by: L.E. BASKOW, A worker from the City Sign Co. Inc. peels away an old billboard ad in preparation for applying a new one along Southeast Stark Street near 146th Avenue.

A solution to the billboard problem was proposed by a number of people back in 1998 (Oops!, Oct. 30).

According to the courts, any regulation of billboards has to apply equally to murals. Fine. Don't bother limiting the size of the billboards - limit the size of the lettering.

Whether it's a piece of art or an advertisement being painted, what if the size of the text could be no bigger than one square foot per letter?

Since lettering is what makes a billboard distracting to traffic, the problem is solved if the print's too small to read from the roadway. And if ad agencies choose to rent wall space just so they can paint colorful pictures, I'd have no complaint.

S.W. Conser

Southeast Portland

Government must serve residents' needs

When government directs people's behavior rather than accommodates their needs, we have unintended consequences (Oops!, Oct. 30).

For instance, we built Interstate 205 and consequently people use it. The economist Joe Cortright does not want to acknowledge its success.

The fact that traffic volumes on I-205 were met earlier than expected is treated as a negative, even though government planners did not expect or envision the business expansion south of Portland all the way to Salem, resulting in a very positive economic effect.

Yes, the construction of I-205 is directly responsible for businesses locating, opening and hiring people in Oregon. I guess Cortright is more interested in manipulating behavior through economics rather than how simple things like building roads can stimulate economic expansion.

Since we no longer accommodate people's transportation needs and concentrate on directing their behavior away from cars, we do not add capacity.

We spend tax dollars on traffic circles, bike lanes, MAX, streetcars and speed bumps, yet traffic volume and freight traffic continues to increase despite government, individual and political special interest groups who want to control how we travel.

We avoid our responsibility to accommodate residents' needs and use their behavior against them, then we're surprised when these obstacles aren't effective.

How much have we spent on urban renewal, the MAX, streetcar and Westside Express Service?

The Columbia River Crossing is a bargain, and we will be able to measure the direct economic return through income tax revenue, gas tax revenue and PUC fees when the project is complete.

Mark Gravengaard

Northeast Portland

West side shouldn't detach downspouts

A story in the Portland Tribune discusses 'the shortsightedness of Portland's storm-water disconnect policy' and blames Portland's Downspout Disconnection Program for West Hills landslides (Oops!, Oct. 30). We disagree.

In 1995, Portland began offering property owners incentives to disconnect downspouts from the sewer system and to redirect roof water to landscaped areas. It's a low-cost, effective method to help reduce combined sewer overflows to the Columbia Slough and Willamette River.

The city has disconnected more than 51,000 downspouts in 13 years through the Downspout Disconnection Program. Not a single one of them is on the west side of the Willamette River.

We actively market the Downspout Disconnection Program in inner east-side neighborhoods where downspout disconnection is a safe and effective method of storm-water management.

Because many neighborhoods west of the Willamette have slopes and soils that don't drain well, we have never promoted the program there.

Two years ago, Portland also launched a storm-water discount program that allows property owners who manage storm water on-site to qualify for a storm-water management charge discount.

It's more difficult for West Hills properties to qualify for discounts because of problems with slopes and soils, and disconnecting downspouts usually isn't feasible in West Hills neighborhoods.

We encourage property owners with questions about on-site storm-water management that won't damage property to contact our storm-water discount program technical team at

Amber Clayton

Downspout Disconnection Program manager

Southwest Portland

More people results in more congestion

Freeways don't create congestion, density does. Peter Korn, you missed the most important factor in your Interstate 205 comment (Oops!, Oct. 30): how much the population in the metro area (including Washington) has grown.

Freeways don't create traffic. Population growth and density - and poor planning by Metro and Portland - does.

Craig Flynn

Northeast Portland

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