Thanks for running the cover story on Richard Singer and his plans for Northwest 23rd Avenue (Stalled on Twenty-third, May 30). I've lived in the neighborhood since 1999, and while I thank Singer for his efforts to revitalize the area, I think he needs to quit while he's ahead.

It's common knowledge that some fledgling businesses along Northwest 23rd and 21st avenues have been or will be forced out due to rent hikes and the mentality of handpicking.

Anyone remember the fun that was the original 3 Monkeys? Or how it was always packed with customers? Now, Lush, an international soap and cosmetics shop, fills the space. Once you set a precedent like that, other chains are sure to follow suit without thought for the makeup and well-being of the neighborhood.

If we want to live, shop and work in a sterile place like the Streets of Tanasbourne Ñ we'll go there. Please, Mr. Singer, please Ñ we beg Ñ don't suck out what character's left of our beautiful neighborhood with soulless chain stores intended for six-figure tourists. This neighborhood was perfect to start with. A great place to live shouldn't be about lining one's pockets, or a unilateral decision that progress comes wrapped in Williams-Sonoma paper.

Keep Portland weird!

Cathey Flickinger

Northwest Portland

Northwest 23rd meets many needs

I have lived in Northwest Portland since moving here in 1981 (Stalled on Twenty-third, May 30). Upon my arrival, Northwest 23rd Avenue was home to a few taverns, thrift stores and a few decaying businesses. This thoroughfare is now the most urban, cosmopolitan street in all of Portland outside of the downtown core.

The view of Frank Dixon and the neighborhood associations that 23rd Avenue is not a neighborhood collector anymore but is 'just an entrance to a shopping mall' is patent poppycock. Dixon 'surrendered' his car in l996. I surrendered mine in 1974, and I have walked the neighborhood at least as often as he has. I have purchased toys for my grandchildren, pizza, espresso, beer and ice cream on 23rd. I use the new branch of the public library almost daily.

I have dined in a Mexican restaurant, and a Vietnamese one, and eaten egg rolls, bagels, pad thai, burgers, crepes, sushi, omelets and ravioli from numerous other places. I buy my cigars and flowers for my wife on 23rd, and do my copying there; I visit a thrift store, and I sit with friends in alehouses, coffeehouses and a bookstore. My bank is on 23rd, and I am served by a bus line and a trolley line there.

Parenthetically, I have never set foot in one of the national chains mentioned by the street's critics. No one can say the same of an 'entrance to a shopping mall.'

Louis Sargent

Northwest Portland

Let calm rule city's living room

I hit my frustration limit a recent beautiful Friday morning with the cacophony generated by the leaf blowers used by the maintenance staff at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Why is the daily maintenance cleaning conducted at the beginning of the workday when the city is awakening and coming to life? I find the daily maintenance practice of leaf blowing disturbing in its own right but to have it occur at 7 a.m. every day when I walk by or through the square is extremely disturbing.

Portland's 'living room' deserves special consideration; by this I mean it deserves to be maintained daily when its maintenance is least disruptive to the users, much like Disneyland is when the theme park is closed. The daily maintenance of Pioneer Courthouse Square needs to be performed during the late evening or early morning hours Ñ such as between midnight and 3 a.m. Ñ like most of the downtown sidewalks and streets.

If the square's daily maintenance is the responsibility of Portland Parks & Recreation, it needs to have the maintenance staff adjust its work hours such that the square is cleaned much earlier. If the Portland Business Alliance is contracted to clean the square, it should adjust the schedule.

Pioneer Courthouse Square and downtown Portland employees deserve a daily maintenance schedule that affects the least number of folks. Then the square would be a calm and restful public space in the mornings.

Wesley Risher

Southwest Portland

Doctor praised for sticking to principles

I read with great pride the article about Dr. Bill Toffler (Doctor's ethics run counter to hospital policy, April 21). I am a registered nurse and find it refreshing to read about a doctor's unwavering, deep moral convictions. Like many others, I am saddened by the apathy of our nation today. I thank God for someone, especially a doctor, with the courage to speak out.

My specialty has been in oncology É dealing with death and dying. In my earlier nursing years, abortions were a major controversy of the '70s. That, too, was difficult for my colleagues and myself. We each had to do a lot of soul-searching and make some difficult decisions for ourselves. I doubt many patients realize how difficult new ethical dilemmas are for medical professionals, especially ones with strong religious convictions.

I very strongly agree with the rights of the patients and the rights of the medical professional. We can have both É but the rights of one should not be forced on the other Ñ because this is America.

I do agree that 'referring' a patient for an abortion is, indeed, being a part of the process. Resources are abundant for any patient É they simply have to be willing to look for themselves.

Toffler is compassionate with his patients. I have observed him with medical students; the patient and his or her feelings are always his first priority. He treats his patients with great respect Ñ that is a rarity today.

Connie Taylor

Northwest Portland

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