When the city of Portland sends its police chief to Israel to learn how the Israeli Defense Force handles civilians Ñ by shooting them dead if they protest or are in the neighborhood Ñ can we be surprised when that chief's officers are trigger-happy?
Kendra James was an unarmed, 110-pound woman posing no threat to Portland police or anyone else (Shooting under review, May 9). She attempted to flee from a minor traffic stop and was shot dead. 'Impossible,' say my friends from other areas of the country. 'She was black,' I tell them. 'Oh,' they say, understanding.
It is long past time for Chief Kroeker to find a new line of work.
Tom H. Hastings
An exception is needed
for tall condo project
I was shocked to read of the recent Design Review Commission decision regarding a proposed Portland State University condo project (26-story tower planned, May 9).
The commission told the developer, Eric Van Doorninck, to lop 1 foot off the top of the $30 million tower, modify the exterior material proposed and redesign some of the ground-floor features. Now the builder needs to re-engineer the building and delay construction to allow for another bureaucratic review in which to obtain necessary approvals of this proposed building.
Jobs, housing and an increased property-tax base all can wait while the commission members decide if they like the 'look' of the building. Get real! No one cares about 1 extra foot of height on a 26-story building.
Who should decide the exterior and floor plan better than the company spending the dollars to build this project, or the company that needs to sell and rent space to make a profit?
People wonder why Portland is losing business and is constantly reaching for more tax revenue. Government needs to get out of the way and quit interfering with projects such as this. Let businessmen go about their task. We would all benefit.
Robert L. Bocci
portrayed peace efforts
The recent article 'Activists try a new tack for Thursday rally' (April 29) is confused and misleading.
Contrary to a distorted paraphrase attributed to me, the peace community is not 'struggling with the question of how to regain the supporters who are drifting away.' What I said was that local activists are considering ways to deepen and strengthen support for the peace movement by undertaking projects, such as neighborhood canvassing, that we hope will make our work more effective in the future.
As evidence of 'supporters who are drifting away,' the article claims that 'attendance has plummeted at such ongoing demonstrations as the Friday afternoon Pioneer Courthouse Square rallies.' Actually, the attendance has returned to the levels that we saw before the outbreak of war; after the war began, attendance jumped six- to eightfold.
Moreover the return to the smaller numbers cannot be attributed to 'clogged downtown traffic'; the Portland Peaceful Response Coalition long has been committed to conducting the Friday rallies in a peaceful, nonconfrontational manner, even to the extent of getting permits for the larger marches that followed the attack on Iraq.
Finally, we are unapologetic about our support of nonviolent civil disobedience to express dissent from our country's illegal and immoral war and occupation in Iraq. Civil disobedience will sometimes be 'inconvenient,' but it is a disruption of 'business as usual' in the tradition of the great social movements of our still-evolving democracy.
The movements for women's suffrage, for civil rights, for labor rights, for environmental protections and for welfare rights Ñ all used nonviolent civil disobedience to further the struggle for justice in this country, and today we enjoy the benefits and freedoms won in all of those courageous struggles.
Make Waterfront Park
home for new ice rink
We are taxed to build 'public spaces,' and then to add insult to injury we are expected to pay again to use these spaces (e.g., the Classical Chinese Garden). And now the administrators of Pioneer Courthouse Square, despite a Ñ to be charitable Ñ lack of support, still intend to cut out 7,500 square feet of Portland's living room and make us pay to use it, too (Rink resistance shows no sign of thawing, May 9).
I have an idea about where to build a rink: the one space in downtown Portland that citizens are already paying to use Ñ Waterfront Park. Festivals held there are walled off and charge an entry fee; the precedent is already set. And since the city is probably going to spend money to cover several blocks with a new surface, arguments about damage to the landscape are moot. It has a view that could be a good drawing point, it's just off the MAX line, and the waterfront businesses would appreciate the increased traffic.
If people are going to insist on creating another 'draw' we have to pay for twice, in the creating and in the using, at least keep it within a recognized space rather than cutting chunks out of the city at random.