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 will always be 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 January issue is Saturday, Dec. 15.
Wilkes residents on Castlegate access
To the Editor:
I live across the street from Castlegate on Northeast 148th Avenue. In the 13 years I’ve lived here, the number of cars has increased exponentially, making it dangerously difficult to enter 148th Avenue from either Rose Parkway or Siskiyou Court.
I advocated several months ago for a speed limit sign (there was none) at Northeast 148th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard, and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) obliged by installing a 35-mile-per-hour sign after their inspection and analysis. This was due to diligence and persistence on my part through North Precinct meetings. That was a first step to slow down traffic. Now enforcement must take place before any further traffic impact is generated from access to 148th Avenue by Castlegate residents.
It’s one thing to lower speed limits, but without enforcement, very few safety measures will take place. We already have a 30-mile-per-hour speed limit sign and yellow caution lights at the blind hill near Rose Parkway, to which motorists pay no attention. There was a hit-and-run crash there not long ago, and several other accidents have happened over the years. I can only imagine what might happen with the increased traffic at that point by Castlegate residents trying to access 148th Avenue.
I, for one, will not advocate for access without a traffic signal or extreme measures to improve the line of sight and enforce speed limits.
Publisher’s note: According to Portland Bureau of Transportation’s map of Portland traffic injuries and death, there have been zero crashes at any of the three intersections adjacent to where a Castlegate Apartments entrance would be—148th Place, Rose Parkway and Stanton Court—on Northeast 148th Avenue. The map is supplied with data from the Oregon Department of Transportation and Portland Police Bureau.
To the Editor:
The Mid-county Memo has issued reports favoring the street connection from the Castlegate apartment complex to 148th Avenue and blames government bureaucrats for not allowing it. Your November editor’s note states that “since residents cannot depend on bureaucrats who live in their neighborhoods to make these consequential decisions, they must depend on technicians and experts to make decisions based on facts, logic and precedent rather than their political motivations and biases. Decisions made by people who not only don’t live in the neighborhood but also are here today and gone tomorrow have long-lasting and expensive impacts for Portland taxpayers.”
I beg to differ on this. I am a resident and a HOA board member of the Jasper Heights condominium located in the Wilkes neighborhood. Our 75-unit complex borders 148th Avenue on the east side and is across from the Castlegate Apartments. The street we use to access 148th Avenue is our only option—as it is for the Rivercliff Estates condo complex to our north, homes to the south and the Parkrose Chateau retirement community on the west side of 148th Avenue. Your comments are not based on experience of using 148th Avenue but on the livability of the Argay neighborhood. One only has to come down and park on Rose Parkway and observe the street for a short time to know how dangerous this part of 148th Avenue is. Unfortunately, readers may read your paper and trust the information to be accurate.
In this case, the engineers of the PBOT were smart enough to know this was a bad idea. Perhaps it would make sense if 148th Avenue were designed to accommodate this, but it is not. You have a street once in the country, so to speak, now being used as a main arterial to travel north to south and vice versa. Hundreds of cars and trucks travel the street on a daily basis. They are not going 30 miles an hour, as the blinking light suggests, but speeds of 50 are common. I know this because I live here and access 148th Avenue almost daily. It’s very dangerous for us to enter 148th Avenue where there’s a crest and cars can’t be seen until very close. One of our residents was hit while trying to enter 148th Avenue and was fortunate to survive the crash. Visibility would be too poor for the Castlegate Apartment residents to turn north coming out of the complex onto 148th Avenue. Yes, the developer was offering $200,000 to improve the street. Really? What would they do with that pocket change? Perhaps they could add a small street entrance with some signs …
I understand Argay [Terrace] neighborhood concerns. There should be access to the apartment complex from both sides. One on the Argay side and one on the 148th Avenue side—but only after street safety is addressed. They will have to put a lot of resources into this. Perhaps if the city were to require that streets were able to handle the traffic of new development before allowing it, then this discussion would not be occurring.
Publisher’s note: Two traffic studies regarding the safety of Castlegate Apartments accessing 148th Avenue were conducted by two PBOT engineers. They came to two different conclusions. The first, using standards PBOT regularly uses, said it is safe to open the apartment development to Northeast 148th Avenue. The second, using standards not usually used by PBOT, concluded it was not safe. In addition, the $200,000 figure to fix Northeast 148th Avenue at that location came from the PBOT engineer who denied opening Castlegate to 148th Ave.
Leave 82nd Avenue alone
To the Editor:
Regarding your November article, “82nd needs millions in improvements before city accepts ownership,” I was distressed and upset that some local folks still don’t get it, specifically Brian Wong. He states at the end of the article his real objective for 82nd Avenue is turning it into a “street” from the highway it already is, catering to people over cars. Is Wong a former PBOT employee? Mr. Wong, you’re wrong.
Does Wong have any clue how 82nd Avenue is an important secondary [traffic] relief route from the obsolete, clogged-up I-205? People moving here from every state in the country aren’t arriving by bus or bicycle; they’re driving cars and trucks. Be it gasoline, diesel, hybrid, electric or engines converted to run on filtered cooking oil, Portland commuters have overwhelmingly rejected mass transit as a primary means of transportation, period. Every mayor and city hall going back to Neil Goldschmidt have refused to accept the will of city taxpayers.
Our current mayor and useless city council unanimously voted for adding even more unwanted light rail on the west side, destroying another major secondary route (Barbur Boulevard) from the obsolete, clogged-up I-5. These so-called “visionaries” are nothing more than clueless wonders who hold the public’s desires in contempt. When my finances improve, I’m moving to a city that has a pro-car mayor and some common sense.