Regarding "Parish addresses racial healing,"

Sticking in my craw is mention of the old bromide “Lake No-Negro.” Well, Lake Oswego is out of reach for me, too, and for many other whites who can’t afford housing there. I have a story to put this allegation of racism to rest.

I work transporting foster children from their new homes to their old schools, since the state wants to maintain some continuity in the life of the child. About four years ago, I went to pick up three sisters from a homeless shelter on Southeast Stark Street for delivery to three different schools in Lake Oswego.

First to come to me was a Black girl with reddish hair, who greeted me and then continued to look at me quietly. Next came a younger sister, who held a plastic rosary in both hands, offering it to me. The oldest sister, a junior at Lakeridge High, came last.

For six weeks I picked them up. They told me that they’d come from Las Vegas two years earlier and had gotten a room at a Lake Oswego motel and began attending Lake Oswego schools. The father, who was white, later abandoned the family and they landed the Portland shelter.

The Lake Oswego School District continued to transport them back and forth daily at great expense. The arrangement continued into a second year since it would be the senior year at Lakeridge for the oldest girl, a standout who sang in choir, played tennis and took part in drama while working full time at a fast food restaurant in Portland.

She dated a young man whose family warmly welcomed her into their Lake Oswego home. I attended her school musical and graduation. Never did I see anything but enormous goodwill toward this young Black woman from the people of Lake Oswego.

Unfortunately, the school district evidently felt it could not justify continuing to transport the two younger sisters years into the future.

Those girls could have had a top education anywhere if only we Oregonians had voted for tuition vouchers. There is great resistance to this idea, but I doubt very much that it comes from the good people of Lake Oswego.

Lee Gilbert