Our readers also weigh in issues ranging from the Electoral College to encouraging teachers to read to heir students.

Deborah Kafoury has been a member of the county commission since 2008. During that time the homeless population of Portland and Multnomah County has at best remained static. There's plenty of land in Portland to house the homeless; having just driven from Gresham out to Kelley Point I can personally attest to it. The city and county continue to give tax abatements to the builders of middle- and upper-class housing in utter disregard of people dying of exposure on their streets.  

During World War II, the Greatest Generation not only helped defeat the Axis, but built entire cities, some of which were here in your backyard. One, Vanport, was adjacent to Interstate 5 at Portland International Raceway; another was McLoughlin Heights in Vancouver, across the river. Both were built from prefabs, were rather rudimentary, and quite small, but they housed those who came here to build Liberty Ships in both cities.  

There are many types of housing that can be built for very little, be it container housing, small houses, prefabs, or purchased movable housing. The only thing lacking is the will to house and care for those who are the most vulnerable.

The Oregon Humane Society has a shelter for dogs on Columbia Boulevard. it's neat, clean and warm inside. Multnomah County maintains one in Troutdale. Where's the shelter for the homeless and mentally ill?

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Stop blocking the popular vote bill

Have you ever wondered why whole regions of the country seem unimportant to candidates when it's election time? Why do we Oregonians have to settle for news coverage from places that matter, such as Ohio, Florida and California?

The Electoral College is why. This outdated, arbitrary method of vote-counting creates a skewed system. Candidates care more about electoral votes than they do you and me and our one voice, one vote democracy.

Residents of Oregon Senate District 11 are in a position to bring America one step closer to fair elections. Sen. Peter Courtney single-handedly blocked Oregon from passing its version of the National Popular Vote bill earlier this year. The National Popular Vote bill ensures that every vote, in every state, will count.

Since 2009, the Oregon House of Representatives has passed the National Popular Vote bill four times. Sen. Courtney's "no" is the reason Oregon has not joined 11 other states in the bipartisan movement for fair elections in America.

Tell Sen. Courtney, 503-986-1600, to stop blocking the National Popular Vote bill in Oregon. Call upon him to use his voice and his vote to move America closer to fair presidential elections.

Tanya Barham

Northeast Portland

Can officials pass this test?

True or false: Illegal camping is stressing our police, political system, business community, medical facilities, social service agencies and our definition of a civil society.

True or false: Urban camping degrades our streets.

True or false: Our streets were designed for camping.

True or false: The mentally ill deserve to have a roof over their heads, the addicted need treatment, those down on their luck need a hand up, and those who don't like to follow rules in a shelter need guidance on how to reenter normal society.

True or false: Wapato could be used as a shelter and initial screening center to assist those in need.

Any government official who cannot past this test needs to move on.

David Pietka

Northeast Portland

Read aloud to encourage attendance

This might be a simplistic suggestion, but teachers who want to encourage attendance might read a book aloud (one chapter a day) to their students to prevent absences. If the students become hooked on a story, they might make sure to show up every day to find out how the story ends.

It has been proven that children who are read to become good readers. So, the practice could "kill two birds with one stone." Also, a good book can offer emotional bonding for a student who feels like they don't belong.

As for class size, my first-grade class at Holy Redeemer School in North Portland in 1948 had 66 students in one room. (I confirmed the number with Sister Patrick Maureen at a class reunion 44 years later.) It is my belief that the hundreds of stories we heard at home on the radio at the time (Jack Benny, The Lone Ranger, The Shadow, etc.) filled our heads with sounds and images and fired our imaginations. Learning to read, where we had to turn words on the page into pictures in our brains, was made much easier.

I don't remember anyone not learning how to read and never saw "empty desks" due to absences, unless it was for childhood diseases at the time (mumps, measles, etc.).

Marilyn Finn

Southeast Portland

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