The Mid-county Memo is your newspaper. We want to hear from you. Discuss an important issue, respond to a request for comment or address a concern you want to call to the attention of the community. Letters to the editor are edited for space, style, grammar and issues of clarity. Please include your full name and identify the neighborhood in which you reside. We prefer e-mailed letters to the editor sent to Darlene Vinson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put “Letter to the editor” in the subject line. You may also mail your letter to 3510 N.E. 134th Ave., Portland, OR 97230. Deadline for the April issue is Wednesday, March 15.
Wilkes resident has different perspective
To the Editor:
I just read the article “Questionable Decision Disrupts Neighborhood” in the February Mid-County Memo. Perhaps if Mr. Curran had to access the downslope of Northeast 148th on a regular basis, he might have a different perspective. For those of us living on the east side of 148th, the increasing volume of traffic, speed and visualization at the slope of 148th are an ongoing concern that would only be accentuated by opening the Castlegate area to 148th.
Fred W. Troutman
Portland deserves a better transportation bureau
To the Editor:
I’m writing in response to your articles in the February issue of the Mid-county Memo regarding Portland’s somewhat weak Vision Zero Plan (“Vision Zero: Plan for a safer Portland or hope trafficking?”) and the “Bias affects decision-making process” article where you used my neighborhood’s struggles (Argay Terrace) with PBOT as a case study as to why PBOT may not be up to the challenge of the Vision Zero goal.
You are right on target as far as Portland’s Vision Zero version is concerned—it should be called “Vision Zero Lite” when compared to the enforcement-heavy and capital expenditure-rich plans which have succeeded in other jurisdictions. (I’ve done research; maybe PBOT should have, too.) But even if the successful approaches used by others were to be applied here, is PBOT up to the job?
I think the experience of my neighborhood suggests it is not.
The story is familiar to those who read the Memo, and it shows how PBOT does business: certainly, not the way its burgeoning public relations department wants the public to see it. Everyone has an opinion on whether it was a simple mistake or an intentional one.
PBOT decided to route all traffic from a new apartment complex through one mile of neighborhood streets instead of directly to the arterial on the east edge of the apartment site without doing any study of the impact to the safety of all those families on all our streets.
When flooded with data and asked to review all the reports and reverse the decision, PBOT announces the decision is final and will not be reviewed. However, PBOT then secretly reviews the decision and fights to prevent the review from becoming public.
Refusals to review the safety of a decision; no independent review process; secret reviews and hidden reports; no study of how traffic routing impacts neighborhood safety; promises to work with the neighborhood, while decisions are made and finalized as the neighbors ask to meet with officials.
With a track record like this, can PBOT be trusted with Portland residents’ safety?
You may say, “So what, that’s one decision and one neighborhood? It didn’t happen to me!”
Are you sure? Would you know if it did? Maybe it has; maybe it will. Do you really know?
What happened to Argay Terrace is a real-life example. It may be unique, or it may be one of many, now, in the past, and in the future. If you didn’t hear anything about this, it wasn’t for lack of trying. We’ve tried to get all three major print publications in Portland and our four local TV stations to take on the story. They won’t.
Thank you, Mid-county Memo, for having the courage and integrity to do so.
Land Use Chair Argay Terrace Neighborhood Association
Crosswalk needed at 107th and Sandy
To the Editor:
Thank you for your newspaper’s excellent reporting. It’s one of the highlights of my month to see it in the mailbox (geeky, I know!). Anyway, I am writing to draw attention to a dangerous pedestrian crossing. Sandy Boulevard needs a crosswalk at Northeast 107th Avenue so folks can cross from where all the houses are (south of Sandy) to the bus stop, hardware store and grocery store (north of Sandy). Right now you pretty much have to risk your life to “Frogger” across the street lane by lane. I would encourage any readers that have a hard time crossing in that area to write ODOT, which oversees Sandy Boulevard. The more voices they hear about improving safety for pedestrians there, the more they’ll be compelled to fix the problem before somebody gets hit by a car. They can be reached by Googling “Ask ODOT” or calling 1-888-Ask-ODOT.
