Letters: Frontline workers deserve gratitude during crisis
Oregon's reopening is stalled as we work to address an increase in new COVID-19 cases throughout the state. From the start of the COVID-19 crisis to today, our essential businesses have remained open and adaptive to the challenges we face, increasing supplies of critical medical products and equipment to meet the surge in demand. These businesses and their employees are fundamental to our public health, providing the necessities to put food on the table, keep prescriptions filled, and care for those in need.
As one of the founders, past executive director and current board chair of the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber, I've watched closely as the pandemic disproportionately impacted our community. Latinos people make up 13% of Oregon's population, yet we account for 27% of our state's COVID-19 cases. In part, this is because Oregon's Hispanic and Latino communities account for an outsized share of our state's frontline, essential workers who face increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 in order to keep our communities healthy and cared for.
From local pharmacies and corner stores to supermarket employees and medical suppliers, essential workers are public health workers, and we should be forthright in recognizing their sacrifice. Each time we shop or go to the pharmacy, we have an entire system of tireless workers ensuring our medications are available, treatments are being developed, and food shelves are stocked. These employees deserve our thanks and support, both through our COVID-19 battle and afterwards.
Gale Castillo, board chair, Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber
Dan Ryan is right person for City Council
I don't need to tell you that it's been an extremely hard couple of months for the marginalized, especially people of color in our city and country. Personally, I have been alternating between sad and angry that we, as a nation, have not moved farther and faster to reduce systemic racism. But let us not have this moment pass us by as we are ripe for lasting change.
We are preparing for a special election in August to seat a new Portland City Councilperson, replacing the honorable Nick Fish, who passed away in January. It is more important than ever to have a proven bridge builder and progressive reformer to bring our city together. Dan Ryan is that person and I strongly endorse him.
Our city is experiencing the worst public health and economic crisis in a century and an antiquated system of policing that has people of color experiencing inequality that has existed in this country for 400 years. I have been friends with Dan for only 40 of those years, but in that time, I have witnessed the emergence of an extraordinary person.
Dan was CEO of All Hands Raised, a non-profit with the singular goal of improving educational outcomes for children, youth and young adults in Portland and Multnomah County, with an explicit focus on kids of color. He assumed the leadership role at the same time as the Great Recession and with the organization in financial turmoil, he right-sided the finances within a year. The way he brought the community together to build All Hands Raised up and to improve outcomes for communities of color was inspiring and revolutionary. His ability to take on a challenge and reimagine what is possible is exactly what we need in Portland at this exact time.
Dan is experienced, compassionate, levelheaded, pragmatic, and, most importantly, ready. His time is now.
On Tuesday Aug. 11, please join me in voting for Dan Ryan for Portland City Council Position No. 2.
Editor's note: Keith Wilson ran for Position No. 4 on the Portland City Council in the May 2020 primary election.
Metro, let survey callers express their thoughts
Recently, I received a survey call on a measure that Metro wants on an upcoming ballot. Testing the waters.
Most surveys I don't even participate in anymore. They are a waste of time in my opinion. Asking a billion questions that take approximately 15 minutes of my time asking is it somewhat, very, or definitely positive or negative (different surveys use different terms). The multiple choice answers just get so jumbled up.
Why doesn't the caller just tell what they are calling about, which the caller did tell and explain it a couple times, and then ask what our opinion is of it and why we like or dislike it. The answer I provided through the multiple choice process didn't even come close for the reasons I liked or didn't like the measure.
They already warn you prior to asking the survey they are taping it. Give us the opportunity to really express our thoughts on the matter.?Caller can ask questions to clarify.
The caller can break down further if need be. But the multiple choice answers of a billion questions doesn't mean a thing. The person answering the survey just gets lost in the entire subject.
Thank you voters, for aiding Operation Nightwatch
On behalf of the volunteers, staff, and guests of Operation Nightwatch, I would like to thank the voters of the Metro area for resoundingly approving Measure 26-210 in the recent election. A majority of our fellow citizens have demonstrated once again that they want government to mount an effective, humane response to this community's crisis of houselessness.
Operation Nightwatch is a nonprofit that has served the houseless population in downtown Portland for almost 40 years and in Southeast Portland for 10 years. Our mission is to provide hospitality that helps alleviate the social isolation of Portland's most disadvantaged residents.
