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Readers' Letters: PDC didn't offer deal to local businesses

This article (Green streets: Function or frill?, Feb. 27) does a good job explaining the benefits of such projects. The positive impacts for clean water are well known, and today the Willamette River and local tributaries benefit.

Over the past few months, such facts haven’t stopped those who are seeking to take over the city’s Bureau of Environmental Services and the Water Bureau from saying otherwise. Keep in mind, in addition to keeping our sewer system running, the Bureau of Environmental Services manages a host of projects to protect our water and wildlife in the city. Their work is critical, as is the work of the Water Bureau in protecting Bull Run.

It was nice to hear Kent Craford, one of the lead proponents of the ballot initiative to take over the two bureaus (funded mostly by a few local corporations), say that such Green Streets projects are good for ratepayers. Yes they are, and they are a good investment of public funds. I might suggest the current system on the whole is doing good work for Portland ratepayers and for our environment.

Travis Williams

Executive Director, Willamette Riverkeeper

Southeast Portland

Court isn’t at fault in land-use debacle

“Decisions are made, the public is informed, and if members of the public don’t like the decision, they have the right to appeal in court.” Well, Washington County Chairmen Tom Brian and Andy Duyck made the decision, they dressed it up in what the court called “pseudo factors,” and then informed the public at what were billed as “public hearings” (Legislature should OK land-use bargain, editorial, Feb. 27).

The Tribune seems to be blaming the court and the land-use laws for this debacle, even naming the judge who wrote the opinion, when the problem originated the day before the 2010 election when the two chairmen decided they would substitute, “acre-for-acre,” the best nonirrigated farmland in Oregon, located in Helvetia, for irrigated land near Cornelius that was ineligible for development designation because it, too, was high-value farmland.

The court is not to blame; arrogance is to blame.

John C. Platt

Hillsboro

Consider affordable housing trade-offs

Recent coverage and letters in the Tribune on affordable housing are missing the point (High cost of “affordable,” Feb. 6). As CEO of REACH CDC, I can attest that there is a need for debate about the cost of affordable housing development, but trade-offs must be discussed.

Central locations close to jobs and transit hubs cost more to develop. Though it is possible to lower development costs by locating farther from transit hubs and jobs, residents may be worse off paying more for transportation or missing out on distant job opportunities. Fortunately, Portland has had the foresight to underwrite some affordable housing at central locations.

One critic labels higher-cost buildings as “mansions.” Not even close. They are durably built but very modest apartments. It is possible to lower the construction cost with a less durable building, but it costs more over 30 years due to renovation and repair demands.

And singling out nonprofit developers for criticism on cost is misguided. Take the Gray’s Landing building in South Waterfront. A for-profit developer designed the project. The plans stalled for years, raising the cost. Only after public outcry, the city selected REACH, a nonprofit, to finish the project, and we did so efficiently, investing our own private funding to reduce the public investment needed.

Portland needs an informed discussion of housing priorities and solutions.

Dan Valliere

CEO, REACH CDC

Southwest Portland

Don’t hold your breath for federal aid

I’m not really eager to bring back anything like the flophouses from 100 years ago, but waiting for more federal rent assistance at this point is a fool’s errand — federal housing money has been shrinking since the early 1970s (High cost of “affordable,” Feb. 6).

You’d be better off just trying to compromise with smaller apartments and some economies that don’t increase costs like heating and electricity.

Brett Iddison

Salt Lake City

Dental therapist foes need to check facts

Dr. Rob Miller has some facts wrong in his criticism of the Pew Charitable Trust’s dental therapy report — not uncommon in most criticisms of dental therapy (Readers’ Letters, Feb. 27; Dental therapist plan fizzles as nonprofit exits, Feb. 20).

The reimbursement rate for the year of the study was the usual, unsubsidized rate in Minnesota, about 41 percent of usual and customary. For the current year, the rate will be enhanced to 55 percent of usual and customary. So, the use of a dental therapist in a private practice setting was successful.

I would urge all to ask opponents of dental therapy one key question: Please show me at least one evidence-based article showing that dental therapists are unsafe or ineffective in providing quality care to patients. The international review by Dr. David Nash is replete with evidence supporting safety and

efficacy, but the opponents, while strong on “feelings and emotion,” are short on real data.

Oregon should find a way to implement dental therapy.

Frank Catalanotto

Professor and chairman of Department of

Community Dentistry and Behavioral Science,

University of Florida College of Dentistry

Gainesville, Fla.