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Voters like sheriff just fine

by: JIM CLARK, Multnomah County Chairman Ted Wheeler’s recent proposal to take over operation of the county’s jail from Sheriff Bernie Giusto (far left) raises alarm with one reader.

Here we go again with another politician (Ted Wheeler) trying to take away the right of Multnomah County voters to determine who they want to protect their community - and run the jails as their sheriff (Report: Time for new jail manager, Dec. 20).

Wheeler will attempt to persuade the voters to change the county charter and let this businessman-turned-politician determine what's best for citizens of Multnomah County.

Now I know that Sheriff Guisto has his troubles, but that is not a reflection of the work that his management and deputies do. They are overworked and understaffed.

Let's just hope that the voters will sift through all the smoke and dirty politics and continue to make their own decisions with their own votes, instead of letting Wheeler pat them on the shoulder and say, 'You just sit back and pay your taxes, and let me change the charter. Then I will appoint someone to make all the big decisions for you.'

Leave law enforcement to law enforcement and politics to politicians.

Catherine Gorton

Troutdale

TriMet is superior to other transit systems

I have been a resident of Portland for five months and because I choose to live without an automobile, the TriMet system has been invaluable for transportation.

The comprehensive trip planner and TransitTracker features have helped me get familiar with the city, effectively taking me from starting point to destination on time.

Easy access and reliability are the most important aspects of public transportation. I have lived in four other metropolitan cities in different parts of the country and experienced problems with their transit systems. There is no comparison. Portland is superior.

I am so impressed with TriMet that I recently became a RideWise volunteer with Elders in Action.

I realize that safety also is a concern and because the criminal element is so pervasive in modern society, perhaps it's time, as TriMet's general manager, Fred Hansen, suggests, to re-examine and modify the 30-year policy of fareless zones and the honor system for paid fares.

From my view, however, the system doesn't need much fixing, and I would encourage my peers and all citizens to recognize the gem you have, to treasure and protect it, and, most of all, to use it.

Aldine King

Southwest Portland

Fareless Square is not a problem

Try as I might, I cannot understand how restricting hours of Fareless Square will solve a problem of security at an isolated Gresham MAX platform 30 minutes from Fareless Square (TriMet: Free equals less safe, Dec. 11).

I also find the complaints of problems on the train overblown. I frequently ride MAX in Fareless Square between Lloyd Center and downtown, sometimes as late as midnight.

I never have encountered a problem more serious than a nuisance. Sure there are noisy teenagers and the occasional panhandler, but none of them ever has made me feel threatened.

TriMet should concentrate its efforts on real solutions to actual problems.

Sandy Polishuk

Northeast Portland

Let ingenuity, not fear, drive policy

I have been following with interest your reporting on TriMet safety. Recent incidents are clearly cause for concern.

However, I am troubled by what seems to be a rush from several directions to solve this problem by eliminating Fareless Square. As a recent letter writer pointed out, the fare issue is a red herring.

The population of our region is growing daily, congestion continues to worsen, oil is running out globally, and the Earth is warming. Shouldn't we be doing everything we can to encourage alternatives to driving?

Free transit is a great way to do so. I count myself among those who favor an entirely fareless system, but at the very least, we must retain Fareless Square.

Safety on TriMet property is crucial to ridership as well, of course. It is important to me personally as a regular transit user. But I am disheartened to see fear rather than ingenuity apparently driving public policy. We can do better than this!

Do I have the perfect solution in mind? No. Do I trust that with the political will, some of the great minds of our region can reach a creative, win-win solution? Yes.

Maren Souders

Southeast Portland

Security presence would help a lot

While I think that the concept of Fareless Square isn't fair to the rest of the city (TriMet: Free equals less safe, Dec. 11) and needs to be done away with, I can't fathom how paying $1.75 is going to keep dangerous criminals from riding TriMet.

Hell, I don't even see how an exclusion keeps dangerous criminals off. As long as they don't get caught, they can keep riding like nothing happened.

The primary cause of violence and criminal behavior on TriMet is a lack of security presence.

Transit cops merely respond to incidents, instead of using their presence as a deterrent. Cameras have little influence on bad behavior, and not all transit centers even have them. As long as there's no one around to make sure the law is followed, criminals will feel free to break it.

It's awfully sad that grown adults can't behave themselves in public, isn't it?

John Moss

Southeast Portland

Downtown benefits from Fareless Square

I understand the issue of safety that has some people thinking that Fareless Square should go away (TriMet: Free equals less safe, Dec. 11), but I think there are a lot of options to be considered.

They could get rid of it at all times, all hours, but have a city-center zone rate of 50 cents or something.

It seems like the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. option could hurt downtown.

My wife and I work downtown and sometimes stick around to go to a movie or bookstore or shop since it's so easy, or even head over to Lloyd Center.

But if it cost us $5 or $6 round trip to go somewhere within Fareless Square for two and a half hours, we would just drive to someplace near home or elsewhere.

I think that could be the case for a lot of people. They could consider keeping it free from 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. to more like 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. if that still would help cut down on the problems. I don't suppose there are a lot of drugs being bought and sold at 6 a.m., but I could be wrong.

Jon Wippich

Southwest Portland

West Hayden Island deserves attention

Thank you for your recent article regarding the proposed development of West Hayden Island by the Port of Portland (Industry may come to island, Dec. 7). It was an accurate and balanced representation of this issue.

I also commend you for recognizing the importance of the Friends of West Hayden Island's concerns, as community support for maintaining that portion of the island is rapidly growing and promises to become a major focus of community activism if the port continues to press ahead with its plans.

I also would like to recognize your reporter and photographer for a story that was both professional and personal. This is so much a part of the character of Portland.

Much of the passion fueling the Friends of West Hayden Island is based on the notion that Portland is a special place, and we want to maintain the values that have made it such.

Victoria Van Dyke

North Portland