EPA right to act against hazard

Readers' Letters
by: Tribune File Photo, The Bull Run Reservoir provides drinking water to much of the Portland area. One letter writer argues that treatment of Bull Run water is needed to protect the public from a vicious parasite.

My experience with the parasite cryptosporidium was awful (Keep Bull Run water as it is, July 30).

I contracted this after a trip to Paris in February of this year. It is more common that one would think. I had never heard about it before, but learned a great deal through the doctors I visited and the county health department.

The symptoms are severe nausea, diarrhea and lack of appetite. The victim loses weight quickly and feels terrible. If it attacks your organs, you can die. Medical help is needed.

I am in favor of treating our water supply so as not to risk the danger of this very real hazard. In my opinion, the EPA knows what it is doing in asking for us to take precautions.

Sue Beardwood

Northwest Portland

Truck load of straw could change lives

I appreciate Mike Smith's story (More Dignity Villages are needed, July 30). He overcame tremendous obstacles to make a decent life for himself, instead of being a victim and assuming that defeated mentality as his identity. Every success he has now is hard fought and well deserved.

I also appreciate people constructing homes out of materials that might otherwise go to waste and creating a community. I wonder if any of the villagers have tried using bales of straw to build with? Having been interested in straw bale homes for some time, this seems like it would be a reasonable material for villagers to try to use.

The biggest expense in using straw bale technology is labor, so for people building their own places, it should not be much of an obstacle. Sealing the bales with tarps, plaster or stucco would protect the structure from the elements, and with its ability to insulate, straw should keep people warm in cold weather. Elevating them from the rain that accumulates would be a consideration.

Could a truck load of straw bales and a truck load of gravel change a few people's lives? I am thinking it could.

Carmen Lohkamp


Turn Dignity Village into a city of hope

In a recent letter, Mike Smith pleads for more Dignity Villages (More Dignity Villages are needed, July 30). I concur. But, I think that we could, and should, do much better than tent villages for the homeless, petty criminals and nascent gang members. Most of them just need an opportunity.

In the Parade magazine earlier this year, U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Virginia, wrote an article regarding our growing prison and jail overcrowding problem and asked for reader's ideas (Why We Must Fix Our Prisons, Parade Magazine, March 29).

I was late getting my idea back to Parade, but (I suggested) we take government land and call it Hope City. We offer large corporate companies rent-free property to build a training center and small production facilities in Hope City.

It could be a fresh start for the homeless and smalltime criminals, who would be offered jobs and paid reasonable wages to train and be productive for local companies such as Nike, Columbia, Hewlett-Packard and Intel.

Don't we all know, in our gut, that there are thousands of homeless and smalltime criminals all over the country who are smart and willing to work and learn a career if given a chance? They could be productive in the next few years when we are going to need thinkers and doers.

And what an interesting future the next 20 years could be for them!I wish I could be around to see it.

Dale Miller


Americans need health care options

As the debate on health care intensifies, rants against a government option increase (Clinics cash in on federal windfall, July 30). The usual theme: A government option will lead to 'socialized health care,' 'the government can't run anything' and so on.

It was my duty and privilege to wear my country's uniform during the Korean War. As one insignificant consequence, classified as a disabled veteran, I am by choice the recipient of 'socialized health care.' I am in excellent health and live without pain because of the outstanding preventive medicine practiced by the caregivers of the Portland VA Medical Center - a government organization run by government employees.

As a retired federal employee I am also covered by a government-run health insurance program, Federal Employee Health Benefits. Under FEHB, the same program available to our U.S. senators and representatives, I have a choice of several plans. The plan I chose permits me to choose my caregiver. I chose the VA. The VA bills this plan for care not related to my military service.

If FEHB is good enough for our politicians, it ought to be good enough for us common citizens.

America would be much healthier - physically and economically - if all Americans had access to health care programs comparable to the government programs to which I have access.

Robert H. Thornhill


Tax increase will drive away business

By passing a permanent increase in taxes in Oregon, the state is guaranteeing that future budgets will only get larger every year (Find alternative to divisive path, July 23).

If the governor and Legislature do not understand how to cut spending, and that includes in education, they will forever have to increase taxes. This will drive businesses away from Oregon and leave the state without tax money to pay for much of anything.

This is extremely shortsighted, and should drive the voters to remove those legislators who voted for these tax measures.

William S. Hamilton


Lents pathway perfect for Woody

It's sad that a supposedly progressive city like Portland has let political pettiness prevent recognition of Woody Guthrie's achievements ('Honoring Woody isn't as easy as it sounds,', Aug. 13).

The Lents bike and foot path would be a fitting memorial to this great American who had a profound effect on music around the world.

Tom Civiletti

Oak Grove

Closed minds still dogging Guthrie

Perhaps it's simply sad but not surprising that there are folks who would object to naming the Interstate 205 foot and bike path in honor of Woody Guthrie ('Honoring Woody isn't as easy as it sounds,', Aug. 13). What's to protest about the man and his lasting and influential music?

Woody Guthrie lived but briefly in outer Southeast Portland, but his time in the Pacific Northwest led to his writing some powerful songs.

He was a man of the people. U.S. Sen. Joe McCarthy, along with the fear-mongering House Committee on Un-American Activities, tried to include Woody Guthrie in a long list of folks they deemed 'un-American' in the 1950s. Even I, as a teenager in the '50s, realized what a dangerous, slippery and slimy slope Joe McCarthy and the committee were on.

How sad that more than 50 years later some people continue to think celebrations of the land, of working folks, of promoting something other than materialism are bad and dangerous things. Will we ever learn that close-mindedness and fear cripple the human spirit?

Jean Bucciarelli

Northeast Portland