Letters: Spend more cash, not less, on homeless
North Portland's Jim Speirs is frustrated that there is no fixed definition of what is affordable housing (Readers' Letters, Nov. 2). And he's right, it is a moving target, along with Portland's ever-increasing rent.
Affordable housing is what someone making $11.25 an hour can pay and still leave room for food, clothing, transportation, etc., after taxes. That's about $1,500 per month in a city where average rent for a studio apartment runs $1,189, assuming that someone living on the street making minimum wage can save an extra $1,189 for a security deposit and has no other barriers to an apartment lease such as a criminal conviction, a previous eviction, or just bad credit.
And Mr. Speirs also is correct that many homeless people prefer living in a tent or an RV rather than sleeping in an emergency shelter, where they are evicted every day at dawn without a shower or food, or a residential shelter that is typically reserved for those in recovery and where most people who can afford Portland's rents would find insufferable.
The obvious answer is more decent, low-barrier, subsidized housing to close the gap between what we are willing to pay our caretakers and servers and what they need to live. The "ugly" and growing homeless population Mr. Speirs complains about certainly isn't the result of "money spent." Far from it.
Back up story with facts
In all the years I have lived in Portland and read the Tribune, I am so disheartened that in the past two weeks I have felt compelled to reply to something written in your paper.
The article written by Shasta Kearns Moore in regard to Portland students "taking a knee" in an interview with Kiara Johnson was outrageous. Johnson is, of course, free to "take a knee" if she wants to, but to spread what amounts to gossip about the opposing team and claims that her teammates have "heard" that the St. Helens team (or supporters) use racial slurs like "the n-word," is nothing short of egregious.
If she has proof of this, then let her present it, but when someone "claims" to have heard it from "teammates" without being able to back this up with facts, it amounts to a form of libel.
Why your reporter would even include this in her article is beyond the pale and beneath the standard of any real journalist. And we wonder why the country is so divided. Needless to say, I am through reading the Tribune.
Enough with thoughts and prayers
This message is for my senators, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, along with Rep. Suzanne Bonamici. I hope you are listening.
No more thoughts and prayers. No more denying that this isn't a gun issue. No more protecting the NRA. No more dead babies. No more white men with automatic weapons. No more cowardice from lawmakers. No more smoke and mirrors from our president.
No more! Enough is enough. This isn't political. This is about human lives. Shame on you.
Portland needs its own kicker
The city of Portland needs a "kicker law." Every year since 2013 they have raised our taxes and, come fall, they have a miracle budget surplus. Council members can't wait to spend it, squabbling over whose new pet project gets the money.
Why not think of the taxpayer? Send the extra back like the state kicker law does, or at least use it for the next year's budget and not raise taxes as much. The rush to spend excess budget money is a perfect illustration of how the kicker law stops extra spending at the state level and how Portland desperately needs the same kind of budget restraint.
Salt to combat river pollution
A possible solution to the pollution in the river would be to lower some 50-pound cattle salt blocks in a certain area and monitor them. I would gamble it would neutralize the pollution area. Salt is a powerful agent.