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The Mid-county Memo is your newspaper. We want to hear from you. Discuss an important issue or address a concern you want to call to the attention of the community. We prefer e-mailed letters to the editor sent to Darlene Vinson at 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 or fax it to 503-249-7672. Deadline for the October issue is Monday, Sept. 16.

Mr. Gardner speaks in turn

To the Editor:

I am sorry Mr. Spota had to wait so long for my response to his letter. (Letters to the Editor-July 2013: Getting in the last word … maybe) I was so busy with community activities, exchange students and raising money for Parkrose students and their activities I had no time to respond.

Mr. Spota I fear you are going to continue to be disappointed. As a citizen of Parkrose, it is my right-no, my DUTY--to monitor what is going on with the district. I intend to continue to report on any and all things I feel are inappropriate or questionable. I only wish you and others like you would fulfill your duties as citizens. Apparently you are satisfied just being a resident.

Yes I did lose this school board election. Understand, Mr. Spota that does not mean I will not continue to be active in the many Parkrose associations I belong to. Just because my children are grown, does not mean I should not care about the children of Parkrose, how the children are taught and how my tax dollars are spent to accomplish this goal. I am not able to close my eyes and walk away from waste and inequities that I see, as you apparently do.

I hope that in the future, you will become a citizen of Parkrose and take your duties more seriously. Then I may see you at a school board meeting, Parkrose Neighborhood Association meeting, Historic Parkrose networking event, Lions Club activity or any of the many other Parkrose organizations available to you. Please come and introduce yourself.

Mark Gardner
Parkrose citizen


New Menlo Park Plaza redemption center raises concerns

To the Editor:

First, thank you for this great community newspaper.

This is an open letter to Portland Police Chief Mike Reese and city leaders:

Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative's application for a bottle and can redemption center at Menlo Park Plaza was submitted to the city of Portland on March 8, 2013. Senior Planner Jean M. Hester approved it the same day (“East Portland redemption center opens July” June 2013 Mid-county Business Memos).

To me, this seems like a rather swift approval for such a dramatic community landscape-changing event.

The application indicates Senator Rod Monroe and Representative Jessica Vega Pederson were “notified.”

Obviously, all government officials involved have no idea what surrounds Menlo Park Plaza. The aerial map accompanying the application tells no story. However, it locates approximately 35 beer, pop, and liquid container distributors within the area, including two WinCo Foods locations, a Safeway and Fred Meyer, all major food retailers.

What is not indicated on that map is:

o The huge increase in vehicle, foot and bicycle traffic when this redemption center opens; in part, this is where Portland Police Chief Reese comes in.

o The huge increase of transitional, homeless, and criminally inclined people converging in our area; the neighborhood is ill equipped to accommodate them safely-especially so close to a school.

o Menlo Park Elementary School at 12900 N.E. Glisan St., including the grounds, entrance and driver safety zone that extends west toward 122nd Avenue. Students, parent vehicles and school buses heading to and from the school blanket the area.

o The high level of traffic congestion along Northeast 122nd Avenue during peak hours in the morning and afternoon; especially when MAX trains run along East Burnside St, the next traffic signal to the south.

o An above average number of incidents of vehicle on vehicle and vehicle/pedestrian accidents occur at the intersection of Northeast 122nd Avenue and Glisan Street. In recent years, this intersection has been one of the top accident producing intersections in east Portland.

o The high level of vehicle traffic on 122nd Avenue forces people to take side streets. To avoid the congestion, vehicles drive north on 125th Avenue from Glisan Street, and then zag to 126th, and then back onto Halsey St.; the opposite for people traveling south from Halsey to Glisan streets. This is a residential community with a high number of physical rehabilitation, retirement and elder care facilities.

o Just east of 122nd Avenue, Holladay Place is a straight drag strip with no crossing side streets until 125th Avenue, which is a hazardous T intersection. A few years ago, I did look into installation of speed bumps on Holladay Place and 125th or 126th Avenue. However, there is no way this low income community could afford such an expense through a local improvement district.

I know a security officer who patrols the WinCo parking lot on Northeast 122nd Avenue and San Rafael Street. When we chat, he updates me on the most recent crop of stolen vehicles found dumped in their lot. A few days ago, when I confirmed the WinCo bottle return facility is closing, he said “Yes! Thank God!” I told him it was relocating close to my home and the nearby elementary school. He got very quiet.

So folks, the ball is in your court.

Do we protect our neighborhoods and schools or not?

Sure, grocery retailers want to cut overhead and security costs (Gateway Fred Meyer has its own mini-police station), clean-up their problems and costs by passing them along to us!

I can envision the trail of trash back and forth, and the scores of untrustowrthy, bicycle riding bottle-collectors, who will saunter, loiter, and meander around the place. As usual, none will show any regard for community members who live here.

What if estimates on redemption numbers are low?

Will speeding drivers and angry transients take out long waiting line frustrations on us? The application protects “thirty plus parking spaces” to serve the redemption center.

What about seniors who need to use the nearby Walgreen's?

How will Staples be impacted?

How did OBRC get this through so easily?

I wonder … I never received any notice for a hearing for such a community-impacting event.

None of my neighbors did either.

Chief, Mr. Mayor, commissioners, your credibility is on the line.

George Stevenson
Menlo Park Plaza neighbor

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