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New bridge must be earthquake-resistant

Readers' Letters
by: COURTESY OF CRC PROJECT Replacing the Interstate 5 bridge with a composite deck truss design is the least expensive alternative recommended by experts – even if the appearance leaves something to be desired.

Given the recent magnitude 9.0 earthquake in Japan - and recognizing the high probability of a future large quake off the Oregon Coast - we should place a high priority on selecting a bridge type for the Columbia River Crossing that will be best able to withstand an earthquake. After all, there are only two ways to cross the Columbia River in the metropolitan area (Interstates 5 and 205).

Do we want to take a chance on a cheaper bridge - which the experts have said is not as earthquake resistant as a cable-stayed bridge? It would be foolish (or worse) to save a few dollars now, and risk losing everything in an earthquake.

Wayne P. Stewart

Southwest Portland

Bridge appearance isn't important

Who cares what the thing looks like, so long as it meets the needs of the community (What's important in a bridge, looks or money?, Feb. 10)?

These politicians, who are attempting to have something real neat and totally unique built, have been in politics too long. We need to show them the exit doors, as they've become accustomed to spending tax dollars like it was their personal expense account - like it was 'Mad Money.'

They need to go.

Kyle J. Hanson

Southeast Portland

Traffic is the real bridge issue

The idea is to increase the bridge's capacity so that traffic flows quickly and smoothly, and that means more through lanes of traffic (What's important in a bridge, looks or money?, Feb. 10).

Replacing a six-lane bottleneck of a bridge with a new six-lane bottleneck bridge is ludicrous at best, even if it includes the light rail that government is trying to force on the people against their will. Free-flowing traffic and fewer traffic jams is what will look good and help our economy as well.

Joseph Kelly

Milwaukie

Raise bottle deposit to 10 cents

Improve recycling, less confusion and litter (BOTTLED UP!, Feb. 17)?

Great idea. I'm not going to buy less beer if the deposit is raised to 10 cents.

Jesse Engum

Northeast Portland

Create jobs: Hire fare inspectors

As unemployment still runs at 10 percent, can't we find folks to ride every streetcar and trolley as a minimum-wage job? (A place of honor?, Feb. 17)

San Francisco has a guy collecting fares on every cable car. Real transit systems (see New York and London) use turnstiles to control the ride-for-free crowd - why not us? I hope it isn't because the TriMet folks and ridership view the taxpayers as the bottomless bucket of money.

Let's get over the idea of Portland being different - we are just smaller. For every 'feel good' anecdote listed in the story, you will find one about a methhead ripping folks off in Oregon. People are people.

Dennis Lively

Tualatin

Make the business tax voluntary

I'm all for mass transit and the streetcar as long as the TriMet business tax becomes voluntary (A place of honor?, Feb. 17).

Reality suggests a cold day in hell is more likely.

Geoff Rode

Southeast Portland

Portlanders good at ripping off system

Anyone remember the great and noble 'self service fare' experiment that TriMet ran from 1982 to 1986? Another multimillion-dollar boondoggle that proved that Portlanders do indeed know how to rip off the system and rip off the taxpayers (A place of honor?, Feb. 17).

Ron Willis

Scappoose

TriMet doesn't enforce its rules

TriMet frequently complains about funding shortfalls, yet refuses to enforce its own rules - like paying for fares and not smoking where it clearly says 'no smoking.'

Kevin Finch

Northeast Portland

No one pays on the streetcar

I ride the Portland Streetcar about once a month and for the first time in seven years, last Tuesday, we had a fare inspection (A place of honor?, Feb. 17).

I pulled out my monthly all-zone TriMet fare and one other person pulled out a time-stamped ticket. The other 20 people on the streetcar? Nothing!

The fare inspector just then wrote down that two people had fare, 20 didn't. Zero got up and bought fare and four people got off at the next stop.

Dear TriMet and city of Portland: Please learn about (London's) Oyster card system that works.

Chris Arnesen

Hillsboro

Families didn't cause hard times

Most of the people who couldn't afford their homes have been pushed out already (Wells Fargo takes aim at home loans, Feb. 10). Keep in mind, they didn't do that alone. They went to a lender who told them what they could reasonably afford (the banks had changed the guidelines to make it easy for anyone, but that's another story).

What we have for the most part today are the people who have lost their jobs due to changes in our economy that have no reflection on the people themselves. When they try to get a new job, there are none, or they are minimum wage or close to it. People are willing to do whatever it takes to keep their homes, but they can't support a home with $30,000 income when they used to make $50,000. This is not their doing, and now they have homes, many times children, and are being put in very bad situations.

I've met thousands of them, over and over, and they are retirees whose pension incomes vanished overnight; they are middle-aged professionals now working for a third of what they've made all their lives. Many of them would love to sell and move on, but they can't because their home is worth less than they paid, or there are no buyers because of the economy. Their lender won't approve a 'short sale,' so they are pushed to the limit where either the bank has to work with them or they have to walk away. They don't want to!

One more point: As I've read many times, the contract to purchase a home says you pay the mortgage, or the bank takes it back. Pretty simple. So by the bank taking the home back, that was the bargain. So putting a moral attachment (to such foreclosures) is not correct or fair to this family or anyone else you might know in this situation.

Marge Bare

Northeast Portland