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Envision system as a whole

The Milwaukie light-rail project is not the only transportation project being proposed in the Portland region that lacks rationality in its funding and decision-making process, a concern expressed in the editorial 'MAX price tag calls for pause' (Jan. 22).

A more rational approach to improving and funding transportation projects is to consider them as part of an integrated system rather than as independent projects that address only their unique objectives, which could add costs and conflict with the objectives of other projects.

Jim Howell

Northeast Portland

Neighbors can fix their own potholes

Regarding 'Portlanders may have another tax day: Nov. 4' (Feb. 8), let us take things into our own hands first: concrete mix, asphalt patch and gravel.

Although here in Multnomah Village individuals have taken on street fixes independently, the city could allocate materials to the neighborhood associations, who could then assess, organize and coordinate with volunteers.

I've seen a woman on Southwest Baird Street fill potholes with gravel hauled in her own pickup. A kind systems analyst on my own street bought bags of asphalt patch from Lowe's and filled in the gouged corners at intersections - all on his own time and dime. An enterprising friend on Southwest Carson Street took up a collection among neighbors and street users to repave their section: $8,000.

We can encourage the city to give us creative options that improve streets, build community and ultimately reduce Commissioner Sam Adams' hard-to-swallow $464 million.

BetteLynn Johnson

Southwest Portland

Punishment doesn't fit the crime

I don't have a problem with graffiti. I think it's actually quite nice to look at, but I do view it as a crime and understand why it is one.

Brandon Talbot is fighting the wrong battle (Letters, Feb. 8). There is not much room for opinion in these matters: Contributing members of society are expected to obey all laws, and to not have a problem doing whatever they can to minimize crime, even if it means being tracked by computer (Tag team, Jan. 25).

The problem is our country's tendency to enforce unreasonable punishment in an attempt to deter people from committing certain crimes, and now graffiti is being treated in a similar fashion as crack was.

Toby Francis

North Portland

Taggers are artists, not criminals

Graffiti artists care about art and produce something beautiful for their communities to see - they get their name out there, and it consumes all of their free time.

Most people who do graffiti aren't criminals; they have jobs, pay taxes, and dedicate their lives to going out into their community and producing amazing art.

Some graffiti artists spend months on a single piece of paper, working it to perfection, before they go out and throw it up on a train or in a graffiti yard.

Graffiti artists aren't always criminals and aren't bad people; they are just making art on property that isn't theirs. They shouldn't be put in prison with murderers and gang members and other violent offenders.

I also think cities should have designated spots for graffiti artists to do their art and get recognized for it. A lot of people love graffiti and street art and enjoy seeing it around.

Josh Gotlib

Tualatin