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Our readers also think Portland is turning into burned-our chaos, white nationalist-police ties should be investigated, and more.

Recently, agents of the USPS removed our U.S. Postal Service drop box.

It has been on the southeast corner of Northeast 30th Avenue and Ainsworth Street, across from a Concordia University building, since we moved into the neighborhood in early 2018. We've found it most convenient (10 a.m. pickup), and have used it perhaps bi-weekly, and have deposited ballots in it perhaps a half-dozen times. It is next to three newspaper boxes/racks.

Two agents of the USPS showed up with a truck, detached the box, loaded it and left. The owner of a nearby coffee shop asked what was up, and they replied, "The box has been tampered with, we're replacing it." When, she asked? "Within a month," was the reply.

We've known our letter carrier since we moved in, speaking to him perhaps weekly, waving every day (we're retired). He's a good guy, and knew nothing of the removal (the south side of Ainsworth is another carrier's territory), but his question was simple: "If they were going to replace a damaged box, why not bring another one and just swap them out?" Good question.

I'd last dropped mail in the box a few days ago, and while there was a small "tag" on it, otherwise it was in fine working condition, no major markings on it, drop lever working fine.

So my suspicion is that the (Treasury Secretary Steve) Mnuchin/(President Donald) Trump/(Postmaster Gen. Louis) DeJoy orders to profoundly damage citizens' ability to get our ballots delivered continues unabated. In spite of sworn statements to a congressional committee to the contrary. And hey, wasn't lying to Congress a crime once? Maybe he had his fingers crossed.

Just thought you folks might like to know, with another USPS support-protest scheduled for today.

Michael Morrow

Northeast Portland

Goodbye, Portland, and its burned-out chaos

Mayor Wheeler: The moving van pulled away from my home in Multnomah Country, Tuesday, Aug. 25. Both my wife and I are native Oregonians and, until the past few years, have been very proud of that fact. Oregon, Portland in particular, is no longer the place we grew-up and has become a source of embarrassment as rolled out in the national news on a daily basis.

At the top of our list for reasons to leave Oregon, is your failure to enforce laws and take any action to stop the illegal activity in our streets. My office, for the past 15 years, has been at Southwest Second Avenue and Yamhill Street — close to the epicenter of the chaos you have allowed to continue for months. I stood on that corner on a recent Friday at 10:30 in the morning. Just a few months ago it was a vibrant retail area. What you see now is very limited car and foot traffic, boarded up windows — including PCC — and a blackened brick wall from a dumpster fire.

In my opinion, retailers and office tenants in the central business district will move out of Portland to a safe suburban community. Many small retailers, especially restaurants, will close and not have the financial means to re-open. That will happen and the character, viability and charm of Portland will be finished for years into the future.

It is time for you and the City Council to reverse course, now.

Ralph Bigelow

Lake Oswego

Pricing index threatens health care cures

Implementing an international pricing index could mean hampering biopharmaceutical innovations that will save lives and help end the pandemic. I hope our representatives in Congress will express their opposition to this dangerous policy.

In pursuing the most favored nation executive order that links domestic drug prices to foreign ones, President Trump's intentions are clear: bring down the high cost of American health care. However, the method of doing so can't be so easy, as it risks the valuable investments that biopharmaceutical companies have made in developing cures.

An IPI will make it much harder for American patients to access their medicine. When you've just been diagnosed with cancer, you don't have three months to wait for your treatment. IPI would also directly hurt innovation and research for groundbreaking drugs that could change the lives of those suffering from chronic conditions like MS, Alzheimer's, cancer, and of course, COVID-19.

This model threatens the very cure we're patiently waiting on to reverse our current course. I imagine there must be a solution to the high cost of health care and prescription medications that doesn't also threaten the innovation and access pipeline.

In the interest of saving American lives from COVID-19 and other chronic illnesses, I urge Oregon's lawmakers to work with their colleagues in Congress to devise an answer. And in the meantime, I hope they'll vocalize your opposition to this unwise policy.

Natalia Garzon


Investigate white nationalist-police ties

In 2006, the FBI warned that white supremacists were actively seeking to infiltrate American police departments. In 2016, the Public Broadcasting System published a news article asking if anything had changed — and stated that "Problems with white supremacists in law enforcement have surfaced since that report."

Portland police have been noted to release Proud Boy white nationalists who've broken the law while arresting peaceful protesters. Many police officers talk white nationalism, and worse, in social media groups — as just one example, a journalistic study easily found 1,400 racist cops in Facebook groups.

Ties between white supremacist groups and the Portland Police Bureau have been spotted before. It's time for an active investigation by the city of Portland and local journalists to find racist operatives in Portland Police Bureau. You could start with those social media groups.

John Shirley

Vancouver, Washington

Join the fight to save the U.S. Post Office

With 91% of Americans polled approving of the U.S. Postal Service, it surprises me how few people know that we are in immediate danger of (President Donald) Trump demolishing our mail service.

Sixty-fire people signed up to demonstrate in front of the Hollywood Post Office on Aug. 22, and I was there waving a sign with dozens of other people. There were big demonstrations at several Portland Post Offices on July 22, and around the country.

Demonstrators and organizers bought food for the 70-plus postal workers at the Hollywood Post Office to show our solidarity with them.

Trump made Louis DeJoy the new postmaster general. DeJoy is entirely unqualified, and has already removed 650 mail sorting machines, and fired countless senior postal workers. The flat sorter machines each processes about 21,000 pieces of mail per hour. The delivery bar code sorter machines process up to 39,000 pieces of mail per hour.

Trump and his family vote by mail, but he is terrified that if we get nationwide vote-by-mail, he will lose the election. He is slowing down mail delivery service so that ballots will not be delivered in time to be counted. And Trump's new budget — yet to be passed — has zero dollars for the postal service.

Please contact your federal elected officials and tell them that we must save the U.S. Postal Service, and you yourself join the next demonstration you find out about to support our mail service.

Marian Drake

Northeast Portland

The COVID-19 elephant in the room

There's a narrative to COVID-19 that we need to break.

Ask anyone how we can pull ourselves out of this crisis and you will likely hear the same things: wear a mask, social distance, stay indoors and even lock back down if we need to. And while these are all important steps, there's something that if we do not do, all of these measures and practices could be for nothing. We need to talk about our international response. We need to increase the International Affairs Budget.

We have funds to help developing countries (funds that would not jeopardize any of our domestic programs). These people are living in refugee camps and slums. They do not have the option of social distancing. And without stable governments to provide adequate testing, nobody can really say how bad COVID-19 is affecting these regions.

COVID-19 already came to us through international borders, there's no reason why it can't again. Trump has proposed a 22% cut to the budget for 2021, but nobody seems to talk about it.

Everyone should be calling our congressional representatives and asking them to protect the budget. Both for the health of those affected, and the safety of us at home.

Jeremy Hogeweide

Northeast Portland

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