Best Samaritan is also a good neighbor


Not being a neighborhood resident, it is understandable that letter writer Zach Vestal misses the point concerning the problems that Buckman area residents are having with St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church (Don't blame church for city's problem, Readers' Letters, Nov. 8).

If St. Francis wants to run a soup kitchen, fine. But run it the way any other business in the neighborhood is expected to operate. Don't allow sanitation problems, public drunkenness, fighting, vandalism, drug use, loitering or any of the other problems that earned it a 'Chronic Nuisance' property label from the city.

When you offer services to more than 300 people each day, you'd better be willing and able to manage the small percentage of patrons who cause trouble. If that means hiring 24-hour security, then do it. If you can't or don't want to deal with the problems, then don't be surprised when your business becomes unwelcome in the neighborhood.

The parish's denial that problems exist, or the claim that residents are overreacting, only indicates a siege mentality that the management has developed and destroys the good will of Buckman area residents - people who have always accepted well-run social service agencies in their neighborhood.

The problem with St. Francis is crime and the bad management that fails to deal with it.

Lawrence Koppy

Southeast Portland

Cox drew informed,

freethinking voters

Republican candidate for governor Kevin Mannix and his supporters are delusional if they believe that Libertarian candidate Tom Cox stole Republican votes (Fickle Oregon voters take Republicans on wild ride, Nov. 8). I'm a Democrat, but I voted for Cox because he appeared to be the only candidate who had both done his homework and developed a package of concrete, creative and equitable solutions. I know there were a lot of voters just like me.

Overall, Democrats and Republicans behave as if they're reliving their high school football games: All they seem to care about is being the most powerful and 'winning,' whatever that means. Unfortunately, it is the rare exception when power and virtue occupy the same space at the same time.

Gary Duell

Happy Valley

Critical Mass serves

no good purpose

I am responding to your recently published essays on the 'bicycle debate' (Insight, Oct. 25).Ê

Alex Harvill, defending bicyclists, is, in my humble opinion, completely out of bounds. Since when does Critical Mass decideÊfor a private individual how he or she will get across town? The last time I checked, it is quite legal for a person to driveÊalone in an automobile.ÊIfÊMr. HarvillÊdoesn't like that, well, too bad.Ê

One should remind Mr. Harvill that in a confrontation between an automobile and a bicycle, it is more likely that the bicyclist will lose.ÊIf Critical Mass riders continue toÊengage in stupid and unsafe behavior, it is quite likely thatÊriders,Êsuch asÊMr. Harvill will find themselves pinned beneath an axle with a body crushed to a pulp.

Critical Mass is engaging in illegal and dangerous activities.ÊI encourage the editors of the Portland Tribune to not give a voice to its representatives.ÊLet's disband Critical Mass and keep Portland civil and safe.

Southeast Portland

Bike riders didn't

deserve hostility

I have participated in Critical Mass bike rides a few times.ÊI can't speak to issues involving belligerent riders, though I'm sureÊthat jerks exist.Ê

The police presence during the Halloween ride with hundreds of joyous, costumed participants was surprising.ÊWhen I saw police dressed in riot gear, I thought, what an odd response to a peaceful ride.ÊAnd it occurred to me that although we were peaceful, we were powerful.ÊPolice training and mentality don't know how to handle this; the police response is to make the situation confrontational and not to protect riders from automobile drivers.

Some car drivers behaved with hostility - cursing, flipping us off.Ê OneÊdriverÊforced her way through aÊcrowd of bicyclists, running over a bicycle (thankfully without its rider, who escaped), then backing up over the bike to repeat her offense, before trying to drive away.Ê

For any driver who feels that his or her time is too important to waste waiting for a bicyclist, consider the fact that the average American spends two to threeÊyears of life watching commercials.ÊThen ask yourself how well you spend your time.

Jim Waigand

Northeast Portland

Most pollution is

homeowners' issue

Letter writer Reina Abolofia repeats an insidious anti-environmental myth by saying, 'The source of (a degraded Willamette and its tributaries) is not homeowners; it is the industries dumping millions of tons of toxins into our river every year. … Though the Healthy Portland Streams project would help beautify our river, it would do very little to clean it up' (Don't stick property owners with bill, Readers' Letters, Oct. 25). Nothing could be further from the truth.

The two biggest issues in the Portland region are loss of habitat and increased storm-water flows. Loss of streamside habitat through development of residential units is a major contributor to stream degradation in the Portland region. Check out the Web site at for examples of stream destruction through residential development.

Homeowners also degrade local streams by cutting streamside vegetation, putting in lawns, using fertilizers, throwing yard debris into streams and changing oil and washing cars next to storm drains that run into the nearest stream.

As far as storm water goes: More than 40 percent of the runoff that silts up streams and erodes riverbanks comes from roads and parking lots.

The city's Healthy Portland Streams program and Metro's regional fish and wildlife habitat protection program, both of which will help preserve and restore stream habitat in residential areas, are essential to improving the health of the Willamette River.

Mike Houck

Audubon Society of Portland

Northwest Portland

Local media should

notice local activists

I'm disappointed by the Tribune's lack of coverage of the peace movement in Portland.

Portland is nationally known for its leadership in the peace movement and its willingness to bravely exercise its right to assemble and speak out against war and injustice. This is a national reputation that goes largely unrecognized at the local media level.

In September, more than 6,000 Portland citizens gathered in a grass-roots nonviolent march for peace, one day before similar marches worldwide. Often over the past year, in commuting across the Morrison Bridge in the morning, I see a loyal contingent of several people holding signs toward the traffic that read, roughly, 'Imagine,' 'Peace,' 'Now.'

Every Friday at 5:30 p.m., a group marches up Southwest Fifth Avenue, and I see people of all ages and demographics, chanting and carrying signs. Every Friday, we see their numbers grow, and their drums beat louder.

I'm sure I'm not the only one to notice these things, but I rarely see any mention of these events in any local media, unless their voices rise in anger or pepper spray is used. Why do the media only consider it newsworthy if the movement contradicts itself? When will the sheer numbers of voices, or the consistency of their cry, be enough to warrant some attention?

Journalism has a duty, now more than ever, to keep the real issues in the spotlight.

Jana Hughes

Southeast Portland