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Leslie Wright: Cities in Japan have high populations as a result of people desiring and needing to live close to work.

I was disappointed and dismayed about my reference to the Japanese people, as reported in last week's Oregon City News.

I am further dismayed about how my statement was worded to make it appear that I might be bigoted and harbor bad feelings against the Japanese. That is a false impression, and it affects me deeply. I am compelled to address this issue of miscommunication.Leslie Wright

The point I want to make is that the Japanese have developed ways of living in a densely crowded society. Cities in Japan (an obvious example is Tokyo) have high populations as a result of people desiring and needing to live close to work. Through their imaginativeness and hard work, they have found ways to live, and live well, in these urban centers.

My vision is that we can learn from the Japanese how to live in spaces that we Americans might find overly confining. They are one source of inspiration for helping us work with overcoming our homeless situation. Moreover, there are other possible options that we can consider and, hopefully, add to what we already know in improving quality of life in a constrained space.

America has been exploring the concept of the Tiny Home for years now and it shows promise as a viable means of low-cost housing. These small structures are made of low-cost and yet resilient materials and are easy to build and maintain. They can provide a homeless person a shelter from the elements and a center of operations from where they can maintain their health and have a location that can be referenced when job-hunting.

There are other possibilities and ideas yet to be explored. The Japanese lifestyle and Tiny Homes are just two, and yet they can provide a good basis for brainstorming further. The bottom line in discussing this issue is that all of us have the means of providing those who do not have opportunities to improve their lives with a good start through a living space they can call their own. We just need the political and moral will to act. I would like to help these people and, with your help and goodwill, we can do that and more for them — as they become welcome and important members of our community.

There is a science fiction movie called "Battleship." In one scene, a sailor tells the captain, "Sir, they have destroyed everything we have fired upon them." The captain says, "We're going to ram them! We're going to go through them and destroy them!" The ship's chief confronts him, "Sir, we have sailors in the water."

Oregon City, we have people living on the streets. Let's get them off the streets! You, the people of Oregon City, are my commanding officer. Help me get the job done!

Leslie Wright is an Oregon City mayoral candidate.


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