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Fund TriMet, help limit cars

Readers’ Letters

Fred Nussbaum's letter covers important issues concerning TriMet (TriMet needs to toughen up, Insight, Jan. 23). If we are to limit the use of the single occupancy automobile (as the city of Portland's Transportation System Plan advocates), TriMet needs to implement no-nonsense, pragmatic solutions so more commuters can depend on service regardless of weather conditions.

That said, however, I think TriMet did an outstanding job considering this was the worst storm in decades. All the cities mentioned in Nussbaum's letter Ñ Denver, Salt Lake City and Minneapolis Ñ are well prepared to deal with extreme weather because they confront it yearly. It would be expected that they could tackle them with relative ease, whereas Portland must roll with the punches, to a degree, when an extraordinary storm befalls us.

Because oil is a scarce commodity, and because it's impossible to produce it once it runs out, public transit will have to step in when peak oil production is reached (estimated to be sometime between 2010 and 2020). The sooner we start building more MAX lines and bicycle routes, the better off we will be. Nussbaum's letter addresses how the loss of service during the storm affected people who have no option other than public transit. One way for them to protect their interests, while making the city safer and more livable, is to make sure the city knows that funding TriMet is more important than the prolongation of car culture, which is inferior in nearly every way.

Scott Larkin

Northeast Portland

Growth subsidies are

wasting state money

Now that Measure 30 has failed, it's time for citizens to pass a law to end the massive subsidies for growth in Oregon.

Every year, according to a 2002 study conducted by Eugene planner Eben Fodor, Oregonians subsidize growth to the tune of, conservatively, $1.2 billion. (See the Alternatives to Growth Oregon Web site at: http://www.agoregon.org/page.asp?navid=82). At least one-third of that comes out of state coffers.

These include the basic costs that residents are forced to pay for new commercial and residential development Ñ corporate welfare. None of this estimate includes governmental agency time and materials spent on growth-promotion schemes, port expansions, river-dredgings, loss of natural resource services, or gubernatorial growth-promotion junkets abroad.

What's shameful is that these growth subsidies remain sacrosanct, while education, health care and basic social services will now be cut.

As long as growth is promoted and subsidized in Oregon, its costs will continue to tally. Resources will become more scarce, and economic woes will continue rising for the majority, to the benefit of a minority.

In the place of wasting public funds to draw new businesses and residents to Oregon, we should let ourselves prosper by enriching local, sustainable commerce. Cutting the growth subsidies will facilitate this healthy goal, free up funds for services, release us from corporate servitude and reduce the personal tax burden.

M. Scott Jones

Alternatives to Growth adviser

Northeast Portland

Parties should pay

for their own security

Portland spent a great deal of its scarce funds protecting Vice President Dick Cheney, an executive who was never elected to his position by a majority of anyone other than the Supreme Court ('Little Beirut' fades as city gets crafty, Jan. 16). Further, he was not here in his capacity as vice president, but rather, as your story accurately reports, he simply raised funds for the Republican Party.

So now the city of Portland pays for the security of Republican fund-raisers, does it illegally, and then asserts that the Secret Service made them do it. Message to the Portland police: Just say no. Let the Republican Party pay for its own bouncers.

Tom H. Hastings

Southwest Portland

Winter Hawks are

a point of civic pride

Like Dwight Jaynes, Ilove hockey (Tough times for Winter Hawks, Feb. 6). Ihave been eager forsomeone to pick up the story that has been overlooked these last few months Ñ that the Portland Winter Hawks are indeed 'worth saving.' I believethat attending a Hawks game is the best sports value in the city, and the closest thing to a wholesome family-friendly professional sports event this town has to offer.

Attendance at some Hawks games has been nearing Ñ and perhapssurpassing Ñ Trail Blazer attendance.Familiesand sports fans are voting by putting their butts in the seats at Winter Hawks games. We're sick of the Blazers' mockery of sportsmanship and citizenship, and we're discovering and enjoying the dedication the young skaters demonstrate to their team and their community.

In the midst of the exasperating, disdainful and embarrassing stunts perpetrated by the city's professional basketball players, the Winter Hawks offer an alternative that sports fans and parents can afford and support without apology.

But Jaynes, while concluding that the Hawks are 'worth saving,' devotes much of his column to describingthe structural flaws he finds at Memorial Coliseum. Then he writes that he's 'seen enough dull games this season to last a lifetime.' He fails to provide a single reason why any of his readers should rally behind his call to save the Hawks, let alone attend a game or two.

Hockey really is a great sport, and attending a Winter Hawks game can be a lot of fun. Jaynes should think about telling his readers that.

Michael Reid

Northeast Portland