LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
I'm writing in response to the May editorial 'TriMet's announcement surprises Sellwood, Westmoreland', and to provide some clarification. With a new Sellwood Bridge and the opening of the Portland-Milwaukie light rail line, TriMet will re-evaluate how bus service will work in the Sellwood and Westmoreland neighborhoods, as well as in Clackamas County. We typically begin engaging the community in future service planning about two years before we open a new MAX line, and the new light rail line is not scheduled to open until September 2015. While we cannot add new service now due to the ongoing recession, any remarks about future service over the Sellwood Bridge to downtown were premature.
Our service planning outreach will include assessing the level of service north of downtown Milwaukie (along both McLoughlin Boulevard and Main Street) because MAX will be able to serve many of the trips between there and downtown Portland, and will also include discussions with riders who currently board on McLoughlin at Harold to explore alternative options.
The editorial also asked TriMet to restore construction elements for a potential future Harold Station. You may recall that last summer project partners selected a number of discrete elements to defer from the project budget in light of lower than anticipated federal funding. This list included some provisions for a future Harold Station. As design and construction progress, project partners will continue to review this list and look for opportunities to restore elements where possible. The strong community support for a future Harold Station has been clearly expressed and will be part of that ongoing discussion.
Jennifer Koozer, TriMet Community Affairs, Sellwood resident
EDITOR'S NOTE: The TriMet official making the announcement about no bus service downtown over a new Sellwood Bridge stated it as a fact. We can only hope that, indeed, it is not as final a decision as it sounded then. As for Harold Street, TriMet itself has said that no Harold Street Station can ever be built on the new MAX line, unless the preliminary accommodations for one (costing only $100,000 in the multi-million-dollar budget) are not added there as the line as built. So we continue to hope that these accommodative features are included at that time, keeping the door open for public transit NOT to permanently decline for residents of North Westmoreland, as the new MAX line opens.
Ardenwald doesn't need a stoplight
The Ardenwald/Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association (A/JC) has had many concerns about the Milwaukie Light Rail project's impact on our neighborhood. One of these has been a 'mandate' from ODOT to replace the 3-way flashing light and stop signs at the 32nd Avenue/Tacoma Street/Johnson Creek Boulevard intersection with a traffic light. A/JC is composed of both Portland and Milwaukie residents, and this is at a Portland right-of-way. At the time this stoplight was mandated, the light rail parking structure at Tacoma was to be 1,200 spaces. It has since been taken down to being a 600-space parking lot. This traffic signal proposal will add $250,000 to the light rail project.
Our neighborhood does not want or need a traffic signal at that intersection. It is inappropriate for a residential neighborhood with a 25 MPH posted speed limit, and it would be a detriment to our safety and livability. This intersection works well as it is, except during afternoon commuting times, and a traffic light would likely make that time period worse; cars would be encouraged to speed at green lights and to run through amber lights. Speeding would undoubtedly be worse.
It is too bad if this the quarter-million-dollar cost for a light this neighborhood does not want cannot be channeled into a project that several neighborhoods DO want - namely, a light rail station on McLoughlin Boulevard at Harold Street (THE BEE, May 2011) which has been taken out of the plans - and which could be reinstated for the expenditure, now, of a mere $100,000.
Sherri Campbell, VP, Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Assn.
Would like to have two bridges
Re: 'Detour bridge could speed Sellwood Bridge replacement, save $10 million': If this method is used, I have to wonder if it would be possible to leave the old span in place for bikes and pedestrians. Would that create a long-term bike and pedestrian solution? If it would, then could the new bridge be made even more inexpensively by creating simpler facilities for those users? I'm not necessarily advocating that the old span be used for non-motorized traffic, but rather that this be investigated.
dwain edibbly, via online comment form
EDITOR'S NOTE: Actually, this could be a solution in search of a problem. The new bridge will be built with wide access lanes for both pedestrians and bicyclists on both sides of the bridge, making more access redundant. It is far too late to completely redesign the new bridge to eliminate pedestrian and bike lanes now.
Toll bridge idea resurfaces
I suggest we make the new Sellwood Bridge a toll bridge, charging a reasonable sum for use, and doing so via new technology to as to not hold up traffic. If someone commutes they could buy an annual pass. If someone else uses the bridge occasionally they could pay a different sum, but also with a pass - let's say, purchased TriMet style. If people won't pass ballot measures to support a vital link for our community we will need to be more clever than they. The principle is no different than supporting schools whether we have children in school or not. It's what makes this a great place to live.
Sue Schubert, S.E. 13th Avenue, via online letters form
Sellwood neighbors on 'Oprah'
My friends and neighbors, Max and Katherine Pavesic, headed out in late April on their trip to Chicago and Jackson to be part of the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Riders. In 1961 Max was arrested with 12 other university students, a postal worker, and a teacher for 'breach of peace' because they were congregating with blacks in the 'whites only' waiting room, and refused to leave. They were taken to the city jail and eventually to Parchman Farm, Mississippi's notorious state prison. In Chicago they taped the Oprah Winfrey show which aired May 4th, in honor of the Freedom Riders, and then they headed out to Jackson, Mississippi, for the rest of the celebration.
