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Our readers express themselves on local and national issues, including the need for cars and the ongoing NAFTA negotiations

While I agree with Commissioner Amanda Fritz's move as reported in "Conflicts of interest snag Central City plan" (Sept. 26 Tribune), I believe the real tragedy of the West Quadrant Plan process was that with so little neighborhood resident participation on the Stakeholder Advisory Commission, so little attention was paid to other livability issues in my downtown neighborhood. 

For downtown, far too little thought was put into remediating the impact of I-405 on adjoining residents' health. Far too little thought was put into rethinking street width and sidewalk size (e.g., Southwest Columbia and Jefferson streets). Far too little was put into giving street trees their rightful place above other infrastructure like sidewalk elevators and some utility placements. Far too little was put into addressing treeless asphalt deserts also known as surface parking lots. Far too little was put into using our stormwater to green our streets and save our salmon. Far too little was put into increasing district energy and other forms of distributed energy to make us less reliant on a centralized grid and fossil fuels.  

I submitted dozens of implementation items to be considered, but since I was not on the SAC (yes, I applied), they never got any attention because the debate over building heights took precedence over anything else. Any re-examination needs to cover the above and other issues, too.

The Eagle Creek Fire should be seen as an urgent wake-up call that we are living in a different era where the health and safety of pedestrians (many not owning a car) should take precedence over the convenience of those who commute in single occupancy vehicles.

Mary Vogel

Southwest Portland

People 'voting with their wheels'

Portland area vehicle-miles have increased far faster than population since 2008, with virtually no new spending on new lanes or roads compared to TriMet ridership, which has fallen after spending, literally, billions of new dollars.

Wake up, governments, the people are "voting with their wheels" for more and improved roads. Start by pushing some real dollars to new and better roads. Good roads also might improve TriMet's abysmal ridership numbers by enabling faster and smarter bus service.

Richard Leonetti

Portland

Freedom to drive and pump gas

Women in Saudi Arabia gained some extra freedom: They are now allowed to drive cars themselves. We should congratulate them, as they now jump ahead of the men and women in Oregon, who are still not allowed to pump their own gas. Maybe one day we'll be free, too.

Marcel Herman

Southeast Portland

Preserve Portland's beautiful homes

Dan Forbes' Sept. 19 article about City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly drafting new rules for home demolitions discusses one of the many aspects of home demolition in Portland. This city has experienced skyrocketing home prices and, as such, homes deemed able to be torn down also have increased dramatically. It is wise to have discussions about how this will be handled by our city. We have precious history to protect in our charming homes that are being ruthlessly torn down at a builder's discretion. 

One weekend I went out of town only to return to a hole in our Northeast Portland block. The charming bungalow, built in the 1930s, had been beautifully maintained since I was first there in the early 1950s. In one day, it was unceremoniously destroyed and taken away. 

Our neighborhood is filled with children now, and we are fully occupied by other age groups. In addition, "stop the demolition" signs are everywhere. That charming home was torn down and replaced by a plain, three-story box with a tiny front and backyard. Its sale price was nearly $1 million.

Beverly Cleary's childhood home in our Northeast Portland neighborhood was bought by a development group, torn down and a new larger home built. She is a nationally known author of children's books, recipient of the National Medal of Arts among many lifetime awards. And we let her home go. 

Many people need to come together to address these issues about Portland homes, their destruction and replacement, as well as the devastating effect of a loose environmental consciousness. It can be addressed in a civil and responsible society. Portland has a beautiful city with homes and neighborhoods that need to be protected by responsible management as history marches forth. 

Carol A. Leitschuh

Northeast Portland

People still need cars

Not opening bottlenecks in the Rose Quarter, I-205 and so on will only increase traffic headaches and not solve our transportation problems. It will build until the people have had enough and take things to court and overrule those who want less traffic.

The only way for less traffic in Portland, let alone elsewhere, is not through less parking (we all see that this is becoming worse), bicycles, which many cannot ride, bus and MAX which do not go everywhere people want, and no emergency transportation except taxis, Uber, or Lyft, which many cannot afford.

The only way to get people out of their cars is to either do people movers like in Disneyland, or possibly electric bicycles, which now have options such as being enclosed as single seaters to four seaters, which are not expensive and go 30 miles on a charge.

People need cars for going places that public transportation cannot go, independence for shopping, appointments, business, pleasure, emergencies and other reasons. Until this is resolved, cars are still going to be the No. 1 transportation regardless of what any of us desire.

So if those who want to stop transportation and increase our polluted air, by all means, keep cars idling in traffic as congestion continues to worsen, trying to find parking and clogging up the streets, and increasing costs of goods and services.

I am sure that this show of wonderful increased pollution will enhance the "myth" of environmentalists wanting cleaner air, water and soil without considering the consequences of stupid decision-making that has not engaged people of all walks of life to help resolve these issues.

Ted Adams

Gresham

GOP doesn't act in our best interests

President Trump's pitch to cut taxes in the midst of a catastrophe that will require tax money to fix is emblematic of Republican disengagement from anything, no matter how devastating, that affects the well-being of the poor and middle class.

Trump said in a recent speech that Americans know how to spend their money better than government does. So, according to the president, Americans, 75 percent of whom are living paycheck to paycheck, can, with their own money, build and maintain roads, bridges, libraries, schools, pay for police and fire protection, sanitation, clean air and water, and armed services.

If Trump and his congressional Republican cronies honestly believe this, then they are so blinded by their ideology that they cannot see the suffering that the policy of tax and spending cuts has caused. How much human suffering will we have to witness before Republicans open their wallets and start behaving in the best interest of the Americans they represent?

Sorah Dubitsky

Beaverton

We won't get fooled again

It has just dawned on me that subsidized housing is really just another form of corporate welfare or privatizing profits while socializing losses by making it look as though we are taking care of our low-income citizens but in truth are just making the 10 percenters a better deal. Tax breaks are amended in the fees process. We get higher fees and they get lower taxes.

But as long as there are football Sundays and Mondays, and we don't run out of beer, the idea we might win the lottery will keep the revolution at bay.

Wesley Ellis

Southeast Portland

Fair trade rather than free trade

The president has seen fit to enter into renegotiation of a long-standing trade deal called NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), a trade deal that has caused a fall of our manufacturing jobs in Oregon and in America.

Since the inception of NAFTA, Oregon has lost a total of 12,000 manufacturing jobs according to the United States Department of Labor. In the whole of the United States, 910,000 jobs have been lost and 80,000 manufacturing plants closed due to NAFTA policies according to the same department. It should be time for a new spring in our manufacturing jobs. This can only be achieved if during the NAFTA renegotiation the president and those with the power to do so focus on fair trade practices rather than on free trade practices.

Although jobs lost are hard pressed to return, we can save the jobs that are still here. We can still take care of the union workers who might lose their jobs if the march of unfair NAFTA practices continues, like the paper mill workers in West Linn, or the Nabisco workers in Portland who could lose their livelihoods should NAFTA continue its course.

We must protect our state and nation from the fall that is free-trade practices that promote corporations sending hard working Oregonians' jobs away. We must tell Mr. Trump, our representatives, and those in the NAFTA negotiation that we will stand for no less than a deal that supports workers' right to security.

Jonathan Schaffer

Portland

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