RE: “The State Just Outlawed a Bunch of Portland Smoking Patios” [News, Oct 19]. “A change to state administrative rules quietly upended seven-year-old standards for what constitutes an acceptable outdoor smoking area at Oregon bars,” wrote News Editor Dirk VanderHart. “The change modified what counts as an ‘enclosed space,’ where smoking is prohibited under Oregon’s Indoor Clean Air Act—and rendered an untold number of Portland patios off-limits to smokers in the process. Bar owners, caught off-guard, now argue the change was snuck into a rulemaking process without adequate notice. Some who’ve already been forced to comply say their businesses are in peril at a time when rising rents are already pushing small businesses asunder.”
The pub owners would do better for themselves and their clientele to call for a ban of all smoking on patios. If all pub and restaurant patios were smoke-free, they’d get a lot more patrons. Smokers are a minority. If they have comfy outdoor patios and the word gets out that they’re smoke-free, those of us who make up the majority will be more than happy to come.
I understand some of the bar owners being unhappy about the notification process and panic-stricken about the short-term loss of business. But as we know from implementing the Indoor Clean Air Act, businesses weather this change, new non-smoking customers eventually replace those who smoke, workers and customers are protected from secondhand smoke, and life goes on. People who smoke want to enjoy social smoking, but ultimately, the rights of non-smokers to breathe safe air in public spaces have to be protected.
I wish that Dirk was as concerned about the health of service-industry workers as he is about the financial health of bars. According to the Oregon Health Authority, 200,000 workers are exposed to secondhand smoke at their workplace, including restaurants/bars with patios, and that secondhand smoke kills 650 people a year.
But oh well, bars could lose a few patrons, so let’s allow unwilling exposure to a carcinogen to continue.
NICE TO KNOW YOU
RE: “The Know Has Found a New Home: the Old Blackbird” [Blogtown, Oct 21]. “It was a sad day earlier this year when the Know announced it would be closing at the end of November,” wrote Senior Editor Ned Lannamann. “The Portland dive bar and punk venue has been ground zero for Portland’s music underground, as well as a stalwart bastion against the encroaching gentrification of NE Alberta... Today the Mercury learned that the Know just picked up the keys for a new location, meaning Portland’s finest sanctum of all things loud and proud has a new home. Fittingly, the new address is 3728 NE Sandy—which old-school Portlanders will recognize as the address of the Blackbird, the legendary indie-rock venue that closed in 2003.”
Stalwart bastion against gentrification? Ha! Sorry, no—it was one of the beach heads of gentrification!
These people think “gentrification” means richer white people moving in, not the original gentrification where they moved to the neighborhood and displaced the previous minority communities.
The Know has been there since, what, 2005? LOL. None of these people would have walked down Alberta at night in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s.
THE MAGIC OF JACK REACHER
RE: “Ode to Reacher” [Film, Oct 26], Managing Editor Erik Henriksen’s paean to Jack Reacher and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. The following is from Senior Editor Ned Lannamann’s mother, an avid reader of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher book series.
Ned: As a big Lee Child fan, I read the New York Times’ review of the new movie this morning. They HATE it. They just don’t get Jack Reacher.
So I looked up the Mercury’s review and found Erik’s. It’s so great and on the mark I had to tell you. Terrific—he gets the magic of Jack Reacher. And I think Erik does it all without mentioning Tom Cruise once (who is so wrong for the part it is laughable, but I guess he doesn’t ruin it).
Will you go to see it? With Trump’s scowling face all over the place, it’s a good time for some escapist movies.
NED’S MOM, you’re 100 percent right that it is a good time for some escapist movies, and you win the Mercury’s letter of the week—which comes with two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater! Please use them to take Ned to see Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.
DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS
In our general election endorsements [“Forcing the Issue,” Feature, Oct 19], the Mercury reported that Oregon’s political finance system has been ranked worse than every state but Alabama’s. It’s actually ranked worse than every state but Mississippi. Our endorsements also incorrectly stated that the most corporations pay in state tax is $100,000. While that’s the maximum amount under the state’s corporate “minimum tax,” Oregon also assesses an income tax on corporations. The Mercury regrets the errors and apologizes to Alabama.
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