Evelyn Morabe, Sellwood, via e-mail
Whoever you are - thanks
This is a short note to thank the kind, wonderful, honest person who dropped my AMEX card and driver's license through my mail slot. THANK YOU for being awesome and saving me a whole lot of headache. I had a small panic attack when I realized I must have dropped them somewhere between my house and QFC - only to then to feel total relief and jubilation, when I discovered they were in my mailbox. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.
Jennifer King, S.E. 19th, Westmoreland, via online letters form
I have many fond memories of Sellwood Park and pool, the Oaks, and riding my bicycle and the streetcars all over Portland.
John W. Reamy, Billings, Montana, via e-mail
Another vote for Naomi's Organic
I concur with Tom Dwyer about Naomi's Organic Gardening Supply. She can count on my vote among many of my friends that her neighborhood business is in its present location to stay.
Sue Schubert, S.E. 13th Avenue, via online letters form
On April 27 I attended the rollout of Stan Hoffman's Sellwood-Westmoreland emergency preparedness project at the SMILE Station. I'm delighted to report that it was a huge success, with an excellent presentation by Stan, at least 60 people attending, and great discussion afterwards.
Stan started out his presentation by saying he didn't have any special expertise; that he is just another neighbor, and that everyone can get themselves and their neighbors prepared - all they need is information. He said that the first requirement is mental preparedness: how it is important to understand that the notion that people commonly panic and resort to looting after a disaster turns out to be not true. Rather, the natural response is for people to comfort each other and to deal with what is before them. He referenced Rebecca Solnit's article 'Unpacking for a Disaster', as well as her book 'Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster'.
Stan explained that, in the event of a major disaster such as a Cascadia Subduction Zone quake, the people around us will be the ones we most need to rely on, since it could be days if not weeks before the authorities get there. He went over the general outlines of the program, which has all needed materials on his website - http://beprepared.sellwood.org , and asked that people resolve to get themselves and families ready and go on to organize their blocks. He recommended from one to four weeks worth of food, water and other supplies. He is setting up a Google group for communication with block coordinators.
In the question period it turned out that one of Clackamas County's emergency managers and the Sellwood NET team leader were in the audience. Both were totally supportive of Stan's effort, and the emergency manager offered to come back and do a presentation on earthquake and other hazards.
Stan is piloting an approach developed by him together with the Transition PDX Community Preparedness group. Ultimately, it's hoped to make this program available throughout Portland. With public awareness heightened following the Japan catastrophe, the timing is right, and the do-it-yourself aspect allows this approach to be put into practice just as soon as people are ready.
At the close, Stan got a big hand for his efforts, and quite a few people stayed to ask more questions. People who weren't there can check out the website above, and start getting themselves and their neighbors ready!
Liz Bryant, Creston-Kenilworth Neighborhood
'Russ' responds, on Tacoma St. renaming proposal
In regards to the letter by Hayes in last month's BEE about changing the name of Tacoma Street along a particular alignment, the writer has entirely missed the point. First of all, 'Russ' is not making this proposal - but rather this is a project of the Ardenwald/Johnson Creek neighborhood. Also, as a relatively recent Chicago resident, I find the suggestion to 'raise enough money and donate it' quite charming. 'Benjamins' in an envelope can do wonders but is that really the Oregon way?
Whether any local residents are being upset or not, the viaduct over McLoughlin is Tenino, as per Portland's GIS maps. Naomi's Organic supply is on Tacoma Street, which is at ground level one block north of the viaduct. Currently, the stretch of road in question carries the nomenclature Tacoma Street, to Tenino Viaduct, to Tacoma Street, to 32nd Avenue, to Johnson Creek Boulevard. Those are the current facts on the ground.
The writer brings up government policies and taxpayer costs. I am most sympathetic to the notion of saving the people money, much less so that we the people should conform and comport ourselves in accordance with some municipal 'diktat'.
If TriMet ignores government policy that mandates transit stations be named after the streets they adjoin - that is, names the station 'Tacoma' instead of 'Tenino' as Portland maps clearly show it should be, it is possible that an emergency call for the 2600 block of S.E. Tacoma would take first responders to the transit station on Tenino instead of to the edge of the golf course on Tacoma. Now, imagine if a tragedy occurred just how many 'Benjamins' the taxpayers could be forking over to an enterprising young barrister because they were too timid or too deferential to diktat to fix the current naming anomaly. New signs would be a bargain.
Russ Stoll, 42nd and Johnson Creek Boulevard, via online letters form
Brooklyn resident subject of documentary
Frank Springer, the city's oldest retired police officer, is the subject of a documentary I am producing. 'Frank's Town' tells the story of 99-year-old Brooklyn resident Frank Springer's experience as a police officer from 1938 to 1973, as well as presenting the history of our city during that time as seen through Frank's eyes. Interviews with Frank will be combined with photographs and other images from the Springer family and local archives to tell this dual story. Of course, the heart of the project is Frank, a remarkable storyteller and someone who has made a difference in our city's history on a number of occasions.
