RE: "Activists Demanding New Rent Controls Shut Down a Multnomah County Commission Meeting" [Blogtown, April 7], Dirk VanderHart's post about a Portland Tenants United protest. "Groups like the Community Alliance of Tenants have argued the city's housing shortage constitutes a 'man-made disaster,'" VanderHart wrote, which would allow the county to institute rent control. But, he added, "the law applies to a disaster that 'materially eliminates a significant portion of the rental housing supply.' Portland's issues are largely based on failing to build housing, not eliminating existing housing."

That's a pretty disingenuous interpretation of what's happened, Dirk. Landlords raise rents. The affordable housing stock that WAS there now ISN'T. It has been torn down or landlords have made it not exist by making units unaffordable. Portland's landlords wouldn't have to raise their rents 10 to 50 percent just because supply is tight—unless you take greed and exploitation as basic features of how housing markets are supposed to work. Either you did a shitty job listening, or someone screwed up and didn't tell you: This crisis is a man-made disaster. Landlords, developers, and real estate investment interests have made it.

posted by Joe Clement


RE: "Everyone's Waiting on Instructions for Cleaning Up the Willamette" [News, March 30] and "Remember, Portland, Your River's Also Filthy" [Hall Monitor, March 23], the Mercury's ongoing coverage of Portland's task of dealing with a century's worth of pollution in the Portland Harbor.

The 11-mile Willamette Superfund site is one of the worst in the nation. Our water and air are part of the commons supposedly protected by DEQ and EPA and should be healthy and safe for all.

The 150 companies who had a hand in damaging the river, including Chevron, BP, ExxonMobil, Shell, and Bayer Crop Science, have the resources to clean their mess—if they are held accountable. But it is we who must do so because DEQ and EPA have shown little motivation to do it. When the comment period starts, speak up!

Barbara Quinn
Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group


RE: "Scone Wolf" [I Love Television, June 2, 2011], Wm. Steven Humphrey's column about MTV's Teen Wolf—and, apparently, scones? "Scones were invented in 1872 by a French baker named Pierre L'Idiot," Humphrey fumed, "who left stale bread out on his counter for two weeks, but instead of throwing it away, he said, "Sacre Bleu! I will sell zis stale bread to zee Americain toureests, and tell them eet iz zee cookeee!" In related news, the column in question is five years old.

I was not aware that an undergraduate degree was not a requirement for being an editor of a rag so estimable as yours. How else to explain how Mr. Humphrey was unaware of what I thought was common knowledge. Anyone with two hands—no, one hand—and at least one finger could easily have gone to the internets to find that scones are Scottish in origin. I am not disputing the fact that scones' highest use is as a doorstop, but to insult French bakers (many of which we are fortunate to have in this town) is beneath the dignity of your fine publication. Please feel free to insert as many F-words as will win me your prize. Thank you.

Sam Yoder


RE: "Dating State of the Union" [Feature, April 6], Bri Brey's survey of single Portlanders' experiences in the local dating scene.

Loved the article, even though I'm twice the age of the OLDEST person you interviewed. "Cis" and "IRL" notwithstanding—whatever they mean—I laughed out loud, as I perfectly related to some of the situations described. The desire for romance never has to die, at whatever age we find ourselves, so a follow-up article dealing with people over 40 would be good. I would be happy to supply acronyms from my generation, though your readers will have to sleuth their meanings, just like I'm having to do with "cis" and "IRL"! (BTW, fun single ladies over 60—FSLO60—who want a date with me, just contact Portland Mercury Singles Desk—PMS—and they will take care of the rest.)

posted by Thin-ice

Thin-ice, "cis" is short for cisgender, and "IRL" is an abbreviation for "in real life." And to any FSLO60s who want to date Thin-ice: DO NOT CALL THE MERCURY. Find Thin-ice IRL! Maybe start at the Laurelhurst Theater, because we're giving Thin-ice two tickets to the Laurelhurst—where couples of all ages can make out during the movies.