RE: "One Small Step" [News, Aug 20], regarding the idea of erecting tiny houses as a potential solution to homelessness.
DEAR MERCURY—I'm glad to see climate change as a major issue in local politics, even unnamed. I would love to see more, and more deeply reported, stories working from that premise.
DEAR MERCURY—One should be skeptical of any housing plan for the homeless introduced by a mayor who has never once, that I've seen, been remotely involved in actually getting to know the homeless on these streets, and who is practically best friends with the landlord association. What about converting a warehouse-like structure into a large room full of bunk beds? It may seem like a recipe for disaster, accommodating so many in one space, but my experience has led me to [believe] that people are products of their environment, and in a humane living situation tend to share with each other and get along. It happens every night in countless missions across the country—only difference is that missions subject grown men to curfews, enforced chapel services, all-day lines, and disrespect.
RE: "The Complex Audience" [Agenda arts guide, Fall 2014], by Suzi Steffen.
TO THE EDITOR—We've gotta start somewhere. And so I applaud that you gave space and assigned a top-shelf writer to cover the shifting landscape of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the Portland theater scene in your Agenda magazine. But while the piece provides good context for the conversation around racial diversity on Portland theater stages, it does nothing to broaden that conversation, as its subtitle suggests, to address all "diversity in Portland theater—onstage and off." Nowhere does the piece address gender or LGBT status. There is scant mention of socioeconomic diversity. And sadly, once more, artists and audiences with disabilities—such as the ones served by PHAME, Disability Art and Culture Project, Wobbly Dance, and many more organizations—are absolutely left out of the conversation. People with disabilities are far too often invisible, unrecognized, and left behind. As a paper concerned with covering all of Portland, I challenge the Mercury to examine, in this and all news and cultural coverage, how it too—just like Portland's arts groups—can become more inclusive and diverse and equitable in its editorial work, including the voices of all marginalized and minority communities.
Stephen Marc Beaudoin
RE: One Day at a Time [Aug 27], the weekly roundup of news and gossip, and Everything as Fuck, our weekly column by comedian Ian Karmel.
[ANN] ROMANO—I truly have loved your column for a long time, even though quite frankly I am not "culturally aware" enough to know whom you are lampooning. I did not know, for example, who Justin Bieber was until I read about him in your column. My point here is this: When you venture into areas involving politics, i.e., relationships of power in our society, as expressed in occurrences such as the Michael Brown killing, you are out of your element, and as such, come across as a buffoon. I would suggest that you stick to your beat, and leverage your obvious talent: making fun of our culture apes.
My mom just moved in with us from Arizona. This morning she was reading Ann Romano's column from the week of August 27. I had expected the language in your paper to be a bit much for a woman born in 1928, so I was happy she was enjoying it. Then, as she was reading on, she gleefully said, "I LOVE this! Everything as FUCK!! It's an ARTICLE!" Thank you, Mercury, for helping me to realize [we're] going to get along just fine.
Allison Walker Payne
RE: "Ask a Soiled Mattress Down by the River" [New Column!, Aug 6], the brief reappearance of an old Mercury classic.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN—PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE bring back the Soiled Mattress Down by the River!!!!! I can't survive on One Day at a Time alone! Please tell [me] this is a possibility!
WE'RE GLAD you appreciate our Soiled Mattress, Alex! For some reason, not everyone does—baffling, right? Your kind words won you this week's Mercury letter of the week, with two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and, if you're lucky, maybe Soiled will write again!