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Readers' Letters: PDC didn't offer deal to local businesses

Successful local businesses employ huge numbers of people in Portland. When they do, ownership, rents and profits stay here (NE Portland project ignites city debate, Feb. 13).

When the Portland Development Commission conducted negotiations in secret and failed to offer the same property deal to local businesses, it wasn’t just the Portland African American Leadership Forum that got upset, though PAALF is taking most of the heat. What’s more, mischaracterizing the neighborhood, without updating for current conditions, had to be called out.

This is a neighborhood that votes in higher percentages than just about anywhere else in the country. This neighborhood is full of active researchers radiating out from this property in larger circles than it appears were contacted about these plans. To think this could go down without being called out, well, I would not call it naive, but I would say that local research was insufficient.

I went to a meeting where few decorative doo-dads were going to be put on the building to tie it to its local culture and history. I can say that idea did not go over so well. Projects that will use public subsidies need to be widely inclusive. Not going wide enough can be predicted to yield glitches.

Mary Saunders

Northeast Portland

Ideology sometimes gets in way of logic

Just how did “government” blow it here? A private business (Trader Joe’s) — because of opposition from a private group (the Portland African American Leadership Forum) — pulled out of a project government was trying to make happen (NE Portland project ignites city

debate, Feb. 13).

It never ceases to be surprising how much some folks’ world view is distorted by ideology.

Jim Gardner

Southwest Portland

PAALF too simplistic about gentrification

I don’t understand statements made by Tony Hopson (founder and co-chairman of the Portland African American Leadership Forum) that “they need to reverse the effects of gentrification that have driven thousands of minority residents out of their longtime homes” (City mulls alternatives for NE Portland site, Feb. 6).

Does this little known but vocal group have a comprehensive economic plan that addresses the root causes of gentrification, which certainly include cultural values within the black community? How would the low-income community (which apparently is only black?) afford new residences if they were built? Aren’t jobs with income needed or does the PAALF plan for 100 percent subsidized housing?

Of course, I understand that everyone needs a place to call home, but the issues are more complicated and complex than what can be accomplished by a piecemeal/linear plan. Is PAALF truly moving the issues forward or stymieing the discussion with its knee-jerk accomplishment?

John Doney

Washington, D.C.

Tribune didn’t get whole story on port

The Tribune does not mention that the once-proposed West Hayden Island marine terminal was to be a pass-through port to ship things like grain. Oh wait, we already have one of those that does not work at 100 percent. Maybe they really wanted to ship coal or oil and misled all of us (City must support blue-collar jobs, too, editorial, Feb. 20)?

A pass-through port only would have provided at best a few hundred part-time jobs for union members only, so go try to join the union and see how far you get.

This deal was not shot down by the City Council.

The Port of Portland pulled out of the annexation process because the required amount of money for mitigation offered to the residents and for the environment was cost-prohibitive, and was not enough to meet what was required. The port actually was offered breaks on the cost, and it was still too expensive for them.

If this port expansion was so needed, then the cost should not have mattered since the companies would pay a premium to use them. Wait, Hanjin is being offered money from the port for every container it brings through Portland. Otherwise, Hanjin could use other ports that don’t cost as much to ship out of because it wouldn’t have to come up the Columbia River.

The Tribune should check its facts.

Lucinda Karlic

North Portland

Now’s time for city to act to protect land

If the Tribune was to be “absolutely clear about the comparison” (between the OHSU Knight Cancer Research Center and the once proposed West Hayden Island marine terminal), it would have considered that the research center would have helped reduce cancer, not increase it with the environmental impact and pollution of the Port of Portland development. The center wouldn’t have devastated a rare natural area valued for its location for flyways and fish migration as the port would have. And the Tribune would have recognized that health care is a growing

industry as compared to a port landlocked by 117 river miles too shallow for the new ships being built today (City must support blue-collar jobs, too,

editorial, Feb. 20).

As for the jobs themselves, Chris Smith of the city’s Planning and Sustainability Commission asked for verification of how many of these jobs would still be generated if the port were built close to Portland but not in such a sensitive area.

There will be a time when there is no more raw land for industrial growth, and we will have to reclaim the already-spoiled industrial lands, build up instead of out, and/or go outside the city limits. We should realize that the time is now, before the value of our city is taken by plowing our recreational areas, our natural areas and our golf courses.

Ron Schmidt

North Portland

Dental therapists not economically viable

About your story (Dental therapist plan fizzles as nonprofit fails, Feb. 20): The dental therapist in the office in Minnesota was subsidized with a special fee schedule and then an enhanced reimbursement. The dental therapist is not economically viable in Minnesota without a subsidy.

According to the American Dental Association, two out of five dentists are not busy enough. If the dentist doesn’t have enough demand for his services, the dentist is not going to hire additional staff.

Rob Miller

Austin, Minn.