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Trojan: Razing questions

I just learned that the Trojan cooling tower implosion will cost Portland General Electric (actually cost PGE customers) just shy of $4 million! While I don't seek to put the demolition company out of business; applying that $4 million instead to a rate reduction for both commercial and private energy users would sure make a difference in everyone's energy bills.

Perhaps the Public Utility Commission should investigate the reasons for the implosion decision, since it appears that consumers might not be any better off than when we were under the Enron umbrella.

Why was this decision made? Was the cooling tower an environmental hazard? No. Was it a safety hazard? No. In fact, it had a doubly reinforced design to withstand an earthquake. Was it a hazard to marine or aerial navigation? No.

Was it an eyesore? Possibly. Was it a monument to poor executive managerial decisions? Yes. Hmm.

Who made the decision to destroy the cooling tower? What were their qualifications to waste our money on a $4 million unnecessary expense, besides their obvious 'qualifications' of being obsequious and sycophants and self-promoters and sharp dressers? Hmm.

What is to become of the Trojan site, with all the electrical distribution infrastructure already in place? These same decision-makers decided to build from scratch a gas-fired electrical generation plant in Clatskanie. Hmm.

How much will the PGE executive bonuses be this year, for these same executives making poor decisions after previously poor decisions? I would suggest that their bonuses be permanently reduced to zero, and the proceeds thereof be used to defray energy expenses for all customers.

Marck Wroble

Southwest Portland

Were novel uses for tower considered?

In all the puerile excitement surrounding the destruction of the abandoned Trojan cooling tower I have missed the reason for its sudden destruction.

Can PGE make a profit on concrete rubble for landfill? Perhaps the demolition company offered PGE a special on cooling towers? If the tower is as overbuilt as news reports claim, why not explore productive uses before destroying it? It seems to me that it would have made a great and unique climbing wall. Perhaps it could have been converted into some kind of amusement park ride, say, a parachute or bungee jump? How about the world's most unusual self-storage?

Perhaps it could have been used as a mausoleum for former PGE and Enron executives? A fitting monument, don't you think?

Tom Shillock

Northeast Portland

Free rides good for TriMet, downtown

I consider myself to be a typical TriMet rider: I use TriMet nearly every day as a part of my commute (Panel urges review of TriMet free zone, April 21). I walk to the bus stop, and TriMet's service drops me less than one block from my employer.

The idea of ending Fareless Square set off alarm bells. I believe that would have unintended consequences, such as hurting downtown businesses. I work near Portland State University and often take a short, free bus trip to lunch. Eliminating Fareless Square would make these types of trips less frequent. Instead, I'd only be able to lunch at places within a shorter block radius, which means that I'll be supporting fewer downtown businesses.

Additionally, this would impact me and my employer: I use TriMet to visit our client; without a fareless zone, instead of saving time by hopping a bus, I would walk there, costing my company more money.

I bristle at the thought of punishing the many for the sins of the few. 'Undesirable behavior,' while a deterrent to some riders, is much less of a deterrent than paying a fare where there was once none. Decreasing services would only make TriMet's budgetary woes grow.

I have a plan, TriMet: Increase services and decrease fares. I'm sure that, much like the oft-mentioned tax-break notion, the lower fare would increase ridership (in economics: grow the pie).

Running buses at 'bar-thirty' would increase public safety as well as ridership. And I don't mean running the buses at 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. once every half-hour, I mean actually running the buses so that people can reasonably get home from downtown/central east side to a home in Hillsboro, Tualatin or Gresham.

Think it through, plan it out. Running buses at night would make the jobs and lives for non-9-to-5 workers much easier as well; usually those are lower paying jobs. I used to work a 12-hour shift, and I could not ride the bus to work, although I wanted to.

I suggest a pilot program. If TriMet tried in the past to increase services, and it didn't work, that is because it was a different environment. The costs of fuel were different, and the situations were different. I think past results should not necessarily be used as a valid study for what would happen today. We have better ridership, better service and more and more need for nighttime service.

TriMet is forgetting that it is a public service, not a for-profit entity.

Cedric Justice

Southwest Portland