those willing and able to walk a block, very occasionally two (horrors!), have no problem parking in downtown Ashland.

Reality Check: On July 3 at 2:30 p.m., with a Bowmer matinee in progress, at the height of tourism season and the day before a long holiday weekend, I drove downtown and found (1) a parking place in the Hargadine lot, right next to OSF; (2) 10 empty parking places on the coveted stretch of Main between Pioneer and Third; and (3) 16 empty parking places (out of 42 total) in the 310 Oak St. parking lot mentioned in Aldous's article.

And instead of focusing on increased parking fines, Aldous could have pointed out that Ashland has no parking meters. — Julia Sommer, Ashland

Thanks to local residents Barry and Kathryn Thalden, each of the light poles in the Ashland Plaza is now graced with two beautiful hanging plants. The Thaldens recognized that the plaza needed color and definition, and they stepped in to help. Barry and Kathryn contributed the supports and the pots, and the city retrofitted our light poles and added irrigation. The magnificent pots draw the eye and delineate the space.

Heartfelt thanks to the Thaldens for initiating the project, and to city staff for working hard to implement changes in time for July 4 festivities. The new pots remind us that our best efforts are always enhanced when city and residents work together. — Pam Marsh, Ashland City Council member

I had mixed emotions after reading Jeff Kassman's letter of July 3 in the Tribune about the artistic creativity and diversity in Ashland.

I may be wrong, but it seems to me he is saying Ashland is the best place to be. For him, maybe, and for me for I live here, too. However, for many young people this is not the case.

It is hard to find a job unless one works from one's computer; rents are high for families but salaries are not; and, with our spotty public transportation, two cars are often needed. Cultural diversity is great, but where's the racial diversity? I love the theater but, apart from the visitors, many audience members have white hair, as I do.

The students at SOU bring vibrancy to our valley, but I fear that Mr. Kassman's small, quaint city will turn into a retirement community of white folk. Is this really what the residents of Ashland want? I hope not. — Sarah Paul, Ashland

I think I have identified part of our local budget balance problem but I'm unsure of a fix. According to the front page of the MT on July 1, Medford Fire-Rescue Acting Chief Gordon Sletmoe said the engine cost $207,000 when it rolled off the assembly line.

"The last two engines we've purchased have cost $549,000 each," Sletmoe said. "So the price of these engines has nearly doubled in 20 years."

I'm no rocket scientist, but with the help of a calculator, all 10 of my fingers and a couple toes I redid the math and came to the conclusion that $549,000 was more than double $207,000 — plus an additional $135,000.

I understand when buying something with someone else's money its easier to buy something bigger, shinier and with more bells and whistles but still it's wise to stay within reason and conserve resources. If you must buy a new truck, donation of the old tender to a volunteer F.D. in our area would have seemed more practical. — Dan Meyer, Medford

I'm in 100 percent solidarity with Gordon DeVos, lauding his July 3 MT letter.

Neither major political party, whether Democrat or Republican, has moral credibility, and neither deserves the trust and support of the American public! Since the 1960s our nation collectively continues paying for the legacy of deceit, criminality, treason, sell-out and immorality of Lyndon B. Johnson (our worst president), and the corrupt, abusive and dictatorial Earl Warren Supreme Court and their Washington, D.C., insider ilk!

How did this happen? Largely because of the deceitful, willful ignorance of the deluded American voters who blindly "suck up" to our socialist two-party system! The late Robert Welch (1899- 1985): founder and past president of The John Birch Society with honest moral accuracy rightly predicted our nation's decline into socialism at the March 9, 1974, JBS Council Dinner in L.A. See and or simply enter into Google.

"Satan's Party Platform" by Coach Dave Daubenmire via YouTube addresses this, as does Pastor Chuck Baldwin and Devvy Kidd at Also, "When Good Citizens Do Nothing" at The Bible states: "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil." — Isaiah 5:20 — James A. Farmer, Ashland

The Humbug Hurry Up Mountain Bike Race was held in Yreka on June 29. The race was a huge success! We had 107 racers and 15 kids participate in our Kids' Races. Sixteen racers took on the Epic Endurance Challenge, a 42-mile throwback to the old long course of the Humbug.

The following Ashland, Talent, Jacksonville and Medford area bike shops contributed to the overall success of our event by providing prizes. We are truly grateful for their support. The mountain biking community in the State of Jefferson continues to impress me with their generosity and support of local mountain biking efforts.

Thank you to: Ashland Bicycle Works, Siskiyou Cyclery, Bear Creek Bicycle, United Bicycle Institute, Flywheel Bicycle Solutions, Cycle Analysis, Cycle Sport, Pure Clean Powder and REI. — Jill Harris, Rotary Club of Yreka Humbug Committee chair, Jefferson Mountain Bike Association president

I suppose the writer of "Police should be ashamed" July 2 would rather have had the autistic girl run out into traffic and get killed. Then they would have blamed the police anyway.

I believe they were concerned about her safety. If you have ever been stuck on the side of the freeway you know how scary it can be with those cars whizzing by at 70 miles an hour. — Rick Nelson, Medford

An interesting debate has been raging on this page between evolutionists and creationists.

One key ingredient that has so far been missing from these letters: the mathematics of probability. I'll not bore you with numbers, but the odds against us evolving out of primordial ooze because of millions of favorable mutations happening in a favorable sequence are staggering.

You'd have a better chance of success if you'd blindfolded yourself and tried to find a missing quarter that had been buried a foot deep somewhere in the state of Texas.

If, however, you prefer these odds and would rather shun a God that you don't believe in, go right ahead. It isn't my eternity that you're gambling with. — Ron Smith, Medford