Letters: Don't charge tolls on our highways
As if traffic in this city is not bad enough, now we have to add tolls to pay for road repairs.
During high traffic volumes, commuting is unbearable, and these days every hour is high traffic hour. Tolls will just add to the annoyance of driving. Not to mention the added cost to driving in a city already too expensive for a majority of its residents.
Kill two birds with one stone and toll the bridges from Oregon to Washington and leave our highways alone.
Keep water supply safe from crypto
In reading your article on cryptosporidium (July 18 Tribune) and as a former victim of crypto, I decided to write and say that you do not want to get this parasite. I came down with this about six years ago, had terrible sickness and had to see my GI doctor, who gave me very strong and very expensive antibiotics after I had several tests. I was lucky to recover.
I had to report it to the health department here in Portland, where I live. (Check with them and see how many people have gotten this!) Please listen to the Oregon Health Authority. They know what they are demanding us to do. It is not true that the water has not made anyone sick. Make our water safe.
We're getting hosed on PERS
It became front-page news in the Wall Street Journal (July 18) that companies are having to raise their average retirement contributions from 3.9 percent of payroll to an estimated 4.7 percent of payroll to retain top employees. A few are even adding a percentage or two more than that, with the employees' contributions running into the federal contribution limits.
Oregonians are really getting "hosed" having to pay PERS benefits that average more than 30 percent of payroll, much higher than the federal limits that Oregon public employees are excused from. We are paying five to 10 times the retirement benefits paid by large American companies to our public employees.
The Legislature and governor must think that is just dandy because they are unwilling to fix it, even a little, no matter that many taxpayers paying the bill do not even have employer retirement benefits. Come election time we must not re-elect these uncaring politicians.
Improve bike routes in outer Southeast
I bicycle commute along 122nd Avenue from Southeast to Northeast Portland. I thank the Portland Bureau of Transportation for repaving this busy street to make the driving and cycling conditions safer.
It was a long winter with this road in terrible disrepair, which forced me to take the bus instead of cycling. I also appreciate the pedestrian timer that was installed at the I-84 freeway onramp on 122nd.
These improvements have made my commute safer than it was, but it is still not as safe as it could be. A colleague of mine, who bicycle commutes along the same route, was struck by a car on his way to work and required multiple surgeries to repair damage to his leg. He was obeying the traffic laws, as I do when I cycle to and from work every day.
Due to the traffic, this street is not optimal to cycle on, but the alternative, the I-205 multi-use path, does not feel safe due to the growing number of people camping on and along the path. I opt to take 122nd to work because it is the most convenient, and now that it has been repaved it is a much smoother ride.
However, if I want to cycle west or north from my home, there is no easy way to do that. I ask the city to consider designating more bicycle-specific roadways (bike boulevards) to help those people who live in the outskirts of town make it safely, and more directly, to their destinations throughout the city. In looking at the PDX by Bicycle map, it is easy to notice that east of the I-205 there currently is only one bike boulevard, and it is short and inconvenient.
I strongly advocate for the addition of bike boulevards in Northeast/Southeast to the east of I-205. This side of town lacks the same level of investment as west of 205, and I hope to see that change. I have been a long-distance cyclist and bicycle commuter for many years. As an environmentalist, I wholeheartedly support the city's efforts to encourage and prioritize people-powered transportation.