Letters To The Editor
Portland in a nutshell
The August edition of THE BEE captured Portland in a nutshell. The stories: SERT nabs prowler with a pistol near Sellwood Park; tree collapse hits van at Powell Park, kills one; and car strikes pedestrian crossing Mcloughlin Blvd – all involved homeless people. All the incidents created a danger to the public, and burden on first responders and taxpayers. Portland politicians need to address the homeless problem NOW. Gary Charles Adlervia e-mail
Layoffs loom at Inner Southeast libraries
I'm actually a resident of the Woodstock neighborhood, but [Sellwood-Westmoreland residents] might also want to be informed about this topic. Library users have probably heard or read that there will be staff layoffs in the Multnomah County library system. Those layoffs will [also] affect the Sellwood-Moreland branch Library, and are to take effect at the end of September. Though libraries are now offering pick up of materials at library doors, the public cannot enter the library and does not benefit from the full range of services. Library administration has decided it is not feasible to retain the same number of staff when they cannot provide services as they used to. Unfortunately, the layoffs will occur not long after school has started. Though some children might be in families who can afford and readily provide support for all the online services and learning methods, there are many others who do not have that advantage. If there are fewer library staff to assist with supplemental physical learning materials, it seems those children will have a greater challenge this school term.The library will be asking voters in November to support a bond measure for rebuilding and expanding library space at several locations. Shouldn't voters question how more physical space will be useful to us when the number of library staff has decreased? Users of neighborhood branch libraries might want to contact the branch manager to learn how many staff will be involved in the layoffs, and what the proposals are for expanding or improving your specific library's space.Community members can contact library administration to ask questions and express their views. Contact information is listed on the Multnomah County library website (under governance).Bonnie MastelA community resident and library user
Thanks for memorial
I would like to thank the person, or persons, who created the Black Lives Matter memorial on S.E. 13th overlooking Oaks Bottom. At a time when it seems unwise on so many levels to join the protests downtown, it is good to have this simple, tasteful, reminder of the great weight that has fallen on so many black families from the systemic racism our country seems only now able to begin to address.Elinor Langer
Editor,I just received the latest copy of THE BEE. I feel obligated to reach out about the headline, "SERT nabs prowler with a pistol near Sellwood Park". I think it paints a horrible picture, and an unnecessarily negative one. This person most likely struggles with a mental illness and was trying to feel safe in a world that feels unsafe everywhere they turn. These types of articles, with such headlines are perpetuating the stigma American's have with people who struggle with mental illness.
Do you know anyone that struggles with mental illness? Have you ever talked to them what it is like to be experiencing symptoms? A great place to receive more information is: www.nami.org. They also have a helpline that is a great tool for everyone and anyone seeking to educate themselves about mental illness. Knowledge is power! Let's be a part of ending the stigma against others.
I am not satisfied with this biased, violent language [in the headline story] on the front page of the most recent issue of THE BEE. . . In this historic moment you name a mentally unwell citizen of this city as a prowler. [You] never once mention the monetary cost of that "nabbing". Taxpayers foot the bill. And I am sick and tired of footing the bill for police who only know to shoot, rather than to de-escalate. I want to continue to support THE BEE. I've lived here my entire life and have always loved THE BEE. Heck, I cried when I read the article about Dairy Queen closing! I hope you can understand where I am coming from. Publications have social capital. What side of history is THE BEE on? What bias does THE BEE hold; what bias does THE BEE broadcast?Jasmine Piercevia e-mailEDITOR'S NOTE: We appreciate the thoughts, and we do agree that Oregon has dropped the ball in addressing the needs of those with mental illness, and all too often the police are forced into addressing that role. However, we must point out that both the headline you refer to, and the story told, were accurately and correctly reported; we were there. As the primary news source for Inner Southeast Portland, is important for THE BEE to report on all major events, and in this case to reflect the traumatic situation everyone living around the new condominium building was experiencing, involving an intruder with a gun. This incident, reported by those living nearby both to the police and to THE BEE, was safely resolved by the police. In view of the assumption of these readers that mental health is issue in this event, we must point out that no publicly-available information on the incident we are aware of actually supports that opinion, at this time.
Opposite opinions on 'Historic District'
Editor,It's great to see all the Black Lives Matter signs in Eastmoreland. If only the neighborhood had some Black lives, too.By some accounts, we don't have any. According to the Demographic Statistical Atlas, which relies on the census data, there are no Black families living here.We don't fare much better when it comes to other people of color. According to the Atlas again, Eastmoreland is 91.2% white – the second whitest neighborhood in the city.You'd think these numbers would concern the directors of our neighborhood association. If so, it doesn't show. They're still fighting tooth and nail to prevent any change, however small, in our housing. And some change is necessary in order to change our demographics, because a neighborhood's housing is mostly what determines who lives there – who wants to and can afford to. That's why Eastmoreland is so white. After years of systemic racism, people of color lag behind in income and wealth and are less able to afford a big house on a big lot in neighborhoods like ours where that's the only housing option.
The Residential Infill Project, which the city just adopted, will rectify this problem by allowing smaller and more affordable dwellings in neighborhoods zoned for single-family residences. It was supported by organizations that promote affordable housing and the end to de facto segregation, but opposed by Eastmoreland's board.Meanwhile, the board is still trying to turn the neighborhood into an historic district, which would make it difficult, if not impossible, to alter existing structures and, hence, equally difficult to create the more affordable dwellings the RIP allows.It's time for Eastmoreland to do more than just say Black lives matter. It's time to show they do. Tell the board to quit fighting the RIP and stop pushing the historic district.Tom Christ
S.E. 31st Avenue
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission accepted in August testimony on rules proposed to guide its actions relative to recognizing Historic Districts for inclusion on the National Park Service's National Historic Register. The testimony and subsequent adoption of rules by OPRC will mark an important step along the road that Eastmoreland has wandered for four years in its effort to achieve Historic District status.
To those who have followed the process, it should come as no surprise that Mary Kyle McCurdy of 1000 Friends of Oregon has suggested yet again (in 200-plus words in her July 20 submission to OPRC) that the inclusion of the Eastmoreland neighborhood on the National Historic Register should be denied because of historic "redlining". McCurdy and her allies in "Keep Eastmoreland Free" (she is a founding member and chief strategist) have painted neighbors as racist and elitist throughout their campaign opposing the proposed Historic District. So it's hardly surprising that she's banging the drum again. Yet this time she raises the "race card" when a majority of U.S. citizens ardently seek to end systemic racism and support as shown by the Black Lives Matter movement. Doubling down at this time, when Eastmorelanders have joined the Wall of Moms in Portland protests, is cynical, manipulative, and morally corrupt. It is simply another ploy to throw a roadblock into the nomination process. Shame on you, Ms. McCurdy.
[Actually,] Eastmoreland was founded by Portland developer William M. Ladd, a populist of the day, to offer homes to people of differing income levels – academics and staff at nearby Reed College, service providers, tradesmen, and a mix of Portlanders. The design exemplified the City Beautiful planning movement of the early 20th Century, and showcased the natural undulations of the land, a tree canopy, and lawns. Soldiers returning from both World Wars and others bought property in Eastmoreland to build Mediterranean, English, French, and historic American home styles of all sizes. . .
We who are fortunate to live in this beautiful neighborhood have, by majority vote, in accordance with National Park Service guidelines, supported creation of an Historic District to preserve and protect Eastmoreland. Our effort has been opposed by developers, those in their thrall, and others who are immune to our neighborhood's beauty and history.
S.E. 29th Avenue
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