Letter: Nature Conservancy remodel a mistake
The Nature Conservancy does great work in conserving wild lands. The Dec. 18 Business Tribune (Creating a Portland presence), however, describes a decision process for their headquarters building at Southeast 14th and Belmont that shows a shortsighted view of how to reduce humankind's impact on these preserved lands, and the climate of the Earth.
Director Jim Desmond said they could have torn down the existing building and built a 75,000-square-foot building and rented out part of it. However, the leaders and board felt that a "tall, massive building" didn't "align with the existing fabric of the area."
In fact, building to the allowed zoning, with residences on the upper floors, would be in keeping with the surrounding buildings, including four and five-story apartment buildings within a half block. By allowing dozens of apartments at this close-in location, on transit, near a large grocery store, the carbon footprints of all the people that would live there would be dramatically reduced, compared to consigning them to living farther away from jobs and services.
The decision to only renovate the building and add a one-story "pavilion" wastes an opportunity to fight climate change (and to help Portland's housing crisis) that a larger mixed-use building would provide.
Safer way to drive
Is it safer to travel by vehicle or U.S. scheduled airlines?
On Feb. 12, 2009, Colgan Air Flight 3407 was flying from Newark, New Jersey, to Buffalo, New York, when it crashed into a house in Clarence, New York. All 49 individuals on the plane were killed, along with the resident of the house.
Compare that fact with vehicles from 2007 to 2017: a total of 381,886 people were killed in the United States by vehicle crashes.
In the 1980s we contacted the California State Police and the U.S. Transportation Department and proposed the program, "Driving in the Right." When you are driving on a two-lane, one direction road, have your right side tires on the edge of the lane, which will give you a view of the second vehicle ahead of you when the taillight turns on, giving you about a second to slow or stop.
When you are in the left lane of a two-lane one way, just reverse your location to the far left direction. Also, this method will give more time to react to a person, animal, pothole, glass or other debris.
The offense described in Oregon Vehicle Law 811.147(3) — failure to maintain safe distance from motor vehicle — was added to and made a part of the Oregon Vehicle Code by legislative action, but was not added to ORS chapter 811 or any series therein. See preface to Oregon revised statutes for further explanation.
Wheeler must lead effort to change city government
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler should spearhead a change in Portland's form of government.
While voters have rejected this change in the past, there is now a steady drumbeat for this reform.
Unfortunately, it will go nowhere without the City Council's support, which is unlikely as these current politicians show no interest, being accountable to no one due to citywide election. The city could benefit greatly if only the City Council weren't so covetous of their fiefdoms.
However, if Wheeler can be convinced that serving Portland's interests would include both changing the current form of City Hall government and electing City Council members by district, Wheeler, if successful, would turn his stumbling tenure around, become a hero to many, and actually create a legacy to be proud of.
Failing that, he will just become another in a series of flawed stiffs whom we've elected since our last effective mayor, Vera Katz.
Ban video lottery machines
If you have a device or machine that knowingly steals money, should it be allowed to prey on vulnerable members of our society under the guise of entertainment?
That is what the 21st-century slot machine is, whether run by the state of Oregon or a Native American casino.
These slot machines, or video lottery terminals as the Oregon Lottery likes to call them, are a legal license to steal.
Talk to any game designer, and they will tell you the concept of these machines and the way the software is written is to let people think they're winning when they're actually losing. This creates a euphoric sensation in an addict's mind until the machines designed to create an exact return on investment for the lottery or the casino breaks the player.
These modern-day slot machines should be banned and removed from bars, restaurants and casinos. It has been proven time and time again, that they steal money from the poor, the addicts in our society, and folks that are just plain bad at math.
Just because it's technically legal doesn't make it right. It's legal thievery hiding behind the concept of entertainment. Go to any Gamblers Anonymous meeting and see the destructive nature of what a slot machine in this day and age really does. It destroys lives and families, yet the lottery will tell you all the good it does. Totally hogwash.