DEAR MERCURY—In your July 21 article "Break Out the Mosquito Nets!" [News], reporter Amanda Waldroupe warns that Portland may face a climate change-induced malaria crisis. Fellow Portlanders may be relieved to learn, then, that we have tons of potent anti-malaria medicine available free of cost here. It's growing on our streets. The root bark of the so-called invasive weed known as Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) contains compounds shown to be antimicrobial, according to a study by the National Institute of Health, and, most interestingly, effective against drug-resistant malaria, according to a study by Washington University in St. Louis. Anyone can make an alcohol extract of the root bark or fruit to cure herself. (I have posted the studies and the recipe on my Portland foraging blog,

-Rebecca Lerner


DEAR SARAH [MIRK]—Thank you for giving publicity to the problems at Milepost 5 ["Mutiny at Milepost 5," News, July 28, regarding disputes between the tenants of the city-supported live-work artist community and its management]. As a tenant with a 12-month lease, I can honestly say that the tensions are not due to "misunderstandings," but rather to "dishonesty and disappointment" related to promises made to us when we moved here. Much of my optimism faded after 100 days without hot water in my work/live space, fumes from neurotoxic primer (KILZ) belching from interior air vents, and asbestos removal on the first floor after living here for nine months. I developed further concerns regarding safety issues after frequently finding outside doors unlocked at night, discovering that two bicycles had [been] stolen, and seeing fire extinguishers still sitting on hallway floors 10 months after moving in. Should tenants have been exposed to these oversights? On-site laundry facilities did not materialize until more than six months after I moved in; a workshop/room that is woefully inadequate and without tools didn't show up until last month; the EAT "theater" is without a real stage/curtains/lighting and suffers from poor acoustics—the EAT restaurant was not open for scheduled food service until June 2011 and is not affordable for low-income artists. Yesterday the final straw was added to the pile; we received notice that our rents and utility bills would increase at the end of our current leases. At this time, some of us have emailed [developers] Brad [Malsin] and Ted [Gilbert] with a request to meet face to face with them to discuss it. Some of my neighbors cannot afford to move and will be saddled with further expenses of rising rent/utility that is a problem for them too. Personally, I have not decided what I will do—I doubt my future will include living at Milepost 5 as part of my professional career path.

-Kate Gibson


DEAR MERCURY—I was curious if you were ever planning on explaining what your paper had been doing to me these last few years in light of the astounding violence [that] has followed the media's "Dave Tracking Project" so far [We have no idea what he's talking about either—Eds.]. Before you ask me to lawyer up and prove why you are all a bunch [of] individually wrapped tumors infecting Portland media, I was wondering if maybe you had some kind of explanation that I could pass along to the families of various victims. What exactly is your malfunction anyway? I got a body count so far this year that is just beyond description and I am wondering why I have to call a group like Amnesty International on the local alt-rag, aside from the assumption that your casual heroin habits simply make you too stupid to understand how many lives you've ruined.

-Your Dad, Dave


TO THE MERCURY VIA VOICEMAIL—Hi, on your PDX Approved Readers' Choice, Portland Mercury edition 2011 [supplement]: On the "My Favorite Grocery Store" heading you neglected to include WinCo stores. W-I-N-C-O. They're the cheapest store in town if you want to buy basic food. It has nothing to do with any brand names or anything, but they have a great selection of produce, meat, fish—anything you can think of—dairy products, frozen food. It's a you-bag-it store, and you just go in there anytime. WinCo: W-I-N-C-O. I'm on Social Security and that's my favorite store, and that's where I've been going to the last 13 to 14 years. Please include that in your next edition. I feel it's been left out. Really left out. Thanks.

CONGRATULATIONS to the Social Security recipient who stood up for WinCo's curious absence from the results of our readers' survey. (Yeah, what's up with that, READERS?) You win two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch at the People's Sandwich of Portland, which takes basic food to a whole 'nother level.


In the 2011 edition of the PDX Approved Readers' Choice supplement, we mistakenly interviewed the management of Hawthorne Liquor Store rather than the survey's winner, 11th Avenue Liquor. Sorry! We were drunk. Also, the article "Mutiny at Milepost 5" [News, July 28] incorrectly stated that Milepost 5's studios building does not have an organic garden. The building did not have a garden when it opened, but has one now.