Apply logic for streetcar success


It seems that there are some who are looking at the expansion plans for the Portland streetcar (Is it a tool or a toy?, July 17) as an elaborate train set that was given to some rather well-heeled, spoiled rich kids on Christmas morning.

This myopic view fails to take into account the new reality in transit that exists for cities large and small.

There is a need for more affordable options for the populace in order to get around. With the price of gas being what it is, the streetcar is the logical course of action.

Considering the development that would follow the completion of the new lines, this is not such a bad thing to have happen in the long term.

There are places along the proposed alignments that have either not had any new growth in years and look as though they are the poster children for urban blight or have had limited development that has resulted in businesses that would be more akin to a scene from a bad section of an interstate highway.

As such, new housing, along with retail, will revitalize these regions and can lead to a renaissance of sorts, much like what has happened with the Pearl and other neighborhoods where the streetcar line runs.

Other cities that have done the same include Baltimore; San Diego, San Jose, Sacramento and the outer San Francisco Bay area in California; and Edmonton and Calgary in Canada.

We must not go haphazardly into this master plan, but take logical steps to ensure its success.

Engage the public on each rung of the ladder and then, when this is completed, it will not be seen as just a large Lionel train set for the rich and aimless transit-urban planners.

Randi L. Dennis

Northeast Portland

If people want it, the streetcar will happen

I was extremely dismayed by the recent article 'Is it a tool or a toy?' (July 17).

As one of a small group of district working group coordinators for East Portland who also lives one property away from Southeast 122nd Avenue, I think it's important to point out that the comments about 122nd are very one-sided and clearly not indicative of the entire picture.

The Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood, on the southern end of 122nd Avenue, has seen more growth than any neighborhood in East Portland. Yet, there still is tremendous opportunity for development along a streetcar line.

A streetcar, because of the permanent nature of the rails, represents a serious investment in an area and would bring high-quality housing and retail to an area literally bombarded with inferior low-income housing, but has yet to see any new commercial development to support the vast number of new residents.

As for cost, I feel it's ridiculous to expect to know now exactly how something is going to be paid for that will most likely not happen for 15 or more years, if ever.

Personally, I find it to be more of an issue of how badly the streetcar is wanted. If I want something badly enough, I'm going to do whatever I can to get it.

That means going without some things or compromising on others. If the public wants a streetcar in their neighborhood enough, they will be willing to do the same.

Mark White

Powellhurst-Gilbert resident

Southeast Portland

Household not suited for pet? Don't get one

Stand firm, Ms. Van Buskirk (Dog column had tongues wagging, July 10). Don't let judgmental dog lovers sway you in your position. Luke doesn't have to experience dog ownership in order to build character or have a happy childhood.

I'm a dog lover and always have been. I didn't have a dog when I was a kid, but I survived. I harbor no ill will toward my parents for depriving me of a dog.

Had they given in, they probably would have ended up being the ones responsible for the dog's care.

To all the respondents who accused you of being self-absorbed or horrible for not giving into Luke's desire, check out the pets category on Craigslist and count the number of dogs that are being 're-homed.'

The truth is, too many people either give in to their children's wishes to have a puppy or the adults impulsively obtain one without really thinking about the responsibility they have for the next 10 years.

Few people research dog breeds and often end up with a breed that doesn't fit their lifestyle.

Self absorbed? I wish there were more like you. We'd have fewer dogs bouncing from home to home.

Ana Wagner