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Transit requires more help in bad economy

by: JONATHAN HOUSE, Portland Mayor Sam Adams and TriMet general manager Fred Hansen lead a bicycle procession at the Rose Quarter Transit Center last fall after the introduction of a new bike lane. A letter writer says governments should do even more in the economic downturn to support transportation systems.

I have worked in the transportation industry for the past four years, specifically in alternative fuels. The company I was employed by was working hard to help create a better and more sustainable transportation system. Due to the economic downturn, like many so many other Oregonians, I was laid off.

I now look to the public transportation system not only for money-saving mobility options, but also for a job (Alternative transportation needs stimulus funding, April 16). However, hiring is slow to nonexistent at transit agencies as they're reeling from increased ridership and decreased funding.

Fortunately, the Oregon Legislature is considering creating a dedicated funding source for transit. This legislation would not only support the vital transit systems already in place throughout our state, but aims to foster growth, which in turn will create both short- and long-term jobs.

Now more than ever, it is essential that we encourage our elected officials to support transportation systems (including options for bicyclists and pedestrians) that have a positive impact on the health of our environment, communities and our economy.

Ryan F. Cruse

North Portland

Public transit helps seniors, disabled

I hope our state Legislature will approve a balanced transportation package that includes significant funding for public transportation (Alternative transportation needs stimulus funding, April 16). While it may seem odd to recommend this during a recession, increasing public transit gives everyone the opportunity to save money on gasoline, auto maintenance and insurance by driving less. At the same time, it enhances mobility for seniors and the disabled, who, especially during an economic downturn, may not be able to afford other transportation options.

Lacking adequate public transportation, some seniors and people with disabilities may find it difficult to get to medical appointments. Many others may find themselves increasingly isolated and housebound, unable to stay active in their communities.

In other cases, the lack of adequate public transportation can encourage seniors to continue driving long after medical problems or failing hearing or vision make it unsafe. We've got to make public transportation a priority.

Megan Esler

Southwest Portland

Citizens need to get more involved

'A state without jobs, or strategy' (April 16) is a good editorial, but as I read it I found myself disappointed that you didn't dive deeper. Maybe doing a 'Rethinking Oregon' piece would be something for you to consider.

You can then report the past 35 years of policy changes that makes Oregon unattractive to do business. Good or bad, policies do influence business decisions, and over the last 37 years I have seen changes in Oregon that caused large companies to relocate to other states.

Yes, education in Oregon has failed to keep up with demand. That also applies to the highway system. The bottom line is: Oregon governors and the Legislature since 1987 have been failures. We are seeing the results of bad policy that has finally caught up with us. Plenty of blame to go around, but the real blame lies on us, the voters. The Oregon citizens need to get more involved and demand better policy makers.

Better days ahead.

Rick Durbin

Fairview

What happens to the memorial?

My uncle's name is on that 'memorial' (Coliseum: preserve or destroy? April 30). He was a decorated Marine and killed in action in Korea. What happens to his name and the others that are honored at Memorial Coliseum?

Pamela A. Bodle

Southwest Portland

Coliseum should be a music venue

With regard to Jim Redden's article 'Coliseum: preserve or destroy?' (April 30), I can't even believe that there are people who wish to destroy this building. The coliseum has been a part of Portland's history for 50 years. I was so glad to hear that Mayor Sam Adams wants to keep the coliseum around. Although I agree that something should be done with the coliseum, why not make it the music venue that the Rose Quarter most desperately needs?

For Randy Leonard to say that the Memorial Coliseum is ugly is to spit into the faces of those who the coliseum is in memory of - the same people who died to make sure people like us have freedom.

Matt Bowers

Beaverton

Build stadium at Cascade Station

Has anyone considered Cascade Station for a boutique baseball stadium (Coliseum: preserve or destroy? April 30)? The PDC has an available site adjacent to the light rail station only 35 minutes from downtown by MAX. It is easily accessed from Interstate 205, has plenty of space for parking and could have a rail siding for extra event trains.

Although the FAA would have to approve the site for this use, the area is currently being developed with stores, restaurants, offices and hotels and is an ideal location for an entertainment district.

Jim Howell

Northeast Portland

Drop credit, move to cash

Robert Strong is getting hammered for what will be a tsunami of unpaid credit card debt saddling the many unemployed, or soon to be unemployed (The plastic punch down, April 23). He should move to cash and be very careful of his purchases. Economically, the times are a nightmare.

Dan Maher

Southeast Portland