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Readers weigh in on Northwest Natural Gas, homelessness, and Trump's relationship with the press.

Thanks to Jim Redden for his thoughtful article about NW Natural's consideration of its real estate options, including staying in its historic home at One Pacific Square. I want to applaud NW Natural for its seismic initiatives and making disaster preparedness a top priority.

We at Menlo Equities understand and share those same priorities and are very pleased our structural engineering team, working hand in hand with NW Natural's engineering consultants, has developed a comprehensive solution resulting in state-of-the-art performance that will allow One Pacific Square to be upgraded to the critical facility (i.e. hospital) structural performance standards sought by NW Natural.

This will make One Pacific Square one of the most seismically sound office buildings on the West Coast and will allow the utility to experience and operate in a seismically enhanced building years in advance of a move to any build-to-suit facility.

However, the article failed to articulate the very large cost differential between a new building and remaining in NW Natural's current headquarters. This is extremely relevant to ratepayers in Oregon and Southwest Washington because, as your article correctly asserted, the increased cost will be paid for by utility ratepayers in the form of rate hikes.

Construction costs in Portland are at all-time highs and development sites are scarce and in high demand. Accordingly, the dramatically higher cost of any option other than a renewal will likely be $25 to $40 million or more. This is a considerable amount to be borne by ratepayers with no clearly articulated benefit.

Hopefully, NW Natural will not pursue this higher-cost route. I would encourage all those alarmed by this to contact NW Natural and the Public Utilities Commission and tell them ratepayers shouldn't be footing the bill for a fancy new building.

Richard Holmstrom

vice chairman

Menlo Equities LLC

Many ways to end homelessness

I remember before there were homeless people. We emptied institutions in the 1970s without creating the community mental health programs that were to care for those people, and we stopped building public housing, geared to income, in this country.

Now they live in tents, barely surviving and irritating the rest of us. A baby is born dead or dies behind Chuck E. Cheese. Where is his mentally incompetent mother now? Is she getting pregnant again?

Many things are possible. Every new development could include 10 percent geared-to-income units. A landlord could be given a tax break for supplying geared-to-income housing or running a rooming house. If we recognized people doing that, we could regulate it, and keep those places clean and safe.

How many people need housing? How many empty hotel rooms are there in this county? 

Barbara Bennet

Northeast Portland

Barring media is an outrage

It is totally unbelievable that this administration can legally bar the free (?) press of the United States from attending a government news briefing.

Not to be overly dramatic in this situation, but it conjures up the history of Germany, Russia and other countries that started off this exact way, and which then lead to a total dictatorship. 

We have to put a stop to this now before we have no say at all. Where in the hell are our congressmen and women?

Jerry Schneider


Contract Publishing

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