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May 14th, 2014 WW Editorial Staff | Letters to the Editor
 

Inbox: Making Our Streets Safer

     
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While Willamette Week accurately notes that the number of pedestrian fatalities has remained static in recent years, this does not address the root issue that explains the need for increased revenue [“Road Worriers,” WW, May 7, 2014].

Oregon Walks believes that even a single fatality on our public streets is unacceptable, and the city of Portland must prioritize investment in safety on our neighborhood streets.

Collisions between drivers and pedestrians are increasingly concentrated in areas with many minority, low-income, young and elderly residents; our public right of way has been designed in a way that systemically puts these users at risk. Since January 2013, 11 of 16 pedestrians struck and killed by automobiles in Portland were walking on streets east of 82nd Avenue.

We applaud the ongoing efforts of City Commissioner Steve Novick, Portland Bureau of Transportation director Leah Treat and the dozens of organizations that signed our Vision Zero letter supporting the efforts of the city to fundamentally rethink street design, investment priorities and traffic enforcement to eliminate fatalities from our community

Because the street fee is inherently regressive in nature, placing much of the burden on working families, Oregon Walks hopes to see a higher percentage of this funding go directly to safety measures in these neighborhoods.

We are encouraged by the city’s leadership in searching for a solution that will save lives on our streets, and believe this is indeed a crisis in need of thoughtful leadership and funding to support its implementation.

Aaron Brown
Board president, Oregon Walks


OREGON’S JUVENILE OFFENDERS

Despite the note that we shouldn’t generalize from Donald Anthony Beckwith’s story, the lesson we’re supposed to take away from the anecdote is obvious: that incarceration turned his life around and allowed him to get some education and professional skills [“Spare the Jail, Spoil the Child?,” WW, May 7, 2014].

Which, for an article that trumpets focusing on the statistics, is a pretty disingenuous little dodge around the data. It’s well-established that kids who get incarcerated have vastly higher recidivism rates than ones who enter diversion programs, and incarceration is more expensive.

So you think we’ve got a problem with high juvenile justice spending and high crime rates, and your solution is to throw more youth in jail?

Now you’re spending even more money to turn more kids into repeat offenders.

—“dh”


MULTNOMAH COUNTY’S FARMER

At first I thought, “$56,000 a year to run a small plot of land?” [“Back to the Garden,” WW, May 7, 2014.] Well, I read the rest of the story and find that Jerry Hunter supervises court-ordered work details as well as coordinates education programs on farming.

He’s underpaid for what he does. And we get real food given to nonprofits.

This might be the most useful government employee out there.

—“John Retzlaff”


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR must include the author’s street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words.
Submit to: 2220 NW Quimby St., Portland, OR 97210.
Fax: (503) 243-1115. Email: mzusman@wweek.com.

 
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