Nothing big about minor league

Readers' Letters
by: COURTESY OF Mulvanny G2 Architecture, A rendering shows the “SMART Tower” that has been proposed but never built at Waterfront Park.

Give me a break. A 'bold' idea would be placing a minor league ballpark where the Memorial Coliseum sits now? No, a bold idea would be to place a major league ballpark where the coliseum sits, or anywhere in the city for that matter (Where have all the bold ideas gone?, Aug. 13).

You could build a gold-plated stadium for the Beavers and still nobody from outside of Portland would be able to name Portland's baseball team. Because it is minor league. Just like the rest of the town.

Actually, having two side-by-side arenas of the size of the Rose Garden and the coliseum is more 'big league' than a state-of-the-art minor league field with seating for 10,000 or less. Face it people, there are a lot more people out there besides just the architects who want to keep the coliseum as it is now.

Luke Perry

West Linn

Portland has shown that it thinks big

I dispute the whole premise of the article 'Where have all the bold ideas gone?' (Aug. 13). Portland has plenty of 'big ideas' and the ability to implement the ones that get a lot of public support. The article notes, in a throwaway comment, that Portland thinks big when it comes to transportation projects. Indeed, Portland is at the heart of a growing light rail network and is planning a citywide streetcar system. Portland's bicycle master plan is very ambitious, and is being implemented in phases as funding becomes available.

Want to see a big idea realized? Look at the Pearl District. South Waterfront is stalled because of the recession, but that's another big idea that will look pretty impressive in about a decade. And of course, there's the Big Pipe project, which will reduce sewage overflows into the Willamette by something like 96 percent.

Of course, a lot of big ideas fall by the wayside, but that's often because they weren't all that good. Most of the projects mentioned in this article were either too expensive or wouldn't benefit enough people to win public support. A monumental tower would be nice for tourists and the postcard business, but it won't do much to make the city more livable.

As for Portland's future: We can look forward to Major League Soccer, a Major League Baseball team (someday), a citywide streetcar system, a completed South Waterfront district, a vastly expanded research campus at Oregon Health and Science University, a much cleaner river courtesy of the Big Pipe project, a system of off-street bike paths linked throughout the city, a new public market downtown and a revitalized Rose Quarter when someone finally develops a plan that works. And those are just the projects in the pipeline.

Doesn't sound to me like a city that's lacking in the 'big ideas' department.

Douglas Kelso

Northeast Portland

Only enlightened can participate

We don't have any big ideas because so many restrictions have rendered Portland - as a city - impudent (Where have all the bold ideas gone?, Aug. 13). We can't build more roads because some self-interest group thinks it is bad just to discuss the possibilities. We can't take care of the homeless because some self-interest groups believe that would usurp the rights of the homeless.

Light rail and mass transit and 'smart' growth have to work because no other ideas are worth discussing or exploring, as only the enlightened are eligible to present big ideas without ridicule.

Mark Gravengaard

Northeast Portland

Put quality first and ward off decay

A space needle will put us on the map? You have a Las Vegas mentality. People who love Portland want to see mountains in our skyline, not some man-made Disney ride (Where have all the bold ideas gone?, Aug. 13).

Let's quit destroying our heritage and neighborhoods by lowering building standards just to line contractor's pockets. Let's keep our quality architecture, parks and neighborhoods as nice as they can be, instead of letting the charm that makes us special decay in the name of shiny new stuff that is old in 10 years and needs to be replaced with shiny new stuff.

Teddi Carbonneau

Southeast Portland

Bold is too bold for Portlanders

Portland doesn't have any bold ideas (Where have all the bold ideas gone?, Aug. 13). The SMART tower would've been a Portland landmark, but like all ideas it got shut down. The razing of Memorial Coliseum would've been a great idea, but all of a sudden there were a couple of old-time architects who didn't want it torn down because of its historical relevance in the Portland area. Are you really serious?

Now I'm not saying that we need to build 20 new skyscrapers and build a MAX line out to Astoria, but we do need bold ideas here - we need to put Portland on the map for a change, but I guess that might be too much of a bold idea.

Che Robinson

Northwest Portland

Natural gas better than coal

If it comes down to just natural gas and coal, yes on natural gas, no on coal (Heat sparks energy debate, Aug. 13). From a CO2 perspective, I don't think there's a debate on this. But if it's a question of solar or wind, it's clear that solar would do best to cool our homes on sunny, hot days, just by the nature of how the two are tied together.

Gregg Mizuno

Northwest Portland

Feed-in tariff can create jobs

At least part of the answer to the problem PGE faced during this heat wave could be solved by locating the energy production much closer to the use of the energy - on our rooftops and yards with small renewable energy projects (Heat sparks energy debate, Aug. 13).

The problem with doing this is that big private, for-profit utilities don't make big profits when we do that. It is not an unsolvable problem if we can move away from making decisions based on profit-making and instead make decisions based on satisfying need.

The current systems of net-metering and tax credits have been very unsuccessful in generating small renewable energy projects, because they are expensive and complicated. A better model is the feed-in tariff model (renewable energy payments), which has proven so successful in Germany and propelled it to the forefront of the renewable energy field.

Feed-in tariff programs require the utility to buy all of the energy generated at a premium rate for a long period of time. Because the system generates income in excess of cost, banks will give small loans to homeowners and small businesses to build the systems.

The other benefit of feed-in tariff programs is that they generate a lot of good-paying green jobs for all those people who would be needed to manufacture and install the systems.

Lots of wins here.

David Delk

Northeast Portland

Energy debate not as simple as it seems

The problem with the Sierra Club's Robin Everett's statement, 'The wind is always blowing and the sun is always shining somewhere,' while true, is that the equipment and transmission lines to the grid are not always 'somewhere' (Heat sparks energy debate, Aug. 13). It is not like this generation equipment can be portable, and it is difficult to build and get into the grid these renewable energy plants. When the Northwest Environmental Defense Center were down on the waterfront announcing their intent to sue PGE with their blow-up balloon power plant, they had to plug the fan into electricity - probably from coal - to get it to blow up. Think about it - we all want and need electricity. It is not as simplistic as environmental groups claim it to be.

Patricia Jacobs

Southwest Portland

Cars will need more electricity, too

Just wait until everyone has an electric car. What do you think a few million rechargeable cars being plugged in and stuffing energy into their batteries is going to do to PGE's all-time record (Heat sparks energy debate, Aug. 13)? Especially after they have breached all the dams. I hope you don't live in the old flood plains. Where do you think that they are going to get all the electricity from?

David Feist


Many more problems are on their way

Given the lack of knowledge concerning the underemployed, this should be fertile ground for a Ph.D dissertation (The real misery rate: 24 percent, Aug. 13). Though I do not know what to expect in detail at the recession's end, it is reasonable to surmise that the U.S. economic structure will be permanently weaker.

Factors include: our rising population on a fixed land mass, progressive depletion of several key natural resources, rising global competition, and increasing global thirst for oil, coal, and many other resources. Worsening water shortages will be followed by a belated recognition that population growth presents an insuperable thicket of problems.

Marvin Lee McConoughey