Our readers weigh in on the issues of the day, including health care and homelessness.

I'm one of the nearly 1 million Oregonians who live with a disability, many of whom need support services. I have been through 20 home-care providers in the past 12 months, and I have been without a care provider at all for over two months, since my last provider quit without any notice, and my caseworker has not been supportive in finding a new provider.

Because I need support to get in and out of bed and meet my basic needs to live independently, my daughter and son-in-law have had to travel an hour each way to my house by public transportation at least once a day every day of the week during this time. Even with their help, many things that would be the responsibility of my care provider are left on my shoulders, which is very stressful. This situation is the direct result of an underfunded care system that is not working for us.

I've joined the Oregon CareWorks campaign because we can't afford any more cuts to our care system. The only way change can happen is if Oregon chooses to get more revenue by making corporations pay their fair share in Oregon, so that we can truly invest in programs that support the well-being of all people. The burden of the state budget should not be placed on the shoulders of people who need to rely on support services in our daily lives.

Learn more about Oregon CareWorks at

Leslie Weaver

Northeast Portland

This is not doing the right thing

I am so tired of being part of a nation that talks about "leading the world" and "setting an example" and then experiencing the truth of the hypocrisy. Good health — hell, decent health is a key factor in a functioning society. That is why the rest of the developed nations have health care for their citizens. Taxes are the price we all pay for a "civilized" society, one in which the citizens can live and work in relative safety and peace. We all need food, housing, education and decent health if we are to survive and be able to contribute back into the pool.

But there are those who seem to believe that only their lives matter, only their views matter and the rest of us only exist to supply their desires. I am stunned by Republicans, libertarians and other right-wing people who think that way. If Republicans actually cared about the hearts and minds of this country, they would adopt a single-payer system that they denied Obama so that they could be the authors of the new and improved America. Instead they are the party of the addled, the mentally ill, the violent and the cruelest president, Cabinet and Congress we have ever witnessed.

Erin Marshall


Expand coverage for working people

Congress should work on expanding coverage for more working people, not putting high-quality care out of reach.

Kim Streuli


Adopt a single-payer system

The Republican health care plan is more disastrous than Obamacare. Get insurance companies out of health care and adopt single payer.

Lyle Funderburk


Reject Republican health care plan

Our nation has a working health care plan. To repeal and start over is a dangerous and costly waste of legislative time. Instead, the GOP could work with the American people and health care specialists to fix the Affordable Care Act, making it work much better. The repeal is nothing more than a petty, retaliatory act against the Obama administration.

The GOP could have written a national health care plan under Presidents Reagan, Bush 1, Bush 2. But that did not happen. It is much easier to criticize other people's accomplishments.

Thus legislative action will personally impact me as a senior who depends on Medicare. It will impact my daughter, who is physically, mentally, medically disabled, and depends on Medicaid. My family is only one of the millions who will suffer. I am ashamed of the GOP.

Mary McGaughey


Ideas for ending homelessness

I am retired as owner of two service businesses. I've also been a homeowner. Now I am a renter.

I have suggestions about what the Portland Business Alliance can do about homelessness and the rent emergency. Landlords and realty companies need to address these major issues:

1. The high fees paid by builders. These fees impact rent increases. Landlords need to work on their own issues and not put the burden entirely on their renters.

2. When I was a homeowner, I discovered that when I fixed up my property and improved the quality of the neighborhood, my taxes went up. This is backward — property owners need a tax break when they improve their properties. Again this would be a landlord issue that should not be borne by renters.

3. Large-scale property owners could convert one of their buildings to shelters until everyone is living off the streets.

Homelessness would be reduced if we had lower rents and adequate mental health and medical services for low-income people. What is the business community's stance on using our taxes to provide these services?

The Portland Business Alliance's website posted a member's question: "Who do I call if I am concerned about homeless people sleeping outside my business?"

Here is the alliance's heartless answer: "If your business is located within the Downtown Clean & Safe district, you may call for immediate assistance at 503-224-7383. If you're unsure if you're in the district, check the online map. Outside the district, call the Portland Police at 503-823-4000 or email."

The main focus demonstrated here, it would seem, is on homeless people as "problems."

Tenant organizations address renters' problems and laws. Since many landlords and realty companies have been the opponents of renter protections, maybe it would be advisable to lobby the Portland Business Alliance and other such organizations with positive suggestions on carrying part of the burden on their own.

Marian Drake

Northeast Portland

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