Featured Stories

City must adapt to families

by: JIM CLARK, Neighborhood facilities like this former YMCA, now the reopened Northeast Community Center, are being shuttered, leaving families in a bad spot, a reader writes.

I have sympathy for those young families in the Pearl District ('Parents call for a Pearl with room for kids to grow,' March 4) who want to keep their urban, car-free lifestyle and are finding no support for family life in terms of facilities.

I'd like to welcome them to the frustration that families are feeling in many of Portland's neighborhoods.

Our neighborhood schools are being closed in favor of larger, centralized schools. We have dealt in the past with the threat of smaller community centers and pools being shut down in favor of megacommunity centers.

The message we have been given is that the small-scale neighborhood entity with local facilities is not economically feasible and therefore not desirable and we all need to be resigned to the idea of having to transport our children back and forth to school and activities - an idea which goes against the grain of the neighborhood structure of Portland.

Many of these same neighborhoods losing their family support systems are being pushed to accept high density, à la the Pearl, in the form of new developments with units geared to singles or childless couples.

The city of Portland needs to have a vision on how to accommodate families in urban Portland. Is Portland going to become like San Francisco, where families with median incomes can only afford housing in the suburbs?

This is a policy which induces sprawl. A comprehensive plan which acknowledges families as a vital part of the citizenry needs to balance density with facilities and housing for families of all income levels.

Christine Yun

Southeast Portland

Election 'sabotage' already is possible

Political scientist Robert Eisinger's argument against an open primary seems to me to be more art than science - partisan art (Primary is closed for a reason, My View, April 11).

I'm no scientist, but I do know that if anyone is bound and determined to try to 'sabotage' the primary of another party, then all one needs do is register as a member of that party and vote.

And, in case Mr. Eisinger hasn't heard, Independent in Oregon now is a political party. Those of us who previously considered ourselves independent now are officially 'nonaffiliated.'

Beyond all that, I suspect that Eisinger's science would become more artistic if we were to initiate a proposal to take the open primary one step further and establish a statewide system of nonpartisan elected offices; and, while we're at it, a unicameral Legislature.

Rick Newton

Lake Grove

Petitioner's motives are pretty clear

Of course Phil Keisling, a partisan Democrat, favors an open primary (Make all voters be heard, My View, April 18).

Since the state has voted overall Democrat for the past 20 years, his scheme most often would result in two Democrats contending in the general election for every statewide office.

If this indeed is his intention, then he is promoting a 'tyranny of the majority' and hopes to kill off all Republican chances once and for all.

If people wish to have a say in who is nominated, let them join a party and vote in the system we have today.

Greg Hadley

Lake Oswego

County taxes would force center's sale

Please allow me to clarify several points in Peter Korn's article on the Northwest Neighborhood Cultural Center (Tax bill mystifies cultural center, April 15).

• The sale to the Northwest Children's Theater was proposed by the building board, and the building members voted it down.

• In three years, the county will force the sale of the building to pay the past due taxes. We have no plans to voluntarily sell the building now or in three years.

• The offer to purchase development rights contained a fast timeline that did not allow us to call and hold a special election, as required in our bylaws on the sale of assets. We could not meet the terms offered, and our members never had a chance to consider the proposal.

Ike Bay

Northwest Neighborhood Cultural Center board president

Northwest Portland

Climatologist a good example for others

Congratulations to George Taylor. Despite the sometimes disrespectful and sarcastic manner in which the questions were posed to him, he spoke to the science of global warming (OSU climatologist vacates hot seat, Sustainable Life, April 15).

We would all do well by following his lead and be skeptical of anyone saying they know how the Earth's climate system works while, at the same time, taking an Earth-friendly approach to life.

Steve Adams

Colorado Springs, Colo.

Better schools will keep families in city

If we assume that parents send their children to school to learn, Erik Sten is wasting his time addressing 'livability issues' to keep families in Portland (Kids get say on city of future, April 15).

According to Portland Public Schools' own data, the smarter students are the less they will learn in city schools. Many students who exceed benchmarks make no gains during the school year. This has been the case for many years, but the district ignores the problem.

The data (from the school district Web site) can be found on my Web site at www.tagpdx.org. Do we need to look further to explain why middle-class families leave?

Margaret DeLacy

Southeast Portland

Crossword puzzles keep minds sharp

I wish to write on behalf of some of your most devoted readers.

The Portland Tribune has presented us with some of the best investigative journalism around. Phil Stanford is brilliant, although I do not agree with his attack on the very real needs of the Pearl District for a bridge (West side finally has a voice at City Hall, April 18).

After all, Commissioner Sam Adams knows that there is not much use in a politician pouring money into the poor districts - they seldom make huge contributions to politicians.

However, my most serious request is that you bring back your crossword puzzle. Remember that as we age, we all need the mental stimulation provided by crosswords.

Speaking as a psychologist, I can tell you that you may be increasing the cognitive deficits in your most loyal readers. Not a good idea.

How is your memory, anyway?

Helena M. Carlson

Southeast Portland