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The Letters to the Editor is where BEE readers have the opportunity to share their opinions and observations

Hoping to save a Sellwood fir

Neighbors write notes on a sign posted on the Sellwood tree they hope to save. Editor,

A few month ago, I became aware that a neighborhood property, 8405 S.E. 8th, has been purchased by developer Renaissance Homes. THE BEE did a story about this property a few months back. We have hung a banner, and are leaving messages to the tree and the developer. There were 3 tall fir trees on that property that have existed longer than any of us. One has already been chopped down, and another is slated to be removed soon. Our neighborhood hired an arborist who came and assessed the trees; they are healthy and strong and would most likely outlive us if it wasn't for Renaissance Homes and the inadequate rules of our city to protect the environment. The issue of this one tree in our neighborhood is hitting me strong. It is a symbol of the helplessness I feel watching Portland fall apart in three major areas:

·Â Â Â Â Â  Environmental – Southern Oregon is on fire and we had record deadly heat a few weeks ago. Our tree canopy has endless benefits to our city and the planet. The tree canopy lowers summer heat peaks, air pollution, sucks up carbon yet we let corporate greed prevail over our planet. ·Â Â Â Â Â  Housing – Our community…the neighbors that I potluck with and our children ride bikes with, can't afford to buy a home here. When you allow developers to build million-dollar McMansions, you push out everyone but the 1%! Make developers build homes that the people in the neighborhood can afford. Help us keep and build our community. This creates health for all of us. ·Â Â Â Â Â  Racial Inequity – Over the last five years, the average list price for single family homes has increased by over 90% – disproportionately affecting African-American and Latino families and fueling rapid gentrification. The truth is . . . the more [development], the less diversity we have in our city.

 

Force developers to build homes that are net-zero . . . they can afford it! Teach them to build around the trees that are crucial to our city's health and canopy. This tree is on the edge of the property, and could easily be built around. . . A home can be created that would suit the members of our community and preserve this 100-year-old tree. Through community activism, we've managed to save one of the trees. They are interconnected, and depend on each other, just like we do in this city. Please make me feel like this planet's doom isn't a forgone conclusion. I need to feel like I can teach my children that we can still make a difference. Please help spread the word!

Daria Matza Via e-mail

BEE readers participate in book

Editor, A book I have authored about a historic Oregon accomplishment – the "Flight for Freedom" – will be published this year in observance of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. . . the title is "Oregon Loves New York: A Story of American Unity After 9/11". This trip was led by Portland Mayor Vera Katz and was organized by many civic and business leaders in Oregon, led by then-Portland-Chamber-Chair Sho Dozono. One thousand people from across the state, including many from Portland and its environs, participated. I know people who read THE BEE participated, because you were kind enough to post my interest in interviewing participants [in the "Letters to the Editor"], and a number of people responded. Thank you. . .

This was an enormous accomplishment by Oregonians, an effort no other community across the country was able to achieve.

Sally Ruth Bourrie, author,

Via e-mail EDITOR'S NOTE: As an incidental point of interest – in addition to the thousand people who went to the Big Apple in this project – at least one Portland dog was also flown to New York, with his handler, to search the ruins of the World Trade Center immediately after the disaster – "Garm", the father of the editor's first long haired German shepherd, Ms. Drew. Garm was a celebrated rescue dog in these parts, but even he could not find a single survivor in the rubble of the collapse of the Twin Towers. His handler, Bill, described the scene there as "ghastly", and never spoke of it again.

Help save the bees

Editor, When I think about my favorite parts of living in Oregon, I picture rocky beaches, coastal forests, snow-capped volcanoes, rivers, waterfalls, orchards, farms, deserts, and wildflowers. Oregon's beauty relies on pollinators. Bees, birds, bats, and butterflies are vital to the existence and diversity of Oregon's plant life, and the survival of the farms that feed so many of us. 90% of all wild plants and 75% of all food crops rely on animal pollination to some extent. Without our animal pollinators, especially the humble bee, our natural world would deteriorate, and we'd likely fall into famine. With all that the bees do for us and the natural world that we Oregonians love so dearly, it's our responsibility to protect these integral parts of the ecosystems that we are all a part of. As neonicotinoid pesticides kill off bee populations, we must raise our voices and tell our representatives why we care. Across the country, there are movements to ban the use of neonics, so why can't we work to ban these bee-killing pesticides as well? It's time to voice our concern to save the bees and, by doing so, to protect Oregon's nature and its people. Abby Guild

Sellwood

Are clear-cuts the answer to wildfires?

