THAT NAME AGAIN IS MR. PLOW
RE: “Hope You Like Being Cold!” [Blogtown, Dec 16], Senior Editor Ned Lannamann’s post about Portland’s repeated failure to deal with any snowfall whatsoever. “Since financial reasons make it difficult for the city to invest in a larger fleet of snow plows, I wonder if there might be another possible solution: Some sort of program in which PBOT or ODOT incentivizes businesses and private citizens who already drive trucks—contractors, tow-truck drivers, garbage collectors—to invest in attachable plows for the front of their vehicles,” wrote Lannamann. “These truck drivers could then be contracted, in large numbers and at a very good price, to quickly clear our smaller streets right as the snow hits the ground.”
People all over New England make money every year driving their private vehicles around to plow private roads and parking lots. But I’d guess having PBOT coordinate such a fleet on public roads opens a huge can of worms for liability and coordination.
They did this in Juneau, Alaska when I lived there a while back. Not sure how it was managed by the city, but those people sure loved to plow the roads. Seemed like everyone had a beat-up old 4x4 with a big plow in front and a bunch of sand in the back. I guess you had to use a beater because the plowing would torque the frame and screw up the alignment. At any rate, they sure kept the roads clear.
Ned, relax a bit. The snow and ice will melt. There are larger cities than Portland that do not plow/sand side streets until days after a major snow storm, and those cities hardly grind to a halt. It’s all about being used to traveling in the conditions, which people around Portland simply are not. Have a drink and enjoy the snow.
RE: “The City Knows How to Curb Deaths on Outer Division” [News, Dec 14]. “On outer Southeast Division Street, the traffic violence plays out in a tragic loop,” wrote News Editor Dirk VanderHart, noting repeated fatal crashes in the same spots along the busy Southeast Portland street. PBOT, VanderHart notes, is “planning to install speed cameras at Division and 156th in order to force people to slow down” and “wants to educate the community on road safety.”
PBOT still needs another 10 years of unprecedented pedestrian deaths on the roads before they decide that people not dying is more important than people getting home two minutes faster.
They say they want to install pedestrian medians and crosswalk beacons. They already did that at 156th, and people are still dying there.
PBOT staffers are too busy painting capes and hearts on the bike lane icons in inner Southeast to do anything effective about Southeast Division and 122nd. If it isn’t twee, it isn’t worth funding. Pop-up parks! Street seats! Better Naito! Bike share! Cuter Foster!
Reverend Bite Me
RE: “The Year the Music Died” [Music, Dec 14]. “Among 2016’s many regrettable qualities, this year was a particularly unkind one for musicians,” wrote Music Editor Ciara Dolan and Senior Editor Ned Lannamann, who eulogized Prince, David Bowie, Phife Dawg, Andrew Loomis, and more.
How did you miss Portland’s own Jimmy Boyer? He was a wonderful guitarist and a local institution.
We hear you, brzy. Be sure to check out “Remembering Jimmy Boyer, Legend of Tomorrow” [Blogtown, Feb 8], Josh Jardine’s collection of remembrances from those who knew Boyer.
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
RE: “Rage Against the Machine” [Film, Dec 14], Bobby Roberts’ review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, in which Roberts wrote about the film’s characters—including Galen Erso, the scientist “who perfected the Death Star”—and political context. Rogue One, wrote Roberts, is “a direct prequel to a movie made in response to Nixon’s reign, and it resonates all the more strongly for opening at the dawn of the Trump era.”
Shouldn’t that be “the man who THOUGHT he perfected the Death Star”? Never picked up on the Nixon thing. That puts Darth Vader’s voice in a whole different light.
FOR YOUR BELATED appreciation of what the fascists of Star Wars have in common with America’s proud leaders, AlaskanNow, we’re giving you the Mercury’s letter of the week—and two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, so you can see Rogue One and realize Galen Erso did perfect the Death Star... from a certain point of view.
DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS: In last week’s feature story, “The Original Portland Challenger” [Feature, Dec 14], we wrote that the Oregonian had rescinded a previous policy that barred the use of sports team names derogatory to Native Americans. The Oregonian’s director of news, Therese Bottomly, has informed the Mercury that this policy still stands.
Letters and comments may be edited for space. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.