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Pricey building comes too soon

by: JONATHAN HOUSE, A letter writer questions the potential cost of the Port of Portland’s new headquarters and parking structure at Portland International Airport.

Just 10 years after moving into its brand new Old Town headquarters building, the Port of Portland is constructing a massively expensive ($241 million) new headquarters/parking structure at the airport (Airport building pushes green limits, May 14).

Port officials say they want to unite their Old Town location employees with their employees currently in the airport terminal building. Why didn't they think of that before they built their Old Town headquarters? Despite the disclaimer of Port Director Bill Wyatt (Port of Portland sells Old Town headquarters for $29 million, Dec. 12, 2007), PDX customers had better brace for price increases to pay for this boondoggle.

Matthew Sproul

Southeast Portland

ArtFX is murals hero

Amazing! I live across the Willamette River and have watched the progress of this painting (Larger than life, May 14). It was interesting to read the history of it. ArtFX Murals used to have their murals all over Portland, and it was fascinating to watch them, never figuring out how they painted such huge walls with such precision. I believe they are yet another unsung hero from Portland. Good for them to donate their talents for such a worthy cause and for staying true to hand-painting.

Sheryle Fievez

Southwest Portland

For jobs, mega-bridge is not the answer

I'd agree with Gov. Ted Kulongoski and the Tribune that the question about the mega-bridge across the Columbia is not primarily about aesthetics (I-5 bridge: Making it pretty is just one issue, May 14).

If we want to create jobs, however, we can create significantly more jobs by investing in transit, walking and biking. Dollar-for-dollar, more of the money spent on sidewalks, for example, pays for labor for Oregonians who desperately need jobs, instead of huge machines and materials. Multiple studies find transit creates about 25 percent more jobs than new roads, and maintaining existing roads creates more jobs than building new ones.

There are numerous economic, environmental and health benefits of creating complete systems and providing transportation freedom for the million Oregonians who are too young, old, sick or infirm to drive. In these difficult times, we need to ensure that Oregonians, who spend about 20 percent of their household budgets on transportation, have affordable choices. This would be smarter than pouring all of our money into one oversized, overpriced facility.

Evan Manvel

Oregon League of Conservation Voters

Southwest Portland

Rename Fremont Bridge for Chavez

Why not change the name of the Fremont Bridge to the Cesar Chavez Bridge (Sources Say, One Chavez option off the table, May 14)? The reasons are many for this change: The bridge is the highest bridge on the Willamette River, it has an American flag at the highest point that is lit up all night, the bridge can be seen from all the high points in Portland, traffic reports would mention the bridge numerous times each day, traffic cameras would show the bridge many times per day, Northeast Fremont Street doesn't even connect to the Fremont Bridge, no one would have to change their address and the cost of signage would be at a minimum.

Dick Vaughn

Southeast Portland

Landmark better recognition for Cesar Chavez

While I support recognizing the important contributions of Cesar Chavez, I also understand neighborhood reluctance to rename a street (Sources Say, One Chavez option off the table, May 14). A park, square, civic building or other landmark would offer equal if not better recognition. And as long as Portland is focused on commemorating important people, I suggest we name the planned TriMet bridge the Harvey Milk Transit Bridge.

Jack Harvey

Northeast Portland

Train locally for creative jobs

Portland Public Schools should have more arts, not less (Dancing well while a school struggles, May 7). Careers in the arts are both enjoyable and profitable and often do well in a bad economy. Whether a dancer, actor, painter or designer, creative job numbers are growing in the Portland area, and we should be training our children for these jobs. We should not have to rely on other states like California, as we do now, to recruit for these creative careers.

Steve Linder

Southwest Portland

PPS money needed elsewhere

Portland Public Schools should not be sponsoring this dance group. They are obviously a young people's arts group along the lines of the Youth Philharmonic or other privately funded and sponsored organizations for young artists (Dancing well while a school struggles, May 7). The only relationship Jefferson Dancers have to education is the fact they are quartered rent-free in a high school and the young artists receive stipends from PPS.

The shrinking in PPS is the 'doughnut effect,' where PPS is the hole growing bigger while other Portland and urban districts surrounding PPS are growing in population.

Gus Miller

Southwest Portland

Pearl school might cause noise pollution

I live in a building with a three-sided courtyard and the noise in it carries like a microphone. I would support a new school-only building, but a school with little ones raising hell at recess would approach noise levels that may actually be illegal under noise pollution laws (Pearl gets its school - kids to follow?, April 30). Not a good idea.

Roger Garland

Northwest Portland

A school will add culture to the Pearl

I think this is an excellent idea. The Pearl is largely populated by the various sectors of society's childless, which makes it less a neighborhood and more a fancy strip mall (Pearl gets its school - kids to follow?, April 30).

Sure, the Pearl has Jameson Square and Powell's Books, which draw families like flies. But what makes a neighborhood is families, and one thing families have that the Pearl doesn't - except on sunny weekends - is children.

A school would give families the logistical ability to actually live in the Pearl, instead of just being weekend tourists. I think this is the only way to give the Pearl the culture and diversity it so sorely needs.

Noel Arnold

Northwest Portland

Renters don't owe landlords a thing

Once that foreclosure notice is pasted on the door, renters should get to keep their money or pay directly to the foreclosing bank (Landlord woes throw tenants out of housing, May 7). Landlords can make their case in court after that, if they have any integrity at all.

Sandra Wilborn

East Portland

Balanced reporting hard to come by

I would like to commend the Portland Tribune for its fair reporting in the latest developments of Sam Adams' life (Adams-barreling forward, as always?, May 7). The local television news and The Oregonian have brought forth the Beau Breedlove investigation and Adams car crash as if they were plagues among humanity. I wanted to thank your staff for balanced reporting, no matter what your stance on the issue is, and it is always refreshing to see that.

Instead of overanalyzing the flaws that make Adams human, we should just focus on the big picture: Can Adams still lead us? Does he still want what is best for Portland?

Casey Wang

Northeast Portland

More driving isn't always better driving

I am writing in response to Michael C. Wagoner's letter 'More driving means better driving' (April 23). More driving doesn't necessarily mean better driving. A careless, inattentive driver will retain the same habits, no matter how much they drive.

The skill of driving, just like that of riding a bicycle, doesn't go away. There are many like myself who drive far less than the national average with clean, accident-free records. Additionally, if you bicycle, you will notice that your reflexes become honed to a fine point and you are more aware of everything going on around you. Bicyclists become better drivers.

The plethora of people on the road in cars creates the higher percentage of accidents. This is a proven statistic, and it is what shapes insurance policies, not some sinister social engineering plot.

Lisa Gorlin

Northeast Portland

Don't micro-manage individual behavior

I'm tired of being vilified, as a resident, for driving because a majority of society - nationally and locally - demands that goods, services and labor be delivered by car or truck (More driving means better driving, April 23). Let's face it - for most of us, the utility of driving a car or truck serves us best.

The parts and raw materials needed to service the equipment used by all of those self-righteous bicycle riders are delivered by cars and trucks that use infrastructure. Are those bicycle riders willing to pay two to three times more for supply chain cost increases and labor shortages because of their self-centered view of how citizens choose to move about?

Our economy is centered upon the individual, not the collective or the community. Companies and government serve individuals and their needs, which serve to make our community strong. Micro-managing individual behavior damages our community, our economy and our ability to function as a country.

If your ability to function as an individual is best served by using a bicycle, bus or train, great. But leave it to the individual to choose what works best for themselves and their individual situation.

Mark Gravengaard

Northeast Portland