THE "LETTERS TO THE EDITOR" ARE BELOW THE EDITORIAL

From The Editor

‘Cascade Institute’ responds to BEE editorial

In the June BEE, we scolded a local think tank, the Cascade Policy Institute, for reading into the Sellwood Bridge reconstruction project various goals it did not have, which it charged the new bridge failed to meet. The editorial was actually almost exactly what we sent the institute upon receiving the press release touting its upcoming report on the bridge, which made those charges – and we wrote and sent it with the intention of suggesting they reevaluate their views in the context of what the bridge was actually meant to accomplish, to avoid public embarrassment.

When they responded that the report was complete and they were about to release it, we published the editorial to make sure whatever they published would not go unanswered.

On July 29, John Charles of the Cascade Policy Institute responded with a Letter to the Editor to THE BEE defending their perspective. Since you, BEE reader, cannot judge this disagreement without also reading the original press release, we felt it necessary not only to print the letter but also to print the original press release to which we were responding. Simply placing it in our “Letters” section seemed inadequate, lacking most of the context.

Therefore, we herewith publish the entire Letter to the Editor from Mr. Charles; then we present the entire original press release we were responding to; and lastly we explain our response to the press release, which Mr. Charles questions.

Our credentials for making this response not only involve our living in the Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood for the last forty years, and as Editor of THE BEE covering the bridge project from its beginnings, but also our involvement in the bridge replacement project from the very beginning as a neighborhood representative.

So, to start, here is the letter we received on July 29 from Mr. Charles:

 

Editor:

I find it puzzling that The Bee continues to mischaracterize the Cascade Policy Institute study of the Sellwood Bridge reconstruction (July edition, p. 9).

First, we have never asserted that the Bridge was built by the City of Portland. Obviously it is owned and operated by Multnomah County, which is clearly stated in our report. This erroneous claim by the editor of The Bee was first made directly to me in an email on May 14, before we had even released the report. One has to wonder why a newspaper editor would criticize something he hadn't read.

Second, the report does not claim that a purpose of the reconstruction was to address congestion. There was no way that it could have, because Metro foreclosed that option in 1999 through the South Willamette River Crossing Study. That study adopted a permanent no-growth policy for Willamette River crossings. In 2002 the City of Portland followed with its Tacoma Street Main Street plan, which called for a road diet to reduce both traffic speeds and peak-hour vehicle throughput. By the time Multnomah County got around to deciding on a new bridge design later in that decade, solving congestion was no long [sic] an option.

Our report urges Metro to convene another study group to find a suitable location for a new Willamette River bridge south of Sellwood. Unfortunately, Metro does not seem interested in that option. The only bridge study currently underway is being coordinated by Clackamas County and Lake Oswego, for the purpose of building a cycling-walking bridge.

Apparently Metro's idea of regional planning is to forecast a traffic disaster, then do nothing about it. If that's the best we can expect, perhaps we should abolish Metro. We could just "do nothing" by ourselves, and it would cost a lot less.

John A. Charles, Jr.
President and CEO
Cascade Policy Institute
4850 SW Scholls Ferry Road, Suite 103
|
Portland, OR 97225

 

That’s the letter from Mr. Charles. We are puzzled by his reference to our editorial appearing in the July BEE on page 9, when it actually was in the June BEEon page 8. Nonetheless, presumably he actually did read our editorial – if not in the newspaper, then certainly in his personal e-mail on the morning of May 14 when we sent it to him privately.

We now print the original press release which sparked our original message to Mr. Charles, which then became our editorial when his reply did not address any of the points we’d made. We received this press release in an e-mail on May 14 at 6:53 a.m. It seems to us that what is claimed in the press release differs considerably from what Mr. Charles now says it did. We have only removed the long hotlinks to an Eventbrite RSVP page referenced in the press release in the interests of brevity:


Special Event! Thursday, May 23:
The New Sellwood Bridge: Promises Unfulfilled

Please join Cascade Policy Institute for our monthly Policy Picnic on Thursday, May 23, at 12PM, featuring John Charles.

