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Start tolls to pay for bridge

Readers' Letters
by: L.E. BASKOW, Traffic flows into Vancouver, Wash., over the Interstate Bridge late in the day. Letter writers respond to an Oct. 15 Portland Tribune editorial agreeing with Congressman Peter DeFazio’s claim that $4 billion is an unaffordable price tag at this time to improve the Columbia River Crossing.

They should just put tolls on all of the crossings now to bank the money for the eventual Columbia River Crossing bridge construction (Governors must lead on crossing, Oct. 15). It's a reasonable, foreseeable cost and getting the money now would help reduce the need to borrow and pay interest in the future.

Marc Higbie

Northeast Portland

Create reversible lane of bottlenecks

Actually, the bridge isn't the bottleneck in the morning. The problem lies farther south where Interstate 5 goes through Portland (Governors must lead on crossing, Oct. 15).

The bridge, however, is a bottleneck in the afternoon, which could be alleviated by creating a reversible lane for the northbound traffic. They did this before when they repainted the bridges, and it worked just fine.

Jack E. Gale

Northeast Portland

Central planning drives out jobs

Central planning, sustainability and pushing the green code is actually costing the city jobs (A great place to live, not work, Oct. 15). As more high-rise condos and road-reduction plans are implemented, intracity streets become more congested, driving out significant businesses.

Most businesses and people still depend primarily on car travel, and yet the city's central planning is very unfriendly toward car travel. The green code is also significantly raising the cost of living and doing business inside the city. Just look at what the Big Pipe project has done to water and sewer bills.

Metro, an expanding amount of debt, and large federal and state subsidies are what keeps the city's economy afloat. But all of this subsidization of the city's central planning experiment is suspect as the state and the federal government both face budget crunches. Moreover, the surrounding suburbs are agitating to change Metro's slanting of development toward the city.

If I ran Washington County, I would open up a portion of the county's vast undeveloped land to industrial/commercial development. I would also try to bring about a westside bypass of the city of Portland so as to unlock the freight bottleneck caused by the restrictions being placed on the Columbia River Crossing Project.

Bottom line: The city of Portland's governance for decades has lacked balance, pandering instead to government employee unions and environmental interests. It's now costing the city important sources of economic well-being, namely, productive and long-term private business.

Bob Clark

Southeast Portland

Bring creative ideas to the table

That is a facetiously disconnected understanding of what creative people actually do for a living, and what sort of jobs creative people want or need (A great place to live, not work, Oct. 15).

I challenge these people to bring these ideas to PNCA, the Art Institute, the University of Oregon's Architecture program in Portland among others, and present their proposal to fund jobs in software, advanced manufacturing, clean technology and active wear.

These committees should stop planning their days around corporations and instead ask the creative people who are unemployed what the city could do to help them create their own jobs and companies.

Simple enough, don't you think?

Gregg Mizuno

Northwest Portland

Portland doesn't favor business

Portland could create the greatest place to live, which it hasn't, but the companies won't put their job-creating facilities within its boundaries with a pro-union, anti-business City Hall (A great place to live, not work, Oct. 15).

Ask yourself, has any major company put a facility within the Portland city limits in the last decade? Why are they all going to the areas just outside our city limits? Why does Washington County have (fewer) people than the city of Portland does, yet contribute by far the highest amount of income taxes in Oregon?

Why do Portland's teachers - including my own son and daughter - live in Camas, Wash., and commute to Portland to work? The answer: Because the education system is better there than in Portland.

Isn't it amazing that our city fathers were willing to provide almost $100 million for sports teams but can't find a dime for education, resulting in us being almost at the bottom of the nation in comparison of schools. Our city fathers are creating visit-ability, not livability, especially for businesses. That is why they will continue to move into the suburbs and take their jobs with them.

Jim Crowell

Northwest Portland

City welcomes baristas only

Are you sure Lars Larson didn't write this column (A great place to live, not work, Oct. 15)? He has been harping on this for years. Portland has become the headquarters for the international association for the betterment and protection of baristas.

