Our readers write to us about homeless village, the history of rail service in Southwest Portland and air pollution concerns

Your story "Are homeless villages the solution?" in the July 13 Tribune is spot on. The success of other villages in Portland should be proof enough. This is a humane and creative approach to getting folks out of various scattered and tattered tents around the area. That feeling of not having a safe and secure place to sleep and store belongings is a real stress trigger. The tiny houses provide a sense of ownership and inspire a sense of purpose in folks set adrift for various reasons. They allow people to express their individuality that a large building or shelter does not.

Each village naturally forms its own social fabric, helping to dispel feelings of isolation and creating opportunities for self-improvement at all levels. People learn to take responsibility for cleanliness and overall order within the village. I see these early villages as pioneers, leading to larger and enhanced versions. Future villages might include a center offering computer and phone access, as well as a person able to direct residents to city and county resources and programs they might qualify for.

This all adds up to a positive and viable solution and should be pursued with a sense of urgency. 

Mark L. Brown

Southeast Portland

Barbur originally part of rail line

The article "Southwest Corridor: Spiff up or tear up Barbur?" by Dana Haynes (July 13 Tribune) implies that Barbur Boulevard was always a highway. Actually, it was originally built as part of the Southern Pacific Red Electrics rail line that ran from downtown Portland to Corvallis. It probably was converted to a highway after this electric passenger service was abandoned in 1929.  

I have old maps that show this route. It is a logical and efficient historical route for reconverting to light rail. 

Warren W. Aney


Toxins need full public disclosure

I am a resident of the Kenton neighborhood, which includes the entire Peninsula One Drainage District including the Heron Lakes Golf Club, Portland International Raceway, the Expo Center property and 92 acres of restored wetlands.

Having served for several years on the Harbor Oil Citizens Advisory Committee for Kenton, I realized the APES plant is the current occupant of the Harbor Oil site. This site's history and operation has been raggedly problematic, to say the least. It was, though small, a Superfund site, which gave cause for the formation of our committee. Recalling its history, my reading of the June 29 Tribune article was a wakeup call of "here we go again."

What John P. Williams discloses in the article is nothing short of hair-raising. If just one portion of his assertions apply to my concerns, there is something terribly wrong on public disclosure/certain notification to every individual residing or working in Hayden Island and Kenton of the health threat posed by newly permitting APES operations. 

How many people were aware of this issue versus all who deserved to know? Among those who found out about it, thanks to the Tribune article, we had a deadline of July 3 to reply.

It is sad when a once-trusted DEQ evades its responsibility to protect health and the environment. If not the DEQ, who does comprehensively and honestly assess threats to our safety?

The APES re-permitting issue demands the widest and most open public disclosure possible, so every citizen affected by APES operations is fully informed of pollution-control equipment removal and inadequate pollution-control procedures.

When we talk about dioxins and hexavalent chromium, we are talking about the most potent of chemical toxins in the air we breathe. This is light years away from the inconvenience of enduring bad odors.

Peter Teneau

North Portland

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