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Our readers comment on the impact of immigrants on the environment, school boundary decisions, and historic preservation

I read with interest the article titled "Why hasn't Portland Public Schools fired this man?" (Aug. 10 Tribune). To my way of thinking, there are only two reasons for this. First, they must have way more money than they really need. Second, they have no idea what they're doing.

Any private businessperson would tell you that they would have solved this problem back in November 2015.

Warren Knight

North Portland

Stress on environment? Look to yourself

It's true, every human being puts stress on the environment, including undocumented immigrants ("Illegal immigration bad for environment," Aug. 15 My View by Richard LaMountain).

Yet, in spite of all the work they do, undocumented people create far from the largest environmental footprint. They own and drive fewer cars, consume much less fuel, food and furnishings, and live much more densely than average Americans.

If Mr. LaMountain is concerned about human environmental impact, perhaps he should look first to his own backyard.

Stephen Shepherd

Northwest Portland

Best solutions often are imperfect

Thank you for the thought-provoking article on the

computer-savvy parents who have come up with a new idea for balancing public elementary school enrollment: selecting students' schools through random placement in one of the three closest elementary schools (Aug. 1 Tribune).

It sounds as though they have put much thought into a proposal designed to replace the emotional and time-consuming process of balancing enrollment with a rational, ongoing and unbiased process. As an experienced school board member from another district, I found it a refreshing and intriguing idea. Then I thought of all the questions it will bring up: 

• Will my child be able to stay in the same school next year and the year after that?

• Can she attend the same school as her older sister? (I won't be able to go to teacher conferences and back-to-school nights in three different schools.) 

• We don't have a car, and it's too far — or too dangerous — for a first-grader to walk; will there be a bus to that school? 

• How would this plan impact district transportation costs? 

• Will this affect which middle school my child will attend? His best friends will be going to a different school.

• Will there be a modification process for special cases? 

These are highly emotional issues coming from those whose lives will be affected by the decision. They must be heard and weighed thoughtfully before the school board comes to a conclusion. 

Often the best solution available is imperfect, a balance among many valid but conflicting needs. Efficiency, simplicity and sustainability are among those needs but others also must be considered. 

Frances Moore

Northeast Portland

Don't weaken preservation act

Regarding "Eastmoreland neighbor tells committee: Preservation Act being abused" (July 27 Tribune, online July 19): It was a sad day when a resident of Eastmoreland took the national stage in support of Republican efforts to weaken regulations protecting our historic and natural resources. Testifying before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Patty Brandt stated that the National Historic Preservation Act was being misused by Portland neighborhoods to circumvent zoning codes and prevent demolitions of existing homes.

In fact, the act reads, "The Congress finds and declares that 5) in the face of ever-increasing extensions of urban centers, highways, and residential, commercial, and industrial developments, the present governmental and nongovernmental historic preservation programs and activities are inadequate to insure future generations a genuine opportunity to appreciate and enjoy the rich heritage of our Nation."

The National Historic Preservation Act was passed to protect the country's heritage from exploitation by private interests and short-sighted government policies. Seeking that protection is not an abuse of the law, but a use of the law as intended.

K.A. Showalter

Southeast Portland

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