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Pamplin writers offer their ideas about the region's homelessness situation, climate change action and fighting for voting rights.

Jessica Vega Pederson and Jo Ann Hardesty seem to miss reality: Trash, litter, vagrancy, violence all dramatically worse than a few years ago.

Enough is enough.

The blatant obvious increase in people living outside in Portland they seem to miss completely.

Investment "in a public health response...." to gun violence. Absolutely blatant double speak on reality. For the first time ever we have well over 1,000 shootings in Portland, well over 300 injured, with a record year of homicides. Violence increased dramatically and police resignations increased greatly. There are 777 police officers in Portland instead of over 1,000.

Ms. Hardesty, do you possibly understand that fewer police and more violence might be related? Unfortunate reality: centurions have been necessary to maintain order for at least a couple millennium.

Clean up the city while we still have most of the city we love remaining. The choices will not be easy. Yes, people will have to be moved out, and it will take social workers — not police — and community resources, both nonprofit and government to coordinate. Bring them to the table.

Let's ring in the new year seeing renewal of the city once known as a beautiful place to visit. Stop talking. We voters want action now. Alan Bacharach Southwest Portland

Neighbors left out of Sears Building decisions

Each morning when I wake up, I look out my kitchen window and stare directly at the Sears Building in Multnomah Village. Some mornings, this vacant building is used for tactical police training. Things like bomb-dismantling robots and the occasional flash bangs being set off are frequently seen from my deck. Not the usual Portland backyard experience.

To have a police presence, even a militarized one, has never put as much fear into my mind as to when it was announced last week that a low-barrier, high-risk houseless village was being set up in this empty lot.

My wife and I frequently walk to the elementary school that sits less than 500 feet from this location. We push our stroller around the track, youth soccer camps pack fields in the summer and kids are often seen walking home from school along a pathway that will come within feet of this temporary housing village.

This property touches my backyard. It is the area my now 2-month-old son will grow up playing with the kids that live on either side of our family home.

Not once did I receive a phone call, a letter or notice that this location would serve as a confirmed Safe Rest Village.

What explanation is there for Commissioner Dan Ryan's neglecting to inform and connect with a community that will greatly be impacted by this decision? His leadership and office has botched the chance to do this the right way by building a relationship with this quiet, family-friendly neighborhood.

After speaking with neighbors and people that live in the surrounding homes, not one person I spoke with was informed by Commissioner Ryan or his office about this project. Since then, numerous attempts have been made to contact his office, and every other commissioner of Portland, but not once have I received a reply to my concerns.

Here are some additional points I would like to make you aware of:

• The Sears building is a poor location for a "low barrier to entry village." There's an elementary school very close, the facility is surrounded by apartments and homes. One neighbor's home is 14 feet from the site.

• Unsanctioned camping is not a widespread issue in the area, and the city's plan would expand camping into an area with few emergency resources. As head of Emergency Communications, Mingus Mapps should do a study on the expected impacts to emergency services.

• Is a "high-barrier to entry" village more appropriate for the location?

Neighbors have been excluded from the planning process and have never been contacted by the city.

Dan Ryan's office is blaming residents for failed deadlines, but we haven't had a chance to engage in the process. There's currently a major construction project at the site.

The facility was supposed to be used for emergency response to natural disasters, such as earthquakes. Ask Mayor Ted Wheeler why the city has made no progress to protect the west side.

I hope you can understand my concern and see my opinion as a valued perspective on the leadership in this city.

Adam Johnson

Multnomah Village

Johnson doesn't support climate change fight

Recently, Democratic state Sen. Betsy Johnson announced a run for governor.

However, she's raising eyebrows by running as an unaffiliated candidate.

Oregonians should not be fooled by this decision: Johnson has long been a moderate who votes with Republicans on a number of issues. Most concerning is her position on Oregon's climate and environment. Even as a member of the Democratic Party, Johnson frequently supported the positions of the most conservative factions of the Republican Party. This is reflected in her opposition to urgently needed measures to combat climate change like the Clean Energy Jobs bill, and more recently, House Bill 2021, a bill (now law) enforcing clean energy standards.

She also opposed action on electric vehicle incentives, recycling modernization, energy efficient appliances and strong land-use laws by allowing luxury homes to be built on exclusive farmland. This has resulted in multiple environmental groups giving her unacceptably low marks on climate issues. Johnson earned a 41% and a 31% from the Oregon League of Conservation Voters in the 2021 and 2019 legislative sessions respectively. These ratings are very out of step with the average Oregonian.

Johnson's record clearly indicates that she is anti-climate and falls short on the issues that matter the most. We need decisive action, and it surely won't come from Sen. Betsy Johnson. Her administration would be catastrophic for Oregon's status as a leader on climate change.

I urge all Oregonians to support candidates who value environmental protection in the 2022 primaries and again in November.

