Recently our store, Little Urbanites, has been the subject of a debate in your newspaper about children's retail stores. I would like to take a moment to clarify to your readers who we are and what we represent.

We cater to families purchasing sustainable products and furniture that will grow with their child.

Far from examples of excess, the wooden animals pictured in the photo that ran with both the initial column (Baby got brand; parents get the bill, Dec. 18) and the subsequent opinion from Tony Fuentes (Batteries not required, Jan. 4) cost $5.95 retail and are made using sustainable practices.

The manufacturer even donates a portion of its proceeds to wildlife organizations around the world.

We live in a world of disposable products that serve a purpose for a short period of time and then are tossed in a landfill.

Many of our products are meant to serve a family for 18 years or more, and they cost more because they are high-quality products made by artisans and are durable enough to last long past infancy and childhood.

We pick and choose every item that enters our store. Sure, some of our apparel is chosen for its fashion, but we take pride in selecting companies, both international and domestic, that support their communities and follow fair-trade practices.

We are three women - mothers, environmentalists and educators - who have made the decision to follow our dream and promote products that are both good for our bodies and our planet. If they happen to be fashionable and look nice, then all the better.

Jacqueline Gault

Suzanne Sibley

Kim Sibley

Co-owners, Little Urbanites

Northwest Portland

Portland's definitely no Amsterdam

Craig Boretz's plan to alter up to 15 acres of Northwest Portland (Con-way plots towers, canal, Jan. 15) made me laugh.

His proposed canal seems to be a glamorized fountain. It doesn't begin in the hills nor connect with the Willamette, and he makes no mention about the affordability of his residential towers.

Such development will further displace homeowners, alter our skyline, line the pockets of the rich and expand our city's economic inequality.

Steven Kelley

North Portland

Vehicle fee can help build a bridge

Multnomah County faces a potential $600 million deficit with regard to our Willamette River bridge system over the next 20 years.

The estimated cost of replacing the Sellwood Bridge is $300 million. With the passage of the additional vehicle registration fee, Multnomah County would raise approximately $100 million for the Sellwood Bridge project.

Once we can prove that Multnomah County residents are willing to invest in the Willamette River bridge system, we will have the leverage to ask other jurisdictions - local, state and federal - to join us in the funding of a piece of the regional transportation infrastructure.

Like most of you, I am not a big fan of more taxes and fees. Sometimes, however, it is the only way to keep our infrastructure up and running. Current state law prohibits Multnomah County from tolling the very bridges we are responsible for maintaining.

The proposed vehicle registration fee will cost Multnomah County drivers about $2 per month. I do not think this is too much to ask. We all will benefit from the secure transportation infrastructure this fee will help create.

I look forward to working with all local governments and the federal government to find regional solutions to regional transportation needs.

The simple request, from Multnomah County to our 12 overlapping jurisdictions, is to allow our voters the opportunity to approve this much-needed funding option.

Lonnie Roberts

Multnomah County commissioner

East Multnomah County

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