I work in downtown Portland on Southwest Fifth Avenue (TriMet kicks pedestrian study to curb, March 7) and use the transit mall frequently as both bus rider and pedestrian. I think it's a bad idea to attempt to mix cars, buses, trains, pedestrians and bicycles together Ñ all doing a 'serpentine' dance around one another through a series of 'unique intersections.'

I would like to propose what I conclude is the single solution that would best alleviate the problem: Get the cars off the mall.

Cars shouldn't be on the mall in the first place. There's no access to parking, and it's a confusing and dangerous place to drive. I repeatedly see drivers trapped on the mall not knowing what they should be doing and what lane they should be in, in utter panic as bus drivers honk at them to get out of the way.

The transit mall was never a viable place for car traffic; let this redesign be an appropriate time to get cars off the mall.

Scott Erickson

Southeast Portland

Stopping theft is inscrap dealers' interest

In regard to 'Scrap metal is thieves' big steal' (Feb. 24), why is it that the police officers are always trying to make scrap metal companies out to be the bad guys?

We are the ones who are helping catch these criminals, and yet they and the media continue to bad-mouth us. Do they ever mention that scrap companies lose thousands of dollars a year when they have to return stolen material they have purchased and that they rarely recover their losses?

I would like the media and the police to just try to come and sell us some copper without identification. It wouldn't happen. We work closely with many other scrap metal companies in the Portland area, and we are all on the same page.

The only ones who are not on the same page are the police and the judicial system. Nothing happens to the thieves, and they are back out the next day or, even better, their trials are dismissed.

The main reason we pay cash for scrap metal is to avoid giving hundreds of people bank account numbers and then have them steal money by tampering with the check or using the account number. We do pay many well-established businesses by check.

Maybe the police ought to try to show up when we have stolen material. We call it in, and it takes them several days to get out if they ever do.

Scrap metal companies are doing everything in their power to help prevent crime, yet the media portray us as the enemy.

Jamie Bailey

R.S. Davis Recycling


Burdick takes twostands at once

In the article 'Rivals take Sten's idea, run with it,' two of Ginny Burdick's statements are misleading (Feb 24). One, she says she is not opposed to public funding of elections, that she just wants Portland's voter-owned elections system referred to the voters. Yet she is a sponsor of the ballot initiative that would repeal voter-owned elections, which indicates that she is opposed to public funding of elections, at least in this case.

She also states that Erik Sten's acceptance of public funding through the voter- owned elections system is contrary to the intention of voter-owned elections. Actually, the intention of voter-owned elections is to get big money out of Portland's elections, so that our elected leaders are not beholden to their large donors.

Either Burdick is ignorant of the true intentions of voter-owned elections or she is deliberately attacking Sten for something that she knows isn't true.

Steve Hanrahan

Southeast Portland

Allen's supplicationis mind-boggling

I am so outraged by Paul Allen's coming to Portland with cup in hand, begging for cash with his overpaid ball jockeys. They all live in luxury, having no needs and having a fat wallet to cushion everything. Gimme a break!

Our family went to Seattle to visit, and we couldn't afford the outrageous entry fees to Allen's Experience Music Project.

He is the capitalist pig that my generation spoke against.

There, I got it off my chest.

John Masuo

Southeast Portland

Of course, voters, taxpayers are wary

Helloooo! The citizens get it way before the City Council ever will (Schools backers look for solution, Feb. 21).

Government doesn't work, on any level. Tramgate, FEMA, health care, criminal justice, PGE, schools, Iraq É nothing!

Do you really want elected officials controlling more of your life? Anxious to give more money to throw at problems?

Why throw more good money after bad?

Our elected officials are elitist, arrogant and deaf to the common voter. The voters are often too lazy to become well-informed or involved, so we get poor choices or no choices.

P.J. O'Rourke was right in his book 'Parliament of Whores.' Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.

James Butler

Southeast Portland

MAX is slipping in a lot of ways

As a longtime rider of the MAX, I have to concur with David P. Anderson's views of our MAX system (Fare collection is ticket to MAX safety, Insight, Feb. 21).

When we moved to Portland in 1989, MAX was a delightful way to get to town. We live in Northeast Portland within walking distance of the Hollywood station, and that was one of the reasons we moved to the neighborhood.

In the past 17 years, I have worked downtown, taken classes at PSU and enjoyed the life of the city. In the early years, fare inspectors were common, but now I rarely see them.

Unlike on tram systems in other countries (Oslo, Norway, for example), the drivers are secluded in their little cabins not wanting to interact in any way with the riders. Even a smile and wave from the platform are seldom acknowledged.

Where we once would show off our MAX system to out-of-town visitors with trips downtown to see the Ira Keller Fountain and other highlights of our city, we no longer do so after several embarrassing incidents on MAX.

The deterioration of behavior on the east line began, in my view, with the expansion of Fareless Square to the Lloyd Center. It's time that TriMet faced this issue head-on, or it will continue to lose riders as well as taxpayer support for this once marvelous system.

Marie Bagwell

Northeast Portland

Teachers shouldn't shoulder costs again

I am mystified at the inconsistent reasoning in your Feb. 17 editorial 'Tax appeal is all tapped out.'

You correctly point out that 'voters don't favor another tax to rescue local schools' and that 'local residents feel financially tapped out.' They 'have lost earning power due to inflation' and have to 'contend with the rising costs of health care, housing and energy.'

A few paragraphs later you suggest teachers and other school employees should offer 'one-time payroll and benefit concessions' to balance next year's budget. Never mind that teachers made a 'one-time' concession a couple of years ago and worked 10 days for no pay.

So, in order to relieve some local residents of the financial burden of funding schools, the burden should be shifted to other local residents, school employees.

The day that school employees should accept sacrifices in their income, while providing the same services, is the day that the health care industry and the oil companies do the same.

I, too, want reduced medical insurance premiums and $1 gasoline, please.

Jim Chambers

Southwest Portland

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