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Our readers also have strong feelings about unreinforced masonry buildings, modern day slavery and immigration.

Dwight Eisenhower once said, "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you are a thousand miles away from a field."

Right now, environmental activists and other groups are attacking the farm bill and policies that are in the best interest of farmers, like me.

Every day, I wake up and am proud to live on the farm my great-grandparents once farmed and where my mother and I played as children. It is difficult making a living farming these days, but farming is a passion and a calling. My success is a benefit and success for our community.

Unfortunately, this way of life is being attacked by groups who do not understand what happens day-to-day on a farm. Sadly, nationwide net farm income has fallen 52 percent since 2013, one of the steepest drops since the Great Depression.

Locally, Oregon boasts 34,400 farms that cover 16.3 million acres. In 2014, sales of farm products contributed $5,601,332,000 to the state's economy.

The farm bill touches everyone in Oregon in numerous ways. Besides the farms, it supports infrastructure and economic development in rural communities, incentivizes maintenance of good conservation practices and helps provide access to food for those less fortunate.

Nutrition, the rural economy and environmental sustainability all improve when our farms are financially stable. All Americans benefit when farmers can survive economic downturns, deal with Mother Nature and provide food, fuel and fiber security for America. For these reasons, I urge Congress to vote "YES" on the farm bill.

Angela Bailey

Gresham

City should not delay buildings' seismic retrofit

I appreciate the Tribune featuring timely remarks about the need for retrofits of unreinforced masonry buildings sooner rather than later ("Shaken by city's seismic retrofit edict, property owners rally," June 19).

Decades ago, I typed up the paper of a geologist, Chris Newhall, on the Mount St. Helens project, regarding the public's tendency to underestimate the likelihood of rare natural disasters. In later years, he continued as committed as ever to the role of earth scientists in bringing to the public's attention the complicated truth of possible imminent disaster threat, and to attack skepticism about how great the risk may be.

It disturbs me greatly how our City Council and many landowners are taking the mañana approach to this risk, pushing off the risk of these buildings to tenants and passersby for such a lengthy period. I was struck by the one landowner being glad about the proposed 20 years to do the fixes, when a big quake could happen tomorrow. It sounds like these landowners are willing to risk their buildings being turned into rubble in order to avoid financial pain now.

Nancy Hedrick

North Portland

You should remind readers that slavery is not dead

In the excellent June 15 article, "Ex-wife admits role in forced-labor scheme," the four people lured into the United States by Mr. and Mrs. Jumroon, then forced to do restaurant work 12-hour days, six to seven days a week, were enslaved by the Jumroons.

They were slaves. The word "slave" was not used in the article. Let's use the real word and avoid euphemisms in future articles.

Slavery is not dead, and is happening in Oregon and the rest of the world. The article is important to call attention to this fact, and I urge you to do more coverage of modern-day slavery locally.

The article did not say anything about where the four former slaves are now, whether they are receiving counseling or rehabilitation, or deported back to Thailand, or what their future holds.

What a tragic situation for them, and the thousands of others who suffer similar modern day slavery in today's world.

Marian Drake

Northeast Portland

Does Merkley represent our children, or immigrants?

I just read Sen. Jeff Merkley's June 14 My View article ("Zero tolerance? Separating families at border is 'zero humanity' ").

I have one question for him: Why did he ask how successful the agencies are in finding homes across the country for the illegal alien kids? Why would we be finding them homes in the U.S.? They need to return to their own countries along with their parents.

Does he advocate deporting the parents and keeping the kids here? I do wish he'd concentrate on the kids in Oregon who also need help. Those separated from their parents in prison or those whose parents are deployed overseas with our military.

He was serving in the U.S. Senate when President Obama started this program in 2014. What did he do about it then? Just asking.

B.J. Anderson

Northwest Portland

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