Editor,

We are in the second year of a massive drought and fire. If I were to bet, we have a lot more extended fire seasons ahead of us. Even the California Redwoods are shriveling up. Fire technology can't keep pace with the intensity and number of fires. Even if we had one or two normal water years, the ground is so hard that we would still have lengthy fire seasons. I think the answer lies in massive clearcuts.  

 

Benefits:

1)  The price of lumber will be driven down, aiding the severe housing crisis.

2)  Increased employment for thousands of displaced loggers. 3)  Helping current victims of fire by lowering rebuilding and land acquisition costs. 

4)  By legislative action, people who are rebuilding should be required to build in the burn areas, and new construction would not be allowed in forested areas. 

5)  The clearcuts would become experimental planning zones for drought and fire-resistant species.

6.)  Fire breaks are needed to slow down the intensity and size of what's become normal. 

 

We gotta do something different, or Oregon will be changed forever for the worst. Better half a loaf than no loaf at all.

 

Steve Baker S.E. Reed College Place

Thanks to all who helped

Editor, To our community – thank you for your generous response to our request to help fund the Woodstock Pantry's permanent location back in the spring. With your support, and a fundraiser from our local Laughing Planet Restaurant that helped raise over $1,500, and a grant from the Oregon Food Bank, we were able to reach our goal. The refurbished shipping container is now in our north lot, in a temporary location, but soon it will be filled with food and clearly designated as the Woodstock Food Pantry. Thank you for your support, and thanks to THE BEE for helping us spread the word!

The Rev. Andria Skornik

Rector, All Saints Episcopal Church Woodstock

Public apology offered

Editor,

Making a mistake is a humbling experience, and I just made a huge one along S.E. 15th Avenue in late July. Mistakes have consequences. Mistakes are not forgotten. And, mistakes demand reflection on personal and community values and character.  In a rush to get an old car running with a test drive in the neighborhood, I stalled along S.E. 15th Avenue at St. Martins Street and realized there must be water in my gasoline. There are a hundred things I could have done differently and more responsibly, but instead I acted impulsively, selfishly, and recklessly, and dispensed a syringe (2 oz) of water-tainted gasoline from the carburetor into the soil along the curbside. The homeowner witnessed what I had done and immediately confronted me with questions about the impacts to his family, his property, and the neighborhood's environmental health. Over the next hour he and his wife dug up the contaminated soil, contacted the City for advice, and filled the hole with cat litter. I filed an online report with DEQ and, while waiting for a tow from AAA, I had four hours to absorb the breadth of what I had done in an instant of carelessness.

As an emergency professional and community-minded person, I deeply regret my mistake and the disrespect it shows for my neighbor and neighborhood. I offer this formal public apology and sincere regret for my action, as a step towards personal accountability. The weight from this lapse of judgement has given me a point of reference to re-assess my priorities, commitments, and responsibilities as an 18-year resident of Sellwood-Moreland and Portland.

Jay Wilson

via e-mail

Correction

Editor, Dana Beck's informative article ["Southeast History"] in the August issue in the second paragraph states, "People who lived in Inner Southeast , but worked upriver in Portland…" [This] continues the myth that the Willamette River runs south. Downriver would be correct. Many people seem to believe that rivers must run down from the top of the traditional maps to the bottom (south). For a good geography lesson, find the number of rivers that run north – and always downhill!

Chuck Martin

S.E. Portland

EDITOR'S NOTE: Good catch. The editor missed it too, so I take the blame!

All letters to the editor are subject to editing for clarity and available space, and all letters become property of THE BEE.


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