Editor’s note: Letters to the Editor should be less than 300 words. The Southeast Examiner reserves the right to edit letters for length or content. Submissions are not guaranteed to be published.

To the Editor:

With far fewer cars using our streets, I’ve been excited about how neighbors in SE Portland have taken over this public space and switched it from “car use” to “people use.”

Not just using the streets to walk or jog (our sidewalks being too narrow to pass and maintain social distancing), but more fun, quirky and socially-connected uses, too.

My own street, Mill St., is having weekly, socially-distant happy hours (10+ ft apart) in the street. Harrison has seen hula hooping in the street. The Unipiper has been spotted on the Clinton Neighborhood Greenway.

Some neighbors have been turning the Lincoln Greenway into a block party where kids can get their energy out in the street.

All of these have coexisted with car, delivery and bike traffic, which are moving at a respectable and safe speeds.

As things move back to the new normal, I hope that our streets don’t go back to the “old normal” with speeding cars and cut-through traffic but stay more of a community asset for our neighbors to share with cars.

Brighton West, Inner Southeast Action

___________________________________________________________________________________

To the Editor:

In the midst of this public health emergency, I am writing to call attention to the ongoing use of gas-powered leaf blowers on our neighborhood streets. The COVID-19 virus can result in severe respiratory problems.

Leaf blowers pollute our air with gasoline, oil, carbon monoxide, pesticides, fungicides and dried fecal matter (see quietcleanpdx.org). We should not be having to breathe this airborne pollution in the best of times, but certainly not during a respiratory-affecting pandemic.

The egregious noise emitted by these machines also interferes with communication, sleep, peace of mind, and work. Many of us are now working from home. Recognizing your generous thought to keep small lawn care companies afloat, please consider asking them to refrain from leaf blowing for the sake of public health and well-being.

Jerry Deckelbaum

___________________________________________________________________________________

To the Editor:

If you’ve been in town for a while have you thought that Portland isn’t working very well for you anymore?

In the last decade the cost of living has nearly doubled–rents, fees, utilities bills and property taxes have become unsustainable for more residents every year while Portland’s livability has rapidly deteriorated.

After three and a half-years of Mayor Ted Wheeler, it’s worse than ever. Ted’s decisions to increase taxes and fees makes it more expensive to live in Portland every year–ironically increasing homelessness and increasing Portland’s affordable housing deficit to 48,000 units which is opposite his stated goal.

It’s time for radical and new leadership. As an independent thinker with 27 years of business and civic experience in Portland, I am in a position and motivated to find solutions to improve livability.

I have worked as a School Psychologist, a SE Portland coffeeshop owner/operator, a developer of multi-family housing, a board member of Sequential Biofuels of Oregon, a Trustee of Pioneer Courthouse Square and as a supporter of the arts.

Please consider voting for me in the Primary and not hand Ted a free pass to another four years.

Randy Rapaport, Candidate for Portland Mayor

___________________________________________________________________________________

To the Editor:

I keep hearing people talking about “non-essential” workers and “non-essential” jobs. I’m curious, as a small business owner for 18 years and dying a slow and steady death, what makes a business “essential?”

Front line workers are obviously important, even critical, but isn’t the income of a father or mother who has a family (or not) whose livelihoods depend on these incomes critical? Are their incomes not essential, critical?

If we cannot pay our bills, we won’t survive and die an economic death. At what point do we say enough is enough? Is this the death of “Liberty and justice for all?”

What is the ultimate price of an economic death? I believe we can reopen our businesses smartly and safely. Governor Brown said, “We have to be careful, but we cannot stand still.” Yet, our politicians (who are being paid) are standing still and watching a slow but certain economic death to many more Oregonians than those affected by the coronavirus.

Let’s all be on the same playing field. No one earns an income until we are past this virus. I bet many “essential” workers would disagree. So, in the meantime, the non-essential people and businesses perish.

We are on the Titanic. While first class passengers float safely in life rafts, I watch many passengers fall to the icy waters to a certain death while I wait my turn!

I’m very curious as a business owner to know, “What is an “essential worker?” and an “essential business?” and who has the authority to decide?

Kim Beeler