------------------------------------------------------------

In 2016 the new Sellwood Bridge opened, at a cost of $328 million. The bridge was more than twice as wide as the original bridge, but most of the space was allocated for cyclists and walkers. Planners believed that by placing a moratorium on road capacity and encouraging alternative ways of traveling, significant numbers of commuters would leave their cars behind.

Unfortunately, the planners were wrong. Today the traffic congestion near the bridge is worse than ever, and the anticipated jump in walking and cycling never happened. This presentation will discuss the results of a multi-year case study by Cascade of what happens when elected officials refuse to provide transportation facilities needed for population growth.

Join John Charles for a discussion about the Sellwood Bridge and road diets.

Admission is free, but reservations are required due to space limitations. You are welcome to bring your own lunch; light refreshments will be served.

Cascade's Policy Picnics are generously sponsored by Dumas Law Group, LLC.


Okay, that’s the press release. Mr. Charles is correct in saying that the release did not say the bridge project was done by the City of Portland (or Multnomah County either, whose project it was). But, a prominent charge in this press release is that “Planners believed that by placing a moratorium on road capacity and encouraging alternative ways of traveling, significant numbers of commuters would leave their cars behind.” That was never the intent – Multnomah County has no such policy or goal; and the “road diets” he decries (with some justification) are policy only in and by the City of Portland, and NOT Multnomah County. That is why we pointed out that the City of Portland was not involved in this project, and thus their “road diet” policy was never part of this plan.

The old two-lane bridge was congested already, but – as Charles now seems to acknowledge in his letter – resolving or reducing the congestion was never a goal of the County in replacing its Sellwood Bridge. The bridge connected to a two-lane road (Tacoma Street) at the east end, and a two-lane state highway at the west end, and therefore needed to remain a two-lane automotive conduit (although the new bridge does flare to extra lanes at the west end to connect in various ways to the new state-mandated bypass exchange to Highway 43’s two directions of travel; the mandated exchange accounted for a large part of the entire bridge replacement cost).

“Today the traffic congestion near the bridge is worse than ever, and the anticipated jump in walking and cycling never happened,” said Charles in the press release. However, there was never any plan for an increase pedestrian and bicycle traffic on the new bridge – just a plan to accommodate what traffic there was safely, in a way the very narrow old bridge could not.

Further, to improve auto transit on the bridge, the pedestrian and bike lanes were designed to be wide and accessible enough to allow auto traffic to use them in an emergency to bypass traffic-blocking wrecks on the bridge which previously had stopped traffic completely on the old bridge.

We join Mr. Charles in calling for another regional bridge south of Sellwood, however – and we pointedly did so in our original editorial.

The real reason for the congestion, particularly at commute times, on both the old AND the new Sellwood Bridge, has been for many years commuter traffic to and from Clackamas County, enroute to and from Washington County. At the time the old bridge was nearing its replacement, Mike Pullen of Multnomah County pointed out that the Sellwood Bridge was the busiest bridge PER LANE in the State of Oregon, Monday through Friday; even more so than the Interstate Bridge! – and that well over 50% of that traffic did not originate or end in Multnomah County, the county that owned and maintained the bridge. That hasn’t changed.

So, clearly, Clackamas County – the county that did not contribute financially to the reconstruction of its most important Willamette River bridge – really does need to build its own bridge.

It seems to us that the most logical and cost-effective place to build one is at Lake Oswego, where a signalized four-lane road extends from the Willamette River all the way to Interstate 5 and Highway 217, and where a connection from the east bank of the Willamette River to four-lane Highway 99E (McLoughlin Boulevard) would be easy to make.

Until it does, however, the Sellwood Bridge will remain congested.

Really, the new Sellwood Bridge was constructed by Multnomah County for only ONE reason: The old bridge was rated “2” on a sufficiency scale of 100, was nearly a century old, and from a practical standpoint could not be upgraded and repaired, and thus needed to be replaced.

