To the Editor:

I see by the front page of your July issue that you’re joining the Oregonian in the anti-car sweepstakes, or as a city planner would say.

There is absolutely no need for curb extensions, flashing crosswalks or eliminating one [traffic] lane for bikes [in the Halsey/Weidler corridor]. Why can’t these big-shot engineers build more of the overhead pedestrian crosswalks that are currently used farther out in the city? They keep pedestrians safe, bicycles can use them and traffic isn’t reduced to a crawl. In short, they work very well. Why can’t these be built closer in? How do engineers believe that eliminating one lane on a heavily used two-lane thoroughfare will not create even more gridlock?

When TriMet stops to load a handicapped person, that’s a four- to five-minute delay. How will that play out on Northeast Halsey heading east or Northeast Weidler heading west if they are reduced to one lane? Traffic will become a nightmare, people will look for alternative routes until PDC [Portland Development Commission] and PBOT [Portland Bureau of Transportation] dummy-down every major traffic artery in the city, which I think their ultimate goal is in this trendy war against the automobile.

I’m 62 and have lived in the Grotto Sanctuary neighborhood for 12 years.

I refuse to ride mass transit because it isn’t safe, regardless of what TriMet says. I love the independence that a car provides. Maybe I need to move to a city that still understands that life without a car isn’t much of a life. When Portland isn’t being weird, it’s being stupid.

Marvin Thiessen
Sumner neighborhood


Memo to planners: Give us what we need, not what you think we do

To the Editor:

We just received our Mid-county Memo. I am now reading funding for the beautification of the Halsey-Weidler corridor has increased (“Halsey-Weidler corridor revitalization money grows to $1.6 million” MCM August 2014). Once again, I remind all involved to please look to the corner of Northeast 102nd Avenue and Weidler Street and a past “beautification” project. The red sticks are now falling down, the weeds and shrubs have increased to the point it is now a total eye sore. There were four shopping carts full of plastic bags and belongings lined up against the weeds and shrubs, and once again, the “homeless” were enjoying themselves, smoking and who knows what else.

Meanwhile, the area on Northeast 111th Avenue from Halsey and Weidler streets north to Sacramento Street is still without sidewalks. Children, bikes and adults use this street every day and are subject to being hit by a car. School will be starting soon, and once again, no sidewalks. Someone needs to put on a “realistic” hat and look at the real needs for our area.

Oh, maybe all this planning is from people who don’t live here and see the real needs? Who knows, but it is time to get some needy things done and not waste money.

Judy Yost
Parkrose Heights


Ensuring safe, healthy living environments for seniors

To the Editor:

A woman who cannot digest beef, instead receives a thin cheese sandwich on moldy bread. A woman lies on urine soaked sheets, her call light for help ignored. An 83-year-old man cries that he has been kidnapped and just wants to go home. A woman in an Alzheimer’s facility is constantly attacked by her roommate.

In the past year as a Certified Long-Term Care Ombudsman volunteer for the state of Oregon, I have tackled all of those issues and more.

In almost 40 years as a print journalist, I thought I had experienced everything, but what I have seen in nursing homes, residential care homes, assisted living facilities and adult foster care homes just makes me wish I had volunteered sooner.

I know now that the treatment my late mother-in-law received, from being over-medicated to the theft of her favorite afghan, did not have to happen.

I want to ensure that everyone’s mothers, fathers, siblings and in-laws live the lives they deserve. It is a shock for many to move from their homes to a new life that might just be a room with a bed. That is why I volunteered to become an ombudsman.

Just what is an ombudsman? I am asked that question many times by the residents of the facilities I visit.

“I am here to help you with any problems or concerns who have with your care,” I tell them. “I do not work for the facility. I work for you.”

The vision of Oregon’s long-term care ombudsman is that residents of these facilities “should enjoy freedom from abuse and neglect and the freedom to make choices about their care.”

The mission of the office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman is to “enhance the quality of life, improve the level of care, protect the individual’s rights and promote the dignity of each Oregon citizen residing in a long-term care facility.”

It is my job to listen to the residents and do my best to ensure their issue is resolved.

Sometimes I simply talk to the facility’s administrator to resolve the issue. If the issue is serious enough, I might ask Deputy State Ombudsman David Berger—my direct supervisor in Multnomah County—to notify the state of Oregon licensing office which has the authority to fine facilities that do not provide proper care. Sometimes I refer the issue to the Adult Protection Services if it is a suspected case or neglect.

A myriad of facilities have popped up in the past 20 years to care for our growing elderly population.

That is where volunteers like me come in. There are not enough of us to cover every facility, especially in east Multnomah County.

I have responsibility for a nursing home, two residential care homes and an assisted living/Alzheimer’s facility, plus about a dozen adult foster care homes.
I am also on call to assist in facilities that do not have an assigned ombudsman.

The state office of the Oregon Long-Term Care Ombudsman, headed by Mary Jaeger with the support of seven Deputy State Ombudsmen covering the entire state, does its best to ensure residents of all facilities know they can rely on the office for help.

We are spread pretty thin. We need more volunteers.

If you have five hours extra each week to give back to your community and you care about the treatment of the elderly, we can use you. Visit or call 1-800-522-2602 to learn about how you can become part of a great team helping ensure our elderly can live the life they deserve. Or give me a call at 503-333-6012, and I will tell you more about how rewarding it is for me to tackle the problems and concerns I receive.

A smile on the face on someone I have helped is the best reward possible.

Lloyd Woods