Subject tags of the week = talk of the Mercury town: homeless, small record labels, Dan Saltzman, housing commissioner, and gangs. Hmm. Yeah, I guess that about sums it up. To the Letters:

—First off, reader Brian gives Mayor Hales a pat on the back for "restoring some dignity to the grounds of city hall," after he ousted a longstanding protest encampment, further positing that Portland's homelessness problem is the result of having good services: "Build it and they will come."

—Nicolas gives music writer Thor Benson a pat on the back for profiling some of Portland's small record labels, noting that, "Support from the community for local artists is one of the things I like most about Portland." Me too, Nicolas!

—Nancy harbors fond memories of former housing commissioner Nick Fish, who actively worked to find temporary housing for Occupy participants who needed it before the protest was brought to a halt. Dan Saltzman—or whoever's actually in charge of the thing now—has some big shoes to fill.

—Retiring Assistant Police Chief Eric Hendricks thought Dirk's look at cops battling gang violence was "one of the best in many years." Meanwhile Bea posits that what would really help lure youngsters away from the lifestyle are jobs that actually paid anything close to what a life of crime might yield, and Ed chimes in to make a good point that if society expects you to finish high school, get a job, only procreate responsibly, and stay out of trouble, then society should do its part to make those things easier to do. Possible tools to include, "Education, employment opportunities, birth control, welfare reform, criminal justice reform, and drug legalization."

  • Illustration by David Antonio Perezcassar

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