I'm a Sellwood independent journalist and talk radio producer and host who has known Frank for ten years. I've been wanting to tell Frank's story for quite some time, and recently decided to take the plunge with an independent production funded as a Kickstarter project. The goal is to complete the feature-length documentary. as well as various shorts and special features that make up the project, by mid-late summer.
I know that BEE readers have enjoyed your paper's coverage of Frank in the past, and I think they will find this new project about one of their most interesting neighbors of great interest, too.
For additional information about the documentary, about Kickstarter, and to preview a
short promo, readers can go online to: www.kickstarter.com/projects/785090185/franks-town-the-life-and-times-of-frank-springer?ref=live .
Dave Mazza, via e-mail
Medical license lost
Your readers may be interested in knowing that Dr Stuart Gordon Weisberg has just had his medical license revoked. The document is online at: http://tinyurl.com/6d2atux . Dr. Weisberg was the subject of an article in THE BEE in the July, 2010, issue. He is the psychiatrist who intended to open a facility in the Sellwood area to help terminally ill patients end their lives.
Ron Hatteberg, via e-mail
Be a Neighborhood Coordinator for Friends of Trees
Friends of Trees just completed the most successful planting season in its 21-year history. There were 29 separate planting events in eastside Portland neighborhoods that resulted in more than 4,500 new street and yard trees being planted.
Neighborhood Coordinators are essential to this success. Once a neighborhood has a Neighborhood Coordinator, homeowners can order low-cost trees to be planted in their yards and planting strips. Friends of Trees is always seeking motivated volunteers for each neighborhood's coordinator team, but there are currently NO Neighborhood Coordinators in Brooklyn and Sellwood-Westmoreland.
Being a Neighborhood Coordinator is an excellent opportunity to meet your neighbors, develop valuable organizing skills, and make an important and lasting difference in the community. Neighborhood Coordinator trainings will be held on Wednesday, June 8th, at Colonial Heights Presbyterian Church at 2828 S.E. Stephens Street and Tuesday, August 16th, 6 pm - 8:30 pm. You can get more information online at: www.FriendsofTrees.org/volunteer - or contact me at Friends of Trees at 503/282-8846, ext. 24, if you have any questions or need more information.
Andy Meeks, Friends of Trees, via e-mail
Not fond of fairy stories
I don't consider the story about the little girl who likes fairies, news. Just about every little girl that age does stuff like that. Maybe some proud parent convinced you her daughter is exceptional. Pretty boring. How about an article about all the great things kids are doing at Llewellyn school for the neighborhood?
Julie McFarlane, via e-mail
Thanks from Moreland Farmers Market
As manager of the Moreland Farmers Market, I'd like to thank the community for the groundswell of support we have received this year - from local businesses, faithful market-goers, and most notably our dedicated group of volunteers (including our volunteer board of directors). Our market is run as an independent non-profit, and as such we rely on the hours of many committed community members. We've already received a lot of support this year from web designers, content writers, and a wonderful group of men and women who come out every Wednesday to construct and operate a thriving market out of what's the Wilhelm's Portland Memorial parking lot the rest of the week. On May 18 we had a festival atmosphere, and we'd like to see the community continue to take advantage of this space to congregate, share ideas, share food, and support their local farmers. We will do our part to continue to expand what is available as the season unfolds.
Ted Lee, via e-mail
Sees no problem in dropping poop bags in others' garbage
I'm responding to the May 2011 letters to the editor. To Mr. Whitfield in Woodstock: I walk my dog and bring enough bags for my dog. Maybe next time, I won't bother to do the courteous thing and pick up after him since it bothers you so much if I dispose of it in a nearby garbage bin. Be grateful instead of fault finding. It makes for a miserable life.
Katherine Kenilworth, via e-mail
Woodstock teen in competition
We live in the Woodstock neighborhood. My daughter Jazmine, 17, has been chosen again as Oregon State Finalist in the National American Miss pageant, May 28-30 at the Lloyd Center Double Tree Hotel again this year. She was in the National American Miss pageant in 2009, and won Miss Photogenic - receiving a trophy and $250. Jazmine was in the Chinese Mandarin Immersion Program (Woodstock, Hosford and Cleveland) for seven years, and speaks Chinese, and has traveled to China twice - once for a mission with the Royal Servants, and once for a month in 2008. Keep your fingers crossed for us.
Linda Rea-Smith, via online letter form
Summer is around the corner, bringing us a holiday that is seldom celebrated in the USA, let alone in our own backyards. It is June 1st, International Children's Day. A day to celebrate our children! Interestingly, it falls right between mother's day and father's day. In Southeast Portland we have experienced a large outcropping of pregnant families and families with newborns and little tots. What that says, is that Southeast Portland is a thriving and healthy community of conscientious parenting. It has been a little more than a year now since my business, EcobBaby Gear /Loving Touch, relocated to the newly remodeled Baker Building on 21st and Division. We are inspired by the friendliness and openness of those who visit us. We are proud to be a part of this thriving segment of Portland.
Diana Moore - www.ecobabygear.com - via e-mail
All letters to the editor are subject to editing for clarity and available space, and all letters become property of THE BEE.