Jim Werner

Southeast Portland

Elitist attitude discourages jobs

The city is trying to cherry pick jobs in industries that are cleaner than clean and don't require the employees to break a sweat (A great place to live, not work, Oct. 15). I assume they want those companies that make paper, pumps, tools, chemicals, wood products, food products and any other non-glamorous products to be located in other cities who are far inferior to the elitist Portland.

The city of Portland gets what it deserves.

William S. Hamilton

Woodburn

Portland doesn't promote diverse labor skills

How is this a 'different' strategy (A great place to live, not work, Oct. 15)?

The job of a city is to accommodate the needs of residents, including businesses within its regional influence. Sure, the taxes are low here, but the cost of operating here is high due to the geography and the low density population of the state. Moving goods, services and labor is critical to operating here, yet we continue to restrict movement and, in a sense, 'tax' and penalize businesses and their labor pool for locating here.

The city of Portland, as well as Oregon, concentrates on certain industries and, because of that, our labor pool does not contain a diverse skill set.

As long as Portland manages what 'designer' businesses they prefer to locate here, the city will continue to decline.

Mark Gravengaard

Northeast Portland

Recall should take a campaign class

These people ran a very bad campaign the first time, so why will money help (New Adams recall looks for money and support, Oct. 8)? It was more about 'come find us to sign the petition,' but if you happened to Google the appropriate way to do (campaigns), it's not about finding the people who wanted to sign.

Places to sign didn't work for the majority of Portlanders who don't ride buses or light-rail and don't want to go to places where they can't find a parking space.

Megan Drake

Southeast Portland

Enough recall is enough

Enough already. They had their shot, it didn't work, now move on (New Adams recall looks for money and support, Oct. 8).

Maura White

Southeast Portland

Shut down farms' amusement parks

I see no reason why Bill Kruger and the owners of the Pumpkin Patch property should be allowed to continue to make a mockery of the farmland designation (County curtails events at Sauvie Island farm, Oct. 8).

Kruger is simply turning Sauvie Island into a combination of Wallyworld and Costco by selling beer, doughnuts, burgers, South American baskets and imported produce at his 'farm stand,' which is actually a medium-sized barn dedicated to sales. The Pumpkin Patch, which is even more obnoxious, is actually produced by a nationwide event producer and has almost nothing to do with farming at all.

They take no responsibility for mitigating the impact that their amusement parks have on the other five thousand island residents, and they create a serious safety hazard by bringing six thousand cars down a two-lane road and bridge each weekend day in October - no ambulance could possibly enter or exit the island for an emergency response.

The stop-and-crawl traffic generated by these amusement parks typically takes two hours for the last two miles to exit the island on the weekends. How would you like to be unable to leave or return to your home in less than hours so that these folks can make a profit?

I'd suggest that the county shut down these entertainments entirely, as they meet neither the letter or the spirit of the farmland preservation regulations.

Rick Zehr

Sauvie Island

Hollywood hasn't helped belly dancing

Thank you for the article about something that has been very dear to my heart for over 20 years: Belly dancing (The best in belly dancing, Oct. 1).

However, I must add that the Bellydance Superstars is a show that was started by an individual, (a man) who worked in Hollywood and had no real knowledge of the world of Middle Eastern Dance. Belly dancing is a dance by women, for women of all ages and sizes. I think we know what Hollywood is after, and I will say in my opinion Hollywood has not necessarily done the art of belly dancing any big favors.

There are many, many dancers out there who are just as good (as the Bellydance Superstars), but will never be seen in this type of show because they are not svelte enough or pretty enough or - heaven forbid - not young enough. And this totally misses the heart of what this art is about. All too often, people have the misconception that you must be a certain body type to do this dance, and that is simply not true.

Anyone can title themselves any way they want, (Star, Master, Professional, Super Star, etc.), but as there is no one recognized organization in the world of belly dance to make that determination, the titles don't mean the credentials are there to back it up.

Are the Bellydance Superstars the best? Possibly. They are certainly worth seeing as it is a polished and exciting show done in a tasteful manner.

Carmen Painter

Vancouver, Wash.