And it was replaced by a sturdy bridge which currently, we are told, is the strongest bridge in the whole State of Oregon, and the only one today certain to be standing and usable whenever Oregon experiences its 9.0 plate boundary “superquake” someday.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Follow-up on previous editorials

Our editorial last month questioning the “deauthorizing” planned for Portland’s neighborhood associations by City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, with no formal replacement through which all citizens would still have a way of being recognized in a representative way by our quaint form of city government – combined with sudden attention from other news media in Portland, on this unpublicized process that was underway – seems to have stalled the effort temporarily, although Ms. Eudaly still seems intent on finding a way to pull it off.

Apparently her hope for an early Portland City Council vote on the proposed “code change” proved harder to attain than envisioned, we are told, because erasing neighborhood associations from what used to be the Office of Neighborhood Involvement (and is now the Office of Civic and Community Life) first required erasing them from the mandates of other Offices in the city, which have them in their code because of their inclusion in the former Office of Neighborhood Involvement’s mandate.

THE BEE will continue to cover developments in this important matter – as we are able to uncover them.

Meantime, as we have been advising you repeatedly this year, the FCC has brokered the sale of all TV channels above 36 (which once numbered all the way to 83) to wireless companies, and existing TV stations using channels above 36 (no matter what channel they call themselves) have had to move down to new channels below 36.  KOIN did it last year, and KNMT did it this year. KATU is supposed to, but has kept delaying the process for technical reasons. The most recent target date was “mid-August” to move down from channel 43 to channel 24. Now, we learn from the station, technical issues continue to delay the move, which now won’t take place until at least the end of September – “or later”.

The bottom line is that if you view KATU-2 free directly from an antenna, someday the station will vanish from your TV. Don’t panic when it does! Just “re-scan for channels”, and you will receive it again, just as you did before. (If you receive KATU via cable or satellite, your service will take care of this, and you won’t have to do anything.) We wish KATU luck in finally getting this done.


Letters to the Editor

Local rower competes in Tokyo

Editor,

18-year-old Portlander and rower, David Edington earned a spot on the U.S. National Rowing Junior Championship team recently, and competed in Tokyo August 7-11.

Edington, who THE BEE recently profiled, has been with Rose City Rowing Club in Sellwood for six years – the last three on a varsity team. He is a recent graduate of Catlin Gabel High School, and earned a National Merit Scholarship and will be attending and rowing for Dartmouth in the fall.

Rose City Rowing Club sent a couple of athletes to the National Championships in 2015 and 2016, but Edington is the first rower to compete on the team since then. He competed in a “pairs” event with another rower from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Patti Atkins
Via e-mail

Youthful entrepreneurship in Sellwood

Editor,

I’m writing about two brothers, Reuben and Ezra Cohen, who have the true entrepreneur spirit. At the July Sellwood Music in the Park events they were selling organic chocolate chip cookies. They told me they have some other selling projects they are doing at other events. Loved their smiles, confidence and ideas.

Tina Rea
“Shiatsu for Health”
Sellwood

Eastmoreland Historic District application

Editor,

In your June issue, Aaron Malone, an advocate for “Keep Eastmoreland Free (KEF)”, addressed Southeast Portland neighborhoods in a letter to the editor filled with all too familiar bile and inaccuracies in his attack on the Historic District nomination process.

Without basis or specifics Malone makes the novel and dark claim that “stolen resources” were used to fund the nomination. If anything were stolen in this effort, it was two years of neighborhood volunteer time and resources, needed to counter and track numerous spurious and ongoing lawsuits filed by KEF, and the backroom political shenanigans used to politicize and delay action at the state level.

The writer, repeating a false KEF trope, claims that forming an Historic District equates to “redlining” and racial segregation in Portland. Historic Districts have no effect on “redlining” – the willingness of banks to provide loans to residents in, or out of, such districts. Historic Districts have no bias with regard to any race, except the race to speculate, and to demolish history – and, too often, demolish our most affordable housing. The greatest threat to racial integration at present is the advance of demolition and displacement caused by the random densification policies posed by the Residential Infill Project, and now by HB2001.

