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Save school buildings for future

I read with interest your article on empty schools (Empty schools could 'swing' into action, Jan. 22).

I've been doing research on Portland's growing creative class and the influx of 20- and 30-something professionals into our city. Many of them are having children, or will be soon, and I predict a major increase in school-age children in the coming decade.

A lot of these young families are moving to the close-in east-side neighborhoods where the old schools are. It would be extremely shortsighted for the public schools to let property go, only to have to buy land in an inflated and crowded market in five, 10 or 20 years.

Michael Wells

Northwest Portland

MAX should push ahead to the suburbs

MAX's price tag should call for pushing forward rather than for pausing (MAX price tag calls for pause, editorial, Jan. 22).

The Portland Tribune's answer is to use the 'wait and see' approach on the idea of light rail serving the needs of Portland's suburbs. However, when it comes to beautification projects (and that is what the downtown Green Line truly is, as it is certainly not mass or rapid transit), the project is a go.

Sure, the Green Line is half the price, but besides the Clackamas Interstate 205 portion, it's really not covering as much ground as the Milwaukie line would. In reality, MAX should be expanding in all metro directions now.

There are too many communities that are not being served by light rail where bottleneck traffic jams are frequent, such as Vancouver, Wash., and the Interstate 5 south corridor (the new Washington County commuter rail that runs only during rush hour will hardly replace bus service).

If we wait to build these projects, we will only be spending more and passing the buck to our great-grandchildren. With a weaker dollar, inflation on the horizon and gas prices on the rise, I don't think pausing is such a good idea.

Brian Gallucci

Northeast Portland

Rail steals resources needed for highways

Thank you for that faintest glimmer of semisanity you brought to the light-rail issue in 'MAX price tag calls for pause' (editorial, Jan. 22).

My heading would have read, 'MAX price tag calls for slamming brakes on untenable transportation policy pipe dream.'

Your editorial, deficient only in its need for more urgency in tone, cites, indirectly, the concern that has compelled me, as an economist, to focus for more than 15 years on the lunacy of light rail and related transportation policies.

The reason I am concerned over the irrational national fascination and rush to make this fascination a reality is that it diverts critically necessary resources away from the building and maintenance of the highway systems - upon which we rely to transport our commercial freight.

(How much freight - with the very possible Portland exception of illegal drug freight - have you observed being transported on the MAX system?)

Think of it this way: without highways, massive reductions in freight.

Without freight, massive reductions in commerce.

Without commerce, massive reductions in economic activity and no economic growth.

Without economic growth, economic stagnation.

With economic stagnation, all the other economic-related social problems based on it.

Got it, folks? Get it! And hopefully before it's too late.

Frieda Campbell

Milwaukie