The residents of the neighborhood near St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Southeast Portland are learning a valuable lesson about the effects of civic policies such as the Old Town exclusion zones and more aggressive antipanhandling measures downtown (Police demand church solution, Oct. 18).
The lesson is that relocating problems does not solve them. With fewer social services available for the needy and economic conditions the worst in recent history, St. Francis should be applauded by the community for its efforts to feed the hungry. Instead, it is being attacked by its neighbors and threatened by the city, even though this is a church that is featured in a book titled 'Excellent Catholic Parishes.'
I find the comments of one local business owner especially inflammatory and suspicious. Anne Hughes claims to have closed her restaurant because she could no longer guarantee the safety of her customers. Area residents, however, will tell you that she has closed her business for up to two months at a time in the past Ñ for vacations. The owners of Ca–ita just set up shop at West Burnside and Fifth Avenue. They probably don't 'guarantee the safety of their customers' while they walk back to their cars.
Hopefully, some agreement can be reached in the coming weeks that will allow St. Francis to continue its valuable social work without area businesses feeling the need to blame them for society's ills.
City streams story
missed key issues
We were deeply troubled by the imbalance and emphasis on personalities in the Oct. 8 article covering Portland's draft Healthy Portland Streams program (City stream plan takes on water).
The article cited individuals like John Charles, from the conservative Cascade Policy Institute, and real estate lobbyist John DiLorenzo, who have been entirely uninvolved in the city's public review process. That process started more than two years ago when the city convened a citizen review committee consisting of homeowners, watershed council members, conservationists, developers and other stakeholders.
Neither this context nor the veracity of Ben Langlotz's criticisms were examined in the Tribune's reporting. Langlotz's letters to landowners falsely asserted that the city wants 'complete control of your property' and that the new code would prevent people from growing vegetable gardens.
Numerous citizens, scientists and homeowners have been organizing for months as the Portland-Vancouver
Regional Stream Coalition (www.pdxstreams.org) to counter these and other falsehoods while supporting constructive improvements to the draft plan. We don't know how we were missed in this news story.
The need to clarify these misleading statements to the public in part explains why the city has extended the timeline for the Healthy Portland Streams program. A diversity of interests and concerns was reflected in the public review of the draft proposal. Many were supportive of the city's intent and offered specific revisions and suggestions to facilitate and improve the plan. This and the city's effort to meet one-on-one with landowners and other stakeholders also explain the extended timeline.
Mr. Langlotz's inflammatory rhetoric has done plenty to get him attention in the press but has done little to offer constructive improvements.
The article highlighted the one environmental consultant who has questioned the draft plan. But the reporter neglected to contact published research scientists such as Boone Kauffman at Oregon State University or Richard Horner at the University of Washington, both of whom have positively reviewed the use and application of supporting scientific literature.
The article totally overlooked the environmental problems the city is trying to address with Healthy Portland Streams. Portland's growing population and development patterns in the 1990s have produced cumulative impacts on our watersheds and the fish, wildlife and environmental services they support. Apart from the ecological impacts, poorly planned urban development along streams has diminished the livability and property values in many neighborhoods.
We ask that, in the future, the Portland Tribune give its reporters the time, resources and encouragement to provide more in-depth and balanced reporting on these important issues.
Jim Labbe and 14 co-signers
Regional Stream Coalition
For flaggers, safety
is the main concern
I wish to bring to the attention of the public what a flagger really does: We save lives. That is the bottom line.
Many of us are single parents who do not work for as much money as some people think. Most of us work out in the rain, are thirsty on hot days and sometimes faint as the road reflects greater heat than what the public experiences. Some get lucky and get the prevailing wage; most do not.
What is important is that we are human beings; many are single parents whose children would have no one to care for them if you hurt us or kill us on the road.
We do bring drivers' bad behavior in slow zones to the attention of police, but rarely if ever does someone get cited with any traffic violation. Most officers claim that they have to witness this. I do not think that it's good use of our police officers to stick around a utility or construction work site.
Trust me. When we report road rage, it is because we have been put in danger by a motorist.
Flaggers are there to keep you safe on the road, to keep you from crashing into other cars or work trucks, construction trucks, dump trucks, backhoes and other large construction items that would kill a motorist instantly. In short, flaggers are on the roads to save your lives.
Please do not put us in danger. Do not get angry with us, for that delay is saving your life and others.
Are activists on left
being singled out?
Letter writer John Stewart dubiously claims that the crimes of 'ecoterrorists' are indeed terrorism, though such crimes tend to not (intentionally or unintentionally) involve bodily harm to others
(Activists who damage property are criminals, Oct. 8).
If he and the corporation-serving politicians who prosecute such environmental activists for terrorism claim that such acts are indeed terrorism, why don't they consider hate crimes terrorism and prosecute accordingly?
Hate crimes are more common and are often meant to (and do) cause bodily harm to others. Like the terrorist acts committed against our nation by Islamic fundamentalists, hate crimes are often meant to scare people into conforming to the unreasonable strictness and arbitrary bigotry of particular religious sects.
Could it be that the political and corporate establishment considers crimes in defense of the environment to be terrorism, and hate crimes not to be terrorism, because people who commit the former are on the political left and people who commit the latter are on the political right?
Is the supposedly noble 'war on terror' just another excuse for the Bush administration and other right-wing forces to silence and persecute those who oppose them?