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Letters to the editor

Sept. 17, 2013


Barberry Village series draws reader's praise

Wonderful, uplifting three-part series by reporter Riley Stevenson (and photos by Jim Clark) about Barberry Village in Rockwood.

I live in Portland but work in Gresham. Like many, I am concerned and hopeful that the right things are being done to turn this community around.

Please continue to focus on the good things happening in our neighborhoods with quality writing like this.

Monica Weitzel, Portland

Refugees strengthen our community

It was heartwarming to read about the journey of the new residents arriving to Rockwood in the Barberry Village complex ("Flight from Syria," Sept. 9).

The Gresham community is better off because of the arrival of parents like Ahmed Abdullah and Maryan Mohammad and their children.

With civil war in Syria continuing to cause the displacement of so many, Oregonians should continue to welcome refugees and do what we can to support their integration.

Gresham is a better community because they are a part of it.

Dave Dyk, Gresham

Fairview compromise reflects cooperation

It is unfortunate that politics continues to get in the way of considering good public policy in Fairview.

A recent letter to The Outlook regarding the sidewalk proposal in Fairview leaves out some important details that must be included, so I would like to correct the record.

The city of Fairview imposed heightened standards for trees and sidewalks in Fairview Village. It directed planting certain varieties of trees that have shallow roots and were certain to destroy the sidewalks in a short time period, well before the sidewalks would typically need to be replaced.

The city also required that the cut-out area in the sidewalks for the tree trunks be a certain diameter that is far too small for the variety of tree. The combination of shallow roots and inadequate growing room has resulted in a substantial safety hazard mere yards away from our City Hall.

In addition, the city required wider sidewalks that those found anywhere else in the city. The 16-foot sidewalks are intended to encourage walking, but in so doing place a higher burden on residents than those found elsewhere with more traditional, narrow, sidewalks.

The result of these policies has been harmful to Fairview citizens and visitors.

Rather than sidewalks that remain safe and in good working order for several decades, the sidewalks are cracked, leaving dangerous tripping hazards. The homeowners are not responsible for these conditions; the city is responsible.

The city residents, who did not create these city policies, should not solely bear the financial responsibility for the errors. However, in discussing this turn of events with city staff, the residents and the city have come to a compromise that benefits everyone. The city will agree to contribute up to $6 per square foot up to a maximum of $50,000 per year for sidewalk replacement.

Notably, this amount will be available to all Fairview residents, up to the maximum amount every year. It is not limited to the residents directly impacted by the design errors.

At the current market rate for sidewalk replacement, $6 per square foot is only approximately 50-60 percent of the expense. Thus, every resident with broken and dangerous sidewalks will still have to pay out of pocket for repairs.

This compromise is an example of cooperation between Fairview citizens and their government. It reflects substantial effort for compromise. I look forward to the city adopting the proposal at their next council meeting.

Jeff Anderson, Fairview

Fairview citizen input sought on sidewalk fix

Dear friends and citizens of Fairview: There is a resolution coming before the City Council on Wednesday night that I need your help with. Don't get me wrong, I can certainly vote on the issue and you would get how I feel about this resolution, but that isn't why you voted for me. I am here to represent all the citizens of Fairview and would like to vote how you, the citizens of Fairview, feel about this issue.

We will be voting on whether the city should help the homeowners, financially, with paying to fix your sidewalks when they become cracked or lifted because of trees planted in the parking strip. If the city helps homeowners financially, only small sections of the city will be done at a time. The city will set aside $50,000 per year. In 10 years this will cost the city half a million in taxpayers' dollars. My concern is that there are sections of town that don't even have sidewalks yet and that some of this money and time will be directed away from these areas. Some of these areas are where kids walk to school and walking in the street is not a safe way to get there.

I know we would all love to have things paid for by someone else, but is this a good use of your tax dollars? Please let me know how you feel by Wednesday night. You can leave me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. It's your city, your sidewalks and your tax dollars.

Thank you.

Lisa Barton Mullins, President, Fairview City Council

Common ground possible between unlikely alias

Executive Editor Steve Brown and I frequently come down on opposite sides of political issues. And I have wondered why we so often find agreeable ways to disagree.

Now I understand it is apparently because I hold views pretty much like those of his wife, mentioned in Steve's column in the Sept. 13 edition of The Outlook ("President has made the right choices regarding Syria"). The pillow talk between Steve and his wife, and my sometimes disagreements with fellow liberals — with whom I often associate — open up political areas where Steve and I come closer together.

I do support those who demonstrate for peace, and join them occasionally though we may not agree on all particulars, even on all the messages being displayed, including some of those on Highway 26 in Sandy each Friday afternoon.

With respect to the Syrian matters, I disagree with most Americans and with our Oregon congressional delegation. I won’t explain all of this as Steve’s column does it for me.

I do trust the intelligence, good intentions and vastly more information available to the president, so as not to try to find ways to be in any disagreement with him. But however this rapidly changing Syrian situation turns out, I will need to accept that the president may have been wrong, but by then we won’t know for sure just how else he might have decided to act, if at all.

So no free lunch for any of us in this unless we decide to not pay close attention and voice our opinions.

But this doesn’t work well for our group of humans who since 1787 have decided to try to govern ourselves, and have lived under the enormous privileges that these flawed but ground breaking and often fruitful constitutional arrangements have provided.

Dick McQueen, Wildwood



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