LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Reader comes across BEE centennial section from 2006
The four centennial pages of THE BEE [from September 2006] have just taken me on a trip down memory lane.
My grandparents, Hudson and Lela Reeves, once owned THE BEE. I went to Sellwood School, as did my husband (who for a while worked in Liz Fowler's 1874 House, mentioned in the third page), and my dad owned a business in Sellwood Square called The Jeweler's Bench. Last but not least, my first full-time job and the one that transferred me to the San Francisco Bay Area where we still live, was at Georgia-Pacific, where the Pamplins reigned supreme.
I'm happy to find out that THE BEE is still providing a voice for the community, and hope it continues to do so for another 100 years. A belated congratulations to you on the first 100.Claudia Pickman Cowan
EDITOR'S NOTE: That four-page retrospective was the centerpiece of THE BEE's centennial edition, in September of 2006, and as Ms. Cowan has discovered, it is still posted for downloading near the top of the home page of THE BEE's older (but still current) website, www.readthebee.com/beecentennial.html. The special section was written by neighborhood historian and BEE contributor Eileen G. Fitzsimons.
Perturbed by trains stored south of Brooklyn Yard
[We have sent this letter to] Governor Brown. . . This letter is mainly concerned with the locations where any trains with petroleum tank cars are parked, especially in or near the Eastmoreland and Westmoreland neighborhoods, and the Reed College area, in Southeast Portland. We are requesting that efforts be made to ensure such trains are parked far from any residential neighborhood, or to send such cargos directly through to their destinations. . .On 4-6 January 2018, a very long train [was] parked on a siding adjacent to McGloughlin [sic] Blvd., beneath the Bybee overpass, in Southeast Portland. The train included 36 or 37 black petroleum tank cars. The 4 locomotives in use were from a pair of freight lines: 3 from Canadian Pacific, and the lead was from Union Pacific – the company that owns the tracks. It is my understanding that Union Pacific is under court injunction limiting their use of the location, but I am unaware of the specific wording. . .Three rail passenger accidents very recently make it all the more urgent to give due consideration to improving the safety of traffic on rail trackways locally and nationally. Plates holding rails, for example, are often minimally fastened, and standards should be considerably improved. The chances of accident at any specific location seem low, but when an accident occurs it becomes 100% retroactively. . . It is very much hoped that the matter of parking rail tank cars in residential neighborhoods can soon be resolved in an amicable manner,
S.E. 23rd Street
and 28 other undersigned residents
of Westmoreland Union Manor
EDITOR'S NOTE: One correction is needed to the statement made at the end of the second paragraph above: In September of 2012 Union Pacific entered into a joint settlement agreement with the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association, the Sellwood-Moreland Improvement League, and the City of Portland, regarding the removal of a 55-year-old federal injunction on Union Pacific's Brooklyn Intermodal Yard in Portland. As part of the agreement brokered by a Federal Judge in Eugene, all restrictions were removed on U.P. being able to store trains in its extended railyard between Reedway Street and Tacoma Street, so the railroad is now within its rights to store any trains there.
More Eastmoreland "Historic District" controversyEditor, The matter of the Eastmoreland Historic District remains unresolved. The leadership of the group most opposed to the HD regularly states that they secured a majority of the neighborhood to object. This was never true and they leave out some important details.
They'll tell you there were 1,040 notarized objections by June 30, 2017. What they won't tell you is that that doesn't include about 70 individuals who reversed their objections. There was never a majority of homeowners objecting. At best, they're confused or in denial. At worst, it's an effort to mislead. The numbers have been analyzed again and again and they all tell the same story – more homeowners support the HD than oppose it. We don't have an official accounting of this from the government because they retreated from fulfilling their duties when faced with spurious lawsuits from an Eastmoreland resident, all of which have been rejected or denied. They led the charge to change legislation by trying to sneak language into a state Senate bill last year. This, too, failed, after the efforts were revealed for what they were. And now, after legislation and lobbying have thus far failed, we see the latest tactic. The best way to describe it is "property ownership stacking". One neighbor has established 1,000 trusts on their single Eastmoreland property. The filing of objections for all these new "owners" would subvert the entire process. I find it appalling that one property owner believes their input on this matter is 1,000 times more important than anyone else's. And this is from the same group that has decried how "undemocratic" the process is! The truth is, the historic district process is determined by a majority, and you have 53.1% of the owners within the proposed HD area of the neighborhood that support it – not counting this recent ownership stacking scheme. I guess democracy only matters when it works in their favor.Like you, I will be happy when the issue is behind us. Maybe we can rise above the gamesmanship and abuse of this federal process.
Derek BlumEastmoreland ResidentEditor:
A member of "Keep Eastmoreland Free", an avid opponent of the Eastmoreland Historic District, has formed 1,000 trusts for his single family home. And under the current rules, these will be treated like 1,000 new property owners, each with the ability to submit an objection, which we can only assume has been done, since SHPO is not making objections public in this second go-round of the Historic District process. Another reason to believe this is the game being played is the fact that this same individual expanded his home ownership into four trusts (in addition to the two the owners already had) in June in order to file six objections to the Historic District. In fact, this was a practice used by several KEF members to buck the process and get additional objections since they couldn't obtain them rightfully.
One person, one vote, doesn't always work. The world isn't always fair. I only know that I and my fellow HEART neighbors can hold our heads high and know we played by the rules. We were fair and honest and didn't resort to lawsuits and gamesmanship to undermine the process. I have to think that a majority of my neighbors on both sides will feel the same disgust I feel when they learn of this abuse of process. At least I hope so.
If you are an opponent to the Historic District, and are feeling the same outrage I am by KEF's actions, please feel free to contact me if you'd like to rescind your objection. HEART would welcome you to the side of the neighbors who play fair and by the rules.
All letters to the editor are subject to editing for clarity and available space, and all letters become property of THE BEE.