Here's a predictionabout psychic readers

I was dismayed to see the article soliciting the opinion of local psychics regarding Portland's economic forecast for 2005 (What's in the cards?,Dec. 31). Considering the fact that so-called 'psychic' phenomena have never been empirically verified, it was surprising to see such content in the business section rather than the living section, where it is usually found next to the horoscopes.

A newspaper should exist to inform its community with accurate and reliable information that provides context and insight. When a paper reduces itself to infotainment by providing legitimacy to emotional con artists, the social discourse is reduced to a competition of ignorant delusions and blind assumptions rather than critical thought.

I do not doubt the utility that many people find through psychics in constructing their own subjective truths. However, it should not be the place of an otherwise exemplary paper such as the Portland Tribune to present such subjectivity as though it were objectively valid.

I predict that the psychics will disagree with me.

Matthew Stockton

Northeast Portland

The big trucks carryour economy inside

Regarding the story 'Stalled freight costs big bucks' (Dec. 21), the sources got it half right. It isn't so much that the public isn't conscious of the freight problem; the public thinks trucks are the problem.

Ask residents of St. Johns or Overlook in North Portland, ask commuters on Interstate 5, ask me after a drive into Portland on Interstate 84 from the gorge Ñ and I manage the region's only project specifically aimed at improving freight movement. I should know better!

The first task of everyone seeking to improve the movement of freight Ñ that's Metro, the Port of Portland, carriers, shippers and projects like mine Ñ must be to increase public awareness of a basic fact: Moving goods and services is the lifeblood of our regional economy, and for all our sakes it should take priority on our roadways.

That said, how we go about improving freight movement needs to start with a careful analysis of our roadway system. Data presented to the I-5 Task Force several years ago indicated that only about 10 percent of the vehicles on I-5 in peak hours were trucks. Most of the congestion at those times is due to people driving to work, most of them alone.

The focus for those of us seeking to improve the movement of freight needs to be increasing the efficiency of existing roadway capacity. New capacity Ñ that is, more lanes Ñ will be overwhelmed by commuters, most of them alone in their cars, swearing at the trucks. Give people options to driving to work alone, and a significant number will take them Ñ and freight will move better for it.

Lenny Anderson

Project manager,

Swan Island Transportation Management Association

Northeast Portland