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Readers' Letters: Square repairs shouldn't come from bond

I attended the town hall meeting recently held at Cleveland High School where Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz discussed her parks replacement bond proposal (Fritz: Park bond gains citizen support, July 3).

I fail to see the need to include Pioneer Courthouse Square as a focus area of the bond funds and have to ask the broader question, What kind of “business model” are Portland Parks & Recreation and the Pioneer Courthouse Square Board of Trustees using, such that Pioneer Courthouse Square is in need of bond funds to make repairs?

Why is the most programmed Portland park space, with four major tenants and permit fees from more than 300 annual events, not generating sufficient revenue to pay for the needed replacement waterproof membrane under the bricks? If it was known that the waterproof membrane had a 20-year design life, then why weren’t funds set aside from tenant revenue and permit fees to pay for this needed repair? Why was this needed repair not programmed into the public improvements needed within the Downtown Waterfront Urban Renewal Area a decade ago?

Again, what kind of business model is Portland Parks & Recreation operating with, in regard to the operations, management and maintenance of Pioneer Courthouse Square, such that it needs to take much needed bond revenue from the numerous other city parks, playgrounds, trails, swimming pools and other facilities?

I personally will not advocate nor support the proposed 2014 parks replacement bond unless the Pioneer Courthouse Square repairs are removed as a focus area of the bond funds. I challenge the talented and connected Pioneer Courthouse Square Board of Trustees to develop a financial plan for the replacement of the failing waterproof membrane under the bricks and not compete for, nor look to, the limited bond funds from the 2014 parks replacement bond.

Wesley Risher

Southwest Portland

People should care about old homes

The Markham home in Laurelhurst was built in 1911 (Laurelhurst was plotted in 1910, and nothing is older than that), and the San Francisco Google guy is Kevin Rose, not Kevin Jones (Rose recently had planned to demolish a Willamette Heights home but, after heated protest, decided to sell it instead).

That said, I loved this article (New endangered species: old homes, July 10). Go Terra Wheeler! Her effort to save homes is a good start, though it seems there are still quite a few people who just don’t get why people care about preserving old neighborhoods. It has nothing to do with fearing change. Also, there’s so much history that is lost when one house is replaced, so the density argument is B.S.

Christopher Wilson

Southeast Portland

Harder to afford large homes

“Every generation wants to live in a larger home. Who am I to say my children can’t live in the house they want, if they can afford it?” says homebuilder Jeff Fish in your article (New endangered species: old homes, July 10).

Sorry, but Mr. Fish is asleep at the wheel. He seems to be unaware of the small-house movement that is growing here. Also, with so few middle-class jobs available and replaced with minimum-wage service jobs, most working folks in Portland can’t afford big houses. They are being sold to Californians moving up here because they can’t afford to live in San Francisco any more, a trend that is happening here. Portland is turning into San Francisco North, and we all soon won’t be able to afford to live here anymore.

Jo Haemer

North Portland

Regulate rentals for condos, apartments

The amendment supported by Mayor Charlie Hales and Jason Miner of 1000 Friends of Oregon — allowing occasional short-term rentals of condominiums and apartments — makes sense. (City Council finalizes ordinance to legalize Airbnb style rentals here, web story, July 2). This would help condo owners and renters offset some of their costs when they’re traveling, without leading to the unintended consequence of converting available housing into short-term rentals.

To avoid the conversion of affordable apartments into expensive short-term rentals, the amendment should make it illegal for people to do this more than a given number of days per year.

Steve Gutmann

Southeast Portland