Letters: Homeless pilot project is worth trying
Regarding "Some areas not doing their share" (Oct. 26 My View by Chris Trejbal): Now I finally see Trejbal's true colors. He's out to get homeless folks, or those at risk of homelessness, under the guise of livability and transparency claims.
So we should know who will benefit from the Multnomah County pilot project: homeowners and those at risk who may be helped at the expense of privacy and confidentiality — so people with Trejbal's intolerant vision can target them for the sake of "transparency"?
My household was one of the 1,000 homeowners who applied. My wife and I weren't looking for a future bed and breakfast, but to offer a refuge and help so marginalized and struggling families could gain sanctuary and a lift up while they transitioned toward a better tomorrow. We already have done this on our own ... and for free. No close neighbors complained. I applaud those who have stepped up to bat. Let's give this partial solution a try. This is important. This is dignified.
Who's to blame for overdoses?
Regarding "Public deserves to see opioid records" (Oct. 24 Tribune editorial): Are drug companies like Purdue to blame for the "opioid crisis"? If drug companies break the law, then they should be prosecuted or fined. The latter often happens when they violate good manufacturing practices.
But are the firms responsible for drug overdose morbidity and mortality? Drug companies do not compel people to consume opioid medications. We need to ask why people are overdosing on opiates regardless of source. In many cases, people probably do not fully understand the risks of opiates. That leads to poor decisions about risks versus benefits and mistakes that result in overdose.
Our Puritan sentiments lead us to blame victims so the response to "the opioid crisis" probably will result in restricting availability of prescription opiates to those who need them. In other words, we will punish the innocent to prevent "abuse." This is precisely the opposite of the legal principle that it is better to let a guilty person go free than to punish the innocent.
It is worth noting that economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton find that "... reports of physical pain are strongly predictive of suicide in many contexts. The prevalence of pain is increasing in middle-age Americans and is accompanied by a substantial increase in suicides and deaths from drug and alcohol poisoning." (Suicide, age and well-being: an empirical investigation, NBER June 2015)
Regarding the Oct. 26 article "Trump is keeping state attorneys busy": Surprise! Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has sued the feds at least eight times and taken dozens of other actions since President Trump took office.
She is one of 22 attorneys general doing this. Guess what? They are all Democrats. She filed no lawsuits during the first nine months President Obama was in office.
Which party do you think both support?
Don't mess with Oregon
The Portland Tribune's report on Oregon's many lawsuits makes me proud to be an Oregonian. These suits seek to stop the dangerous Trump administration in its tracks. If you threaten our most vulnerable residents or our environment, we will fight back. Thank you, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, for your hard work.
I have always looked to the Portland Tribune to keep me informed of the happenings in the various areas of Portland and its surrounding areas. I have always known your paper was liberal, however, the cartoon you printed in the Oct. 26 issue was absolutely disgusting.
You assume because you are progressive liberals that everyone else here is, too. Well, surprise, surprise — we're not. Take a look at your own article on polling from a few weeks ago. Maybe there are more of us than you think. As far as cartoons go, I get a good laugh out of them sometimes. Trump is an easy target. He can say really ridiculous things. Please, keep them on the funny side — not like this tasteless piece.
Education in other nations a win for U.S.
Many thanks to Rep. Suzanne Bonamici for her guest commentary in the Oct. 19 Tribune ("Future brighter without big college debt"). I'd also like to thank her for co-sponsoring the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
Not only does she support the U.S. Public Loan Forgiveness program (which helps make going to college more possible for all Americans who otherwise couldn't afford it), she supports education for all children regardless of where they live. Currently over 260 million children can't go to school.
Attending school has a profound effect on vulnerable children in developing countries. Their lifespan increases (including a lowering of communicable disease), the United States gains trading partners, and terrorists have much more difficulty recruiting. Please (it's urgent!) call or write your representative and senators and ask them to co-sponsor the GPE resolution: Senate Resolution 286 and House Resolution 466. Our voices do make a difference.
Janet and Steve Brumbaugh
Who pays for damage when disaster strikes?
In the wake of weather-related and seismological disasters, we usually can see glaring vulnerabilities that contributed to loss of life and to the extent of damage. Think New Orleans and the levees, or Houston and disastrous urban planning. What sort of weak points do we have in Portland that, in a large earthquake or fire, for example, would open our community up to devastating loss?
My mind goes back to Houston, and reports of petrochemical facilities exploding and leaking thousands of tons of pollutants. We have a lot of petrochemical and otherwise volatile infrastructure in Portland. We have trains that carry oil and liquefied natural gas. We have pipelines. We have facilities along the Willamette that store many kinds of pollutants. Between operational and abandoned infrastructure, we have a very limited knowledge of just how many and what kinds of threats are right in our backyards. What happens when an earthquake, fire or climate event causes an explosion or leak at a storage facility in North Portland?
Our community is absorbing these risks. Are we also expected to pay for the damage when disaster strikes? Why should taxpayers be burdened with these costs, when the responsible parties are the companies who own the infrastructure? We need a mechanism to hold these companies accountable for the risks they've externalized onto us. If a company like Chevron wants to operate a fossil fuel terminal in our city, shouldn't they be responsible for any damage resulting from that facility in a disaster?
Just move people to East County
Isn't it wonderful that all the city of Portland has to do to show an increase in hourly wages and a decrease in gang violence is to move poor people, criminals and gang members to East County? I wonder if the figures east of 122nd are similar.
What exactly is 'affordable'?
In recent years, there's hardly a page in the Tribune that doesn't somehow scream the words "affordable housing." It's become the siren call for all of Portland and surrounding counties.
Yet, as the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars go into addressing and correcting the "affordable housing" problem, there has never been a definition of what is "affordable" and what is not. It's a moving target without definition and therefore becomes impossible to establish success or failure when chasing this dragon.
What is the goal? And how do we measure progress or success?
Thus far, it appears our elected leaders define success by the amount of money thrown at the perceived problem. However, from information provided by the Tribune and other sources, more money spent seems to have the reverse effect.
Allegedly, more "affordable housing" will ease or eliminate the homeless problem in our area. If fact, we have more homeless each year. We're told we will build our way out of this issue by mandating construction of "affordable" domiciles where low income and homeless can live happily ever after.
The same articles profiling the homeless population conclude the majority of the homeless do not want to live in structured housing with rules and regulations for occupancy. They prefer tents and the streets where freedom from confinement and rules allows lawless behavior to continue unabated.
What's "affordable" to my neighbor may not be affordable to me. However, by parading the "crisis" of "affordable housing" and linking it to homelessness, it gives our elected officials an endless platform for continued expenditures on problems they can neither define nor explain.
What is clear is this: More money spent is resulting in a growing homeless population. Our neighbors see it each day as Portland becomes a dangerous and ugly location.