Readers Respond to Betsy Johnson and a Deserted Downtown Portland

A sampling of letters to the editor.

A BULLY FOR ALL SEASONS

Thanks for Nigel Jaquiss’ excellent piece documenting Betsy Johnson’s record of bullying state agencies on behalf of corporate polluters and wealthy landowners [”The Advocate,” WW, Aug. 31]. A few other important facts not mentioned in the story: Johnson’s many votes against climate change legislation, her stated intent to reverse Kate Brown’s executive order on climate change, and her support for (and an award from) Timber Unity, the right-wing front group for extractive industries that played a key role in the GOP legislative walkouts. If Johnson becomes governor, expect our climate and environmental laws to be eviscerated, and pay-to-pollute to become the rule.

Dan Jaffee, Northeast Portland

DOWNTOWN DUST BOWL

Downtown Portland has already been converted into a dust bowl by Mayor Wheeler, developers, and their ilk [”Mayor Ted Wheeler Wants Developers to Convert Downtown Office Space to Apartments,” wweek.com, Aug. 26]. Small businesses were the grassroots of Portland’s economic and creative soil for decades. They have been systematically destroyed and eroded by unaffordable rents and development projects gone astray. COVID, protests, Trump and the homeless have all been the varied weather challenges that have simply blown in and completed what was loosened and eroded by this misguided strategy, and now provide optical “blame” cover for this destruction.

The Dust Bowl in the U.S. was resolved by addressing the macro-scale farming practices that were eroding the soil. We must do the same for development practices that have eroded small businesses and continue to erode many aspects of an affordable and viable Portland. Our current leadership seems blind to this real need. Please, let us be properly alarmed by this ironic suggestion which is being made by parties who have been key to driving small business from the downtown core and now, funnily enough, have a suggestion for solving the problem they created.

Jen Peterson, Northwest Portland

A LONG GOODBYE

We were surprised to see a picture of our beloved family store, The Man’s Shop, in WW [”Pattie’s Home Plate Cafe,” Aug. 31]. However, we were even more surprised to find an article that poorly represented one of our family members. Especially without affording them an equal opportunity to provide comment on why the building was vacant for so long. We would like to clarify a few of the points left out of this narrative: Barbara Leveton did not solely own the building at 8501 N Lombard St. It was owned by Leveton Properties, which comprised a group of Leveton family members.

The decision to sell the building was made over a year after a key family member lost their battle with cancer, and after 75 years of service to the St. Johns community. All involved parties and tenants were informed of the decision with months advance notice. After a contracted, extended and failed attempt to sell the building, a successful transaction was completed September 2021. The amount of time that passed from when the family decided to sell the property to when it actually took place was unfortunate for all involved, but certainly not intentional.

Closing The Man’s Shop and selling the building was an extremely difficult decision for the entire family. We were sorry to have to say goodbye after such a wonderful legacy. We wish the new owners nothing but good luck and prosperity for the St. Johns neighborhood.

The Leveton Family

LETTERS to the editor must include the author’s street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words. Submit to: PO Box 10770, Portland OR, 97296 Email: mzusman@wweek.com