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Money talks, louder than race

by: Historic photos courtesy of Oregon Historical Society, Historic photos courtesy of Oregon Historical Society
Black protesters picketed outside Emanuel Hospital in 1971, when part of a black commercial district around North Williams Avenue and Russell Street (inset) was being razed to make way for Emanuel Hospital’s expansion. A letter-writer points out that this 1971 protest was not about demands that Emanuel Hospital retain a health clinic, but about promising that a Portland Black Panther Party health clinic would not go away

The racism was kind of lefthanded. Portland has always been a racist city and kept the black people economically down so that they had to live in the worst, poorest areas of town (North/Northeast: Patching up old wounds, Jan. 8). When they wanted to build, it was economically feasible to buy up the cheapest land. Look at what they did to Southeast Portland when they thought they were going to build the Mount Hood freeway.

Interstate 205 did the same thing to poor white people. Can you imagine what would happen if they tried to build a freeway through Alameda or Laurelhurst districts? Money talks, not race around here.

Jim Bellah

Newberg

Gentrification is color blind

There is an important statistic missing from the sidebar attending Steve Law's story on gentrification (North/Northeast: Patching up old wounds, Jan. 8).

I'm willing to bet that pretty close to 100 percent of the people displaced were poor. As a 'veteran' of at least three neighborhood gentrifications here in Portland, I can testify that gentrification is color blind. It's about money, not race.

Until we truly address the issue of affordable housing in Portland, poor people will continue to be chased from one place to another by developers.

Jo Haemer

North Portland

The clinic continued, body and soul

The caption for the cover photo is not quite accurate (North/Northeast: Patching up old wounds, Jan. 8). The picket sign in front - 'The Clinic will continue serving the People body and soul' - is not demanding that Emanuel retain a local clinic. Rather, it promised that the Fred Hampton Memorial People's Health Clinic, a service of Portland's Black Panther Party, would not go away. Not even if Emanuel were to tear down the building they were then using on North Russell.

And that's August Jenkins (1920-89) carrying the picket sign, by the way.

The Panthers were obliged to move their clinic from North Russell to North Williams, and from there they provided free health care for anyone of any race who came to their door through 1980.

Martha Gies

Northeast Portland

Is the state enabling jaywalking?

So, the state installed a pedestrian island in the middle of 82nd Avenue to aid pedestrain crossing (A 10-foot fence on 'Avenue of Roses'?, Jan. 15). Is the state currently complicit by enabling their jaywalking with an island?

In addition, the state says, mid-block crossings 'actually increase accidents by giving pedestrians a false sense of security.' Apparently, pedestrian islands also create a false sense of pedestrian security and a true sense that the state is wasting money, while not addressing the issue.

It seems like a mid-block crossing would be a far better solution than the current pedestrian island. If this transit problem were in the Pearl, a pedestrian bridge would have been the proposed solution.

Steve Linder

Southwest Portland

Rebuild the 82nd Avenue MAX station

I am not a fan of MAX, but when a traffic intersection doesn't work on a road project, it is rebuilt (A 10-foot fence on 'Avenue of Roses'?, Jan. 15). The 82nd Avenue overpass makes for a poor transit station and the MAX platform needs to be redesigned to work better. TriMet has plenty of money to extend rail service to Clackamas, but chooses to ignore the safety of its riders at a major transfer point.

People jaywalk because the transfer point is poorly designed, not because they want to break the law. Yes, the police are there a lot because it is a disorderly, poorly designed place, so tempers flare and trouble happens.

82nd Avenue is Oregon Highway 213, so it should be a major stop and transfer point deserving of an adequate MAX/Bus transfer station. Tear down the overpass and the MAX station and rebuild it with a functional traffic pattern for cars, buses and pedestrians.

Mark Gravengaard

Northeast Portland

Safety first on 82nd

I live a few blocks away from this area and drive past it daily (A 10-foot fence on 'Avenue of Roses'?, Jan. 15). It's very dangerous, people run across the street illegally and a lot of times don't even look for cars first. It's about time something is done. I think the fence is a great idea and if it looks anything like the drawings, it is appealing and won't attract graffiti. Can't wait for it to go up.

Kim Mayfield

Northeast Portland

Just ask the neighbors

As a resident of the Madison South neighborhood, I found your article (A 10-foot fence on 'Avenue of Roses'?, Jan. 15). lacking some important information.

The Madison South Neighborhood Association overwhelmingly supports this fence project. Members of our board have been involved in addressing the safety issues at the 82nd Avenue station and have worked with (local and state agencies') Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design team for over 4 years.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has held several public meetings on the project. They have attended meetings at both Montavilla and Madison South and have listened to our suggestions and involved us in the decision making progress. ODOT has even gone so far as to ask us to select colors for the materials. This project was never 'dumped on' anybody.

I would invite you to contact our neighborhood association to hear our reasons for supporting the project.

Carter Cummings

Land Use Chair, Madison South Neighborhood Association

Northeast Portland

How do citizens pay tolls?

Great idea (Bridge tolls top city's wish list, Jan. 15). The citizens can pay the tolls from their unemployment money that they get from the state.

David Feist

Sandy

Drop toll, add bicycle tax

Sharing the road also requires sharing the financial responsibility (Bridge tolls top city's wish list, Jan. 15). Sustainability starts with financial self-sustainability.

Instead of spending gas tax revenues to maintain roads and the Willamette River bridges, Adams and other politicians have been poaching these dollars for bicycle infrastructure, curb extensions that create more congestion, couplets, streetcar planning and even for a new bicycle, streetcar and light rail bridge across the Willamette.

If Adams is truly everybody's mayor, he needs to drop his request for tolling authority and balance transportation taxes by supporting a bicycle tax, paid for only by bicyclists to pay for bicycle infrastructure and a transit fare surcharge tax so that transit passengers pay a greater share of the costs of providing the service.

If tolling on the bridges does occur, Eastsiders need to boycott doing any business in downtown Portland.

Terry Parker

Northeast Portland

Tolls would add to congestion

Where is the money in the city and county budgets to maintain our bridges (Bridge tolls top city's wish list, Jan. 15)? We are already being taxed to the max for the zoo, schools and emergency services. But I want to see where money is coming from and where it is going before more money is being taken from already struggling families. It is cheaper to live in Southeast Portland and commute across the city by bus, bike or scooter. Tolls would not only create more congestion on the non-tolled bridges, but would also pinch the budgets of hard-working families in Portland who are already stretched to the max.

Molly Walter

Southeast Portland

Bottle necks won't make the city greener

Picture thousands of vehicles idling through toll-booth (Bridge tolls top city's wish list, Jan. 15) bottle necks on each and every Portland bridge, each and every rush hour. Doesn't much enhance the Rose City's ever-greener image, now does it?

Jackie T. Gabel

Southeast Portland