Bridge wont be end of Portland
This week, the Tribune begins an occasional editorial feature that will briefly summarize our thoughts on Portland items in the news. Here are our views on this week's top issues.
• Those who rallied Sunday in opposition to building an Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River ought to curtail their more outlandish claims if they want their concerns to be fully considered. A number of groups, including the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, gathered at Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park April 5 to protest the bridge, which has been endorsed by the Portland City Council, the Metro Council and most other public bodies in the region that have anything to do with transportation.
In a press release announcing the rally, organizer Joe Kurmaskie made this doomsday prediction: 'We can't allow the area to become another L.A. or Houston in terms of traffic. The (Columbia River Crossing) project will degrade everything we've collectively invested decades creating.'
We could understand such sentiments if the region were contemplating building an entire new freeway and tearing apart neighborhoods to do so. But that's not the case. The region is simply trying to replace and widen an aging, earthquake-vulnerable bridge that is a critical link in the West Coast transportation system.
In fact, this concept will help Portland avoid the traffic problems of a Los Angeles or Houston.
• A front-page story published in last Thursday's Tribune shows that considerable work needs to be done in Portland Public Schools to assure parents that the district is serious about preventing bullying of children.
Two parents of students at Mt. Tabor Middle School told us about their frustrations with getting quick action to stop menacing behavior toward their daughters. We understand that privacy rules limit what schools can tell parents when disciplinary action is taken against students accused of bullying. But we believe the school district should improve communication by requiring schools to report all cases of bullying - along with how the school is investigating the cases - to the district office.
Having a formalized system of tracking such behavior will help the district deal with a problem that, if not tightly controlled, can quickly give parents the wrong impression of just how safe local schools really are.
• The Oregon attorney general's investigation of Portland Mayor Sam Adams is entering its third month. We hope the length of this inquiry is an indication that Attorney General John Kroger and his staff are looking into every possible aspect of Adams' relationship with 18-year-old Beau Breedlove and any potential legal ramifications stemming from that relationship.
But we, like many Portlanders, also are feeling some impatience with this process. It is time for the city to move beyond the uncertainty that still challenges Adams' legitimacy as mayor. We know that the lies Adams told about having sex with an 18-year-old led to him being elected under false pretenses, but we also need to hear from Kroger soon about whether any of Adams' actions rose to the level of criminality.
The answer to that question may well determine whether Adams can survive a recall or be forced to stumble along as Portland's hobbled leader.
• After years of going nowhere, plans for redevelopment of the Rose Quarter are moving at dizzying speed. This is, frankly, unnerving for a city that usually errs on the side of excessive process and citizen input.
This week, city officials, the Portland Trail Blazers and the proponents of a major league soccer team for Portland unveiled plans to demolish Memorial Coliseum and build a baseball stadium in its place. These plans were developed in two days and include no cost estimates, yet they are due to be considered by the Portland City Council in two weeks.
We normally wouldn't encourage the city to take things slow, but a commitment of this magnitude requires robust discussion and some time for the public to absorb and consider more specifics of the project and its financing.