Measure 26-210 will provide the resources necessary to expand the supportive services that can ensure that many of the people we serve will have a path off the streets and to a better life. The present crisis demands that we mobilize every available resource to create affordable housing and the services needed to ensure that everyone who gains access to housing will have the means to remain housed and off the streets.
Be respectful of workers during this pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered how communities function. No one has been unaffected by coronavirus. First responders and health care workers have been on the frontline from the beginning. Other workers such as grocery, sanitation and fuel, and those in the utility sector have continued their duties to meet the needs of our communities as well. We are thankful to all of them.
As communities navigate ever-changing re-opening efforts, we seek your assistance. Our members are the men and women who ensure that your electrical and water systems are operating safely and efficiently. Like many of their friends and neighbors, they are concerned with your health while providing these essential services. They, too, are adapting to the changes throughout the Pacific Northwest.
IBEW Local 125's members are skilled, knowledgeable workers who have remained committed to their duties throughout this crisis. Help them stay safe during these transitions. Under normal circumstances, the public is asked to stay away from workers while they perform construction and maintenance. It is extremely important that the public honors U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention social distancing guidelines. Allow them to focus on doing their work without distractions, so they can meet your water and electrical needs.
We seek your help to ensure that we can keep critical infrastructure operating safely and reliably. Please give them the protections needed to work and help us show our appreciation for the work they do. Stay safe; your family depends on it.
Good science should lead drug approval
As a nurse, I must respond to statements from Beeson Wellness Center regarding COVID-19.
First, it is common, and often desirable, for expedient procedures to occur for diseases deemed high risk due to their infectiousness, mortality or morbidity. During the AIDS epidemic for example, the FDA was implored by those affected to speed up its process of drug approval. Though a successful vaccine for HIV was never developed, in part due to rapid mutation of the virus, we now have antiviral drugs approved to mitigate its impact. We have no such drugs or vaccines for SARS COV-2, though Remdesivir, developed for Ebola, appears promising in shortening the course of COVID-19.
All vaccines (and indeed all medical drugs and procedures, including chiropractic) have risks and benefits that should be properly conveyed to a patient during informed consent. In order to approve medicines, a multiple-step process is required which includes human subjects. For individuals, the effects of vaccines (and medicines, as well as medical procedures including chiropractic) are not fully known until broad use under protocol and controlled circumstances.
The writers assert "When infected with a coronavirus, our body's immune defense system goes to work producing natural killer cells and antibodies against the coronavirus — and, with no viruses capable of replication after about eight days, at that point we are no longer contagious to those around us." This oversimplifies complex emerging data. In fact, it is the immune response, accelerated and unpredictable in some, thought to cause most serious effects of COVID-19 including pneumonia, respiratory failure and multisystem inflammatory syndrome. Case studies also show a wide variation in viral shedding and persistence of symptoms.
The nature of this virus and its treatment is emerging. We should be cautious, scientific and expeditious in our response.
Tracy Klein, PhD, RN
Police reform means more than cutting budgets
What good is it going to do to cut the Police Bureau's budget if you aren't going to reorganize the functions and establish the accountability of the police? The recent police budget cutting intent by the City Commission is in response to demands by those protesting police misconduct. But it is only a piecemeal approach to resolving a big picture problem.
Camden, New Jersey, had terrible problems with police misconduct and crime but finally addressed these by totally reorganizing their police department. Now it is a model for community policing and crime there has dropped significantly. Such done in Portland could help to promote equity and equality here.
What also would help would be a change to the current commission form of government. The current system puts politicians in charge of police and other significant city bureaus without them necessarily having the knowledge or skills to run such operations. The failure of the current system is obvious.
In addition, it would be productive if the police would stop showing up to every protest in riot gear. That is an invitation to escalate a nonviolent protest into an angry confrontation. Bans on the use of tear gas and (so called) nonlethal bullets should be mandated. And officers should be permitted and encouraged to join protest walks (as has occurred in other cities) to show empathy if not support. This would help to mitigate tensions between the protesters and police while letting those few who would instigate trouble know that there is still a police presence.
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