Dignity Village offers

a solution, not shame

Many of our members and residents here in Portland's shantytown, Dignity Village, were angered and somewhat puzzled by Ronald Williams' letter (Shanties ought to be a source of public shame, Insight, Oct. 7) accompanied by the file photo of what our village looked like a couple of years ago during our first, bitter winter here at Sunderland Yard.

Of course we agree that the poor need better housing and that affordable housing needs to be built. No one should have to live the way most homeless people in this town have to, in doorways and under bridges or hiding under bushes in public parks or being chased from place to place. That's how the majority of us live.

Here at Dignity, we have hot and cold running water, gas, electricity and heat, so we're far better off than most other homeless people. Here, we help other homeless people like ourselves. Dignity Village is a blessing to this town's poor.

We all know that the gap between rich and poor is growing along with the homeless population, that affordable places to live are getting harder to find, that magnificent mansions next to little shacks are somewhat obscene. But to wag our fingers and cry, 'Shame on the rich and the government!' without offering some sort of solution ourselves puts us on the same level as those who call consistently for our closure but take no stand and offer no solution. Dignity Village is our solution.

Does Williams think we should be shut down to go back to the doorways from whence we came? Or would he rather we all line up at the Goose Hollow Family Shelter he represents to sleep on that shelter's partitioned gymnasium floor?

We invite Williams to visit us here at Dignity Village and to see the work we're doing that he may better understand.

Jack Tafari

Chairman, Dignity Village

Northeast Portland

A 'no' vote on measures

aids business, taxpayers

Instead of attracting new business and keeping jobs in Portland and Multnomah County, it seems the plan is to raise income taxes and give long-established companies the boot. Our civic leaders should be making it clear they want to keep Portland General Electric and Pacific Power in the area. These companies not only provide jobs to support local services, but they also have an outstanding record of community service.

Do we really want a government board of directors to run our local electric utility? What do they knew about power generation, distribution and customer service? Was it not government bureaucrats who have cost taxpayers millions with the city's water bureau and the PERS retirement fund?

If you want to keep the lights on, your taxes down and save local business, vote no on ballot measures 26-51 and 26-52.

Michael Coles

Southeast Portland

It isn't average citizens

who are fighting PUD

The political action committee fighting the people's utility district ballot measures 26-51 and 26-52 is inappropriately named 'Citizens' Against Government Takeover. Very little of the $1.66 million raised by that committee has come from individual citizens; 98 percent of those dollars are from Portland General Electric and PacifiCorp.

Of the $26,504 raised by the Oregon Public Power Coalition, the major supporter of the PUD measures, 64 percent Ñ or almost two-thirds Ñ is from contributors giving $50 or less and retirees. An additional $3,684 has been raised by another committee that supports public power.

For a complete listing of campaign contributions check the ballot measure link at

Janice Thompson

Money in Politics -Research Action Project

Southwest Portland