Yusuf Arifin

Northwest Portland

Make climate action top national priority

I have had a passion for the environment since learning about climate change for the first time during my freshman year. Since then, I have made it a priority to think about the environmental impacts of my lifestyle, from what I eat to what I wear and where I buy it from. I care about climate change because it is a real threat facing me and my generation. It is a source of anxiety for me, so knowing I am individually doing my part to help make the situation better gives me a sense of relief and gives me purpose. I want this generation's efforts to ensure that future generations won't have the same stress we are dealing with right now. Hopefully in the future, the need for action against climate change will not be as urgent. But we need help, we can't do it alone. Because I value climate action and future generations, I am especially grateful for the climate leadership of U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, as well as my Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. Thank you for all you have done to pass the Build Back Better Act and keep federal climate action a priority. I encourage these three to continue those efforts no matter how hard because there will always be people to support you and people like me who are very much appreciative. For my future and those of many other youth activists we want nothing more than that security and hope, thank you again.

Ava Ortiz

Beaverton

Encourage Congress to fight climate change

Anyone scorched by last summer's deadly "heat dome" or impacted by devasting forest fires is keenly aware that Oregon already is experiencing the catastrophic effects of climate change.

Global warming presents an existential threat to humanity beyond geographic borders. The United States is the world's second largest emitter carbon dioxide behind only China.

President Biden deserves credit for making climate investments a centerpiece of his Build Back Better plan. However, unless the Senate fixes the proposed electric vehicle tax credit to make it universal for all new electric car sales, we will miss a critical target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. Currently, the full tax credit of $12,500 only applies to a couple of American made makes and models. While I appreciate President Biden's intended Buy American sentiment, a higher priority must be policies that halt and reverse rising global temperatures. Using this tax incentive to accelerate our transition to zero emission vehicles is our best, most political feasible chance to make progress in reducing a leading source of CO2 emissions. Sen. Joe Manchin opposes the EV tax credit for being too protectionist and stifling industry innovation. He has a point but rather than kill the proposal, Congress should call his bluff by expanding eligibility to all new EV sales. This a far simpler, more equitable and most importantly, more effective approach. A global crisis demands innovation and cooperation from proud domestic manufacturers as well as from international competitors who employ countless Americans. Please join me in encouraging Oregon U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to pull out all the stops to maximize this critical investment in a carbon-free transportation future. Eric Weeks Southeast Portland

End filibuster to preserve voting rights

The Freedom to Vote Act sets national standards for us to safely and freely cast our ballots, ensure every vote is counted, and elect people who will deliver for us.

All senators, and our Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, need to deliver the Freedom to Vote Act to the American people, and to do that, they need to fix the Jim Crow filibuster which is blocking progress of this overwhelmingly popular and urgently needed legislation.

The freedom to vote is under attack by extremist state lawmakers across the country who want to put up deliberate barriers to make it harder to vote, especially for people of color. The filibuster has stopped the beginning of debate from happening on the Freedom to Vote Act. Without the chance to debate, important issues such as this are stalled for partisan politics.

The modern-day filibuster took root during the Jim Crow era, when racist southern senators used it to delay passage of important civil rights legislation.

Our senators went to Washington, D.C., to get things done for us, their constituents, and these rules prevent change from happening.

Marian Drake

Northeast Portland

Don't let zone change harm our neighborhoods

The Portland City Council has indicated it will approve the Historic Resources Draft Code in at a December meeting.

Buried in this voluminous document [Section 33.455.400(c)(6)] are provisions that will grant "incentives" to many structures, including most of Portland's 500 churches, in the form of immunity from residential zoning prohibitions against commercial office, sales and services operations. There has been virtually no public discussion of the likely resulting impact on neighborhoods.

It is doubtful that more than one in one thousand Portland residents are aware of the potential consequences, and they will become aware only after the commercial interests which have leased space from various churches have hung out their Open for Business signs and turned residential streets into commercial parking lots.

This entire under-the-table process reeks of favoritism for lobbyists and special interests. Surely the citizens of Portland deserve better.

Dan Vidas

Northeast Portland

Endless wars damage our environment

Dan Handelman made important points in his op-ed "Let's put an end to our endless wars."

Our tax dollars, and the lives and health of U.S. service members, have been squandered for 20 years in wars. Our national honor is stained by the prison in Guantanamo Bay, infamous for torture and indefinite detention; Biden should order it closed immediately. U.S. ongoing military support for the Saudi assault on Yemen has contributed to the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

Another compelling reason to end U.S. wars: the climate and environmental impacts. The Pentagon is the largest single institutional consumer of petroleum products, and the largest single emitter of greenhouse gasses. Its greenhouse gas emissions since 2001 total 1.2 billion metric tons. (You can find sources for these facts and more at The Costs of War Project at Brown University: watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/).

The waste of fuel, money and emissions in military "entertainment" flyovers is particularly senseless.

Continuing environmental devastation caused by the military, both in targeted countries and at home, includes the defoliant Agent Orange (used after the Vietnam War in Oregon forests); depleted uranium munitions; "forever chemicals" PFAS contaminating water supplies; and burn pits.

U.S. militarism fuels the climate crisis, and costs us about a trillion dollars every year. Let's redirect those resources to human needs.

Janet Weil

Northwest Portland


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