P-TOWN BEAT DOWNS
DEAR MERCURY—In 1986 I was a freshman at Benson High. On the way home from school one day I got thrown backwards as I was taking a drink from a fountain.
"Yo, motherfucker, you be steppin' on my shoe!" said a large black man dressed in red. "I'm sorry!" I yelled as he pushed me into the corner of a building. "There ain't no sorrys in this game," he said, right before he broke my nose. Needless to say, I take incidents like the two women assaulted on Williams last week personally ["Bicyclists Attacked," News, Jan 18]. With God and the editorial staff of the Portland Mercury as my witnesses, I swear that I will not sit by and watch as people in my hometown become victims of random acts of violence.
THE TRAM SHAM
DEAR MERCURY—In response to your tram-praising article in the Mercury ["Such Great Heights," Feature, Jan 25], you seem to paint this boondoggle of a project in a little too rosy of a glow. If by using the tram project as an example of how business should be done in Portland, where it's common practice to steamroll over citizens' rights for money, you create a very bleak view of the future.
URBAN ARMAGEDDONDEAR AMY JENNIGES—From all of your overly long opinion pieces thinly garbed as journalistic articles, in which you cheerlead mega projects designed to cram consistently more people into Portland every year, coupled with your ongoing cry for Portland to "grow up," I can't help but wonder if you're on the payroll of the Regional Economic Development Partners or the PDC ["Such Great Heights," Feature, Jan 25]. For the Portland region to become a better place to live, we need to draw our population, consumption, and footprints down to within the carrying capacity of the area's limited and ailing resources. Scott
THE WINDY SHITTY
DEAR MERCURY—As someone who moved to Portland from Chicago because it is such a marvelous, accessible, livable city, it saddens me when people suffer from it being such a "backwater" ["Such Great Heights," Feature, Jan 25]. If you're looking for tall buildings, I recommend Chicago. You'll also find bumper-to-bumper traffic, people who place beat-up kitchen chairs on the street to save the space they've shoveled out from the most recent blizzard, suburbanites who avoid the city's cultural amenities because it costs over $20 to park downtown, and throwing money into buckets as you drive.
STANDING IN DITCHES
AMY, AMY, AMY—This weird bitch slapping of Neighborhood Associations kick you're on... I don't get it ["Such Great Heights," Feature, Jan 25]. I rode the tram on Saturday and, yeah, cool views. But Thursday I was coming home from a class on Powell at 99th, and there's no sidewalks and, to wait for the bus, you stand pretty much in a friggin' ditch. It's not that four-story mixed-use buildings always send us neighborhood folks scrambling for pitchforks and torches. It's about PLANNING and talking about how this all comes together in a way that's affordable and fair, and [so that] some citizens aren't flying high at the expense of those left standing in ditches.
DEAR EDITOR—Amy Jenniges' recent article was the best article that has been written so far about the tram ["Such Great Heights," Feature, Jan 25]. However, I don't totally agree with the subtitle, which read: "Portland's New Tram Could Be Just What Portland Needs to Grow Up." What Portland really needs to grow up is to take Amy's advice: Stop looking nostalgically backward to the '70s, abandon a complacency that believes the city has already reached her prime, listen to the newcomers (and the young who were born here), and above all, let them participate in shaping the "grand plans and big ideas for this place." Amy's spunk is contagious!Jim Francesconi
CONGRATULATIONS TO JIM for stepping in to encourage Portland to be ambitious and inspired—we knew we liked that guy. (BTW, we're making "Amy's Spunk is Contagious!" T-shirts. Only 10 bucks!) Our pal Jim gets two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch for two at No Fish! Go Fish!, where they have grand plans and big ideas for soup and fish-shaped sandwiches.