For tram, try turnstile

by: L.E. BASKOW, The tram saw almost 1.4 million riders in its first 12 months, with 90 percent of the rides OHSU-related: employees, students, patients or patients’ families riding between the  campus on Marquam Hill and OHSU’s buildings in South Waterfront.

Given that the vast majority of the affluence on Pill Hill comes, and has come, directly or indirectly out of the public pocket, I can see no reason why one citizen should pay a dime more - or less - than any other to ride the new tram (Tram ridership soars, plan to pay for it shifts, Feb. 29).

Ticket machines that only take credit cards, when they're working, are just an additional insult, as is the arrogant notion that tram rides for patients are a 'courtesy.'

Nor does Portland need to add itself to the long list of cities that delight in milking tourists - someday we, too, may be tourists.

It seems to me that a turnstile that collects, say, 25 cents a ride from every passenger might be a simpler and fairer solution. And save the ticket machines for the SUV-humans who fought the tram every step of the way.

Mark Scattergood

Southeast Portland

No surprise traffic's mainly for OHSU

Who did they think was going to ride the tram other than Oregon Health and Science University employees (Tram ridership soars, plan to pay for it shifts, Feb. 29)?

The first year of ridership is not an accurate assessment of future revenue due to the fact that the non-OSHU riders simply try the tram for the novelty factor. I predict that next year's ridership will see closer to 100 percent OHSU employees once Portlanders have gotten their fill of 'tramming.'

I think this is more about having big-city looks than actually providing Portlanders with a beneficial and affordable alternative transportation option.

Gabe Storm

Southeast Portland

Climate concerns show poor timing

When one thinks about intellectual discourse on a university campus, one usually conjures the image of scholarly debate free of the usual political rhetoric.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski's recent comments at the University of Portland could charitably be described as disserving our students' educational experience and misrepresenting the best interests of our state.

The governor's participation in a nationwide teach-in on the 'perils' of climate change is as biased as it is ill-timed.

It is not in Oregon's interest, still recovering from a flood emergency and with snowpacks running to three times normal, to have our governor lecture our students about how to think on climate change.

Kulongoski's focus should lie in ensuring our state's economic rise in spite of natural disasters, and the policies he proposed at the University of Portland indicate he has little understanding of how to do so.

His support for a cap-and-trade system that would limit emissions by power plants may sound nice but makes little sense.

We do not actually stop global warming; we 'cap' our influence through government handouts and 'trade' our pollution to some other company (not to mention the thousands of jobs that will be 'traded' as well).

Former President Clinton recently suggested that we just have to slow down our economy to fight global warming. It seems like our governor feels the same way. Doing so will cheat Oregon college students of their future.

Jeremiah Hoffman