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Letters, Feb. 26

Do your job

Most have heard the phrase: “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” While some commit to ensuring that our children benefit from a planet at least as healthy as the one we gained, others adopt a behavior that echoes a different philosophy.

Last year’s global climate strike saw millions of our youth urge us to take action to protect the climate for them and their children. If we care about our children, we need to heed this urging and work together to make changes.

As earth inhabitants we face a crisis of our making. Should we take action, and maybe pay a little now, to ensure a better future for those who follow us, or continue our current path of consumption? With efforts to pass an Oregon Greenhouse Gas Initiative, state legislators have an opportunity to establish a way to reverse our current pathway.

While some legislators are committed to doing what they can by establishing a greenhouse gas emissions reduction program, others seem committed to thwarting this effort and continuing the road to collective destruction. It’s time for our representatives to stay in Salem and work together to do their job!

Kathy Conway


Potential safety concern

I live half a mile from South Medford High School.

The Medford Planning Department is recommending approval of a request for a multi-dwelling unit consisting of 16 units from ColumbiaCare Services, a mental health agency. Approximately 16 more units in phase 2 development are planned in the future. This site is on the southwest corner of Stewart and Columbus avenues.

This is not a regular apartment complex, rather it is transitional housing for homeless veterans with mental health illness.

There will be a public hearing in which anyone is welcome to attend at noon Friday, March 6 in the Medford City Council Chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 411 W. Eighth St.

The south Medford community, South Medford High School and parents need to be aware of this as it will impact them and could potentially be a safety concern for our children.

I’m not trying to stop the care for the homeless. I think we do need to address these issues, but I don’t think this is the appropriate spot, being a half mile from South Medford High School with children walking by this transitional housing on their way to school.

Brooks Durham


Criminalizing mental illness

The 1980s brought the war on drugs and an era of mass incarceration.

About 47% of inmates are convicted of nonviolent offenses. 60% of those in jail and prison are mentally ill. One in five jail inmates has a serious mental illness.

The DSM-5 defines substance-abuse disorder as a mental illness. Mental illness is not voluntary. It is a consequence of inherited and environmental impacts imposed upon people as their “lottery at birth.”

Criminalizing mental illness hurts innocent kids. Ten million USA children have incarcerated parents. Half under 10. Kids are collateral damage consequences of incarceration.

Incarcerated parents report at their arrest that 67% were handcuffed in front of their kids; 27% report kids saw drawn weapons, physical struggles and pepper spray.

Parental incarceration is an adverse childhood experience (ACE), a combination of shame, trauma and stigma. About 15-20% of children entering the child welfare system have an incarcerated parent.

Hurting kids is a crime we can stop. All first responders and law-enforcement team members need continuous training for crisis intervention with the mentally ill.

Mental illness is treatable. Jackson County needs a strategic long-term plan to treat mental illness including substance use disorder and to decriminalize mental illness.

Pam Allister, Addictions Recovery Team outreach worker, Jackson County DHS Child Welfare

Central Point

Thanks to Paul Steinle

Thank you for your service, Paul Steinle (profiled in the Mail Tribune Oct. 24).

Thank you for your reporting from the fire bases in Vietnam to the Rogue Valley.

Thank you for being a true journalist. Thank you for your service.

Steve Clements


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