Christie: OTEC should provide electricity, not political patronage

To the Editor:

Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative is a nonprofit corporate utility incorporated in the state of Oregon as a consumer cooperative. Its purpose, as stated in the Articles of Incorporation, is to be a cooperative electric utility providing the essential public service of helping its members to have access to the electrical energy that is so necessary to their lives.

The purposes of the cooperative are stated specifically in the Articles of Incorporation:

1. To benefit primarily residential and small farm consumers of electric energy.

2. To generate, manufacture, purchase, acquire and accumulate electric energy for its members only and to transmit, distribute, furnish, sell and dispose of such electric energy to its members only, and to construct, purchase, lease as lessee and in any manner acquire, own, hold, maintain, operate, sell, dispose of, lease as lessor, exchange and mortgage plants, buildings, works, machinery, supplies, apparatus, equipment and electric transmission and distribution lines or systems, necessary, convenient or appropriate to accomplish any or all of the purposes of the cooperative. . . .

5. To assist its members to wire their premises and install therein electrical and plumbing appliances, fixtures, machinery, supplies, apparatus and equipment of any and all kinds and character, and, in connection therewith and for such purposes, to purchase, acquire, lease, sell, distribute, install and repair electrical and plumbing appliances, fixtures, machinery, supplies, apparatus and equipment of any and all kinds and character. . . .

Notice there is no reference to a philanthropic or charitable purpose that is unrelated to providing essential electrical energy to members. OTEC was formed to provide its members with the benefits of electrical energy, not to become a philanthropic foundation serving the special interests of nine directors. Charitable foundations adequately fulfill that function. When OTEC takes the membership’s money to give to individuals for purposes that are unrelated to the provision of essential electrical energy, such as monetary awards or trips to Washington D.C., it begins to look more like political patronage, wherein favors are given in return for political support.

For more information about OTEC see

Christopher Christie

Baker City

McHaddad: United Way of Eastern Oregon celebrates 2018 Union County giving

To the Editor:

It is no secret that poverty is a problem in Union County. Federal agencies reported a poverty rate of 13.3 percent in 2017, as well as an average monthly unemployment rate of 5.3 percent.

Thankfully, Union County residents stepped up to take ownership of their community in 2018, helping United Way of Eastern Oregon raise more than $40,000 for organizations supporting regional hunger relief, child welfare, and sexual assault awareness/prevention efforts. We celebrate contributions from around Union County, including employees of local business and government agencies; Avista, Bi-Mart, Boise Cascade, La Grande Amusement and U.S. Bank; and community members.

In 2019, UWEO hopes to build new relationships with businesses and workers in Union County to expand our employee giving and donation efforts. If every employer in Union County donated $100 annually and every worker donated $1 per month, United Way of Eastern Oregon could give more than $159,000 to charities in Union County every year. When you give to United Way, your contribution stays local, and 100 percent goes to your designated charity without losing a cent to “overhead costs.”

Visit for more information about how you or your business can partner with us to support Union County charities in 2019.

Alex McHaddad

Executive Director, United Way of Eastern Oregon