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Readers' Letters: There's no room for MLB team in Portland

I read with interest Kerry Eggers’ interview with Portland Mayor Charlie Hales about his views on sports; thanks for sharing it (Hales on sports, May 1).

I also read Eggers’ column editorializing that the mayor should be a visionary regarding Major League Baseball for Portland (Time for mayor to be visionary, May 1). I strongly disagree.

There is no way that a smallish city like our Portland can sustain three major sports franchises, especially baseball, which calls for a minimum of 81 home games and a structure of minor league affiliates. This is quite different from the 41-plus games for the National Basketball Association and a smallish roster of 12 to 15 players, or 17 to 20 in soccer with a smallish payroll.

I remember fondly sitting in Multnomah Stadium — now Providence Park — and watching our Beavers in the Pacific Coast League. I even remember “King Kong” Stuart of the Hollywood Stars belting home runs over the short left-field wall.

But work took me to our nation’s capital and I saw two MLB franchises depart: one to become the Minnesota Twins, and its expansion replacement, the Texas Rangers, both born as the Washington Senators. Many imagine major league baseball as some sort of boyhood dream, but there are huge costs involved that drive much larger cities into debt.

On top of that, the treatment by most owners of their city and its fan base leaves much to be desired; you need look only at the Lerner family and the Washington Nationals, born as the Montreal Expos in a much-larger city but taken over by the league after bankruptcy.

Let us enjoy the Blazers and the Timbers, and be known for our loyalty and strong fan base, rather than be like the much larger Oakland metropolitan area, which is about to lose the Golden State Warriors and perhaps the A’s (and for a while, the Raiders).

There are better options for Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and I, for one, salute Mayor Hales for his common sense here.

Peter Bechtold

Southwest Portland

Packy deserves his time in retirement

Science and compassion obligate us to retire the elephants of the Portland Zoo to a sanctuary in a warmer climate with a vast amount of space (Zoo director leaves post; activists claim victory, May 8). Anything less diminishes our humanity. Packy has paid with his life. Enough.

Alyne Fortgang

Seattle

More people here means more traffic

The missing piece of Dave Lister’s recent opinion piece is population growth (Portland’s anti-car history is backing up a lot of traffic, guest column, May 6). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people living in the greater Portland area grew by 15.5 percent during the first decade of the 21st century. Meanwhile, bicycle use has grown by 211 percent in the past 12 years.

So it’s not surprising that our highways are still full, but imagine how much more they would be without more people cycling? Clearly the creation of bicycling lanes has greatly helped.

I would suspect there are similar figures for the growth of public transit. Meanwhile, the creation of “traffic-calming” measures has made the city a more pleasant place to live.

Bill Kownacki

Milwaukie

Looking for someone to stop light rail

Great commentary, Dave Lister — maybe you should run for Tigard mayor and get us out of this mess that is called the Southwest Corridor (light rail) plan (Portland’s anti-car history is backing up a lot of traffic, guest column, May 6).

John Smith

Tigard

Livability is why I live here

This opinion piece by Dave Lister (Portland’s anti-car history is backing up a lot of traffic, guest column, May 6) is nothing more than a rant with no solutions offered, though I would surmise that the author would like to see more road building. If so, I suggest the author consider how Portland differs from Los Angeles in this regard.

I’d much prefer we live in an urban area based on a more northern European model than the Southern California model proposed. It’s Portland’s livability that attracted me to retire here to continue a 20-year run of living car-free.

Matt Morrissey

Northeast Portland

More roads, traffic? I don’t think so

Yup. Let’s keep building more roads and more highways and more parking lots (Portland’s anti-car history is backing up a lot of traffic, guest column, May 6).

Matt Meskill

Northwest Portland

We need repaired roads, clean buses

People need to go from where they live to where they work and play (Portland’s anti-car history is backing up a lot of traffic, guest column, May 6). Buses take people downtown, but if you do not work downtown, our bus system is of little value. Cars work.

Until buses are running on natural gas or electricity and travel at all hours to all locations, they will remain of use but to a small subset of the population. Car and truck owners pay taxes and fees to provide roads. Businesses pay through the nose for TriMet.

Raise the gas tax and fix the roads. No more road diets until clean buses are everywhere all the time.

Richard Brown

North Portland