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Senator Ron Wyden hosts town hall for Yamhill County at Newberg Center
Photos and Story by Kate Chester
Portland Community College’s newest location – the Newberg Center – served as the site for a legislative town hall on Saturday, Feb. 4, hosted by United States Senator Ron Wyden. The town hall was geared toward residents of Yamhill County and attracted a “cozy” crowd of about 30 whose questions ranged from the status of economic sanctions on Iran, to health care, Internet piracy and the state of the country’s economy.
Representing the college at the town hall were District President Preston Pulliams; Sylvania Campus President Linda Gerber; Board Chair Jim Harper; and Board Member Gene Pitts. Pulliams and Gerber offered the welcome and led attendees in the pledge of allegiance before introducing City of Newberg Mayor Bob Andrews who served as the master of ceremonies.
“It was both an honor and a pleasure to have Senator Wyden host his town hall at PCC Newberg,” said Gerber. “We’re very proud of this facility, which is one of only a handful of academic buildings in the nation that are on the path to Net Zero.
“To be able to showcase it to the Senator and attendees – many of whom haven’t visited before – was a delight,” she said.
When elected to the U.S. Senate, Wyden pledged to hold at least one public town meeting in each of Oregon’s 36 counties every year. Keeping that promise since 1996, Wyden has held more than 612 town hall meetings across the state. These meetings are non-partisan gatherings open to anyone who is interested in discussing issues important to the local community or pending federal legislation.
When the conversation focused on the economy, Wyden noted on several occasions that PCC serves a critical role in the community, to re-train and educate those who are looking for new career opportunities.
“A sluggish economy translates to higher enrollment at community colleges,” said Gerber. “Students are looking to re-train themselves in new fields that offer more in the way of career opportunity and stability, and community colleges serve that need.
“We greatly appreciate Sen. Wyden’s acknowledgement of the integral role community colleges play as part of the overall economic engine,” Gerber said.