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Readers' Letters: Don't let port's wild plans hurt island life

The Port of Portland has made unsupported claims of job creation (in regard to its West Hayden Island development

proposal).

Projects won’t lead to manufacturing or involve products that have anything to do with Portland. Bulk commodities passing through do little for the local economy. Taxpayers should not foot the $130 million merely to cover site preparation.

The port is hoping terminals — ideally paid for by shipping companies — would be built later. The port has no plan, nor is it feasible to make up for extensive environmental damage caused by its terminals for bulk commodities and vehicle imports.

Hayden Island’s 826 woodland acres are irreplaceable and not suitable for what amounts to land speculation. This unique land should be permanently protected as a wildlife sanctuary. We also want this region to be a healthy environment for generations.

Development that the port proposes will have unacceptable impacts on our air quality. A report by Multnomah County found that industrial development on West Hayden Island could triple local air toxicity levels to 55 times above state benchmarks.

The wildlife habitat at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers is a nationally unique home to bald eagles, federally listed salmon, imperiled bird, bat and amphibian species. It is more important for Portland to protect rapidly disappearing species like pileated woodpeckers and Western meadowlarks.

Elizabeth Thompson

Ridgefield, Wash.

Budget cuts hit firefighters hard

Regarding the recent Portland Fire Bureau budget article (Budget puts fire jobs on the line, July 4), my understanding is that the safety chief position was eliminated and some of the fire investigator positions were eliminated. Those people retained employment but were placed “back into line jobs.”

The net effect is loss of safety focus on operations and loss of investigation and enforcement services for the public. Those eliminated positions compress the organization and will effectively bump out a few more of the less-senior members come Oct 1.

I hear that over the past 15 years there have been roughly $15 million in cuts to PF&R, there are fewer firefighters on duty each day than 10 years ago, and that it is the leanest fire department of all comparable departments.

Stacie Hofmann

Gresham

PERS changes are not always ‘reforms’

Why does everyone, including your paper’s editorial team, call the state reneging on its Public Employees Retirement System commitments “reform”?

Stephen Robinson

Southeast Portland

Cyclists should leave NE Broadway alone

Will Vanlue proposes a physical barrier for bikes on Northeast Broadway, asserting that it is safer for all, will be better for businesses, and would provide sidewalks (BTA blueprint has value beyond bicycling, June 27).

As one who drives on this street, often daily, I question the need for this.

There already is a significant bike lane that works well. A physical barrier separating cars from cyclists would require no parking on one side of this bustling neighborhood street.

From my perspective, that would make it more difficult for customers to frequent local businesses. Parking already is scarce. Has the bike organization surveyed local businesses to hear their perspective?

And sidewalks? They appear to be working just fine and, if not, the city can require that they be improved just as they do in residential areas.

We don’t need this. Leave Northeast Broadway well enough alone. It’s already been changed enough to accommodate light rail.

As a bike rider, pedestrian and driver who uses this street daily and frequents local businesses, it seems to be working just fine.

Christine Purvis

Northeast Portland

Plastic bag ban would help our state

As a native of Tennessee, I moved to Oregon for its devotion to environmental issues.

Although it is further ahead than the southeastern United States in addressing such issues, I am severely disappointed that the plastic bag ban, as a bill, failed to go to vote due to aversion by state and local officials. Plastic and chemical companies continue to sway Oregon politicians with their overwhelming monetary influence.

Due to millions of tons of garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean, these companies create and implement misinformation schemes, keeping the public blind to the deaths of thousands of seafaring animals and the dangerous effect that has, not only on our oceans, but on our very livelihoods.

These ploys are underhanded and devious, and I will not accept them within our local government. Therefore, it is the duty of Oregon city councils to hear the voices of their constituents. Oregon should be focused on the health of its environment instead of passively accepting the plots of insidiously greedy companies and the death of our fellow creatures.

Rowan Jones

North Portland