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Our readers also believe lax health rules in jails could spread coronavirus, new HUD leadership is excellent choice, and more.

COURTESY PHOTO: JEREMY BITTERMANN / JBSA - Letter-writer: House on Royal Boulevard in the West Hills is an example of money vs. protecting the environment.I was saddened by the Metro Life headline story about the Royal House in Portland's West Hills.

This award-winning house was built in an undisturbed? wooded area. Very wealthy people who are concerned about escaping COVID-19 left the big city and purchased this house for $2.55 million so they could enjoy the natural setting.

Unfortunately, we all continue to ignore the fact that such undisturbed areas are becoming less available for birds and other wildlife. Since 1970, 3 billion birds have disappeared in the United States, and habitat loss is one of the main reasons.

When people move into the woods, they are coming and going and bringing their noise and lights and other disturbances with them, making those areas extremely unlikely to ever be used again by nesting native birds. From 50% to 75% of earth's ice free land has been converted to human use, and can no longer be considered wild. With continued population growth and development, it isn't coming back.

What? makes this story even more disturbing is that the same architects are building nine more houses on nearby lots. Clearly, the award-winning architects have not considered the extreme? damage they plan for these natural areas, but have likely considered the extreme profits that await them with this destruction. They fool themselves with their language that they are building ?"something that really integrates into the forest without displacing much of the forest area."

Clearly, in our culture money talks, but nature has no voice. If the wildlife that?requires undisturbed areas to survive had a voice, they would post "Keep Out."

I hope the Tribune's next story on King of the Trees will be about the owls and hawks that rely on those trees for their survival.?

Candice Guth

Southeast Portland

Lax health rules in jails could spread coronavirus

The article, "Washington County deputies: jail not following COVID rules" written by Max Egener should not be taken lightly. Prisons have been hot spots for the spread of disease constantly throughout history due to a lack of cleanliness and hygiene and difficulties in maintaining social distancing.

Oftentimes the reform in prisons that promotes preventative measures towards disease only comes after outbreaks have already caused lots of illness and even death. Throughout the 19th century, outbreaks of diseases like cholera and yellow fever could often be traced back to prisons that did not have nearly enough prevention to stop the spread of these diseases that would then reach outside the prison through freed inmates and even prison guards.

With sanitary reforms in prisons the spread of these deadly diseases has become less common, but with the ease of spread shown in the COVID-19 disease, the oversight of any level of guidelines and precautions is unacceptable. As mentioned in the article, new information is being gathered on COVID-19 every day, so half-heartedly following rules or ignoring them entirely is exactly how these outbreaks in prisons can lead to an increase in cases in our citizen population.

The fear that can be caused by these pandemics, as happened during the influenza outbreak in the early 1900s, can lead to unrest, especially if jail leadership is not properly responding to these set regulations. Maintaining good health in the inmate population and helping them feel safe by valuing these guidelines will prevent the spread of this illness in prisons and in our own city.

Finn Rueegger

Southeast Portland

New HUD leadership is excellent choice

Regardless of political affiliation the Biden presidency is a win for low income citizens. This is blatantly clear in comparing the current leader of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with the appointee to head Biden's HUD transition team.

Current HUD Secretary Ben Carson is a retired neurosurgeon and politician who has no previous experience whatsoever in housing. His inhumane housing policies have inflicted severe damage on poor families. Carson has attempted to eliminate fair housing regulations meant to combat racial discrimination, proposed raises in rent for tenants of affordable housing, removed protections for minorities, and decimated the budget of housing assistance programs systemwide.

On the other hand, Biden appointed Erika Poethig as team leader of his HUD transition team. Poethig has extensive experience working on affordable housing. She is vice president of the Urban Institute, a think-tank serving decision makers to affect social change in housing and equity. Her previous appointments include a top position in HUD under the Obama administration, associate director of housing for the MacArthur Foundation, and assistant commissioner for policy and program development at Chicago's Department of Housing. Poethig has developed grant-making strategies for rental housing and designed campaigns to combat predatory lending, prevent foreclosures, and stabilize communities. This shift is something to be thankful for.

Louis Celt

Northeast Portland

Legalizing drugs makes homeless problem worse

Oregon has a homeless problem. We can see it in the streets of downtown Portland. There are tents everywhere. When I go to downtown Portland, it makes me sad to see how many people are homeless.

Statistics show that there were more than 14,000 homeless people in 2018 alone. We see that some of these people have become homeless due to drug addiction. Drug addiction is wrong, and what does Oregon do? It does nothing! Instead of putting more resources into helping these homeless people, we legalize even more drugs.

In the recent election, Oregon Measure 109 was passed, which legalized psilocybin products. Although Measure 110, which was also passed, gives drug addiction and drug recovery services, it decriminalizes illegal drug possession. Illegal drugs should be given a more significant penalty because they cause addiction, allowing more people to access unlawful drugs.

There are so many drugs in Oregon that you even see minors doing drugs. Teens doing drugs is wrong because this could cause teens with addiction to start living in the streets. We need to divert resources to stop drugs from ever even reaching teens' hands.

Eddy Calel

Northeast Portland


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