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Readers' Letters: 'Working Kirk' bridged city's cultural divide

I miss Kirk Reeves. As a bus driver who regularly traveled the Hawthorne Bridge, I looked forward to seeing him smile and wave to the passers-by (Lisa Simpson Bridge? D’Oh!, Nov. 7).

“Working Kirk Bridge” has a great ring to it. Additionally, modern signage with QR codes could be placed at both ends of the bridge to link curious visitors to YouTube videos and testimonials, all of which would complement the modernity of a transit/pedestrian/cyclist bridge.

Reeves’ death was tragic because he thought people didn’t care, that his life didn’t have meaning. He suffered privately from mental illness, yet he didn’t publicly hold up a sign asking for help. Instead he held up silly expandable toys, gewgaws and a trumpet to his lips every weekday afternoon, even if folks’ car windows were closed against the wind and the rain. Working Kirk was astonishingly faithful in providing a welcome distraction to the afternoon rush-hour bridge commute.

While the products of exceptional artists and writers like Mark Rothko and Ursula LeGuin serve to memorialize them, the work of street performers goes down into the anonymous dust of history. Still, the difference that performance art can make in people’s lives is not less valuable because it’s transitory. People like Kirk Reeves can remind us that we all play a part in making a difference in the world.

I regret never having walked up to “Working Kirk” to tell him how often he brightened my day. Portland could do a lot worse than naming a span after someone whose last years of life were dedicated to easing commuter stress while crossing the Willamette — much as the new bridge has likewise been built to do.

Marky Kelly

Northeast Portland

Intel editorial brings clarity to issue

In regard to the Portland Tribune editorial (Intel’s contribution more than emissions, Nov. 7), I would like to thank you for your clear and concise language.

Your viewpoint was one that was factual and straightforward rather than biased and argumentative. You gave insight into the interests of all parties involved: primary businesses, federal, state and local governments, environmental watchdogs, the state Department of Environmental Quality, parents and other concerned Oregonians, as well as current and prospective high-tech manufacturers.

While the issue can be quite complicated, given the enormous amount of necessary regulations as well as global marketing strategies and government incentivism, pertinent to the situation, nothing essential to the discussion was left unsaid.

James Lear

Northeast Portland

Should have expected freight problems

I would like to know why the Oregon Legislature didn’t see a problem 40 years ago with freight movement coming (Get moving on freight route, study says, Nov. 7). Why wasn’t state Highway 217 pushed all the way up to north Vancouver and why wasn’t Cornelius Pass Road straightened and pushed up to five lanes with pull-offs for chaining areas.

That would have solved this problem maybe for another 20 years. Instead, by using Cornelius Pass Road these days with the truck traffic, it’s very dangerous. And a lot of time you are driving on both lines when making the corners, plus it’s very hard on the brakes.

Dale Hall

Southeast Portland

PPS distances itself from goodwill

With regard to Portland Public Schools’ recent expenditure paying private consultant Yvonne Deckard $15,000 per month and totaling $210,000 on a “no-bid” contract to provide a report and give advice on labor negotiations and political strategy, here is another example of PPS misappropriating already insufficient funds.

This misattribution shows a lack of faith and common sense by PPS in not seeking a joint collaborative effort with those who have expertise, our front line — our teachers.

During the Cold War era, central decision-making was about imposing decisions by leaders without outside input and was viewed as the best route to progress. Don’t we know better today?

The action of PPS further distances and diminishes the goodwill contributions and validity of teachers’ experience. It is time to put faith where it belongs and consider the appeals of our children’s teachers. If not, the negative milieu will continue to grow and will no doubt negatively affect the teaching quality afforded all students.

I believe it is in the students’ best interests that teachers be included in collaborations.

Who better to include in decision-making?

Lisa Bradfield

Beaverton