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The Times publishes reader letters on sea otters, the Portland Trail Blazers and Fred Meyer.

Bring sea otters back to Oregon

Moving to Oregon, I was in awe of the natural beauty here.

Living in Beaverton, bare hours away from mountains to one side and the coast on the other, was a dream come true. When I visited Cannon Beach for the first time, I didn't think twice about the sea creatures I could or couldn't see from shore, and I didn't see the devastation that was occurring beneath the surface of our ocean.

What you can't see from the sandy beaches is that the purple sea urchin population is exploding — one reef recorded 350 million urchins. Unfortunately, these urchins are decimating our kelp forests and creating what's called "urchin barrens."

Kelp serves a vital role in climate change by storing carbon, and also provides habitat and food for other marine animals. Without it, our ecosystems are at risk of collapse.

Sea otters prey on urchins, but the last sighting of a native Oregon sea otter was in 1906.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service can help bring the urchin population under control and restore these kelp forests by reintroducing sea otters to Oregon. Being able to see these furry faces at the shore would not only be fun, but also provide some hope for the state of our oceans.

Maribeth Guarino, Beaverton

Blazers should replace GM

Instead of hiring Chauncey Billups as the Trail Blazers' new head coach, it might be wiser to wait on hiring a coach — until another management personnel move has been made.

The hiring process for head coach has not been handled well, according to many Blazers' fans and some national sports commentators. The Blazers' front office has also made several strategic mistakes, in trades (including sacrificing first-round draft picks) and compensation, in recent years.

Accordingly, the real move the team needs to make (right now) is actually quite simple — replace the general manager with a native Oregonian — named Danny Ainge. Ainge's unblemished and exceptional professional record and reputation, as an NBA executive, player, teammate and human being, merit appointment to manage the team.

Michael Brewin, Tigard

'Track and scan' may not be safe for shoppers

Regarding your June 17 article on my local Fred Meyer supermarket's rollout of "track and scan" mass surveillance shopping in Portland as a test market, I wish you had given some voice to electronic privacy advocates.

Read our article on Fred Meyer's track-and-scan software, originally published online June 17, 2021.

Oregon lacks rigorous consumer protections such as California's Consumer Privacy Act, and there are all sorts of ways Fred Meyer's corporate parent could misuse customer data.

Going forward, I'll prefer to shop at Trader Joe's. Its family owner — the Albrecht family — survived Nazi Germany. This experience lead them to build privacy measures such as not requiring "club cards" into their business model.

Of course, Fred Meyer is one of your advertisers, but you don't need to uncritically regurgitate a press release.

Thomas Busse, Northwest Portland

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