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Vinyl murals better than grafitti

Readers' Letters
by: Patrick Cote Jeff Joslin, former city land-use supervisor for the Bureau of Development Services, has waged war against illegal signs that have proliferated since the city stopped enforcing its sign code – such as this Timbers sign, which he believes is in violation.

I am a retired sign painter of 40 years. Some of my hand-painted work is still up all over town. I also hand-painted huge billboards back in the early 1970s and helped write Portland's Title 32 Sign Regulations some 20 years ago.

These huge vinyl mega-murals are a heck of a lot better than the crazy gang graffiti one sees in many states and cities south of Oregon.

The blank walls they cover should not be considered necessarily of historic importance (Remedy the blight on Portland's skyline, Jan. 13). If taken to the State Supreme Court, you will once again discover that these mega-ads are allowed by freedom of speech laws in the Oregon Constitution. See 'Ackerley Communications Inc. v. Multnomah County' back in the 1980s. This resulted in a telephone book-sized sign code to become the slimmed down Title 32 Sign Code, because Portland was stomping on free speech rights of outdoor advertising.

The taxpayers' money that was wasted in this Supreme Court fight was astronomical.

Ralph Gregory Martin

Southwest Portland

Clean up city skyline

Finally, someone has noticed that the city is being covered in tacky advertising (Illegal signs abound in city, Jan. 13).

Richard Zehr

Northwest Portland

Boycott sends anti-sign message

The best way to eliminate these signs is to boycott the business interests who put them up and let them know why you refuse to patronize them (Remedy the blight on Portland's skyline, Jan. 13).

Hit them where they feel it.

Samuel R. Ganczaruk

Northeast Portland

Suspended vinyl signs an alteration

The change from paint to vinyl may or may not be in itself a compliance matter (Illegal signs abound in city, Jan. 13).

If applied directly to the wall where a previously painted approved or grandfathered wall sign or mural had been located of the same size, this would be legal. However, the many signs hung over others suspended on structures are clearly a new sign or a 'structural alteration,' and should also be declared non-conforming and require legal remedy.

Jeff Joslin

Sauvie Island

Fining advertisers kills more jobs

Another politician thinking of revenue generation instead of problem solving (Illegal signs abound in city, Jan. 13).

Adverts are more aggressive trying to save jobs. Fines aimed at businesses that provide jobs for the tax base of our city. Priorities!

How many die on our streets? Increase homelessness by shutting down business and see how many votes Randy gets next time around.

Dennis Roach

Hillsboro

Signs aren't end of world

With a deluge of local home foreclosures; rising retail vacancies; failing roads/bridges/sewers; a $61 million jail that sits empty while dozens of specific misdemeanors are never prosecuted; and the largest unfunded pension/disability liability in the Western U.S … And Commissioner Leonard is worried about signage (Illegal signs abound in city, Jan. 13)?

Portland voters need to take out the trash.

Bruce Anderholt

Tigard

School notification process 'inadequate'

I've witnessed many eye-opening realities about how Portland Public Schools works through this process, none more outrageous than Matt Shelby's comment that the notification process has been 'adequate' (Grant neighborhood parents' protest gathers steam, Jan. 11). I'd like to see those e-mails, Mr. Shelby.

I have not heard from one person who has received any communication from PPS; it has been a community effort of going house to house to let neighbors know what is going on.

PPS formed the boundary committee with no representation from the three zones they are proposing be moved out of the Alameda boundary who have children but are not yet in school.

Only one member lives in one of the three zones and has children out of elementary school. We are unfairly represented in this process.

PPS is fixing problems they created three years ago. Areas that are 30 blocks away with students bussed to the school need to be rezoned - not those in the Alameda neighborhood.

Kristin Childs Rios

Northeast Portland

Board forgets needs of community

Forget about the board actually listening to what you have to say, since they played with the boundaries when they changed to a K-8 format combined with a middle school in the area (Grant neighborhood parents' protest gathers steam, Jan. 11),

They have allowed kids west of (Northeast) 57th to attend Alameda and Beaumont, which added to the numbers in that area. Before that move, students who lived west of 57th to about 50th or so attended the former Rose City Park/Gregory Heights School configuration.

The board needs to spend some time looking at the overall needs of the area before they butcher any more attendance areas or try and fix the mess they created with K-8s.

Dennis Hartinger

Northeast Portland

Sabin students should attend Sabin

Using the Portland Public Schools data, the evidence is clear that Sabin School could reach the target goal of student participation (at least 480 students for a K-8) if the students already within its boundary attended Sabin (Grant neighborhood parents' protest gathers steam, Jan. 11). According to PPS website data (2009), only 47 percent of the students within the Sabin district attended Sabin (and that number does not include students going to private schools).

Sabin is a big enough district to support its school - if the school could attract participation. Fix the school, not the boundary. Another change that could rebalance the area after the 2006 redistricting that closed Rose City and made Rigler overcrowded as well would be three K-8s: Sabin, Alameda and Beaumont. I am no fan of K-8 (according to PPS Sara Allan, the data are still being analyzed as to the effectiveness of K-8s in Portland), but that is what the data show to get nearly equal student populations that limit transportation (i.e., neighborhood schools).

The PPS data support my findings.

Marianne Turley

Northeast Portland

PPS needs talks on boundaries

Mr. Shelby, please check your facts before printing them (Grant neighborhood parents' protest gathers steam, Jan. 11).

I am a father of two children who planned to attend Alameda Elementary. We live five blocks from Alameda. We are friends with dozens of other families in our area who have children who planned to attend Alameda. I have not spoken to one family who was notified of this change by PPS. We're lucky the Alameda Neighborhood Association recently decided to distribute flyers door to door - that is how everyone I know found out.

I believe in neighborhood schools and wish PPS would consider allowing the people who live walking distance from Alameda to attend Alameda. Their current plan means our children cannot attend a school five blocks from our house, while other students are bussed to the school from over 30 blocks away.

I wish even more they would allow communities to get involved, instead of trying to force changes through without public discussion or debate.

Ethan Sperry

Northeast Portland

Organized labor builds economy

I wonder what kind of incentive was offered to Pamplin Media Group in trade for the editorial board at the Tribune printing the drivel of legislated economics theory (Start now to fix state problems, Jan. 13).

I am shocked to see the Portland Tribune cave to the notion that a strong economy is lead by government. Until Oregon leadership, at all levels, realizes that organized public labor is to the taxpayer what we are told 'Big Pharma' is to the patient, we can expect more of the same from Oregon government.

The shape shifting of benefits and pension packages doesn't address systemic weaknesses exploited by union workers and their administration. 'Make Work' projects are as viable to Oregon's economy as perpetual motion machines are to our energy industry. What kind of a doctor treats only symptoms? Answer: the kind of doctor visited by patients who've no desire to address their own health.

Why is the editorial board agreeing that businesses shouldn't locate here by publishing economic dishonesty? This latest gas tax, the Measures 66 and 67 hoax and the state workers' benefits and pension shell game tells all we need to know.

Perhaps Gov. Kitzhaber could get Oregon a very unconventional loan and then appoint the lender to public office?

Christopher W. Osborn

Southeast Portland