Parkrose voter urges all residents to pay attention to results
To the Editor:
I very much enjoy receiving and reading the Memo, both online and in hard copy.
Considering your recent article regarding PBOT and your article “Bias affects decision-making process” (MCM Feb. 2017), I have another question.
Does anyone actually oversee who can dig up a street? Don’t permits need to be issued, and are they ever denied? Logically, notices should be posted on and/or sent to any streets that are to be repaved, and utility work and the like would have to be done prior to it happening, or permits would not be issued for a certain time.
I have lived in Parkrose since 1964 and have not seen this happen. Anyone who drives the same routes can tell you that the paving repairs do not hold up and it is the first area that breaking down occurs and potholes appear. I’ve seen this happen repeatedly.
Also, back when we were annexed to the city of Portland, we were required to hook into their sewer system. The contractor who installed the line on Beech Street in front of my house did not put the proper grade back on the street when they finished. Thank goodness, I live on the “high” side, but neighbors on the “low” side have a constant problem with water in basements, garages, etc. Sometimes the city has put out sandbags, and with lots of calls and prodding, they eventually put a low asphalt berm in to deflect the water flow.
I realize it will take a lot of time and work for Parkrose to return to the desirable location it has been, but being that we are officially part of Portland, wouldn’t it be nice to have the commissioners work for all the city and not just spend our tax dollars on their pet projects?
I, for one, will be carefully scrutinizing all candidates come re-election time and hope all citizens will too.
Vision Zero: Who will make it happen?
To the Editor:
I’m writing in response to Mr. Curran’s article about Portland’s Vision Zero plan. His article raises important points about how the plan will be implemented. Mr. Curran hit the proverbial nail on the head in that regard.
I have an interest in pedestrian safety. On Dec. 17, 2013, my wife, Vijay Dalton-Gibson, was struck and killed in a marked pedestrian crosswalk at Northeast 117th Avenue and Glisan Street. She was coming home from the grocery store. It was a clear, sunny day. The “accident” happened at about 3 p.m., according to the police report. I miss her every day.
I was pleased when the Portland City Council adopted the Vision Zero plan. I’ve reviewed it. A good portion of the plan involves improved interagency cooperation—translation: government agencies doing a better job of communicating with one another.
I have submitted letters and provided testimony to a number of government agencies. For example, the Oregon Department of Transportation has been working on a statewide Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian plan. I wrote to them. The Portland Planning Commission has developed a plan for Northeast Halsey Street. I testified about pedestrian safety. I’ve also been in contact with the Portland Bureau of Transportation. These agencies were very responsive.
There is now a lighted pedestrian signal at Northeast 117th Avenue and Glisan Street. Before it was completed, another woman was struck and killed in the same crosswalk.
I also wrote to our new Multnomah County Commissioner, Jessica Vega Pederson, when she was the state representative in my district. I received no response—not even a form letter.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has funded studies on the challenge of improving pedestrian safety. There are two, NHTSA 811786 (Gainesville, Florida) and NHTSA 812286 (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) that spell out what is effective. It boils down to education and improved enforcement. This is not rocket science. Besides, the rules about pedestrian safety are clearly spelled out in the Oregon Driver’s Manual. Unfortunately, they are ignored because they are not enforced.
Still, the bottom line is how does enforcement happen and who pays for it? Allow me to draw an analogy. When seatbelt laws were first enacted, I was skeptical. How is this going to work? Law enforcement found that enforcing seatbelt law was pretty straightforward. Drivers received citations and had to pay fines. They didn’t like it. It was cheaper to buckle up. There were extensive public information campaigns. Does anyone remember the “buckle up for safety” slogan?
Pedestrian safety will be tougher to enforce. I appreciate Mr. Curran’s article. After Portland adopted Vision Zero, my question was, “Okay, who is responsible for making this happen?” We still don’t know yet. Keep digging, Mr. Curran.