In the echo chamber of City Hall, Mayor Tom Potter's platitudes about open government may fall flat (Potter's process, Sept. 18). However, the message that 'business as usual' isn't the only business in town draws in citizens who have been disengaged.
Potter has dared to imagine a better city and is committed to making it a reality.
Over on the east side, we learned last year that the city was contemplating a sale of the Mount Tabor yard and nursery to Warner Pacific College, without public input.
Since then, neighbors and Portland Parks and Recreation have blazed a trail that could infuse our desire for a vibrant parks system into local government.
Though we haven't worked with the mayor, the values he's championed run through the entire process. We're hopeful that he will support a resolution to build on the momentum we've established.
His optimism and sense of public engagement in our civic discourse may take years to fully manifest. Potter's alternative includes us all, and it's time for us to step up.
Benson has plenty of potential
With funding support from private industry (the beneficiaries) and some imagination, Benson could become the premier high school in Oregon (Benson principal on leave, Sept. 14):
• Implement year-round classes allowing superior students to graduate in three years and to use expensive equipment to the max.
• Offer three tracks: employment-ready after grade 12; prep for technician level training via community colleges; and prep for engineering at the university level.
• De-emphasize interscholastic sports in favor of intramurals.
• Be willing to pay top dollar for the best faculty.
• Open up applications to students throughout Oregon.
• Music and math go together. Strengthen the music program.
• Implement a dress code or uniforms for student and faculty.
• Replace 20-year-old science textbooks with electronic hand-held readers.
• Refresh, recharge the Tech Show.
Most of all, the administration needs the authority to choose from the applicants.
Former Benson parent and former Benson PTA president
Party-line sewers don't have to be pain
I'm so glad I read Lee van der Voo's article (With sewers, it hurts to share, Sept. 4). It prepared me for bad news of my own.
Recently, I got a letter from the city telling me a house I owned has a sewer blockage, creating sewer backup into both of my neighbor's houses.
Since this is a 'health hazard' issue, the city is extending an exception to the code and letting us simply repair the sewer, without requiring anyone to disconnect and establish individual direct connections.
We just need an easement and maintenance agreement in place for permits.
Everyone has their opinion on easements, but I'd suggest that everyone who is on a party line sewer that is still working fine create an easement now. They should be able to create an easement that is limited to the use, maintenance and repair of the original, pre-existing sewer line only.
This should protect people from having to spend tens of thousands of dollars to make independent connections six months from now if the city requires it.
I'm not sure if my story can help anyone at this point, but I wanted to share a recent experience that's still in progress.
Six years after 9/11, truth still matters
The Portland Tribune's recent citizen-on-the-street reflections about Sept. 11, 2001, seemed to reveal a public still unsure about 9/11 (Six years on, what does 9/11 mean to you at this point?, Sept. 11).
It's vital that we know whether the official story about 9/11 actually matches the events.
We already know the official story but must uncover the actual facts. To start, '911 Mysteries' is an excellent documentary on the World Trade Center collapses - Google that title with 'youtube' for immediate viewing links.
Some good online resources also include 911truth.org and 911blogger.com.