Featured Stories

Insurance counts a lot

by: Jim Clark, Doctors Steven Matous (left) and John Ragsdale remove a kidney for transplant at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital & Medical Center. Many factors play into the wait list for organs; a patient who recently received a kidney says financial and insurance considerations play a large part.

'The Waiting Game' shows well the regional inequities that exist under the current organ allocation system but does not discuss the financial and health insurance systems that also play a large part in determining who will be considered a suitable candidate for transplantation (Aug. 1).

All end-stage renal disease patients qualify for Renal Medicare coverage for both lifesaving dialysis and transplantation costs. Those fortunate to also have additional health insurance will pay little, if anything, for their treatment.

The article inaccurately states personal wealth made it possible for me to travel from my home state to undergo a kidney transplant at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center.

I am insured under my husband's group health insurance though his employment. Our transportation, housing and some groceries were paid under the policy as well as the hospital and medical fees for the surgery and post-surgical care.

Medicare assumed the balance of the medical cost not covered by the private insurer.

Certainly those without insurance coverage, in addition to Medicare, may lack the resources to find the optimum situation as I did. As the article states, patients who lack the ability to fund the lifelong medications may also be denied listing for transplantation.

This only underscores the disparities in our health insurance system and the need for equitable national health care for all citizens.

Donalyn P. Dow

San Jose, Calif.

Locals appreciate Tanner Park's quiet

So let me get this straight: Tanner Springs is being criticized because it's not appropriate for unrestricted kid play, dogs have to be on-leash and construction workers can't ogle girls (Visit, but don't play, July 14)?

I visit Tanner Springs Park at least three times a week precisely because it is quiet, beautiful and contemplative. It's a sanctuary in the heart of the city, a marvel of urban design and the perfect complement to the Pearl. And not once have I been there without seeing other people enjoying it as well.

Truthfully, I'm a little tired of children constantly setting the standard for the rest of the world. Not to sound like a crank or a curmudgeon, but why does everything have to be kid-friendly?

It's not like parents face undue hardship; they can simply walk a block over to Jamison Square where - at least in hot weather - the entire park is given over to hordes of happy children.

Some of us enjoy a little peace and quiet. The pointless criticism of Tanner Springs smacks of a thinly veiled attempt to re-create the suburbs in one of the most highly urban - and highly desirable - neighborhoods in Portland.

Tanner Springs is a rare jewel, and I commend the city for building it.

Clark Hays

Northwest Portland

Article buried some key information

Any public project receives mixed reviews, and Tanner Springs Park is no exception (Visit, but don't play, July 14).

As Henry Kunowski clearly stated, its function is contemplative rather than active. The goal for the park was determined by the community for the community. Taken in the context of the plan for all the open spaces in the district, the intent of Tanner Springs makes sense.

Why was this information buried in the last two paragraphs of the article, where you know most people will never see it? The story was an opportunity to inform the public about the range of choices that will be provided in the district, and the role of Tanner Springs, and it missed the opportunity.

As Portland urbanizes and open land dwindles to next to nothing, there is increasing competition for our open green space.

One message designers of public spaces hear most often from the community is that open spaces have too much use, too many programmed spaces, and not enough opportunity to just sit, contemplate nature and experience relative quiet in the urban setting.

How bold of the city to set aside an entire city block of extremely valuable land to provide what the neighbors clearly wanted!

Patty Freeman

Southeast Portland