Let me say this about that

By Gene Klare

May 21, 1999

REPUBLICAN STATE SENATORS Eileen Qutub of Beaverton and Neil Bryant of Bend are sponsors of a bill in the Oregon Legislature that "would require that the next medium security prison in Oregon be built, owned and operated by a private out-of-state company."

The quote comes from a newspaper advertisement warning Oregonians about Senate Bill 1247. The ad was paid for by the Concerned Oregon Citizens Alliance, comprised of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Oregon Council 75 and others worried about the well-documented pitfalls and problems of privatized prisons.

The AFSCME ad says: "Warning - Oregon Citizens. Don't let the politicians sell Oregon's Prison System to the lowest bidder! ... Citizens beware ... private prison firms have placed thousands of lives at risk in other states ... Moreover, despite numerous studies on private prisons - proponents have been unable to demonstrate any significant cost savings from privatizing prisons."

THE ADVERTISEMENT lists riots, killings, escapes and incidents of brutality that have occurred in privatized prisons in various states, including Ohio, Texas and Arizona, and makes these points:

"The privatization of corrections facilities has led to escapes of dangerous convicted criminals, riots and property damage, prisoner-to-prisoner assaults, staff abuse, and inappropriate pregnancies.

"Increased costs to local law enforcement agencies to control inmate rampages, recapture escaped felons and rescue staff taken hostage. Oregon taxpayers will pay the bills if we allow prisons to go private in Oregon.

"Profits will create incentives to under-fund programs designed to rehabilitate criminals, under-staff and compromise security positions and procedures and risking community safety."

THE AFSCME AD asks Oregonians to call their 30 state senators and express opposition to SB1247 "that would mandate private prisons in Oregon."

Nationally, according to the New York Times, the number of private prisons has grown "from one or two in 1984" to 163 today. The Times went on to say: "In one way or another, the private prison industry now touches almost every state in the country. As tough sentencing laws have swelled prison populations, some 26 states have private companies operating or building prisons, which can often be built faster than public prisons. And states that do not have private prisons often send their inmates to states that do."

Oregon is one of those states without a private prison that has sent inmates to states with mercenary lockups. The AFSCME ad noted that some female prisoners, including ones from Oregon, have been returned to public prisons in their home states "after being housed in a private facility and documented charges are brought stating incidents of rape, sodomy and being forced to perform strip dances for private security staff entertainment. Inmates were returned to Oregon pregnant - thereby offering legitimacy to the charges and leaving Oregon taxpayers with the bill for these inmates and leaving Oregon taxpayers with the bill for these inmates and their unborn children."


DENNIS MAX MONTGOMERY, retired financial secretary of Portland Painters Local 10, died of a heart attack while working in his Troutdale yard on April 30. He was 68 years old.

He had retired in 1993 after serving 14 years as the union's financial secretary. He also had been the local's recording secretary and a trustee, and was a trustee of the union's pension fund. He'd represented Local 10 as a delegate to the Portland Metal Trades Council, Columbia-Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council, Northwest Oregon Labor Council and Oregon AFL-CIO.

Montgomery was a longtime member of the Painters and Drywall Finishers Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees.

His civic activity included membership on the board of directors of the Mountain View Federal Credit Union in east Multnomah County.

BEFORE MONTGOMERY joined Local 10 in 1956 he'd worked as a member of Portland Retail Clerks Local 1092 (now part of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555) and as member of Teamsters Local 162. While working at the painting trade he was employed as a maintenance painter at Reynolds Metals in Troutdale.

He was born on Oct. 31, 1930 in Salem and grew up in Corvallis where he graduated from high school and attended Oregon State University. After U.S. Army service during the Korean War he moved to Portland.

Montgomery and his first wife, Jovita Yeager, were later divorced; his second wife, Phyllis, died in 1979, and he married Hazel Cook in 1997.

Survivors include his wife; two sons, Mark of Troutdale and Max of Cascade Locks; a daughter, Laura Brewster of Redmond; seven stepchildren; 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

His funeral was held May 5 at Mt. Scott Funeral Home followed by interment at Skyline Memorial Gardens.

Remembrances can be sent to the Leukemia Society of America's Oregon chapter.


BARBARA C. WORLEY, wife of Iron Worker LeRoy E. Worley, died in Portland on May 4 at age 57 of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

She was born on Nov. 7, 1941 in Minot, N.D., and married LeRoy in 1961. They lived in Portland until the late 1980s when he was elected international secretary of the Iron Workers and they moved to the Washington, D.C., area, living in Falls Church, Va. They returned to Portland last year because of her illness.

Mrs. Worley is survived by her husband; three sons, Christopher of Mill Creek, Wash., Lee and Patrick, both of Portland; two daughters, Karen of Tacoma and Margaret Cuccinell of Kensington, Md.; her father, Clayton Charlebois of Albany; a brother, Richard Charlebois of Minot; a sister, Mary Richer of Kirkland, Wash.; and 10 grandchildren.

A funeral mass for her was held May 11 at All Saints Catholic Church in northeast Portland. She was cremated with arrangements handled by Omega Funeral and Cremation Service. Memorial contributions can be sent to the American Cancer Society.


STEVE SOCOTCH of Salem, a former secretary-treasurer of the Oregon AFL-CIO who died at age 48 on the May 1 International Labor Day, was "an excellent, loving father who helped raise three wonderful children," his wife Laurie told the NW Labor Press. Steve's obituary was printed in the May 7 issue of the Labor Press. He had suffered from lupus and other illnesses that caused him almost constant pain for the last nine years.

Mrs. Socotch said Steve had been unable to work at the SAIF Corp., a state-owned workers' compensation company, for the past five years and was receiving kidney dialysis treatments. But he still managed to drive to his children's schools and chauffeur them home almost every day. She also said Steve regularly attended l0-year-old Peter's Little League baseball games in which their youngest son alternated between pitching and playing first base. Their other children are Thomas, 12, who plays the trumpet, and Jill, 14, who plays the viola and throws the discus for her school's track team.

A trust fund for the Socotch children' education has been set up at a bank in Salem. Contributions can be sent to the Socotch Memorial Fund, First Security Bank, Post Office Box 868, Salem OR 97308.


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