Readers' Letters
by: L.E. BASKOW, When he wanted to expand into a downtown Portland location, Jim Prenty, owner of Jimmy's Sports Bar in Southwest Portland, was shocked — and ultimately discouraged — by an estimated $42,000 in city fees. Letter writers weigh in on Portland’s need to levy such assessments.

Several partners and I are considering opening a new retail business in the area (The city that charges, May 13).

We would love to be in Portland, but we will not pay $40,000 in system development charges. Hello, Gresham.

Bill Badrick

Northwest Portland

Portland needs high wage jobs

I'm sympathetic with Jim Prenty's plight, but Portland doesn't need more bars and restaurants (The city that charges, May 13). They need professional jobs.

This city is great if you want to be a barista or waitress, but if you want a 9-to-5 job paying a decent salary, you're going to have to move. I did.

Justin Morton

Washington, D.C.

East County supports business

Jim Prenty's story brought back memories of doing business in Portland (The city that charges, May 13). Portland is extremely difficult to conduct business in. I read and hear people still supporting how Portland treats businesses, and some even think Portland is overly supportive of businesses.

I'm left wondering how people think that.

A mere walk through Portland speaks volumes: It goes beyond empty store fronts and homeless people camped out. The streets are shot. Heck, Portland stopped sweeping its streets. The list of Portland negatives far outweighs the positive.

Jim Prenty, you are more than welcome to come out to East County. We love businesses, because we know businesses create jobs, and jobs create tax revenue. And our streets are in good shape and swept.

Rick Durbin


Trade 'coordinators' for lower fees

According to the article (The city that charges, May 13), 'Portland already has several business-development initiatives, including a federally funded Main Street program that hires coordinators to help individual business districts grow.'

What a joke!

Maybe Portland wouldn't need federally funded coordinators to help 'grow' business if fees were lowered.

Quinn Annas


City too expensive for business

Portland does need to attract professional jobs (The city that charges, May 13). It's unfortunate that the city government makes it difficult and expensive for employers to locate here, even to the point of scaring off Columbia Sportswear from building in the city.

Isaac Laquedem

Northwest Portland

Boost middle class by creating jobs

I read with interest the article 'Portland's middle isn't holding' (May 20). Now that the primary is behind us and the (fall) elections are coming up, I think it's time to consider Oregon's future. In the words of my profession: 'If you do what you've always done, you will get what you always got.'

Oregonians are on the brink of deciding if they are going to stick with the same tired, old, worn-out ideas to address overspending and a declining state budget. If Oregon is going to break from the political landscape as it has always been and look for new, innovative solutions to the unemployment problems, then Oregonians are going to have to break the mold and go for people who are thinking statewide employment and less government.

Too long has Oregon been in the grip of business-as-usual, supportive of a party that is out of touch with the needs of the people. With a recent unemployment rate of 10.5 percent, if we are going to get out of the fix we are in we need to stop trying to solve our problems by making more people dependent upon social programs, and be less hostile to businesses. (We need to) aggressively pursue creating businesses, not just in the Portland or Salem areas, but real employment all over the state, accompanied by a decrease in government in Salem.

We need to redefine the responsibility of government, as opposed to what is the responsibility of individual communities to address the needs of our local citizens. Unless we develop a government that stops trying to be 'all things to all people' and emphasizes increasing employment, and unless we get the government out of the business of solving all our social ills, we are going to see an ever-decreasing middle class, a sharper increase in the poor and eventually the collapse of our ability to provide for the 'common good.'

Melissa K. Holt


U.S. cannot compete with foreign labor

Trade pacts only level the playing field and allow U.S. companies to do what companies from other countries do - seek the lowest-cost goods and services (Portland's middle isn't holding, May 20).

If companies didn't outsource while other companies do, those with high-cost labor will go out of business, so your job is gone anyway and then some. The answer isn't protectionism, it is exploiting the U.S.'s comparative advantages - people need to seek education and training in jobs that don't collide with low-cost labor.

The United States is the invention engine of the world; we conceive and market and develop. Health care cannot be outsourced. There are ways to get training if you choose, but putting up walls will not hold back the tsunami of low-cost foreign labor - it will only condemn the U.S. to certain abject failure.

Scott Butler

Northwest Portland

Development should pay its own way

Gresham temporarily suspended system development charges (SDC) in order to stimulate development in areas where, otherwise, it is not likely to occur (The city that charges, May 13).

That's not the case with downtown Portland, one of the most vibrant core areas in the country. As Jim Prenty says, 'There's always a lot of people there.'

A clear majority of people have indicated that they want new (or expanding) development to pay its own way rather than forcing existing residents to cover the increased infrastructure costs. SDCs are the best way to do this.

Jim Gardner

Southwest Portland

Penalize companies that go overseas

Please tell me why we continue to give big business tax breaks and incentives to 'locate' here, while they keep and/or send their manufacturing overseas (Portland's middle isn't holding, May 20)?

You can try to blame the situation on labor (organized or not) all you want. The truth of the matter is the out-of-control level of corporate greed.

These businesses continue to post billion dollar profits, while laying off (workers) here at home and manufacturing their products abroad.

Here's an idea: How about we penalize U.S. companies for not locating and manufacturing here? The idea they will go out of business is absurd. Their profits may be a tad bit less, but our people will be employed, paying taxes and spending at home.

I know, it'll never work - it simply makes too much sense.

Tom Dethloff


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