LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 

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THE FOODIE CIRCUS

RE: "Killer Burger Kills It," Last Supper, March 15, in which Mercury Food Editor Chris Onstad reviews Killer Burger with characteristic literary flair.

Definitely better. Still sort of like a food column version of the Decemberists and MarchFourth Marching Band competing in a turn-of-the-century six-day bicycle race, as scantily clad cigarette girls ply onlookers with their wares and fox terriers dressed as clowns balance various objects on their noses for the amusement of rosy cheeked ragamuffins, though...

-posted by Tommy

PANIC!!!!

RE: "The First Four Minutes," Feature, March 15, in which author Nathan Gilles presents what might happen when a large earthquake hits the relatively unprepared Pacific Northwest, as is widely predicted to happen in the next 50 years.

What amazes me is that in all the gab about liquefaction and bridges burning and buildings falling into the Columbia, et cetera ad mayhem infinitum, no one even mentions the upstream DAMS holding umpteen million cubic feet of water behind them, as if they were made by [the] god of granite, and eternal. It's like they assume all the faults [that] buckle will be on/off the coast. Probably they assume the water will just soak into the riverbank as the dam gives way. My medium worse case scenario (not worst worse case scenario) is that the debris flow from the Bonneville rupturing and giving way will wash away all the rubble from downtown and deposit it conveniently at the mouth of the Columbia, where it can be exported.

-Iolo

Despite the water system's "many" redundancies, it is not likely to survive without major damage. A large enough quake will likely cause severe damage to the dams in the Bull Run Watershed and the conduits carrying the water to town. The backup groundwater system relies on large amounts of electricity to pump water out of the ground and up to Powell Butte, and the well field is located on the Columbia River floodplain, where groundwater is plentiful, but the soils are subject to liquefaction, which could severely damage the collection mains; and the whole area is subject to flooding provided river stage is high enough, the quake takes the levees out, and the drainage district doesn't have power for their pumps. What firefighters may be left with is (1) a very limited amount of water stored in in-town tanks and reservoirs, provided the tanks and the water distribution system piping survive, and (2) whatever they can pump out of the rivers.

-posted by randyzpdx

Reading the article puts a lump in my throat and images of the real situation I went through here in Japan on 3/11 one year ago. You covered a lot of the structural damage quite well. Some other things that I think could be added are the human points. [There] will be herds of people trying to get home. As these herds move, some against each other, people on bikes are forced to get off and walk as [it becomes] too dangerous to dodge the herds. People get home to find things destroyed, people dead, and then go into survival mode. All stores are stripped within hours as people hoard supplies. Now, this didn't happen in Japan to the extreme that would make it newsworthy, but some foul people in society take advantage of the lack of police response, ATMs left in collapsed buildings, rich homes exposed, and now massive looting starts. The normal people start to protect themselves and start blasting people as they enter their homes. The news can't get anything right, and you hear power will be on soon while another report says no power for weeks. The National Guard is brought in and pretty much all hell has broken loose. The earthquake and tsunami are definitely scary, but the reaction of humans put into crisis and survival modes, and [for] some, dirty asshole opportunity-mode, is the scariest!

-posted by Tokyoite

Way to go and spoil our hipster Mecca, Merc! Geez, you guys are bigger assholes than I thought. Then again, your article does point out some pretty gaping holes in our infrastructure. If even half of your doomsday scenario is accurate, it seems like we should be doing a lot more as a city to upgrade our bridges and build redundancy systems for critical services and resources. Now every time I drive over the Fremont Bridge I'm going to be picturing my Honda Civic doing a gnarly swan dive into the abyss (sigh). I really used to like that bridge. Thanks a lot, you apocalyptic shitheads.

-Joel Eisenhower

SORRY JOEL, we know, we know: The truth stings. We wish you and your Civic the best of luck. When the time comes, though, just don't say we never warned you. In the meantime, please enjoy two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, where you can watch doomsday scenarios involving monsters, aliens, and probably Will Smith.

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