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Portland gets what a few want

The Sellwood Bridge symbolizes a main problem in Portland's politics: A small, well-heeled minority with an agenda is pushing through pet projects at the expense and safety of the community at large.

Portland wanted more streetcars; Portland got it. Portland wanted a tram; again, got it. Portland wanted to put MAX down Fifth and Sixth avenues, paralleling the new streetcar; Portland got it.

Portland wanted thousands of miles of lane changes and several intersections closed to accommodate the minority of commuters who find bicycling sufficient; Portland got that, too.

Meanwhile, it has been well-documented that the Sellwood Bridge literally is falling down. Locals have known for decades not to park or play under the span.

Gresham is not paying its share? Portland consumes the lion's share of transportation dollars and spends most of its budget on the city core.

East-side streets within the Portland city limits remain unpaved. Communities such as Estacada have been given permission by the state Legislature to pull out of TriMet on the grounds that taxes collected evenly are not spent evenly. Besides, the bridge is wholly in Portland.

The Sellwood Bridge has not been made safe because it serves primarily motor vehicles. No bike lane, no MAX, no fancy ski lift hanging from its belly. The poor old Sellwood Bridge doesn't stand a chance at getting funding anytime soon, and stalling the repair will only add more congestion to your precious, anti-auto city core.

I, for one, avoid the Sellwood Bridge at all costs, even when it means negotiating through downtown. I do not want to be on that bridge when it plunges into the Willamette.

Patrick Millius

Northeast Portland

Sten gets things done, popular or not

It was hard to tell, but your article 'Sten's vision clears hurdle' (Feb. 26) sounded like, perhaps, you didn't approve of Commissioner Erik Sten's work to develop the homeless access center and affordable housing projects.

Those of us working to end homelessness in Portland are impressed by the creativity, perseverance and vision Sten has shown championing these sometimes unpopular projects.

Far from pushing something through behind closed doors, Sten has taken many opportunities to gather input and collaborate with diverse interests, while never losing sight that people literally are dying on Portland's streets from poverty and homelessness.

Many people complain about politicians following the lead of big-money interests, but here is a politician who actually listens to the needs of our lowest-income neighbors - and then does something about it. That is incredible. Erik Sten will be missed greatly.

Orion Lumiere

Development associate, Sisters of the Road

Northwest Portland

Proposed day labor site has hidden costs

While the oft-mentioned $200,000 of taxpayers' money that Mayor Tom Potter wants to give Voz (Neighbors not wild about day labor site, March 4) is outrageous, it is only a small portion of the cost to Portlanders.

Even ignoring the severely negative impact of the illegals that this money supports, there are massive additional costs.

Who has paid for all the city administrative time for this misguided venture? Who is paying for the 'mediators' the city is sending out to put a happy face on this disaster?

What about the lost value of the Portland Development Commission land to be used for Potter's folly? What about taxes on the land that could be collected if the land were put to good use?

Local businesses and neighbors are understandably outraged at the proposal. People who pay taxes used by Portland should be as well.

Additionally, the perception seems to be the $200,000 is to be used for some kind of a 'shelter.' According to the article, the money is being handed over to Voz to run the site. People should research this 'Voz' first to understand the kind of organization their money is going to.

Dave Luck

Lake Oswego