RE: The Portland Mercury, a free, urban weekly newspaper that primarily serves the population of Portland and those who visit it... and those who use the internet.
DEAR MERCURY—Many of us live in the suburbs and don't pick up your paper until we visit downtown on the weekends. By then it's too late to catch your Wednesday and Thursday highlights in "My, What a Busy Week!" [Then maybe come to town before the weekend? How is this our problem?—Ed.] How about starting your week on Friday and ending with the following Wednesday and Thursday? I feel bad for the smaller crowds some of your Wednesday feature acts get. [How do you know that's the case if you don't get to town until the weekend?—Ed.] Yeah, I could check your online edition earlier [Yeah!—Ed.], but it's still too late to plan for things on the day of a show.
RE: "An Act of God... or Racism?" [Feature, April 23], regarding the racially charged environment in which the flood-ruined city of Vanport came, went, and has been remembered.
DEAR MERCURY—In regard to the overt racism described in the Vanport flood story: While reading about Vanport, I was reminded of the legal documents supplied to me when I bought my house in Parkrose in 1997. There is actually a "Racial" section that reads (verbatim): "No part of sd prms shall be used or occupied in any manner by any Negro, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Mexican, Hindu, Armenian, or Indian, exe t persons of sd races may be employed then as servants." I am somewhat aware of the rampant racism in Portland's history, but... Armenians?
Scott Fruit Bat
This sad story is a good reminder of why we should not be building on the floodplains of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers—and a warning of what we could be facing again. While the flood in 1948 was very bad, it was not the worst recorded flood for this area: Look for the plaques on the older buildings on 1st and 2nd Avenues in downtown Portland, showing how high the floodwaters reached in 1894. The US Army Corps of Engineers has determined that damages begin to occur in the Portland, Vancouver, and lower Columbia River areas at flow levels above 450,000 cfs [cubic feet per second], as measured at the Dalles Dam on the Columbia River, and that substantial damages occur when flows exceed 600,000 cfs at that location. For the 1894 flood event, the unregulated flow was estimated to exceed 1,200,000 cfs. We should be planning now to avoid that kind of disaster in the future.
posted by James Heffernan
RE: "Hitting the Mute Button" [News, April 23], about the fact that audio recordings in the booking area at the Multnomah County Detention Center have quietly ceased.
We seem to be creeping closer and closer to the Brazil of the '80s, where the cops were nothing more than savage thugs for drug lords and big-money interests, greeting the dawn by terrorizing and murdering street people, people who couldn't bribe them and had no hope of rising out of the shanties and into respectable slums. This sort of thing should be cause for popular uproar, even violent citizen uprising, because it flies in the face of the freedom and dignity we claim to cherish and is a reversal of the progress we've made. Maybe when places like Clackamas and Beaverton become shanty towns and everyone's ladled out Soylent Green in church meal lines once a day, maybe then we'll wake up to the diligence and accountability that democracy and justice require.
posted by wolkenkaiser
RE: Hubby Kip, a recurring person in the column One Day at a Time, weekly.
DEAR MERCURY—I'd like to say that I love reading Ann Romano. I'd also like to say that if her "Hubby Kip" would like a beer, I'd be happy to buy him one sometime.
HUBBY KIP is an elusive figure, Todd (we think Ann keeps him on a pretty short leash), but we're happy to pass on your info if he's interested. Maybe you can tempt him with your two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater for winning this week's Mercury letter of the week? They definitely have beer there.