by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Bicycle riders are looking for more safety on city streets, and some letter writers say that could require both drivers and riders to change attitudes.
I’m a Vietnam vet. I dread Veterans Day.

It’s a trying day for me, full of sadness and graphic memories of a lost generation that received no accolades when we returned, only scorn.

It’s a day I wallow in my misery. No ticker tape parades for us.

My family threw a party for me when I returned. At least I was a hero in their eyes. It’s a gesture I’ll never forget.

World War II vets shunned us, made us feel like losers. The Veterans of Foreign Wars never extended a handshake to us, only their middle fingers.

To Jimmy Carter, President Milquetoast, a special thanks for pardoning all those people who went to Canada, too afraid to get stuck with a punji stick in tall elephant grass yet brave enough to cross the border and say goodbye to the land of the free.

Jimmy Carter, the day you gave amnesty to the draft dodgers was one of the worst days in my life. I felt like what we did in Vietnam was all in vain.

I’ll take that somber walk up the grassy knolls near the zoo to the Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial to see my buddies, those young men and women soldiers who gave their lives for our country, all 58,148 of you. Blessed art thou in heaven, for you died to give us the freedom we enjoy today.

To all the soldiers who have served or are serving in the armed forces, be it WWII to the present day soldier, you are my comrades and we share a special bond. I salute you. Without us, freedom would die.

I’ll relieve the pain that today brings by going fishing.

Rich Hale

Woodland, Wash.

City must include drivers in projects

Response to Peter Korn’s bike article (Ridin’ with Mary Poppins, Oct. 25): First the city takes away our parking for bike lanes, for bike racks, right- turn lanes, for bioswales, then traffic lanes at PSU.

How about giving something back to the drivers? Let’s forbid bikes on the narrow streets in Portland. A good example is Southeast Stark Street where even the buses don’t travel, or Southeast Thorburn where there are no shoulders.

All it takes is money for signage and it’d cost less than making bike lanes.

Let’s make drivers an equal part of this equation.

Eric Koellner

Southeast Portland

Portland still not in line with Europe

My husband and I spent the month of September in Copenhagen and Amsterdam using rented bicycles to explore the livability of those cities (Ridin’ with Mary Poppins, Oct. 25).

And, yes, it really is different.

I am a 70-year-old woman who felt safe exploring the whole city and outer suburbs on protected bike lanes and greenways. In Portland, I only feel safe on the Springwater Trail.

But a large part of the picture has not been discussed in the papers and that is the different design in the autos in those parts of the world. The folks there do not seem to think they need a military assault-type vehicle that drivers cannot see out of and bicyclists cannot catch the eye of.

Their cars are small and boxy. They drive slow and give bicycles the right of way at intersections.

What a difference.If Portland is a 13-to-70 city, I suppose I am meant to go away or hang up my bicycle.

Martha Van Dyke

Northwest Portland

Bicyclists should ride facing traffic

This was a very interesting article (Ridin’ with Mary Poppins, Oct. 25).

I live in Beaverton and have used a bicycle for commuting in the area. My approach has always been to find marked bike lanes or quiet residential streets, and I’ve never dared head for Portland.

When I learned to ride, I was taught to treat riding as if it were pedestrian traffic as much as possible, including riding facing traffic. I still think that facing oncoming traffic is much safer than dealing with an adjacent lane that might turn toward me to make a right turn. I believe that is no longer considered correct.

Other than dogma, is there any reason that bike lanes aren’t constructed and marked for riding facing traffic?

Ed Averill


It’s time to expand plastic bag ban

I am strongly in favor of a better plastic bag ban here in Portland (Expand plastic bag ban, Oct. 8). They are ridiculously unnecessary for use in our daily lives and only add to the mountain of problems that my generation already has to clean up.

I mean, for the love of all things holy, this is Portland. Aren’t we supposed to be leading the country in anything and everything that could make us a greener place to live? Corvallis even has a better one than us (and Eugene, just recently).

A paper bag fee will even help businesses by covering the cost of their paper bags.

What reason do you have not to support this? You need something to pick up your little doggie dumps? There are so many other ways to do that.

This definitely needs to happen, and soon.

Elliott Karten

Northwest Portland

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