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Lean on legislators to fund treatment

by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: ADAM WICKHAM - Larry Jones (left) and Karl Colbert take part in a Volunteers of America group session in Northeast Portland as part of their rehabilitation treatment program. A letter writer says upheaval in the VOA program to affect its work. Your article regarding the Volunteers of America Men’s Residential Center (“Game changer” to reshape rehab, Sept. 19) was informative and enlightening, despite the disheartening implications regarding the men’s center’s future.

In the article, MRC Director Greg Stone references several recent upheaval factors that have altered the makeup of the treatment center’s client community. One notable factor is the sharp increase in the percentage of heroin addicts being treated. Stone describes them as being “less cooperative” than other addicts and more likely to relapse, thereby endangering the culture of abstinence in the MRC community.

As a current client at the MRC, I know Stone personally and trust his wisdom on this issue. However, these assertions are based on Stone’s vast wealth of anecdotal evidence rather than hard data. While not patently untrue, this claim is made without a peer-reviewed study that would eliminate certain distorting demographic factors, such as age. I only mention this because of one clear trend: the heroin addicts here are decidedly younger than their counterparts suffering from alcohol, meth and cocaine addictions.

Heroin in Portland is a multigenerational epidemic, but the legions of strung-out 20-somethings, many of whom would not commit crimes if not for their crippling addictions, are the ones the taxpayers should be worrying about. With mandatory-minimum drug laws such as Measure 57, these “offenders” will wind up costing us either way.

Six months of inpatient treatment is exponentially cheaper than five years of incarceration, and knee-capping programs such as the MRC is irresponsible and short-sighted. I implore everyone to lean on their elected representatives at the state, county and local level to make sure this budgetary shortfall gets filled before the January deadline.

If not, people like me will never get a shot at the sober, law-abiding life the MRC has given me. And your children will be footing the bill.

Ryan Gorham

Northeast Portland

R2DT is a civilized, thoughtful solution

Right 2 Dream Too is not a problem, it is a solution (Stop-gap solutions don’t help homeless, Sept. 26).

It is a self-started, cheap solution that emerged while we dithered with underfunded failures. It is a civilized and well-organized solution that has won accolades from neighbors and police for its good conduct and positive influence.

Right 2 Dream Too is not a hindrance or burden to the development of surrounding neighborhoods, save to the extent that neighbors subjectively deem the camp undesirable, a prejudice that will negatively affect demand and property values only for as long as it is allowed to persist unchallenged.

Economic demand is subjective and can be guided and corrected with good values, accurate information and sound logic. A few grinches may believe that city parks are undesirable because they attract children and dogs and smiles.

I, for one, should find the prospect of living in a neighborhood that does not shame, hide or disperse the poor to be very desirable. When I am ready to raise children, I shall look for a place that will not teach them that the cost of failure is invisibility or oblivion.

When it is time to care for my parents, I hope I shall have the courage not to justify convenient ostracism with shelter, services and an industrial-size kitchen.

Adam Leyrer

Northeast Portland

State on cutting edge of sustainability

Sustainability is an increasingly important issue that comes up in many factors of our daily lives. It is a movement which includes everyone, regardless of age, gender, race or financial standing. I am writing in support of one of the recent articles I read relating to environmentally centered projects (Solar “tea bag” takes garbage out of water, Sustainable Living, Sept. 19).

I was particularly intrigued by Joseph Gallivan’s article on Puralytics solar-powered lily pads. I found it fascinating that nanotechnology can be used to not only trap pollutants but kill germs as well.

Currently, I am taking an environmental science course at Denison University, and we have been discussing the dangerous effects that can result from pollution, especially chemical runoff. These pollutants then end up in water systems all around the world, so much so that an estimated 2 billion people lack water for basic sanitation. Hopefully innovations by Puralytics and other entrepreneurs will allow everyone to have access to cleaner water.

I don’t think a lot of people who live in Oregon realize how much of a difference they are making, not only here but all across the world. Oregon is on the cutting edge of sustainable technology and this article is a perfect example of that. These water treatment solutions may not be perfect, but they represent a step in the right direction for a more sustainable future.

Nathan Thorne

Granville, Ohio

Garage sales put greed on display

Our neighbor recently had a garage sale, and it was one of the more disgusting displays of greed and lack of consideration of neighbors that you would hope to never see in a nice city like Sandy.

In a period of about 16 hours, more than 100 cars of shoppers showed up using neighborhood driveways for turnarounds or blocking the driveways completely because they were too lazy to pull into a parking space.

In other communities, they have laws prohibiting garage sales. Instead, people take their things to Goodwill.

Maybe it is time to begin to think of our neighbors first, instead of our greed to make a few extra dollars.

As a result, everyone will benefit from Goodwill, including truly needy individuals and the neighbors who will be free of this unnecessary and rude disturbance.

Jim Martin

Sandy