Featured Stories

City goes too far for a tree

by: Jim Clark, As part of a condominium conversion project, the developer wants to cut down a deodar cedar tree outside the historic Lindquist Apartment House in Northeast Portland. Neighbors, including Alyson Ayn Osborn want the tree – which the firm has since pruned – to stay.

I am a principal real estate broker here in Portland. I read the article in the Tribune regarding the 'outraged neighbors' who have so far kept the legal property owner of the apartment complex at 711 N.E. Randall Ave. from removing a tree on his property by appealing a tree- cutting permit that was issued to the property owner by the city (Tree turned into a 'toothpick,' June 30).

This should outrage every property owner in the city. To think that someone who rents, not owns, a basement-level apartment across the street who likes looking at the tree could preclude the legal landowner's rights to landscape the property as he chooses is an affirmation of the outrageous 'tree Nazi' attitude ascribed to by the very vocal minority of 'tree huggers.' They seem dead set on keeping owners from enjoying the free use of the properties for which they paid good money.

To top it off, your article reports that the city of Portland is going to spend our hard-earned tax dollars having the city attorney look into ways they might punish the landowner for having some limbs trimmed from the tree he was originally given a permit to completely cut down.

As a real estate broker, I am finding it harder and harder to enthusiastically recommend properties within the city limits of Portland to my clients because of the ever-increasing number of ridiculous restrictions placed on the rights of property owners and developers by the city, and the high property taxes that are levied to support the ever-expanding agency staffs to enforce them.

On a personal note, last summer I sold my own residence close to downtown and moved outside the Portland city limits.

Portland property owners, beware!

Tim Mackey

Tigard

Blazer gutsiness maypay off in long run

Time alone will ultimately judge the success of the Blazers' flurry of activity in the 2006 draft, but this fan is encouraged by the aggressive, take-no-prisoners attitude issuing from the team's war room from the get-go, the specific players acquired and the net impact on the roster (Blazers swing for the fences, June 30). They really seized this draft and, I think, clearly were the biggest winner at Madison Square Garden that day.

LaMarcus Aldridge should quickly develop into a solid pro. He will shore up the team's interior defense, and he can run the floor and make plays.

Brandon Roy, in addition to his rare all-around skill set, brings competitive fire, great instincts and a 'blue-collar' mind-set, which should establish the former Husky as a favorite of fans and of Coach Nate McMillan.

It's difficult to imagine a better draft outcome than landing these two; there remains much work to be done, but Patterson and Pritchard deserve praise, in my opinion.

Kyle Shetterly

Southeast Portland

Commissioners did SUN program wrong

It is a bitter irony, indeed. We denizens of Multnomah County and Portland like to perceive ourselves as compassionate, open-minded, progressive citizens of the world, yet when our leaders have the chance to make an impact on the lives of our children and community, they demur. Why do we tolerate this?

County Commissioners Lisa Naito, Serena Cruz Walsh and Maria Rojo de Steffey should be ashamed of themselves, and so should voters. From the spiteful malice of personal politics, they have cut in half funding for SUN (Schools Uniting Neighborhoods), a program that by all accounts has been a rousing success for students, families, neighborhoods and the Portland Public Schools. SUN is also a model of governmental, private sector, nonprofit and community cooperation. None of this, however, seemed to matter to their monolithic way of thinking.

We must demand accountability in our elected officials. We must vote 'no' on those officeholders - Republican, nonpartisan and, yes, Democrat, alike - who do not support our children and their education; public and community health, including nutrition and appropriate social services; the environment and its sustainability; fiscal responsibility and tax sensibility; and the ethics scaffolding it all.

We get the government (and community) we deserve. You want a healthy, educated, livable community? Then elect the leaders who support your goals through tangible deeds, and vote out of office those who do not.

Gregory C. MacCrone

North Portland

Music in schools serves us all well

One recent Sunday afternoon, the tree-shaded air of Northeast Portland's Wilshire Park was filled with a patriotic musical ambrosia created by the Portland Community Wind Band.

This completely volunteer group, under the inspiration and direction of Beaumont Middle School music instructor Cynthia Plank, was performing the final concert of its first season.

I wonder how many of these talented musicians received their initial musical training as part of a school band? Probably most of them.

Gee, if the music programs in schools keep getting cut, will our children and grandchildren be able to enjoy a free concert in the park on a beautiful July afternoon in 2036?

All elements of arts education in schools are essential to developing well-rounded adults.

Community members, not just the parents of children in public schools, need to keep tabs on the quality of education available and maintain music education as part of the core curriculum being offered our youth.

We all need to hear the music on a summer day in the park.

Michelle Wilkinson

Oregon PTA

Lebanon