Finally,  Malone’s claim that the majority of residents in the neighborhood don’t want the Historic District appears to be a refusal to accept the court decision rejecting the inclusion of KEF’s 5,000 irregular “objection trusts”. He expands this thought, asserting that a portion of the neighborhood excluded from the district was the result of gerrymandering [to affect] opposition votes. Actually, properties in all areas of the neighborhood were inventoried. The decision to exclude an area was made reluctantly, and only on the basis that historically contributing properties there were too few and too dispersed to justify inclusion.

It is my hope that this [response] leaves your readers better informed about the issues raised by opponents of the Eastmoreland Historic District, and more thoughtful about how our city should address issues of affordability, growth, and the protection of our history.

Rod Merrick, AIA, NCARB
Eastmoreland

Attention knitters and crocheters

Editor,

As the days grow shorter and the nights grow cooler, we of the All Saints Episcopal Church Psalm 139 Prayer Shawl Ministry [in Woodstock] invite anyone in Inner Southeast to join us in making hats and/or scarves for those in need. On November 23, we plan to give each of our “Saturday Hot Meal” guests a hand knitted or crocheted hat and scarf.

This project is a good way to use your yarn scraps and, with the colder weather upon us, help someone less fortunate. There is a greater need for masculine colors than feminine colors. Because of your generosity in previous years, we have been able each year to meet our goal of 125 hats and scarves. Please help us again this year. You may drop your hats and/or scarves in the basket located in the church office, 4033 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard. Office hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, 9:30 until 1:30, and Wednesday from 9 until 11.

If you would like to use some of our yarn, or for more information, please call Cris, our Administrative Assistant at 503/777-3829, during office hours. Our thanks to all of you knitters and crocheters!

Bev Curtis
via e-mail




Letters to the Editor may be submitted via e-mail by clicking HERE.

All letters to the editor are subject to editing for clarity and available space, and all letters become property of THE BEE.


Obituaries
Richard Henry Gustafson
Richard Henry Gustafson

Richard Henry Gustafson 

January 17, 1934 – July 26, 2019

Richard (Dick) Gustafson died at age 85 in Spokane, Washington, on July 26, after an accident on his ATV near Pendleton. He was too injured to survive the trauma, and passed peacefully in the presence of his immediate family.

Dick was born in Burns on January 17, 1934, to Reginald Alexander Gustafson and Georgia E. Frye Gustafson. His birth mother died shortly after he and his twin sister were born. He was raised by his stepmother, Georgia McCreath Gustafson, after a family move to Portland. He graduated in 1951 from Franklin High School, and then attended Vanport College and Portland State College (now PSU), before graduating from Oregon State College (now OSU) in Pharmacy. While at OSU he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. At OSU, Dick met Joyce Rae Meyersick from Pendleton, and they were married on August 5, 1956. He died just 10 days short of their 63rd wedding anniversary.

Upon graduation, he enlisted in the Army Medical Corps, and attained the rank of Captain.  Dick joined his father in the family’s Errol Heights Pharmacy in Southeast Portland. He had grown up being a soda jerk and delivery boy in the store, so it was a natural move. Father and son worked together until Reginald retired on his 80th birthday. Dick purchased Westmoreland Drug on the northeast corner of S.E. Milwaukie Avenue and Bybee Boulevard, and continued his Southeast Portland community pharmacy career until retiring in 1996.

In 2007, he was very proud upon receipt of his 50 year certificate as a Registered Pharmacist, as his father had before him. He was active in the Oregon State Pharmacists Association and the Portland Retail Drug Association, and was awarded Pharmacist of the Year in 1996. Dick was a member of the Multnomah Athletic Club and the Flyfishers’ Club of Oregon, and was active in the Boy Scouts. He was very proud when his sons and grandson became Eagle Scouts, and both granddaughters earned their Gold Awards in Girl Scouting.

