To the Editor,

Midge Pierce’s article in the January 2020 issue of The SE Examiner, Council Wrestles Over Contentious Code and Infill Proposals, covering the City’s code change proposal tries to pass as a piece of journalism, but in reality it is a polemic promoting one point of view. 

Ironically, her attitudes underscore exactly why we need the code change. While Pierce gives voice to the neighborhood associations opposed to the code change, people of color and others remain voiceless.

Pierce freely quotes anonymous “critics” of the code change but never represents people with a different viewpoint. This is most telling when she talks about the invited guests at the City Council meeting: these were folks representing people of color and immigrant communities and others who cogently explained why they too want a seat at the table. 

Does Pierce quote or summarize their views? No. Instead she complains that Commissioner Eudaly “ran out the clock” by allowing them to speak. 

Astoundingly, Pierce considers that the very people who want more access are simply taking up important time that should be given instead to Pierce’s anti-code-change allies.

Similarly, Pierce claims that opponents of the code change are being shamed by being asked to come to grips with past racist practices like redlining. In fact, people of color feel that land use, transportation, gentrification, equity, affordability and access are current issues, not simply past history. Likewise, redressing past wrongs is a responsibility we should step up to accept, not dismiss as shaming.

These attitudes are exactly why communities of color and others want to broaden and renew this ossified system. With all the Black Lives Matter signs in SE Portland, perhaps we should add that Black Voices Matter too.

I hope that The Southeast Examiner provides more thorough and thoughtful examination of these important issues.

Peter Miller

Editor’s note: Letters to the Editor should be less than 300 words and The SE Examiner reserves the right to edit them for length or content. Email examiner@seportland.news.