Fault planners for clogged rush hour
This issue is comical at best (Commuter river dams neighborhood, Nov. 13). If you live within one block of any street that has cute little yellow lines going down the middle of it, you might have to deal with some delays getting in or out of your driveway during rush hour.
I've lived in my east-side home on a main residential street for more than 20 years and every day, Monday through Friday, in the morning and evening, it is a bear to get in or out of my driveway.
I overcame the issue by just pushing my way in and out, which seems to work really well.
The real problem with the overcrowding of our surface streets is the lack of foresight from our regional transportation planners. If there were more routes going east-west and north-south through our region, many of the traffic delays we have now would not exist.
Instead, our planners have opted to add light rail all over the scenery. And guess what? It has not decreased traffic. In fact, U.S. Highway 26 has been expanded three times since the west-side light rail opened and needs to be expanded again.
So before we put more money into controlling the traffic on a known thoroughfare, let's look at ways that we can add capacity to the infrastructure. Light rail is not the answer.
Mass transit still the answer to congestion
It's called a massive investment in mass transit (Commuter river dams neighborhood, Nov. 13). We build new streetcar and MAX lines, add frequent service and express bus lines, and BAM! Holy huge-reduction-in-traffic-congestion, Batman!
If we put large investments into mass transit to improve the system to where it's plausible to live without a car in this city, we wouldn't have nearly as much traffic as we do.
The Portland metropolitan area isn't that big and having one of the best transit systems in the United States isn't saying much. We can do so much more to provide practical alternatives to automobile transportation.
Cornell predates the neighborhood
Northwest Cornell Road (then called Gubser Road) was a through-route to Hillsboro before the automobile was invented (Commuter river dams neighborhood, Nov. 13). Like so many other places in town, the road appeared before the neighborhood did.
To divert traffic off Cornell Road is to say that people who want to get to Northwest Portland from Washington County should take Burnside Street in and then make a left turn onto Northwest 23rd (Oops! That's illegal) or a left turn onto Northwest 24th (Oops! Stacking room for two cars only) or a left turn onto Northwest Trinity (Oops! There's no lane for left turns, so turners block the left lane while buses block the right lane).
What's happening on Northwest Cornell is no different than what's happened on Southeast Division and Hawthorne, except that it's happening to richer people.
Time to ditch city's parking manager
How can Ellis McCoy still be working for the city of Portland (Did parking czar get too cozy with contractors? Nov. 13)? Time and time again we see his questionable ethics and self-serving actions. Meanwhile, his superiors all either look the other way or submit his name for another award. It makes you wonder what he has on them.
Schools too reliant on federal grants
It is great to get money from the federal government to help schools. But what happens to this program when the money runs out (Grant money gets new use, Nov. 20)?
As under former Superintendent Vicki Phillips, we are bathing in the short-term excitement of a grant. But what we need is long-term funding for these programs to start to level the playing field.
Despite this one example, the equity issues in Portland Public Schools are shocking. There are huge differences in curriculum offerings among schools - like full-day kindergarten, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, music and art.
These curriculum inequities are exacerbated by inequities in facilities, equipment, play areas and after-school programs.
These inequities are unpleasant legacies of the past and have no place in a 21st century school system.
Restraint, seclusion protect hospital staff
As a mental health therapist who works in a psychiatric unit of a hospital in Portland, I was interested to read your article about the use of restraints and seclusion in hospitals (Hospital restraint figures revealed, Nov. 20).
Having worked for a number of years here, I have personally had to restrain and seclude patients that were either physically abusive or were trying to harm themselves. It is always something that we do as a last resort.
One thing that the article neglected to mention is the rate or incidence of staff injuries in these hospitals.
Though it is key to support the rights of mentally ill patients, it also is essential to protect the welfare and well-being of the nurses and therapists in the hospitals. At rare times, this requires the use of restraints and seclusion.
I would hate to see staff endangered further if we took away these tools. In the future, I would like to see a more balanced article that focuses on the safety and well being of staff as well as patients in these hospitals.
Only vegetation can remove carbon gases
The graph in the article 'Devil's in the details?' (Sustainable Life, Nov. 13) shows Oregon's 1990 carbon dioxide emissions to have been about 60 million metric tons and the 2008 carbon dioxide emissions to be about 75 million metric tons.
For Oregon's economy to be sustainable, annual carbon dioxide emissions need to be the same as the capacity of vegetation in Oregon to annually remove all those emissions from the atmosphere.
How many metric tons of carbon dioxide can Oregon's current vegetative biomass remove annually from the atmosphere?
The public can be sold the Brooklyn Bridge, but as Hildegard of Bingen said more than 900 years ago, 'Nature will not be mocked.'