Sunday, May 19, 2013
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The city of Portland should not squander the opportunity to build such a public amenity to accommodate the warehouse-like "ballroom" proposed by the current owners of the Eastland Hotel.
Charles A. Alden
retired urban designer and certified planner
Budget priorities spell out America's view of violence
The news these days has been dominated by stories of the tragic school killings in Newtown, Conn., and the looming "fiscal cliff."
At first glance they seem like unrelated stories, but a strong argument can be made for connecting these two stories under the umbrella of violence in America.
We are told that the only way to avoid falling into a fiscal cliff is to cut social programs, scaling back funding for schools, food stamps, unemployment, housing assistance, health care and, now, Social Security.
The one area that is never mentioned in a discussion of cutbacks is the U.S. military, whose budget has increased 81 percent since 9/11. American tax dollars have subsidized wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while continuing to support our 761 military bases worldwide along with an increasingly expensive drone assault program, controversial for the large number of innocent women and children it has killed.
I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to conclude that a country whose highest priority is military intervention is condoning violence at home.
Altering traffic pattern won't benefit Portlanders
The one and only apparent benefit of one-way, two-lane traffic on High and State streets accrues to drivers -- drivers who come from someplace else, are en route to someplace else and whose primary goal when visiting our city is to get out of downtown as quickly as possible.
Are there any upsides to sanctioning 30- to 35-mph traffic through the heart of downtown to the thousands of people who live here? Any at all?
And is there any compelling reason Portland should allow quality of life and property values to be degraded in order to accommodate people who do not want to be here?