• Allan Classen

Readers' Letters

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

NOT ALL ABOUT EUDALY Over the last six years, the employees of the former Office of Neighborhood Involvement assured me that their policy toward neighborhood associations was “hands-off.”

Yet your article (“Eudaly skips interview, record speaks for itself,” March 2020) refers to a move from “the bureau’s function from supporting neighborhood associations.”

The difference in our perceptions of the role of ONI illustrates a lack of a shared objective reality, and what Seth Godin calls shared cultural reality—not the universal “we” but groups that simply define themselves a certain way. This is what happens when “we” all agree that brides wear white or that squirrel isn’t worth eating and it is essential to create harmony within groups. But it can drift over time, sometimes erratically, because the compass can change. I think too many neighborhoods have drifted. The compass changed with policies around the Climate Action Plan (2009) and the Healthy Connected City (2011). In the execution of strategies and plans, what is good for Portland is too good for the poorer neighborhoods, particularly in terms of climate justice.

Let’s count heads on boards and committees and analyze programs to see what we really have in this network of neighborhoods and how the leadership matches up to the community demographics and their needs.

Citizens deserve a much more objective analysis of neighborhoods. This is not all about Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. That assumption turns a complex systems and process issue into a people problem, diverting our attention from a system in need of change—codes or no codes. We all need to pay attention to how the three candidates (Eudaly, Sam Adams and Mingus Mapps) propose to address the issues raised by Ms. Eudaly and other renters, particularly women and people of color. Ruth Ann Barrett NW Ninth Ave. Editor’s note: According to City Code Title 3.96.060 A., “It is the responsibility of the Office of Community & Civic Life to: Assist Neighborhood Associations, District Coalitions and others in planning and developing programs for public involvement, crime prevention, dispute resolution and budget review.” This language remains unchanged since the bureau was known as the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.

WAPATO GREAT IDEA Changing Wapato jail into a homeless center is a genius idea, mostly because the public already had spent $58 million to build a jail that was never used for its intended purpose. Demolishing it would be the biggest waste of money badly needed for many public purposes, including caring for the homeless population. Everyone wants a place for them to go; why not use what we have? Finally, the drawings of the renovation look wonderful. It’s a fabulous idea and I am glad that it is coming to fruition. Marta Pustkowski NW 10th Ave.

NO TO HOMELESS BOND Metro proposes a $250 million homeless bond on the May ballot. The real cost will be $300 million including interest plus the extra costs that will be imposed on all the government departments to administer the bond. The total cost will come to about $600 for each of the 500,000 taxpayers in the metro area. More people will flee Portland and the area. More people will evade taxes. More businesses will disappear or move or not start in the first place because of the crushing tax burden. Opportunities for meaningful employment for the very people the bond is supposed to help will vanish. It is bleeding the camel again and again in hopes of crossing the desert faster. The federal government spends at least 63 percent of its staggering budget on entitlements, benefits and support of different kinds (from page 103 of the Internal Revenue Service tax instruction manual). I am simplifying here, but things need to be talked about. Now the city and its friends want to tack on another $300 million or so. The camel is not going to accept this forever. The street people, the homeless people, the mentally devastated and the campers all deserve to be happy. I doubt if many Metro employees or anyone else stops and actually talks to them right there on the street. I don’t think spending all this money will help much, if at all. We all need to sit together—though at 6 feet—and talk openly and compassionately about what we can do for the homeless and all of us. Roger Ley NE Summer St.

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