It isn't every day that the Tribune gets something upside-down, but here is an exception — quite an exception, in fact ("City must balance history and change," March 28 editorial).
The historic district proposal is an effort to reduce demolitions in Eastmoreland. The homes being demolished tend to be the least expensive homes and the replacement homes are significantly more expensive — 60 percent to 70 percent more expensive.
For example, the lovely historic home at 3030 S.E. Rex St. was purchased through a nominee from an elderly couple for $645,000. As usual with this nominee, the purported buyer promised to not demolish the home. The home was immediately flipped to Randy Sebastian, who demolished it and sold the homes built on the lot for $1,075,000 and $1,175,000. This has been the pattern in recent years where more affordable homes are replaced with more expensive homes. Along the way, the homes generally require the elimination of trees and lawns.
The gentrification of the Albina neighborhood involved the wholesale elimination of affordable homes, a significant increase in homelessness for people of color, and a reduction of black inhabitants in Portland.
We aren't encouraging affordable housing by empowering developers with subsidies and privileges that encourage them to remove existing less-expensive housing, in favor of higher-end construction.
Nor is protecting more affordable homes exclusionary — just the opposite.
I'll be pleased to share the data with you.
Treasurer, Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association
Deduction bill would help home buyers
James Maass' March 21 letter about the Legislature's thoughtful bill on the mortgage interest deduction is misinformed. HB 2006 would not end this deduction.
Instead it would reduce some benefits for our best-off Oregonians and instead increase state benefits for those facing emergency housing needs, or struggling to buy their first homes.
Oregon's benefits for homeowners would remain the same for anyone with income of less than $100,000 ($200,000 for a couple filing jointly).
HB 2006 would mean our state taxes would no longer subsidize second homes or mortgage interest of more than $15,000 a year (loans of more than $400,000). I urge Mr. Maass to give the bill a careful reading. I believe he'll agree, this bill will help reduce income inequality. The state will be helping folks buy their first home, rather than helping folks buy bigger homes or second homes.
Elliott State Forest not a 'dead asset'
Regarding "My View: It's finally time to sell the Elliott State Forest" (March 16 Tribune): John A. Charles Jr. writes, "State land board members have never wanted to sell" and concludes that while the deal is not good, "it's better than hanging on to a dead asset." There are many things wrong with the proposed sale; perhaps the most egregious is thinking of the forest as a "dead asset," when by definition this forest is a living asset of a state which has been widely clear-cut. In the present day, we should not rely on timber to be "the most effective way to maximize Common School Fund revenues."
Mayor's view of R2DToo disappoints
This winter I visited Right 2 Dream Too for the first time, and was so impressed that I immediately volunteered. R2DToo provides a wide variety of important services to houseless people: They give food, clothing, hygienic supplies and — most importantly — a place to sleep. R2DToo requires good behavior and a high level of personal accountability from those they serve, and from the staff.
R2DToo serves the city of Portland. Without their help, the houseless problem downtown would be even more difficult. The attempt to eradicate the "tent city" is short-sighted and mean-spirited. The city's houseless problem is complicated, and needs a multipronged approach — and R2DToo is a proven entity. R2DToo might not be the only answer, but it is definitely part of the answer.
Mayor Wheeler has had time and money to help R2DToo survive, but hasn't even bothered to meet with them. I voted for Wheeler once —but I won't do so again, and unless he does an about-face, I'll make sure everyone I know understands that they shouldn't vote for him again, either.