We need to be sympathetic to all people, but I think that tolerant Portlanders, while their hearts are in the right place, may not understand the scope of this problem ["Change Is Hard," WW, May 22, 2013].
I work near Old Town, and by the summer this becomes a very visible, in-your-face problem that affects one's view and enjoyment of the city. My parents no longer stay downtown when visiting because of the street kids.
I applaud Mayor Charlie Hales for making it a priority. Pointing out the lack of a "clear goal" sounds like the equivocation of people who don't want to do anything. I think mitigating the impacts of aggressive panhandlers, particularly the transitory ones, is good in itself.
I've lived in Portland for almost 16 years, and I've never witnessed this "aggressive panhandling" I read about in the media. Frankly, most panhandlers will be grateful if you give them anything.
Also, the only time the sidewalks are obstructed downtown is before the Rose Festival parades. I firmly believe that the homeless should be given the same human decency as the rest of us. As the disaster in Moore, Okla., demonstrated, any one of us could become homeless.
SCHOOLS AND THE ARTS TAX
This is disgusting to me. They should give taxpayers who live in these underfunded districts their Arts Tax money back ["The Arts Ax," WW, May 22, 2013]. Why should they pay for other people's kids to have art programs when their kids are getting denied? Portland keeps making political mistakes lately, and I'm losing faith in our community. This is terrible!
The Port of Portland is 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean...up a river with a channel that had to be artificially created, and now maintained ["Fantasy Island," WW, May 22, 2013].
The port should spend its energy on cleaning up its portion of Portland Harbor—you know, the Superfund site on the Lower Willamette. If they had invested the energy in the cleanup that they have poured into ruining West Hayden Island, the Willamette River would be in better shape.
Perhaps now instead of paying for a slick PR campaign related to the Superfund site, they can get on with meeting their Superfund obligation with the other responsible parties.
In a review of Fruteria Don Pedro ("Market Guide," May 22, 2013), WW incorrectly reported that most farmers markets don't accept the Oregon Trail Card. Most Portland farmers markets do accept it. WW regrets the error.
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