Dick loved the outdoors. His interests included: fishing, hunting, camping, scuba, cycling (he rode Cycle Oregon several times), and international travel. His favorite hunting dog was a springer spaniel named Simon. He fished all over the world (Mongolia, Argentina, Christmas Island, Brazil, Cuba, Russia, and Belize), as well as on the Deschutes, Klickitat, and Columbia Rivers and at his pond at the family vacation home and farm in Trout Lake, Washington. He climbed Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens (before it erupted in 1980), but said “I found neither a trout lake nor a bar at the top”, so he stopped mountain climbing.

Dick was famous for “gus-isms” - “No job is too small to hire out” and “it is always better to stay out of trouble than to get out of trouble” and “you don’t get to pick ’em [family]; you just get to love ’em”.

He is survived by his wife, his sons Kenneth Edward and Thomas Richard (Katherine Jean Schroeder), his grandchildren Clara Joyce (Alex Bodaken), Anna Catharina and Peter William Gustafson, and many cousins, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, his brother Reginald Leland (“Lee”), and his twin sister Diann Evelyn Newstrum.

A memorial service was held on August 10, 2019, 1:30 p.m., at All Saints Episcopal Church in Woodstock, followed by a celebration with food and pictures at the Multnomah Athletic Club in downtown Portland.

In Richard’s memory, donations may be made to the Cascade Pacific Council Boy Scouts of America, 2145 SW Naito Parkway, Portland, OR 97201 or Meals on Wheels People, 7710 SW 31st Avenue, Portland, OR 97219 or a charity of your choice.



Margaret Estelle Floyd
Margaret Estelle Floyd

Margaret Estelle Floyd 

July 18, 1936 – July 19, 2019

Margaret Estelle Floyd passed away at the age of 83 in Southeast Portland on July 19, 2019.  She was born on July 18, 1936, in Fulton, Arkansas. Along with her husband Fred, she moved to Oregon in 1963. She lived in the Mount Scott Park area of Southeast Portland for 55 years.

Margaret was active in her community sharing her faith and compassion with many people from many walks of life.  She was involved in the Marysville Grade School PTA, Boy Scouts of America, the Sunrise Little League, and was the “team mom and score keeper” for the other various sports organizations her three sons played in. She cared for seniors in the neighborhood, and volunteered with several local churches and other volunteer centers in Southeast Portland. 

Well known by many as an excellent southern-style cook and baker, her family recalls that she was always ready to feed whoever showed up on her doorstep.  She loved gardening, and her yard was a great source of pride for her, one of the best on the block. Her heart and her home were always open to neighborhood children; she had her home designated as a Block House safe zone for local children.

The family points out that she especially loved holidays – all of them. “Her home was decked out for every holiday, and a source of joy for the neighborhood. Local children have fond Hallowe’en memories of the homemade treats she handed out.”

Margaret was most proud of the Vietnam POW bracelet she wore, engraved with the name of  Lt Col Jack L. Van Loan.  Those who wore these bracelets vowed to leave them on until the soldier named on the bracelet, or their remains, returned to the United States. He was shot down on March 20, 1967, and returned home to the U.S. on March 4, 1973.  LTC Van Loan wrote Margaret to express his thanks for her thoughts and prayers that helped him return home to his family.  The Oregonian profiled Margaret and the story of her faith and his return.

Margaret was preceded in death by her son Freddie Lee; her parents Robert and Maddie Arnold; her brothers Bobbie Arnold, Wallace Arnold, and Paul Lester Arnold; and her sisters Linda Lou Ferguson and Judy Ann Jackson.

She is survived by her loving husband Fred Floyd, sons Thomas (Mary Lou) Floyd of Seattle, and David (Kandace) Floyd of Springfield, Oregon; her daughter-in-law Kathy Floyd of Portland; her seven grandchildren, four great-grandchildren; brothers Jimmy Arnold and Mike Ferguson; and many other extended family and friends.

Margaret requested that there be no memorial service held for her. Her family gathered at her home on August 17, to celebrate her life.


 


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