Letters: Listening sessions drowned out by shouts
The front-page article Feb. 26 that chronicled the "listening session" and city officials is revealing for many reasons.
First, is the constant reference to Nazis whenever any rational discussion has disappeared. In Portland, and across America, I've never witnessed Nazis so often being center stage as in these sessions. (The chances of any of these people knowing what Nazis were is remote, if not impossible).
They quickly devolve into shouting matches when one group or individual is interrupted or says something that others find unpopular. Then, each group screams vile invectives at the other and when they run out of adjectives, concludes by calling their adversaries a Nazi.
Rather than appear as adults trying to discuss concerns, they more closely resembles a group of 9-year-old kids in a special-education class.
Next, the need to denigrate the police is a common theme. This is done without facts or any effort to look for perspective. It becomes clear many of those in attendance are there to disrupt any open dialogue and to drown out any exchange of ideas or response. The police are made out to be renegade stormtroopers, while anarchists are championed as vanguards of the community.
Through it all, the shouting escalates and the name-calling expands. When all is said and done, what is accomplished?
Much of this behavior and attitude is a result of years of pandering by Portland's elected leaders. The chaos and anarchy that's now a growing fabric of Portland life and reputation can be traced to benign and benevolent acceptance in the decline of civility and order over decades.
Portland now inches closer to an Orwellian nightmare than a City of Roses.
Police Chief Danielle Outlaw thanked those people in attendance. But she couldn't have been serious. Her response had to be a product of a carefully crafted script, one designed and approved by her handlers.
If there's good news coming from this session, it's that nobody was physically hurt or assaulted in the room. I'm certain nothing was accomplished other than a photo-op production of what now euphemistically passes for democracy in action. In reality, nothing was expected and nothing was produced.
Portland can look forward to more of these sessions. The need for exposure and maddening rhetoric will continue. Meanwhile, the taxpaying citizens of Portland continue to ask why.
We're sorry to see Steve Law retire
We were sorry to hear about (Tribune editor and reporter) Steve Law's retirement as we have been spoiled by his decades of thoughtful and balanced reporting.
At the same time, we are more than appreciative of that great service to our community and wish him the absolute best in his next endeavors.
Jay Harris and Mary Scott
'Right to Repair' gives students helping hand
Students, like myself, need lower-cost options to fix necessary education-related technologies.
Today, most of the work I need to do for class happens on a personal computer. In the event I cannot access it, I would lose access to everything from the daily morning paper to the semester thesis projects.
Right now, finding a low-cost option to fix faulty equipment is nearly impossible.
Companies like Apple have created a monopoly on the process from beginning to end by creating confusing warranty language, hard-to-repair hardware, and even planned obsolescence.
Those same companies are lobbying in Salem to kill the Right to Repair bill that would require them to release parts, tools and manuals necessary to make repairs easier and more accessible for students and consumers alike.
I urge legislators to pass the Right to Repair bill to make it easier for Oregonians to repair their electronics.
Homeless crisis is our real emergency
The Tribune's "Your City Hall: Council wants more funds for homeless, affordable housing" (Feb. 26), is a sign of our times — when faced with a long-persistent public problem, declare an emergency.
In case you've not noticed, there's quite a divisive dust-up over the President Trump's recently declared state of emergency for funds to build barriers (aka, walls) to help address chronic problems at our country's southern border.
But look inward, Portland. We also have a declared state of emergency, not concerning security at our defined city limits, but for the lack of housing for the unfortunate homeless within.
Mayor Charlie Hales proposed and the City Council approved a housing state of emergency in 2015. The City Council recently approved Mayor Wheeler's proposal to extend the emergency declaration for two more years. Depending on what qualifies as a housing emergency, the declaration could become perpetual policy.
The declaration does not open the public cash box to solve this long-standing problem, but it does enable waiving procurement processes and zoning/building codes, all focused at increasing shelter space and affordable housing. In concert with this declaration, camping prohibitions for public spaces have been waived, or lightly enforced.
Portland, too, has had divided debate, not over walls to keep people out but for walls, supporting a roof, to protect and shelter people: Wapato. With winter cold and snow, as a start it could be used as a 24/7 warming shelter then repurposed as a community facility to transition people from living on the sidewalk into affordable housing as envisioned by the council. This would take zoning changes and the support of city leaders in partnership with Wapato's current owner.
But our housing/homeless emergency is certainly not manufactured. People are spending shivering nights under plastic tarps on Portland's sidewalks and along its roadways.
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