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Keep Portland weird; conformity is boring

Readers' Letters
by: L.E. BASKOW, Letter writers weigh in on the value of Keeping Portland Weird, and the value of not talking about it. Street performer Wells Oviatt (in green) is known for not talking about it.

Call it what you will. Portland is full of free-spirited, independently minded people who reject the dominant ideals of who and what society says one should be (Keep Portland … quaint?, June 11). Certainly our freaks and 'weirdos' are not special or unique in this way, but we do seem to have a larger per capita percentage of people who are willing to express themselves in deviant, nonconformist ways than most American cities.

Personally, I think this is great, as it leads to more acceptance, creativity, connection and change in our culture. Those who choose to judge or are made uncomfortable by this should contemplate the source of the stories they are telling themselves and ask if the world would be a better place if we all chose to live the same homogenized dream you feel pressured to conform to.

Jazen Kautz

Southeast Portland

Weird goes without saying

Being weird to me is like 'male bonding' - it's something that should be understood, but never spoken (Keep Portland … quaint?, June 11). You just do it.

Kelly Smith

Southeast Portland

Empty venues don't make money

How many home soccer games are there anyway? Thirty or 40 each season? Less?

So Adams, Leonard, et al, want to pour millions into a building that will sit empty most of the time (Soccer teams can't share stadiums, June 25). Empty venues don't make money for anyone, nor are they good for the neighborhood.

Julie Woelfer

Northeast Portland

Need plot of land for Beavers

Good article. Major League Soccer will thrive in a soccer-specific PGE Park (Soccer teams can't share stadiums, June 25). I hope the Beavers can stay in town.

Do you know if the city owns a plot of land with an outdated, redundant and ugly building close to mass transit and the city center, and the perfect size and location to build a baseball park? That would be cool.

Lucas Grzybowski

Southeast Portland

Lents community rejected the stadium

Your article 'Stadium plans say one thing; people say another' (June 25) notes that the 1995 Lents Neighborhood Plan calls for evaluating the feasibility of a minor league baseball stadium in Lents Park. This is true, but that plan also call for many other services such as a police precinct, a pedestrian friendly district at Southeast 92nd Avenue and Foster Road, a community center and lots of other things that haven't been done.

In my mind, the Lents community evaluated the city's plan for the Lents Park stadium and rejected it. If the city and the Portland Beavers come up with a plan for another site and less need for public tax dollars, it might be a different story.

Nick Sauvie

Executive director, ROSE Community Development

Southeast Portland

Zero support for regular citizens

Jim Redden's brief stadium piece seems to beg for a reply (Stadium plans say one thing; people say another, June 25). I'm thinking Jim has not been involved in public urban development planning processes for any period of time. The Portland Development Commission creates these urban renewal plans in collaboration with a lengthy, cumbersome public participation process. The PDC shows up (sometimes with city bureau staff who have ideas for all that money) and says, 'Hey, we're making an urban renewal area - what do you folks want?'

The public provides a wish list of things that people currently living there think are important. All kinds of arguments go on. Meanwhile, real estate deals are happening privately, promises are made and forgotten, and the few local people involved have to pick their battles and try to remain calm as the terrain shifts and the lines are redrawn, goals and target dates change and even more new promises are made. Documents and plans are created that are 80 percent worthless sometimes, because 'market realities' have to be recognized.

Now Merritt Paulson, some guy with a lot of money, shows up and suddenly city leadership is falling all over itself to expedite a deal, while the rest of us know that getting a commitment for a park or street fix-up can take years of unpaid time spent attending meetings - often futile, often appalling.

I believe this fact alone is the reason for so much of the dissent - regular citizens try to get a meaningful plan or idea advanced and get zero support, but high-stakes threats and demands earn respect. Go figure.

Christine Charneski

Northeast Portland

New stadium should replace the Meadows

Is there anyone in your department old enough to remember the concept of 'Delta Dome?' When the city of Portland was making plans for a sports complex in the 1950s, the original idea was to build it in the Delta Park area of North Portland. But the Memorial Coliseum was built because land was donated for the building (Stadium plans say one thing; people say another, June 25).

Look again to the Delta Park area. The Portland Meadows horse track is closing and that facility would be perfect to rebuild as a professional stadium. The Beavers could play there, bringing in major league teams and major and local events.

The location is perfect - next to Interstate 5, within a 1/4 mile of light rail and about 2 miles from an international airport, with easy access to Vancouver and its growing population. There are no residential neighbors to displace either. This is the best location within a 50-mile radius. If the different government agencies really want a top-end facility, this is it.

Ken Smith

Vancouver, Wash.