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Readers' Letters: Taxpayers forced to help OHSU raise money

This portrait of what it takes to be a top-tier cancer research center is very informative (The billion-dollar man, March 6). Unfortunately, it was published just a day before the Legislature voted to approve $200 million in bonding for Oregon Health & Science University. By then, it seems the political deals were forged, and there was no time for further probing questions.

The Knights’ generosity is to be applauded, but taxpayers shouldn’t have been asked to chip in without their consent. Many might want to help meet the Knight match, but those with other charitable preferences shouldn’t have been required to join what should have been a voluntary effort.

Steve Buckstein

Senior policy analyst

Cascade Policy Institute

Southwest Portland

Urban renewal not meant for schools

It was never the function of urban renewal to be used for public education (Mayor wrangles votes for renewal, March 11).

The idea of urban renewal is to return taxable properties back to the tax rolls at an increased rate, thus the reason to “gamble” on this investment. How is it fair to say Lincoln is blighted? You are singling out one school for special financing that others will not be able to take advantage of.

I would say this is contrary to what Portland Public Schools is attempting to accomplish with its capital improvement bonds and whatever the plan is for rebuilding the district’s high schools. It is in PPS’ best interests to let this project expire.

We “imported” urban renewal in the 1950s from California, and now California is trying to stop the hemorrhaging from these bad deals. We need to pull back on all urban renewal projects as well. Urban renewal is not to be used for the benefit of any public school, be it Portland State University or Lincoln.

Teresa McGuire

Southwest Portland

1000 Friends critic should check facts

Henry Richmond (founder of 1000 Friends of Oregon) is alive and well, growing filberts in Yamhill County, and still active with those of us who are proud of 1000 Friends’ role in keeping Oregon land-use decision-making honest and lawful, despite Washington County’s most concerted efforts and the laxity of Metro’s and the state Land Conservation and Development Commission’s oversight of the reserves process.

James Crawford has a lot of his facts plain wrong, and the attempt to spin the state Court of Appeals decision as a slur on 1000 Friends is just laughable (1000 Friends’ land-use agenda is flawed, guest column, March 6).

Linda Peters

Former chairman, Washington County Board of Commissioners

North Plains

Being mired in past bodes ill for future

What is the use of a new bridge without light rail? Just use the existing bridge as “designed to give the freedom of movement” until it collapses (Press reset on Columbia River Crossing, Feb. 20).

I have such a hard time understanding why light rail is “not a transportation solution” as stated in this article. How come people use it as a transportation solution in so many cities across Europe and Asia, where people consume much less energy per capita? Wake up, the world is changing, we are no longer ahead of others and we need to learn. Otherwise, we will be left behind and forced to make changes.

We are already so lacking in economic competitiveness today and, once our military superiority is gone, we will no longer be able to enjoy goods/energy cheaply, subsidized with borrowed money, which we return by printing more money. Look at Detroit, a classic example where it refused to make changes until it was too late.

You may love your good, old lifestyle forever, but sorry to say, it ain’t going to stay that way. Things will change, for the better or worse, and that is how history is made.

Yue Ma

Vancouver, Wash.

Opinion gets in the way of justice

Our attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, has decided that she isn’t going to enforce laws she doesn’t personally like.

Such is the case with the Oregon ban on same-sex marriage. Rosenblum has taken it upon herself to publicly declare that she isn’t going to enforce the laws of the state of Oregon if she doesn’t feel like it.

Whether you are for or against gay “marriage” is beside the point. The fact that our chief law enforcer will not enforce laws based upon personal preferences is very troubling.

Suppose the people of this state decide to legalize gay marriage and vote to approve it. What if we later elect an attorney general from the other side of the aisle and she/he disagrees with gay marriage? This new attorney general could likewise unilaterally ban gay marriage if they personally don’t agree with it.

What other laws is Rosenblum going to ignore based upon her feelings? Maybe she doesn’t like Section 27 of the Oregon Constitution (our right to keep and bear arms).

It seems that Rosenblum is taking her cue from the lawless United States Attorney General Eric Holder; who ignores laws he doesn’t like. Our country and now our once civilized state are being led into a state of anarchy. When our chief law enforcer refuses to enforce the law, where do we turn? Perhaps we should look to our founding fathers to see what their response would be?

Patricia Avila Tapia

North Bend

Issue shouldn’t focus on ‘bullet’ trains

Among the many sure ways to sabotage public support for the implementation of any 21st century passenger-rail modernization is to grant credence to gushing promoters of 200-plus mph systems (Oregon should put high-speed rail on fast track, guest column, Feb . 6). High cost, unacceptable impacts, suspiciously lengthy study and route selection via political string-pulling only foments controversy and bitter opposition.

The California high-speed rail project was effectively derailed in this manner, but remains on the drawing board after Los Angeles County and Bay Area Peninsula communities opted for a slower system that would increase trip time between San Francisco and Los Angeles from three hours to five hours — not bad considering the Amtrak Coast Starlight trip is 11 hours.

Politically conservative Bakersfield and Fresno interests wouldn’t follow suit and put their Plan B on the table because “killing the competition” of passenger rail is the basic conservative business model. The monopoly of travel by car, nevermind its “constitutional inequity,” brings environmental degradation, cultural absurdity, waste, war and millionaires like railroad tycoon Warren Buffett who will do anything, any rotten thing, to remain disgustingly pleasant millionaires.

Art Lewellan

Northwest Portland

Density factor dooms high-speed rail

Just a minute, Mr. Romantic. High-speed rail takes not only millions, if not billions, to construct. It also takes “density” of riders to be successful (Oregon should put high-speed rail on fast track, guest column, Feb. 6). Oregon does not now have, nor will it likely ever have the density to make high-speed rail financially viable.

Gerry Good

Lake Oswego