Featured Stories

Get advice on downspouts

by: L.E. BASKOW, In some parts of the city, disconnecting a downspout and allowing roof water to run onto gardens and lawns could make the soil unstable, leading to a landslide. Before disconnecting, check with the Bureau of Environmental Services’ Downspout Disconnection Program.

In response to Peter Korn's "Oops!" article (Oct. 30), I would like to defend the Bureau of Environmental Services' Downspout Disconnection Program.

I was a civil engineering designer and project manager for about four years, working in projects in Portland. Infiltration as a means of managing storm water was banned more often than not in my projects in the South and Northwest Hills.

If you look at the Downspout Disconnection Program's Web site, (www.tinyurl.com/6dv6ar), you'll see that the city only offers incentives in certain areas. The area of landslides is shown in pink and labeled 'Not targeted because of slopes and soils.'

It would be good to get this information out there in a correction, because I believe that many Southwest Portlanders are taking matters into their own hands and disconnecting their downspouts without signing up for the program or checking to see if it's appropriate in their area.

Maria Cahill

Southwest Portland

Don't build them, and they won't fall

Regarding the 'Law of Unintended Consequences' (Oops!, Oct. 30), I would like to submit the fact that houses sliding down hillsides is primarily an unintended consequence of building houses on hillsides.

Phoebe Burns

Northeast Portland

Breast-fed babies get required vitamins

Term babies exclusively breast-fed for at least six months (which is what the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommends) have plenty of vitamin D.

In fact, a baby is born with a liver full of vitamin D. After six months, a vitamin D supplement is recommended from the AAP, but that doesn't mean a mother should stop breast-feeding.

Exclusive breast-feeding for at least six months and extended breast-feeding for at least two years has been shown to decrease diaper rash, diarrhea, respiratory infection, asthma, Type 2 diabetes, leukemia, Hodgkin's disease and hypercholesterolemia.

It is shameful that the Portland Tribune would print an article that is clearly not in the best interests of the children of Portland (Oops!, Oct. 30). Korn implies that breast-feeding is some kind of disease.

This is the opposite of the truth. In fact, the use of formula has been linked to increased problems with both respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses. Plus, many formula cans and bottles contain bisphenol A, which has been associated with lower fertility and cancer.

The darker the skin's pigmentation, the more sun exposure a person needs. Generally, all you need is five minutes' exposure every day or two on your face and hands directly from the sun.

Since the sun is so great, maybe we should all think about using it for power instead of oil, eh?

Anna Soderberg

North Portland

Worker personality conflicts inevitable

As in any restaurant or work environment, there are occasional personality conflicts (Worker abuse at Typhoon alleged, Oct. 23). However, I feel that the people I work with, and work for, treat me with nothing but respect and professionalism. This has kept me with Typhoon for a number of years, and more to come.

Jennifer Kido

Aloha

Recession takes toll on research, too

A lot of so-called American advancements in science were possible partly because of large contributions from scientists and students from various countries (Financial doubts gnaw at international students, Oct. 23).

A doctoral degree is a research degree and most American universities make it a priority to fund their doctoral students, irrespective of their nationality. I should say, it is a kind of academic tradition.

This is one reason why America is a leader in science and technology, but it looks like due to recession those golden days are not there anymore.

Vamsi Parasa

Southwest Portland

Americans must live within their means

When are we going to quit blaming the other guy and recognize that all of us, as Americans, for generations have been living in the commercial where the man buys a big-screen TV with the voice in the background singing 'I want it all'? The truth is that we all have been complicit in this situation (Brokers who won in Salem, lost in life, Oct. 23).

What I would like to see is some accountability, some admission from all parties saying 'Yes, I was unwise. I made a bad decision.'

Come on, people! We are broke as a nation, and we need to either start learning to live on our incomes or we might as well allow our lenders to take the collateral - the very ground we live on.

Melissa Holt

Hillsboro

Broker made wise choice, didn't lose

I understand the general intent of your article, but disagree with how I was represented. My situation is 180 degrees different than Bing and Ridge (Brokers who won in Salem, lost in life, Oct. 23). While they may have 'lost in life,' as you describe, my move was anything but.

I proactively shut my profitable small business on March 30 because of the coming tighter regulation. The legislation and rules forced me out of a successful small business, not any decrease in income or production.

I had good loan production in 2007 and the first quarter of 2008 just before my close. The pending legislation that became HR3221 and proposed Federal Reserve TILA rules concerned me, and I saw an increased need for additional loan products my company was too small to offer.

Pacific Residential Mortgage is an excellent company with the same ethical business practices I required at my company. It is much larger than my firm, with many successful loan officers and branches in its employ. This was a positive step for me.

I have not lost my house of more than 12 years, nor sold assets, nor had any personal problems. I have been married for more than 28 years, and have not had any concerns about any of this. That should be my story, not 'lost in life' - which I resent.

Steve Emory

Lake Oswego

Mortgage brokers must shoulder blame

As a 15-year veteran of the mortgage industry, I can tell you that the vast majority of brokers are united in their fight against regulation that requires them to be held accountable and to preserve two things - limited disclosure and yield-spread premium (Brokers who won in Salem, lost in life, Oct. 23).

Yield-spread premium can be used to increase the borrower's interest rate and use the corresponding rebate payment from the lender to pay their fees. The original purpose of the premium was to help pay the borrower's closing costs but over time it became an additional source of commission for the broker.

'Whatever you can get away with' became the mantra for mortgage brokers. For a broker to hold no fiduciary responsibility and to place the blame on the lender/Wall Street is an outrage. The chickens have come home to roost on the mortgage broker, and it is about time.

Douglas Ward

Clackamas

Pay for lawsuits out of cops' pension fund

James Chasse died because authoritarians hate more than anything to have their authority defied (Cop in video: 'We tackled' Chasse, Oct. 30).

Portland's authoritarian law-enforcement officers cost the city of Portland millions of dollars annually in wrongful-death lawsuits. Remedy: Pay for those lawsuits out of the Portland Police pension fund.

Jackie T. Gabel

Southeast Portland