Theres more to Sunnyside
Regarding the recent cover story 'All cry mercy over garage plan' (Jan. 6), which describes the battle between the Rinella family and some of their neighbors over a proposed five-car garage: The truth lies in between.
The article suggests that neighbors think the Rinellas' church is merely a tax dodge or, even worse, some kind of cult. Speaking only for myself as one of the neighbors, I think the Rinellas sincerely believe in their televangelist, and I haven't heard any of my neighbors suggest otherwise.
I am thrilled with what the Rinellas have done to refurbish the church. To their credit, they have spent thousands of dollars and put untold hours of work into maintaining the building and making it beautiful.
What has been really weird is that my wife and I have approached the Rinellas to talk about the proposed garage and have been blasted each time. My main emphasis has been supportive of them, and yet they haven't heard me.
The other bizarre side to this affair is the other charge, arguing that the middle-class neighbors are punishing the Rinellas because of their wealth. For the past few years the Sunnyside neighborhood has been vilified for supposedly turning its back on the homeless people being fed at the Methodist church nearby.
Having lived here for many years, I have found this neighborhood to be diverse, creative and more than tolerant of all kinds of people. Unfortunately the message persists that unless you're of the approved economic class, you're not welcome here.
I invite your readers and the Rinellas to be open to an alternative point of view.
Landowners' story-is all too common
The city of Portland's attempt to condemn the Courters' property at far below market value is truly shocking, but one must only look a little farther down the city's halls to find even more blatant attempts to confiscate property for free (The family that fought City Hall Ð and won, Dec. 16).
For years, the city has been taking private property Ñ giving zero compensation Ñ when it wishes to establish public wildlife habitat refuges on private property. So far, it has gotten away with this by rezoning property into environmental overlay zones.
Such a zone was created on my residential lot on Mount Scott, resulting in my not being able to use more than two-thirds of my property. My neighbor next door has lost more than 80 percent of his land. What's worse, there is nothing significantly 'environmental' about my land, but the city wanted to ensure that 'habitat' roaming on nearby environmentally significant land could roam free through mine also. Such callous disregard for private-property rights is appalling.
It is unfortunate that an extreme case such as the Courters' is needed to wake up the people of Portland to this kind of outrageous behavior by the city, while others continue to lose their property via the bureaucrat's sword.
Consideration goes-into curb extensions
In response to the letter 'TriMet makes buses bullies of the streets' (Insight, Dec. 16), I invite letter writer Terry Parker to attend PAC (Pedestrian Action Committee) meetings and workshops that the city offers when making the street changes and planning changes that Mr. Parker seems so opposed to.
A great amount of civic input is considered as well as communication from parties involved when making changes to streets and roadways. Curb extensions are not solely for TriMet and mass transit.
Pedestrian safety, traffic safety and speed, visual quality and parking concerns all are involved when extensions are placed. I encourage everyone to attend meetings whenever possible. You will learn a lot and find out 'the why' and gain perspective. Cars are an important part of our community, but so are mass transit, pedestrian safety, bicycle safety and environmental factors.
Try it. You'll like it!
We live in the best city in the United States, and planning is part of its greatness.