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UO spirit: Let us hear it

by: L.E. BASKOW, Dennis Dixon’s knee injury is a shame, a letter writer says, but real fans know one man doesn’t make a team. And they certainly know the University of Oregon’s fight song

So the University of Oregon will not play for the national title. Gosh, that's too bad. So the Blazers may not go undefeated without Greg Oden. That's too bad.

Wise up. It takes more than one person to make a team. Hey, I'm sorry for Dennis Dixon and Oden; I hope they recover.

But first, a true champion team does not walk loudly, screaming about what will happen. Step back, folks, and get real - or at least get some true school spirit.

At the last UO game I went to, no one stood up or sang the school song when played. That is a disgrace.

For fans who have ever been to the University of Wisconsin Fifth Quarter, you will know what I mean: The band and fans stay for an hour singing songs, no matter the outcome of the score. That is school spirit and the mark of a true champion.

At least learn your school song next time you go screaming down Interstate 5 to Eugene.

Mark Uhrich

Northeast Portland

Buses far superior to expensive light rail

Eric Bartels' comparison of light rail vs. bus (Bus vs. light rail, Nov. 13) contains several factual errors that must be corrected.

Bartels claims rail 'appeals to actual riders' more than buses. In fact, all else being equal, there is no evidence that transit riders prefer steel wheels over rubber tires.

TriMet has gained significant ridership increases through low-cost improvements to bus service.

Bartels claims rails cost less to operate. In fact, rails cost far more to operate than buses on comparable routes, a problem plaguing the Bay Area Rapid Transit system and other rail systems today.

Rail cars may last a little longer, but they cost 10 times as much to buy. And rail maintenance is far more expensive, whereas buses share the cost of road maintenance with autos and trucks.

Bartels claims light rail has lower environmental impact. But rails must be served by feeder buses that often run nearly empty. Taken as a whole, transit systems with light rail consume more fuel and emit more pollution per passenger than systems that rely only on buses.

Bartels says light rail is a 'breakthough' vision. Yet the technology behind light rail is more than 60 years old, and there are good reasons why 700 cities gave up streetcars during the 20th century.

Buses can do everything light rail can do except spend a lot of money. Taxpayers, transit riders and commuters all lose when transit agencies divert funds from efficient buses to wasteful rail lines.

Randal O'Toole

Bandon

Buses, light rail not competitor

Pitting buses against light rail (Bus vs. light rail, Nov. 13) is creating an illogical argument; it's like asking which limbs are better, arms or legs.

Both are essential body parts providing different functions. The same is true with the various elements of an effective transit system that includes buses and light rail, as well as other modes such as streetcars, trolley buses and commuter rail.

The important issue is which mode lends its unique strengths to the benefit of the entire system.

As arms and legs work together for the body to function efficiently, an efficient transit system should use each element or mode to its best advantage.

Buses are efficient at collecting and distributing passengers to and from many origins and destinations throughout the metropolitan area, especially if deployed in a grid network.

They also provide excellent feeder service to and from light-rail stations and transit hubs. Transfers usually are required for most trips. Frequent all-day service is essential on both modes because long waits are unacceptable to most potential riders.

Light rail, Portland's rapid transit system, can be more efficient than buses when carrying large numbers of passengers in defined high-capacity corridors. This is because it is faster, more reliable and cheaper to operate.

When one mode is employed in a place where another mode is more suitable it can cause systemwide inefficiency resulting in some loss of potential ridership.

This is the case downtown where light rail is operated on city streets as a slow collector/distributor rather than a fast, reliable high-capacity rapid transit line.

Regrettably, the decision to add another light-rail line on downtown city streets as part of the transit mall rehabilitation project will further add to the inefficiency of the total system.

Jim Howell

Northeast Portland

Internet price tag shocks and amazes

I don't have much capacity remaining for shock and amazement at stories of misplaced public priorities and lavish spending on trivialities.

The news that Portland is considering a $500 million investment in fiber circuits to enhance the Internet experience for urban users (City floats $500 million fast-Web idea, Nov. 16) squeezed out more than I thought I had left.

In this city where 10,000 people go hungry and several thousand sleep on the streets, can we consider it a compelling need to improve Internet access for those who already have it and can afford to improve it on their own?

If helping the desperate to survive is too narrow a focus, how about addressing a basic need that cuts across all socio-economic classes? We have spent billions on train and bus lines, but there's not one public restroom along a thousand route miles.

Next, I could point out the fundamental ignorance of positioning the public to compete with private enterprise, but I'd be wasting my effort.

I'd be attempting to educate the same crack governmental team that continues to propose building and maintaining a huge hotel that private enterprises consider an invitation to bankruptcy.

I could move on to point out that crumbling infrastructure and decaying public safety are screaming for help, too. But the Portland Tribune makes those points regularly.

I cannot decide whether this proposal to squander $500 million is primarily greedy, ignorant, delusional or comedic.

Daniel Enroth

Northwest Portland

Transit officers not doing their job

It would be an insult to every MAX-riding citizen even to hint that the Transit Police Division is doing anything at all about free riders or safety on the light-rail system.

I have lived in Portland for only one year, but have ridden the MAX at least twice a week during that duration, and have not once seen an officer at any time check for fares, and rarely have seen them aboard the rail car to prevent ugly or criminal behavior.

The majority of times I have seen the transit police, they were huddled together yakking and joking, not doing their jobs.

Whoever is in charge of their department should be replaced immediately with someone who can effectively run a staff of transit officers. The law-abiding riders of the MAX deserve better.

James Lindsay

Southeast Portland