RE: The Mercury’s Music section of Oct 12.

Just wanted to remind your music writers that band names are singular nouns, but the band members when discussed as a group are a plural noun. On page 21 of this week’s paper, Suzette Smith and Ciara Dolan both refer to the band itself as a plural: “This is the sort of band a fan can become really obsessed with... due to their lyrics and a visual component...” (Smith) and, “Sweden’s Ghost brings their sacrificial metal...” (Dolan).

I can’t imagine The Portland Mercury’s style guide indiscriminately decided band names, which are traditionally (and logically) singular are to always be treated as a plural. Seems an odd choice is [sic] that be the case.

Do as ya please; obviously I can’t stop you. But the writers would sound more correct and accurate if they treated band names as singular nouns.

Just a thought.


MERCURY COPY CHIEF JENNI MOORE RESPONDS! The Mercury’s Style Guide reads, “Copy editors will leave singular/plural band names up to the writer/music editor.” And “Either is okay as long as it doesn’t sound weird, but the default is plural, as it is more versatile.” But wow, thanks a lot, obnoxious reader!


Re: “Don’t Shoot Portland Activists Now Hope to Recall Nick Fish, Not Amanda Fritz” [Blogtown, Oct 14]. “Don’t Shoot Portland activists aren’t going to try to recall City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, after all. They’re going after [City Commissioner] Nick Fish instead,” wrote News Editor Dirk VanderHart. “Don’t Shoot spokesperson Greg McKelvey tells the Mercury the group came to the decision today, after learning of huge logistical hurdles for recalling Fritz, who, like Fish, voted to ratify a controversial contract with the city’s largest police union on Wednesday. The group said yesterday it felt betrayed by Fritz’s vote, and wants her out of office.”

Ms. Fritz’s rationale is very clear and completely defensible. As a spectator, I wasn’t privy to the inside baseball over police union concessions like removing grievances and accepting the discipline guide. I only knew that we had to approve a contract with raises because Portland is shedding police and doesn’t have recruits to replace them.

Charming Charlie


RE: “Cash-Strapped PBOT Doesn’t Want Your Free Crosswalks” [News, Oct 12], VanderHart’s story about how the Portland Bureau of Transportation is facing off with PDX Transformation, “a contingent of anonymous street safety advocates” who installed a crosswalk at Clinton and SE 19th. “The city says the activist crosswalk was potentially hazardous,” VanderHart wrote, noting that all intersections in Oregon are technically crosswalks. “PBOT, which has bemoaned dwindling resources to complete road maintenance and safety improvements in recent years, says it was necessary to remove the markings for safety and liability reasons. ‘Drivers do not always respect marked crosswalks,’ says Steve Novick, the city’s transportation commissioner. ‘They can create a false sense of security and lead to more crashes.’”

But they respected unmarked intersections more? What the hell are you talking about, Mr. Novick?

Speaking as someone who primarily drives, I definitely notice when there’s a crosswalk present. I am watchful of anyone who looks like they’re trying to cross, but having a marked area increases visibility. Signs help more, and a flashing light helps even more.

I can understand people getting irked about “adjusted” speed limit signs and cones in the roadway, but griping that someone’s marking crosswalks given that “every intersection is a crosswalk” seems nonsensical.


Sok, unmarked crosswalks aren’t about the driver. It’s that crosswalks lull pedestrians into a false sense of security and they pay less attention. Leaving some crosswalks unmarked in certain locations with a certain traffic rate makes pedestrians more aware of their surroundings instead of just assuming cars will stop for them because the crosswalk is marked.


JayneGray, for your awareness of Oregon’s traffic laws—and your keen insight into HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY—we’re awarding you the Mercury’s Letter of the Week, along with two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater! And for clearly being a fan of Jean Grey, the most powerful and feared member of X-Men, we award you a No Prize. Don’t tell Stan Lee.

Letters and comments may be edited for space. Email us at lovenotes@portlandmercury.com.