So the Portland Mounted Patrol is finally being put out to pasture. But let's not be shedding tears. It wasn't that long ago that horses were a weapon of choice for police departments across the country and around the world. There are few things that are more terrifying to people on foot than a mob of police on horseback, clubs held high, charging into a crowd of demonstrators or laborers on strike. It's like getting sentimental about a tank.
Fighting, name calling gets us nowhere
I've lived in Eastmoreland for almost 42 years and have seen many changes during that time, some good, some not so good. This current battle over the historical district has been the worst. The words "elitist and racist" used by Tom Christ in his "My View" editorial are abhorrent. They are words that are too carelessly thrown around in today's climate and are unproductive when attempting to solve a problem.
The historical district designation is a last-ditch effort by the neighborhood association to stop demolition of viable homes that are then replaced by "McMansions." The one down the street from my home was purchased for $495,000 in 2014 and is now on the market for $1.85 million. The Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association worked with the city for over five years, pleading with residents to give input about the "Residential Infill Project" going on all over Southeast Portland, but few did.
So, here we are, reduced to name calling and fighting with neighbors who have a monetary stake in the outcome, when we should have stormed City Hall years ago. Portland's promotion of a building rampage for future populations at the expense of current residents is wrong. The city is destroying the very character of its neighborhoods that makes Portland so desirable.
Instead of calling me "elitist and racist," I suggest you do something positive for our neighborhood. My summer "elitist" project is to weed and clean out the traffic circle on Southeast 34th and Bybee, which the city forced on us and then promptly ignored 20-25 years ago. I'm there early most Wednesday mornings, before the sun hits. Bring your own tools and be prepared to take home the yard debris. I've tried to communicate with the city about this and other green spaces, but have gotten nowhere.
I also invite you to help clean out the storm drains that plug in the winter — another "elitist" job.
I will not address the "racist" label. I know who I am and you don't.
Transportation moves our economy
Oregon's economy is directly tied to its transportation network. The state needs safe, efficient, and ecologically friendly means to move products across Oregon and connect the state to the rest of North America and the world. Wise investments in Oregon's transportation infrastructure are therefore vitally important to the future environmental and economic health of our region.
The Oregon Legislature has been working hard for the past 18 months on a bill that would create a major investment in Oregon's transportation infrastructure. House Bill 2017 will help alleviate the backlog of deferred maintenance on Oregon's multimodal network of roads, marine, aviation, and railroads, making our state's transportation network more efficient and potentially reducing its carbon footprint.
Every year the Portland & Western Railroad invests a significant amount of its own funds to build and upgrade rail infrastructure, allowing the railroad to reduce the number of trucks that travel across taxpayer-funded roads and reduce greenhouse gases. House Bill 2017 contains important provisions to help railroads to further upgrade and modernize rail infrastructure through cooperative programs such as ConnectOregon. This will help companies move products to market, which supports Oregon businesses, jobs and tax revenue — in other words, our entire economy.
We commend the Oregon legislators and Gov. Brown for enacting a transportation bill that will both stimulate our economy and help our environment.
James Irvin, president
Portland & Western Railroad
Take action on health care
Christina Lacy's My View essay ("Repeal of Obamacare would hurt neediest," June 29) was moving and should inspire us all to take action. Granted, changes need to be made to Obamacare, but killing it or trying to weaken its coverage for the most vulnerable (children, the elderly, and the poor) is not the solution. Together, let's create a society where it's "all for one and one for all." Not one where people can suffer or die simply because they cannot afford health care.
Personally, I belong to RESULTS, a national citizens lobbying group with a local chapter here in the Portland area. Our members speak to Congress on health care issues for those who need it most, both at home and abroad.
A study done by the Congressional Management Foundation found that the most influence that you and I have on Congress is when we reach out to our individual senators and representatives and let them know how we feel and what we think about these issues. All of us have an important voice.
And don't forget Congressman Greg Walden, Oregonians. Especially if you know someone who lives in Walden's district, ask them to send him an email, make a call and let him know that we don't want people cut off from affordable health care; we in fact want more people to have it available them. He represents some of the people most in need of a health care system that we can all be proud of.