Letters: Call for reforms isn't being 'soft on crime'
I am a student at Portland State University majoring in political science with a minor in criminal justice. Therefore, I believe that I have acquired the knowledge to understand the unfortunate consequences that harsh policies bring.
I strongly believe that the main goal of incarceration as a punishment is to reduce recidivism. However, it seems like we are accomplishing everything except that.
Nevertheless, there is a chance for improvement. Shifting our focus and resources to juveniles in the criminal justice system is crucial, since they are the most vulnerable.
A variety of factors needs to be taken into consideration when dealing with juveniles, such as brain development, ability to control impulses, maturity, culpability and vulnerability to peer pressure.
Allowing juveniles to remain in juvenile court and allowing the judge to have discretion over the proceeding is essential.
Additionally, one needs to remember that juveniles are still developing and growing as individuals. Therefore, they have better chances to "grow out" of their delinquent phase; it is a matter of providing the proper guidance and allowing opportunities for rehabilitation.
We, as a society, can make a huge difference by educating ourselves and moving away from stereotypes that have been proven to be incorrect. New data demonstrates the reality of delinquent juveniles — they often carry trauma and act with no real malice.
It is vital that as our knowledge increases, our policies develop as well. It is not a matter of forgiving or being "soft" on crime, but rather being smart regarding the policies we implement.
I believe we should not focus too much on the punishment side, but rather on allowing individuals to take accountability for their acts while they have the chance to become responsible and self-sufficient citizens.
For that reason, I support bill SB 1008.
Free 'Portlandia'; move her to Waterfront Park
Two recent headlines should have caught your attention as to the ongoing plight of our citizens' marooned (on the exterior second story of the Portland Building) icon, "Portlandia," once proudly introduced to our citizens as "Miss Liberty's Little Sister."
Now, honestly, what more is she than an unnoticed occupant on a dangerous corner of a reconstruction site?
The "Portlandia" statue ought to be returned now to Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, from where it came, and well before the reconstruction of the Portland Building is completed in late 2020.
The late Vera Katz, former Portland mayor, fought to have "Portlandia" accessible to our community, and her effort should be reactivated by our citizens and media.
As a separate concern, I have written to our press before — that "Portlandia" is definitely, and more so every day, within Portland's seismic target zone. Particularly, take note of professor Ashley Streig, a geologist at PSU, who has been tracing fault lines from west of Mount Hood and Mount Saint Helens toward Portland.
Recently, Gov. Kate Brown has strongly headlined her concerns about earthquake preparedness in the Portland area. How does "Portlandia," a potential seismic threat that could topple from her second-story perch above a main transit throughway, fit into these efforts? Where has our City Council been when it comes to "Portlandia's" dangerous placement?
In all of these matters, what should be a major concern to our press is citizens' safety. "Portlandia," as our icon of many decades, ought to be closely observed — and moved back to Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
We aim to soon launch a citizen poll to urge the city to move the "Portlandia" statue back to the waterfront.
Scooters make sidewalks dangerous for all
Please, please listen to the pedestrians, old, young and new, who are in terrible danger with these electric scooters on the sidewalks.
They may be fun, but are terribly dangerous to those of us who are elderly, disabled or children.
We do not hear them or see them coming up behind us, putting us jeopardy every time we go out just to walk on the sidewalks.
This is so discouraging and sad. Bikes are on sidewalks, too, but add scooters.
And, do you really think that they are going to fear a fine? They will just speed by without any care.