City on ground floor of a streetcar revival

by: Courtesy of United Streetcar LLC, Workers with United Streetcar LLC of Clackamas, a subsidiary of Clackamas Ironworks, put the finishing touches on a streetcar to be delivered to the city of Portland.

The public has spoken loudly for the past 80 years concerning buses - they simply don't like them. If the public liked buses, they would have ridden them. No bus line ever carried more passengers as compared to the streetcars they destroyed. When buses came in, people bought automobiles.

Portland is fortunate to be starting a trend to streetcars (Streetcars soon to be made in Oregon, May 14). We should consider ourselves fortunate that we are in on the ground floor of the streetcar building business. I hope many more jobs come to Portland because of the streetcar building being done here.

Samuel R. Ganczaruk

Northeast Portland

Streetcars just don't measure up

This 'Made in America' banner being flown by the city of Portland is laughable. Business is mobile in the United States - we need 'flexible' transportation to react to changing trends and traffic patterns (Streetcars soon to be made in Oregon, May 14). A bus route can be changed, can go up steep grades and doesn't have to rely upon ticket dispensers that are slow and usually don't work.

This 19th century technology disappeared because it didn't measure up to the changing economic needs of the community and cost more to maintain over time. Trains make sense moving goods from one central area to another, but for moving passengers locally - within a 20-mile radius - it's just plain dumb, and expensive.

Mark R. Gravengaard

Northeast Portland

Solar oven a good alternative

I read your Green Dilemma 'Toaster ovens vs. microwaves' in Sustainable Life (May 14), but how about the solar oven? Here is my list of pros/cons for that:

Pro: They are made from 95 percent recycled materials; I only buy the heavy-duty aluminum foil for the reflector, but I collect cans and bottles off the road and redeem them for the money. They are locally made from recycled cardboard, glass, wheat paste glue. I ride a bike to collect materials. There are no emissions because they run on the sun. They are salmon-friendly, since no dams are used to generate a power source. They outlast the toaster or microwave ovens. I have some I made in 1993 I still use. Easily maintained and repaired, if they stay dry.

Con: They can only be used for about 80 to 90 days a year in Northwest Oregon. Rain and clouds are the limiting factors. To counter wind, I make the glass thermopane or pile hay, grass or leaves around the oven. When I make thermopane, I have to use silicon putty which means more cans to gather - more bike riding, but more exercise.

Ed Martiszus


Toaster ovens are the real energy savers

My husband and I enjoy your Sustainable Life 'Green dilemma' articles and most often come away with a better understanding between two choices. I would like to weigh in a bit on 'Toaster ovens vs. microwaves' (May 14).

We think the real comparison is between a toaster oven and a full-sized oven, at least in our own kitchen.

There are operations that could happen in either a toaster oven or a microwave, such as heating a bowl of soup. There is so much more a person could do in a toaster oven, though, like baking pies, cornbread, a tofu loaf, roasting vegetables, and on and on. We only use our full-sized oven when my husband bakes four loaves of bread at once for the occasional dish that just won't fit in the toaster oven.

As you point out in your article, a toaster oven heats up quickly, and there is so little space to heat up. They are an energy savings appliance - no question.

There are a lot of articles out there on microwaves being bad for food and people, but apparently not many studies are done on them. We still have one and mainly use it to heat up cold tea. We've had it for 19 years, which does speak to the longevity of our Sharp, anyway.

Lynn Hanrahan

Southeast Portland

Fight the 39th Avenue name change

If you are strongly opposed to the effort being made to force a name change on 39th Avenue, an effort by a handful of vocal and stubborn activists, please contact the mayor and the city commissioners soon (Sources Say, One Chavez option off the table, May 14).

A strong opposition to this move is growing. Remind your elected officials that you - the taxpaying voters of Portland - demand they listen to us. The ridiculously unnecessary expense to city funds, the costs to residents and businesses and the fact that over 80 percent of property owners on 39th are against it. All of those matters should make it impossible for the council to approve this unnecessary change. According to law, the street name may be changed only if that is in 'the best interest of the city.' Clearly, it is not.

James Shand

Southwest Portland

Western medicine helping overseas

This is such a great program (Re-learning medicine for another world, April 23). Looks like it's attempting to bring the best, most effective aspects of western medicine to people who desperately need it. Kudos to Andy Harris and the folks at Oregon Health and Science University, and to the Tribune for reporting it.

Peter Bergel