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Schools are on upswing

by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: JIM CLARK, New Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith (right, with school board 
co-chairs Dilafruz Williams and Dan Ryan) 
is given a vote of confidence from one reader.

Carole Smith will continue the upward climb for Portland Public Schools (Phillips' chief to lead schools, Oct. 2), and we should be very grateful to have her. I look forward to seeing the positive strides Smith will make for the betterment of our school district.

Zoe Mullen

Northeast Portland

Are we confusing quality, quantity?

Regarding 'Insider picked to head Portland schools' (Oct. 1), the reality is Portland Public Schools did not close its substandard trailer classrooms and school annexes (built the last time Portland was hit by a baby boom).

The reality is PPS closed high-quality neighborhood schools that were efficient and well-attended. The reality is Portland business 'leaders' think we should have fewer, larger schools, but that does not fit our quality small neighborhood school facilities, so we are likely going to buy more portable trailer classrooms, while quality schools sit empty or are sold off.

Fewer quality schools equals fewer students. Simply put, it's shortsighted economics.

Steven Linder

Southwest Portland

Jail inmates don't have it so hard

The Multnomah County sheriff's office books thousands of inmates every year (Jailhouse knocks, Sept. 25).

Divide the number of bookings by the use-of-force incidents. Conclusion: There are a small number of use-of-force incidents, with the majority of the inmates not following directions of the deputies.

Inmates at the Inverness jail (housing more than 1,000 inmates) receive three hot meals daily, medical care, access to programs, access to a law library, recreation, two social visits per week from family, mail, and can view two recent DVD movies nightly. Sounds like a real gulag.

No wonder they come back to jail. I'm getting teary-eyed just thinking about how those burglars, rapists, child molesters, dope sellers, murderers and car thieves are being treated.

Phil Farrell

Vancouver, Wash.

Something in hotel plan looks familiar

Metro must think hotel taxes won't hurt Portland's tourism economy (Metro continues controversial hotel work, Sept. 27). But I think taxes would, and therefore area jobs and incomes will suffer.

Moreover, it is dispiriting when Metro pretty much disregards compelling economic and taxpayer testimony.

One way or another, the city of Portland will contribute funding - taking it from one service budget and claiming it doesn't impact taxes - but then it will use some contrived emergency for some other services and raise taxes. I see the old shell game being played later on with the hotel public financing.

Bob Clark

Southeast Portland

Convention center is too big by half

It might make more sense for Metro to remove the unused half of the Oregon Convention Center and reduce its operating costs (Metro continues controversial hotel work, Sept. 27).

Isaac Laquedem

Lake Oswego

Metro's in over head with big HQ hotel

How much more money will be wasted 'studying' this? (HQ hotel on shaky ground, Sept. 25).

As so many have said, if it was such a great idea, someone from the private sector would have been all over it long ago. For example, a company with actual experience in the hospitality industry, which is what is needed.

Metro has no concept of what it takes to run a profitable business.

Bonnie Hadley

Tigard

'Cute little streetcars' serve bigger purpose

Phil Stanford (This is what he meant by 'trade-off,' Oct. 2) looks at the city's proposed street maintenance fee as a reason to ask, Just whose fault is this, anyway?

Apparently, Portland's investments in mass transit over the last decade must be to blame for the city's potholes and unpaved streets.

Any city that spends money on light rail and streetcars must have a backlog of street maintenance as a 'trade-off,' right? Could it have something to do with Oregon's low, ineffective 24-cent gas tax?

Obviously, Stanford has a bias against the 'cute little streetcars that … are primarily tools for leveraging real estate values.' Never mind the fact that they bring pedestrian-oriented development to the city, so people don't have to drive, or even take a pothole-causing bus.

Maybe we should just rip up all the new streetcar lines, like we did 50 years ago, and let Portland sprawl to the coast. But wait! There may be a street maintenance fee for that.

Or we could look at the words of U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, standing at the crossroads of the aerial tram and the streetcar last month: 'Portland is a template for America - it's an inspiration, a transportation innovator. This is the age of transportation enlightenment right here in Portland.'

Ryan Miller

Portland

Bridge delay could help in long run

I'm sure that the cost of building a new Sellwood Bridge will go up, but it's not clear it will go up any faster than inflation (Any bridge will take a big budget, Sept. 28). It could just as easily be cheaper to do later, in actual dollars. But most important, the longer they delay, the more information they will have about all the actual needs.

There is nothing wrong with questioning whether those standards are appropriate for a local bridge. It's clear the bridge is used as a regional connector. It's also clear that the neighborhoods and city want the bridge to remain a part of the local street network.

A 'compromise' that builds interchanges to support regional traffic with a bridge of limited capacity makes no sense. It ends up serving everyone badly.

At some point, an additional crossing of the river farther south may become necessary regardless of what is done with the Sellwood Bridge.

As for Metro Councilor Robert Liberty's questions about the interchanges, I think everyone ought to join that chorus. Engineers tend to try to find an engineering solution to every problem. For instance, a new road where a simple 'No Left Turn' sign would do the job.

Ross Williams

Grand Rapids, Minn.

Neighbors don't need another new name

Stop changing the names of our streets. This is a major waste of money, especially for the businesses and taxpayers (Chávez proposal faces its neighbors, Oct. 2). Let's rename Tom Potter's street, then he and his neighbors can deal with changing addresses, etc. We just went through a street name change in this area. Enough is enough.

Kelly Conrader

North Portland

Street renaming wastes time, money

I am shocked to hear that the Portland City Council has nothing better to do with its time than rename a major Portland street. This is a big waste of time and taxpayer money.

North Interstate Avenue has historical significance. While César E. Chávez may be considered to have done important work, we are affected every day by undocumented illegals. We don't need to rename a street to honor the Spanish- speaking population. How about naming a new street, if Chávez needs to be honored?

Patti Waitman

Southwest Portland

Listen to the world with fresh ears

The Sept. 28 Q and A with Heather Perkins was a nice tribute to an amazing artist. Everyone could learn a thing or two from listening to the world through her ears.

Laura McDougall

North Portland

Adams' public life is all that's relevant

Regarding the Sept. 29 Web article 'Adams defends City Hall staff at campaign seminar,' on localnewsdaily.com: Personally I really don't care about Sam's private life.

What I do care about is his absolute fiscal irresponsibility (along with the rest of the City Council).

John Vieira

Northeast Portland