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The Letters to the Editor is where BEE readers interact with the paper, and offer their own takes on neighborhood events

Keeping those plastic horses firmly hitched

Editor,

AUDREY OFLAHERTY - Even tiny Clydesdales need to be hitched, to keep them from getting tired - in the worst possible sense. This picture was taken around 13th and Malden, perhaps with a five block radius, give or take. [About Dana Beck's "History Stories of the Sidewalks" in the September BEE:] A good friend of mine from grade school, in the 1960's, went blind in college. At our 20th high school reunion he told me that he had his "blind navigationable training" in the area. He explained to me about the iron corner bands [on the sidewalks], because his cane would tap them. Very interesting. I did not know. So interesting that THE BEE just had a wonderful article about this. He also told me about the [sidewalk hitching] rings, so I found it so clever that someone had tied up a tiny toy horse to one. I love to walk in our neighborhood, and take pictures I find interesting and amusing. I hope you like this one.

Audrey O'Flaherty

Sellwood

About September's editorial

Editor, Your editorial in the September BEE on homelessness was very clarifying. I always felt people were trying to collectivize a complex issue, but you really put it in perspective with the four subsets. Tackling the people who want to work and rehome makes sense in order to make a dent in the overall homeless numbers. The next group IMO would be those with mental health issues. I hadn't realized that they are being ignored for the most part by governments at all levels. Instead of spending on new programs, perhaps existing problems should be solved first. But the petty and not so petty crimes that proliferate based on the Next Door app reporting are what gnaw at our psyches, possibly pushing some of us into the need for help. Pointing out the nuances of "homeless" and "houseless" also made sense. Rather than a better container, one with supportive relationships. Hugo Schulz Sellwood Editor,

Thank you for saying what's been needing to be said in your September editorial, re: S2HC. On a local social platform I pointed out that among the homeless there are several subgroups. That, as you point out, there are those who truly want a job and a home but have fallen on hard times. And those who are mentally ill. Both of these groups need whatever help we can give them. Where I got in trouble was by saying there are also those who prefer homelessness as a way of life and would not make good next door neighbors. Even worse, I dared to say there are criminals who, as you point out, take advantage of community sympathy an commit crimes to support drug habits, and they do not want to change. When I pointed out the piles of garbage all over the city I received many responses such as "what garbage? I don't see any garbage." I want to help those who will benefit from help. There are those who will not benefit from help no matter how much assistance they receive. It is time for those who really want to help to start admitting the truth and take the blinders off. Kathlene Kelley

S.E. 14th Avenue

Chicken coop concern

Editor, The proliferation of chicken coops throughout the Sellwood, Westmoreland, and Eastmoreland neighborhoods is, I realize, part of a wish for a simpler and pre pandemic life. But many do not seem to take the time to make their coops vermin proof, and the explosion in the rat population affirms this. If one finds having freshly-laid eggs each day is to their liking, then the onus is on that person to keep the rats out! We have lived in the neighborhood for 32 years, and have never had as many traps out as we do now, to try and get a handle on this! This is not what anyone wants in their backyard! Abigail Marshall

S.E. Martins Street

Thanks to another Good Samaritan

Editor:

A thank you to the Good Samaritan who rescued me on S.E. 41st on Tuesday, September 7th: I was riding my bicycle to work when a piece of wood jammed my front wheel and I fell head first. You asked me what my phone number was and called it. My husband was able to come pick me up and take me to Emergency. In fact, I don't remember any of this, but I am doing much better.

It's nice to know that there are people who will take the time to assist those in need. I appreciate that you waited until my husband arrived because I was quite helpless.

Your kindness and patience made the difference, thank you.

Florence Dezeix

via e-mail

Contests the idea of saving that tree

Editor,

A September letter to the editor regarding trying to save a fir tree is a classic example of "miss the forest for the trees" problem. The author was very passionate and had three bullet points she wanted to highlight. I want to push back on them, as I usually do in this forum. First, the environment. Certainly demolishing one single-detached home and replacing it with one single-detached home is not good for the environment. This is why many of us fight for greater density by reducing zoning and other land use restrictions – because rapid increases in density is great for the environment. Human behavior in nearly all its forms is bad for the environment so the smaller the footprint we take up the better. As for the tree canopy, in Seattle between 2007 and 2015, the tree canopy either remained the same or grew in neighborhoods that saw rapid development – and it shrunk in single-detached neighborhoods. Furthermore building with density in mind allows us to preserve, undisturbed, forestland from being cleared out for single-detached homes. So it is very likely the case that the removal of one tree can save many trees. Next was housing. Renaissance Homes builds what they do BECAUSE of regulations. It will never be the case that a single-detached home in our neighborhood will ever be affordable for low or middle income families. That ship has sailed. It has sailed so far away that the recently enacted R.I.P. and its legalization of [building] four-plexes will also not be affordable for that group. The only way to make room for low and middle income earners is to build low-rise (less than 6 stories) apartments at a steady clip for decades when the older apartments once again become affordable. Otherwise we need to accept a financial reality. Not every home is salvageable and safe for habitation – and buying a property for 500k plus already means a new small home will not pencil out. Increased regulation keeps out new competitors who may be more inclined to develop differently. and more in line with values you hold. Renaissance loves regulations because they have the capital to overcome the massive wall that government regulation puts in front of new housing. In fact they help shape that wall to their benefit. Last was racial equality. Diversity has been increasing in Portland during the recent construction boom. Look at Houston, a place with some problems for sure – but it does not have zoning, is friendly to developers, and is fairly easy to build in. It is now the most diverse city in the country. Development has opened up the city to new people, many of whom are immigrants and people of color. So the truth is development is a pre-requisite to increases in diversity. . . Dense apartment [developments] are climate justice, are environmental justice, are social justice, are racial justice, and are economic justice. Focus on that more than a tree, and we can begin to tackle our most pressing problems. Tim DuBois Westmoreland

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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