Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



The fate of Washington Park's amphitheater, plus concerns about food insecurity, top readers' letters this week.

Sad fate for space in Washington Park

Post-World War II, through the late '70s, the Washington Park Amphitheater presented local arts organization and performance groups. Once called Music by Moonlight, groups from the symphony, opera, cultural organizations, folk dance groups, Obon Festival, barbershop quartets, Oregon singers and musicals and dance performances produced by Park Bureau Arts programs performed there every year.

Admission was free and the audience was packed. Concerts began at sundown and the stage was equipped with lights and amplified sound. It was something that many families looked forward to.

However at some point Portland Parks and Recreation Bureau decided that their cost was too high and brought in commercial sponsors that fenced the amphitheater off and began charging upwards of $25 per ticket, serving alcohol and expensive catered meals. Big names like BB King were the performers and all "amateur" local groups were excluded. The "you are not welcome" sign was out to the community.

Since the late '60s various proposals were made to create a more permanent structure with proper facilities for performers and more adequate restrooms for the audience. Meeting were held, designs submitted but nothing ever came of it. The creation of the concrete "lily pad" was as far as Parks got.

What was once a community effort to showcase local arts groups became a failed money-making venture that excluded the community. That change, plus the lack of routine maintenance, destroyed what Portland once had.

Nancy Yeamans, Southeast Portland

Senate: Act now on food insecurity

Since 2019, the number of people who face acute food insecurity has almost tripled from 135 million to 345 million. Food prices have been on the rise since the start of the pandemic, and the war in Ukraine only made matters worse. These factors, coupled with a historic drought, have pushed millions of people to the brink of famine in Somalia, where a child is hospitalized for acute malnutrition every minute.

The United States has stepped up to provide emergency food relief, including specific resources for the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya), several times this year. But, as a whole, this urgent crisis has not received the international response it merits. We can, and must, do more.

That includes passing the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2022. Since it was passed in 2016, the bipartisan GFSA has played a key role in addressing the root causes of food insecurity and, through the Feed the Future program, has helped lift millions of families out of hunger. But the bill is about to expire, putting those vital resources and programs at risk. The House of Representatives has already passed a bill to reauthorize GFSA — now, it's the Senate's turn.

Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, you can show your support for the fight against hunger by co-sponsoring S. 4649, the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act! We have the tools to help lessen the severity of this crisis and, with millions knocking at famine's door, we cannot afford to wait.

Craig Rottman, Northwest Portland

Hypocrisy seen in flag burning

How strange, burning a "Pride flag" is anti-American," but burning the American flag is acceptable.


Eric Blatter, Sandy

Culver schools right to pull outdoor school

Finally, someone made a stand that shows good sense rather than a "go with the flow" decision.

I just read the article about the Culver school that pulled students from outdoor school due to the counselors being non-binary. Good for them, I say. It is with a sigh of relief that I see this school district saying enough is enough and choosing to protect their children from the crazy mixed-up world that is foisting the belief that the only way to think is to agree with the decision to believe in multiple genders.

It is horrifying to me that this craziness has been allowed to get this far but it has and until more people are allowed to voice a dissenting view, we will continue to backslide into the KGB-ish society where there is only one belief and to disagree you risk societal arrest and censure.

Thank you Culver School District for standing up and protecting you students.

Michele Jeffs, Southeast Portland

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