Sen. Ron Wyden held a meeting for the Town of Lakeview at the Senior Center on
Saturday, May 11.
With about 25-30 residents in attendance, the Senator started the evening by honoring three veterans from the Korean War, who were then asked to address the Town with an impromtu speech.
Jerry Wardwell, Mel Young and Lee Sanders all obliged, and the Senator and crowd listened intently to the stories each soldier told. Wyden was pleased with their speeches and candor and thanked them for their services. “Your service is remembered and appreciated,” he said.
Sen. Wyden then opened the floor to those in attendance to ask questions. The first question was centered around the March Worldwide Threat Report and the escalating threat in the Middle East.
With Israel having attacked Syria recently, the Senator’s moves would aim toward de-escalating the conflict.
“We need to find a 2-state solution,” he said. “Until we do that, that area is going to remain in conflict.” Wyden cited the peace talks between former President Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat of Palestine, and noted that Clinton offered the late Arafat the world, only to have him refuse the President’s offer.
Since then, talks have been few and far between, with even less progress made.
The topic then changed to the Secure Rural Schools law, which was brought up when unemployment came to the foray via a discussion about the forestry industry.
Senator Wyden indicated that the law needed to be extended a few years to further increase jobs in the industry.
The Barry Point Fire, which recently held an informational hearing in Salem, was one of the hotter topics of the night.
The Senator faced a tough question of taxation on victims of the fire who are trying to salvage what they can to cover their costs.
One of the residents in attendance claimed that he raised $6,000 in salvage operations and had to pay back $5,000 of that in taxes to the government.
The Senator focused his response on the need to maintain healthy forests to prevent fires of the Barry Point magnitude, saying that it is his “highest priority.”
He also asked whether the taxes were paid to the federal government or the state government. The issue was tabled pending further information.
Seeing the longest floor time was the topic of gun control, which has been a hot button issue for well over a year.
Instances of thinning ammunition supply kicked off the conversation as audience members remarked about locals following ammunition delivery trailers to their stores in attempts to obtain ammunition before it hits the shelves, literally.
Sen. Wyden tackled the issue of gun control by highlighting a three-point process that needs to be enforced in order to avoid calamities of recent past. He argued for more stringent checks on mental health, better background checks that also ensure that military style weapons aren’t widely accessible, and that the straw man tactic is made illegal.