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Readers' Letters: Disabled parking about access, not money

Regarding the editorial endorsing the idea of universal park-and-pay (To curb parking abuse, charge everyone, July 18), I certainly agree. Disabled parking permits are about access, and don’t guarantee a free ride in other parts of the country.

Businesses with parking lots must set aside a certain number of special spaces in close proximity to the entrance for the exclusive use of handicapped permit holders. The same could occur in metered parking areas.

If the city can set aside hundreds of spaces for ZipCars and their ilk (and in some parts of town, it seems as though these ubiquitous vehicles are taking up more space than the cars of people with permits do), it can designate disabled-only parking spots, which also will be metered. That allows the disabled to park in appropriate spots where a lift might need extra space but also allows a badge-holder to park in any regular metered spot as well.

Anyone who can afford the expenses related to owning and operating a car can afford to pay for parking. The only important caveat is that, because of the disabled person’s limitations, special accessibility issues apply and should apply even if the city decides they must begin to pay for parking like everybody else.

M. Taylor

Northwest Portland

Tax credit questions threaten wind power

The Portland Tribune is to be commended for its recent article (Slack times in local wind energy industry, Sustainable Life, July 18) for shining a light on how congressional action, or inaction, regarding the wind energy production tax credit development has negatively impacted Oregon’s wind energy industry.

Statewide, wind energy development has become a critical economic driver. Locally, wind development companies like Iberdrola and Vestas are an important part of our Portland-area economy and have created hundreds of well-paying, family-wage jobs.

Your article correctly points out how uncertainty surrounding the future of the credit stunted development and caused layoffs and downgrades at Portland-area companies, layoffs that could have been avoided had Congress recognized this valuable program and extended it before the final minute. Had the wind energy production tax credit expired, those layoffs, those negative economic impacts, would have been far worse.

We are beyond the halfway point in 2013, and as uncertainty surrounding the future of the wind energy production tax credit continues to hamper wind energy development in Oregon and beyond, it is important to take a moment to thank our Oregon congressional delegation for the leadership that it has shown in fighting for this vital program that has proven itself so crucial to our Oregon and national economy.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, in particular, led the charge on this issue in the Senate, and his efforts, especially in those final moments, are worthy of applause.

Businesses need predictability to operate, and renewable energy companies are no different. It is our hope that the rest of Congress will follow Sen. Wyden and the rest of our Oregon congressional delegation in fighting for the wind energy production tax credit program and a more permanent solution that will allow this industry to continue to produce energy, economic development dollars, and jobs for communities throughout Oregon and the nation.

Sandra McDonough

President & CEO

Portland Business Alliance

SNAP brings money back to Oregon

Congress separated food assistance (SNAP) from the recently passed farm bill. For those who look only at the “bottom line,” get out and lobby for increased SNAP funding because it brings $1.79 into our Oregon economy for every tax dollar spent on the Supplemental Food Assistance Program.

For all of us, it is there to help when times are tough, as times still are today. No one should go hungry in this great country.

Marilyn Newton

Milwaukie