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Support, dont limit businesses

Letters to the editor
by: Christopher Onstott, Several recent reports show that the recession has hurt Portland more than other parts of the nation. Evidence of a lagging economy can be seen in the emerging South Waterfront area, where retail spaces are vacant.

The communist Soviet Union had five-year economic plans too, just like Portland does, and it didn't work for them (Report refocuses economic efforts, Dec. 9).

The government focusing on a limited a number of industries that experts choose is an economic disaster. So-called experts picking and choosing what businesses are good and bad is a huge part of the problem here, along with the liberal soak-the-rich attitude. If you had the capital to start a business, why would you choose Portland? To pay high taxes for light rail, bike paths, bloated government and PERS? I think not.

What would actually help the economy is simple, really: government needs to shrink, cost less and spend less. We don't want to become another Ireland or Greece. With population growth we may have needed some more police and fire protection, but 10,477 new government jobs in 12 years while 26,463 private sector jobs that pay for government were lost? Give me a break.

Increase the capacity (more and improved traffic lanes) of our real transportation systems - our streets, bridges and freeways - to match the commercial demand on them. Stop wasting billions on light rail, trolleys and bike paths and get real.

Government needs to support all private enterprise rather than pick and choose and try to control it. Let us be free to prosper without soaking us.

I'm sure not rich, but I want there to be rich folks. They hire, and we need the incentives that only the freedom to become rich through your hard work can provide.

Then watch Oregonians go to work, prosper and with prosperity we will have the resources to really take care of the environment and give our less fortunate the opportunities they need.

Joe Kelly

Milwaukie

Recovery faces too many roadblocks

With all the legal and administrative roadblocks Oregon has placed to any development, construction and productive change of use on private property, and with the economic structures in play at this time, it is doubtful if any 'turnaround' is going to rescue this generation (Report refocuses economic efforts, Dec. 9).

The problem is too deep, too systemic, too thoroughly metastasized in our present systems to be fixed from the inside.

I may be wrong. I certainly hope I am. But I've been broken by those processes once already, and I do not see how the present systems of control can be sustained, let alone allow recovery.

Jerry Arvin

Southeast Portland

Gorge decision must be well-informed

I wish to respond to the opinion piece, 'Why the fuss? We have water to sell' (Dec. 16).

Daniel Nix's comments - well, most of them - turn out not to be true. The ongoing dialogue about a Nestlé bottling plant coming to Cascade Locks is a complex, nuanced and many-faceted one. It does not just come down to NIMBYism.

How else to explain the total support in our town when the possibility existed of InSitu locating in our industrial area? No one had trouble with an American company whose profits remain here coming to our town.

I would say that it is not time to grow, but to grow up. We need to make this an adult conversation regarding the total and measurable impacts of this decision.

Someday I may compose an essay on how to get a community that wants and needs local jobs to not jump at the chance, but to ask the hard and necessary questions to protect both themselves and their descendants.

I do believe that bottling water in plastic and selling it out of the watershed is wrong. Exchanging a resource that should be saved for future generations for a few jobs is suicidal for our society.

I take issue with your statistics. The water from Oxbow Springs does not belong to Cascade Locks; it belongs to the state of Oregon and is used for Oxbow hatchery. The figure of 3,000 gallons per minute from Oxbow Springs is also incorrect. The Oxbow Springs were documented as low as 318 gpm in the 1980s.

If we have 20 percent unemployment in a total town population of around 1,000 and 80 percent of town is also commuting to Portland, you have a great many unaccounted for seniors and children.

Being heavily involved with the local food bank, no one is more aware of the need for jobs in this community than I am, yet the October 2010 figure for unemployment in Hood River County is 6.5 percent. Quite a difference.

While dealing with complaints about the truck traffic and pollution that the plant will generate, Nix simplifies and supposedly solves this complex issue by saying that money (the extra tax revenue) - $2 million (not that much money these days) can be used to fix the roads.

As if that was the only issue.

Perhaps Nix missed the Nov. 17 Nestle town meeting, where the numbers changed from 85 percent western truck trips to 90 percent western truck trips? These go through our downtown. There is no alternative route. They will impact our day-to-day life and our tourism.

This decision is not to be made solely on a give-us-jobs basis. There are grave and far-reaching impacts, including what happens to our downtown and our tourism. (Yes, we have a thriving, albeit small, tourism economy.)

I, unlike Nix, do not consider my town to be doomed, a financial wreck or a bump in the road. We have vital tourism revenue and a growing sailing tourism. We have begun to reach out to the windsurfing crowd.

Nix is right in stating that the decision rests with us, and I hope we can make an educated and fully-informed decision: one that is right for our city, our community, our society.

Kate Stuart

Cascade Locks

Consider jobs, don't 'sell out'

In response to the Dec. 16 Two Views about the Nestlé gorge proposal (Controversy has bottled up Nestle's proposed plant in the Columbia River Gorge), the Columbia River Gorge is not merely the pristine playground of Oregon. It has always (for thousands of years, anyway) been a densely populated area of highly utilized resources and a vital artery of commercial enterprise.

While the proposed water tap of multinational company Nestlé clearly requires restrictions, the protectors of gorge water and beauty must also refrain from delusions of grandeur. Neither the history of corporate greed nor that of gorge habitation should be ignored. It's not wilderness.

Although we must strive to correct the mistakes of the past, living and working in the gorge is not a mistake. If Nestlé's plan includes provisions 'for the greater public good,' we can sell the water without 'selling out.'

Steven McClure

Southwest Portland

Turn tide on plastic bottles

Fifty jobs to justify letting the Nestlé Corp. bottle and sell water used by endangered fish? You've got to be kidding.

Will we keep turning to the jobs argument until all our forests are gone, our oceans fished out and our atmosphere wrecked beyond rescue? Are we ever going to start making decisions like we care what kind of planet we are leaving as a legacy for our children?

It makes no sense to allow a corporation with a very bad record to take over a spring and set up a bottling plant here to bottle and sell 167 million gallons of water a year. That's more than 300 million plastic bottles produced yearly right here in the gorge.

More than 60 (local) governments in the U.S. - including Seattle, San Francisco and Multnomah County - have ended the spending of taxpayers' money on plastic bottles. We should do the same in the Northwest by kicking out Nestlé and encouraging cities like Hood River and Portland to stop purchasing bottled water.

We can begin to turn the tide on plastic by keeping Nestlé out of the gorge.

Please urge Gov.-elect Kitzhaber to advise the state agencies involved in this process to deny the water exchange that would give away our water so Nestlé can bottle and sell it.

Ask Gov.-elect Kitzhaber to take a stand for beauty, wilderness and sanity here in the gorge, one of the healthiest places left in America.

Daniel Dancer

Mosier