Featured Stories

Streetcars kind of like TV

The one thing missing from your article on the Portland streetcar is that it plays advertising for surrounding businesses at every stop (Streetcar taken for a ride, Feb. 7).

I usually have a monthly bus pass, but if I didn't, I wouldn't feel guilty about riding without paying, just like I don't feel guilty about watching free TV.

Bill Kownacki

North Portland

Either enforce fares, or drop them

The streetcar fare issue was a much needed piece (Streetcar taken for a ride, Feb. 7). Not every stop on the streetcar line has a ticket machine, and the instructions for validating tickets is confusing, particularly to newcomers or visitors. It seems obvious, recognized by your reporter, that the entire line should be fareless. The economics demand it, and the good will generated by such a change would help the city's image.

I have been commuting on the MAX line to Beaverton from Goose Hollow since October and have yet to see an inspector. Although I use an 'honored citizen' ticket each way, I know that others do not bother to buy and/or validate any. This hypocrisy merely reinforces people's inclination to 'cheat.' TriMet is being derelict in its responsibility to generate income for the city.

Howard Kronish

Southwest Portland

Have streetcar drivers collect fares

For something that is a no-brainer, TriMet and Portland Streetcar Inc. just don't get it: The faceless public will not pay for a bus ride if they don't have to (Streetcar taken for a ride, Feb. 7). I'm not condoning it, just stating a fact. I have always thought TriMet was extremely stupid to just let people walk aboard MAX with no oversight whatsoever.

The simple solution is obvious: Let the driver collect the fares. It's economical and safe Ñ after all, the vehicle is stopped. And if TriMet officials are not smart enough to figure out how to accomplish this on MAX and the streetcar, they will continue to be ripped off.

James A. Miller

Northeast Portland

Petty crimes can hint at lurking danger

Thank you for a very good article 'Killing follows early jail release' (Jan. 31). I believe that everyone in Portland and the surrounding communities should be upset with the shoddy way that Multnomah County handles its matrix system, especially with people like Robb Freda-Cowie making excuses for the way the system runs (or doesn't run).

If Richard Koehrsen is put on trial and convicted of murder and goes to the Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem, I will probably have the chance to meet him someday. I speak in an empathy class for the Transitional Program at OSCI. I tell the story of my son, Eric, and our family's lifetime of pain, sorrow and heartache. Eric was murdered in his dorm room at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., in 2000.

A fellow student murdered Eric and another student named Ben Varner for their credit cards and checkbooks. The killer had been thrown out of college the year before for stealing from another student. The college waived a two-year suspension for that offense and another after the perpetrator's parents paid restitution and petitioned the school. One month into the new year, my son was murdered over $145.

The bottom line is that the Department of Community Justice should look at every person coming into the system as a potential violent offender, not just a small-crimes offender. If a person is going to commit a crime, that person has the mind-set to elevate his behavior to a violent outburst.

Craig Plunkett

Southeast Portland

Cars, pedestrians should be separated

Changes to a traffic law give motorists in Oregon a little more latitude when when they're waiting for a pedestrian who's crossing where a driver plans to make a turn. But I'm concerned about pedestrian safety.

Not enough motorists understand the new rules or think it is their problem. Few motorists think they have a negligent attitude toward pedestrians or that they pose a threat.

In my opinion, the only way to protect pedestrians from motor vehicles is to not allow both to occupy the same travel surface. Elevate pedestrians above streets or dip motor traffic below walkways. That would be the best method for people with walkers or wheelchairs.

Recently my granddaughter was struck by an auto in Southeast Portland while she was waiting at an intersection for the walk signal. Two autos collided, and one struck her with enough force to hurl her 30 feet.

Miraculously she was not fatally injured. Legislation would not have protected her from the secondary effects of a random accident, but not occupying the same surface would have. Now is the time to start the dialogue to seriously protect pedestrians. Some will say this would be too expensive, and that is true if the value of the pedestrian is not included in the equation.

Richard A. Henriques

Hillsboro