What's wrong with Improvement?

I am shocked that the three letters printed in response to the idea of closing down a part of Southwest Ankeny Street—"Douchebags not allowed" [Inbox, March 30, 2011]—are so negative. Portland may not be the French Riviera, as one person said, but any place can benefit from creating pedestrian-only areas. Boulder's pedestrian-only Pearl Street Mall is the most vibrant spot in the city. Many people have been to Europe and fallen in love with the quaint awesomeness of a few small pedestrian-only streets here and there. Should cars really rule every street, all the time? I thought this was Portland—why were there no letters printed in support of creating small pedestrian-only areas?

Alex Bullen

Southeast 45th Avenue

wweek.com readers comment on "Jack Shack Attack"

"Though I respect and appreciate the role of government in zoning, Commissioner Leonard chose a very poor and inappropriate comparison to make a point. Zoning a petroleum processing plant away from a school is a matter of public health and not free speech. We allow government to regulate businesses in that matter because we appreciate that the unfortunate but necessary pollutants are dangerous, especially to children, and we must do our best to limit exposure. Though some might find the nature of these clubs to be offensive, it is a far cry from being carcinogenic. 

Freedom of speech protects even those who wish to say things I do not agree with, but it does not protect those who use words or actions to do physical harm. Perhaps if Leonard chose a better comparison he might have more luck convincing the public that the actions of these clubs should be considered outside the boundaries protected by free speech.

In addition, I would appreciate it if Sen. Bonamici would also choose to avoid wild rhetoric and focus on the real issue. There are already a host of legal professions that would make taking your child to work a difficult or impossible task. I can't imagine that those working at traditional strip clubs and adult stores do not face a similar issue.  The issue here is not the seedy nature of the business but the potential that some of these businesses are operating outside the law and are encouraging the abuse of women. —Anonymous Free

"I'm not really a fan of ostentatious adult businesses…but changing out landmark free speech laws will do nothing to protect the average Oregonian. I accept that my sensibilities can be tested as part of everyday life in order for my fellow Oregonians to live freely.

If people are so concerned about "protecting" their children from having to learn about lap dancing, I hope they're also rallying against the advertisement of fast food and snacks to their kids (which are a more pervasive threat) as well as the local news and ads about alcohol and prescription drugs, all of which might prompt very awkward questions." —Sean G.

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