Readers' letters: Homeless youth story shines a light
I just finished reading Courtney Vaughn's Nov. 4 article on homeless youth in Portland (specifically 13th Avenue), and can't tell you how grateful I am for her truth telling about the tent people. I hope it opened the eyes of the community about a large portion of the street people.
I've been volunteering for the last year through a volunteer arm of the Downtown Neighborhood Association and loved how she gave the full picture.
As Courtney noted these youths are on the streets for many reasons not their fault — sexual orientation, abuse by the family, abuse from partners, mental or physical illnesses. In the last year, the media have for the most part printed one side of the story. Needless to say the crime has increased and there are a number of people out on the streets that thrive on chaos. But increasingly the weak and good folks are being lumped into one story. They are having stuff thrown at them and people like "Mama," who said several weeks ago someone tried to run her down.
As Courtney noted the places they have available for them to stay are dangerous and filthy. Especially the trans people know better than to step in side one of those places.
I've also seen the community reach out to individuals when they've seen them as people. Thank you Courtney for humanizing the kids whom Ive said "are just like our kids, but more polite.
Infrastructure bill will shape economy
I congratulate Congress and President Biden for the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework.
This bill includes some much-needed funding for traditional infrastructure. I hope the funds will be used for pedestrian, bike, electric charging stations, mass transit and broadband. While it also includes historic funding for climate, the Build Back Better Act is the transformational policy American families really need. The Build Back Better Act provides historic investments in our communities, living-wage union jobs in the clean energy sector, and sets us on a path toward mitigating the worst consequences of climate change.• Cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 with a focus on methane• Make this a just transition and retrain workers of the clean energy manufacturing jobs that will stay in the US• Invest in underserved communities, those most impacted by climate change, and rural communities that will benefit from coastal restoration and forest management jobs. These significant investments are not only good for the planet, but they're good for people and communities today and for our children and future generations. The build Back Better Act also includes investments in childcare, health care, caregiving and revitalization of the middle-class. I'm thankful for the work of our Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley for their leadership on climate action. And I'm grateful to my congressperson, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, for voting yes on the Bipartisan Infrastructure deal and committing to support the Build Back Better Act.
Editorial wrong on climate issues
I couldn't disagree more with the Tribune's Oct. 26 editorial praise of state Sen. Betsy Johnson ("Centrist Betsy Johnson running for governor as independent: Johnson's bid for governor could be good for Oregon").
In 2021, labelling a politician a centrist or moderate means, among other things, that they are likely to be someone who doesn't consider the climate crisis important.
And, in fact, this senator earned a 41% score recently from the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, for breaking with the Democrats on a number of climate change-related bills, to curb emissions from industry and transportation. No other state senator from the Democratic Party had a score this low.
She isn't a "moderate"— she is a conservative. Decarbonization — reducing our fossil fuel use — can't wait. How many more 116-degree days do we need and massive fires before we believe it?
The planet deserves better than Betsy Johnson.
Legislation lays groundwork for our future
After months of anticipation, Congress has finally passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill. One of the most significant features of the package is the $200 million set aside specifically for addressing lead in our school's water. There's no debate that lead contamination is extremely detrimental, especially to children. There are over 24 million children currently at risk of losing IQ points from even low levels of exposure. While it's hard to imagine that our kids are being put at risk simply by going to school every day, that's the reality. This allocation means that now is the time for school districts to act. One opportunity immediately available is to use this new funding to proactively replace old, lead-bearing fountains and other taps with new water-bottle filling stations equipped with filters certified to remove lead. This bill provides a monumental opportunity to rebuild our country's foundation and protect the health of future generations — something we all can agree on. Julia Geskey
Clean water associate
Congress must extend clean fuels program
Families across Oregon can expect higher emissions and higher costs if Congress continues to support a tax credit for SAF (sustainable aviation fuel), currently included in the President's budget framework. That's because the special tax credit for SAF at $1.25 is $.25 more per gallon than the blenders credit, thus directing bio-diesel away from the trucking and travel center industries. Those industries have been blending and selling biodiesel blends for the last decade, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the necessary equipment to do so. From 2016-20, biodiesel use in Oregon, primarily sold at travel centers and commercial fueling sites, reduced greenhouse gasses by 5.3 million tons. The cost of favoring one biodiesel use over another will also be transferred to Oregon families — they'll find themselves paying more to heat their home in the winter months and higher prices at the pump. To ensure the transportation industry maintains access to renewable diesel and biodiesel, equal tax treatment with other fuels is critical. Tax parity will ensure we do not reverse progress in reducing the carbon footprint of the transportation sector especially as it relates to Oregon's Clean Fuels Program. We need U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden to push back against this flawed proposal and work with his colleagues in Congress to extend the biodiesel tax credit at parity today to protect families and keep emissions low in Oregon communities.
President and CEO of Jubitz Corp.
Only rational planning will aid Lloyd District
Interesting reading, the results of the survey regarding the Lloyd Center. It appears that most of the respondents have no real idea how large that facility is. It is huge and planning for that site must also be huge. I think that most of the ideas for the place could all fit within the floor space of that mall. The primary difficulty in revisioning that space will be how to make it financially viable. The city will have to have a say in that as well, but to adapt that facility to much needed living space as well as commercial space will probably be required to make it financially viable. This is an amazing resource for the community and it could be many things for many different needs/desires, but turning it into a single-use facility is likely a waste of precious space in this community. The second most difficult issue in revisioning that space is political. Unless the polar opposites can find a way to compromise there will be a long battle that will likely wind up making that area a desert.
So, let's tone down the rhetoric and put our "grown-up" pants on and prepare to make some rational plans for the site, in cooperation with the owners.
City windfall should go to right programs
Instead of rushing to appropriate part of a $62 million "windfall," Portland's city commissioners should have waited for the issuance of the 2021 Consolidated Annual Financial Report due later this month and taken a look at the city's balance sheet.
As of June 30, 2020, Portland had $4,388,538,339 in pay-as-you-go unfunded public safety pension liabilities, $517,652,897 unfunded public employee pension liabilities, and $70,776,311 unfunded retiree medical benefit liabilities.
Instead of throwing more money at homeless programs that seem to be ineffective, the commissioners had an opportunity to establish a retiree medical benefit trust and to start paying new police pensions forward as it brings on new officers.
Unless the city fixes its balance sheet, there won't be any future windfalls.
Democrats should fight for what's right
I am tired of the reluctance, the absolute refusal to support President Biden's build back better program.
For the past two administrations prior to President Biden's, the Republicans have done everything they can to sabotage any bill brought to the Senate for a vote, anything that the Democrats bring to the table. In too many instances, they even refuse to debate any bill brought to the Senate by the Democrats.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is the major culprit, but there are eager followers of his that will do anything they can to deny a Democratic win on any issue. They act as though they want the president to fail. There aren't any senators willing to put the country ahead of their party.
It is time for the Democrats to put on the gloves and fight for what is right and broadcast the names of the lame duck Republicans who refuse to fight for America.
Gary L. Hollen
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