Letters to the editor
Oregonians cherish natural resources
Some good news during what feels like an eternally grim news cycle: the nation recently celebrated National Public Lands Day and National Rivers Day. Though these two "holidays" aren't widely publicized, they deserve recognition, especially here in Oregon where we have an embarrassment of riches.
Public lands make up just over half of Oregon's landscape, which is truly remarkable when compared to many other states across the country. Our thousands of miles of publicly accessible rivers and 362 miles of shoreline makes Oregon an exceptional place to enjoy the outdoors. It's hard to express how much of a gift this is, to be able to explore every corner of our beautiful state and know that it belongs to you (and me, and everyone) — not to some billionaire or a faceless corporation. Saying we are lucky is an understatement.
This didn't happen by accident — our state's elected representatives have a long history of working to intentionally safeguard special places for generations to come. Today, Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley are continuing this legacy with the River Democracy Act, a bill that will protect 4,700 miles of public rivers and streams across Oregon, and the public lands alongside them. I hope to see this bill pass this Congress. Although it's an ambitious plan, it's in good company; Oregonians have always been ahead of the curve in protecting what we love.
Vik Anantha, Southeast Portland
Food companies must treat animals better
In August, the nation's largest food service provider companies were called out for falling behind on their commitments to animal welfare. With a market size of $45 billion, the food service industry supplies food to our hospitals, airports, schools and universities. Billions of animals are moving through the food service supply chain, and it's time to hold the industry accountable for how these animals are treated.
The Humane League, an international nonprofit that works to end the abuse of animals raised for food, rated more than 30 national food service provider companies on their welfare practices for chickens raised for meat, egg-laying hens and breeding pigs. For example, policies should avoid purchasing from facilities that confine hens to battery cages and pigs to gestation crates. Of the 30-plus companies that were rated, each one was lagging in one or more areas of animal welfare. Most notably, the industry giants — Sodexo, Aramark and Compass Group — have made little to no progress on welfare policies that they committed to years ago.
As consumers and companies demand higher standards for animal welfare, food service providers must meet these needs or risk losing their clients. Warner Pacific University, Linfield University, Adventist Health and PDX-United are all supplied by Sodexo, the largest and most profitable food service provider. I ask that Sodexo and other industry giants follow through on their commitments to animal welfare.
Elena Schaller, Southeast Portland
Oregonian voters keep messing up
What is wrong with Oregon voters?
Once again Oregon voters elect more of the same. Record high gas prices, record high grocery prices. The price of a Thanksgiving turkey is up 23%. Kate Brown is rated the worst governor in the United States. Electing Tina Kotek just gives us more of the same. With a Democrat majority in our state Legislature gives us more of the same.
Out of 50 states, Oregon's education system is ranked 47th. So why do Oregon voters keep electing more of the same? Democrats blame Republicans for the things they themselves are doing. Remember Democrats have been in control of our state since the 1980s (Editor's note: Democrats have controlled the governorship, not the Legislature, since 1987.) So why do Oregon voters keep buying into their lies? We need to remind our state legislators and our governor, governor-elect, secretary of state and our attorney general, that the people who pay their salaries are the ones in charge. The back door dealings also need to stop. I have a copy of a Forbes Magazine article from 2016 that targets both Kate Brown and Ellen Rosenblum. The article states that they have traded campaign contributions for favors. Such as the toll project on I-5, and I-205. The contractor is one of their campaign contributors. Oregon voters have voted this down twice.
Jeff Molinari, Southeast Portland
Unnecessary idling is wasting your fuel
Fuel prices are at record levels. Drivers could soften the crunch if they would simply stop unnecessary idling of their vehicles while parked (not in traffic).
The average driver idles their vehicles while not in traffic eight minutes per day. Fuel is too expensive to waste, and 12 million gallons of fuel is wasted every day by unnecessary idling in the United States. (That's over $65 million to big oil bottom line.)
The rules about vehicle idling that was passed down by our parents and grandparents are no longer true. Since the introduction of electronic ignition/fuel injection (early '90s) the new facts about idling are:
More fuel is consumed idling for 10 seconds than it takes to start a vehicle.
Two minutes of idling wastes enough fuel to cover a mile of travel.
Vehicles today are designed for 50,000 starts (10 starts per day, over 13.5 years).
Starting a vehicle adds about $10 per year in maintenance cost, but idling 10 minutes per day equals 60 hours per year and $200 or more in fuel cost.
Places to reduce or eliminate idling: while using a cell phone. Before your trip, make your call then turn on the vehicle; at the end of a trip, turn off your vehicle then make the call; and during the trip, pull off to a safe spot, turn off the engine and turn on your flashers.
Also, predictable delays like road construction, bridge lifts and rail crossings. Or schools, when waiting in a parked vehicle; avoiding drive-throughs; and vehicle warmup (modern engines only require 30 seconds of warmup before being driven).
If you have a vehicle with start/stop (auto stop) technology don't disable it. They were designed to save fuel. These vehicles are engineered for 500,000 starts (100 starts per day over 13.5 years).
Stephen Kingsbury, Beaverton
Adidas deserves kudos for breaking with Ye
I was so happy to see Adidas take such strong action (of breaking business relationships with the artist formerly known as Kanye West), despite the anticipated loss in profits. It's great to see companies stand behind their values, especially in light of these toxic cultural influences that many of us just ignore or support without realizing we're strengthening the platform.
I hope more customers will rally enough to turn Adidas' action into a great example of how to win business — voting with our dollars is one of our greatest opportunities to make an impact.
Elizabeth Borelli, Lake Oswego
Rent increases add to homelessness
In all the political rhetoric about homelessness, nobody has mentioned the continual and annual rise in rental costs. A lot of people have been priced out of the rental market and can't afford a place to live. Hence they end up on the street.
Whole families! Why isn't there a rental cap? Limit the rent on apartments.
Carol Friendly, Beaverton
(Editor's note: Oregon adopted a rental cap in 2019, which set the maximum rent increase formula to be 7% plus the West Coast Consumer Price Index, which changes every year.)
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