RE: “Planted” [Feature, July 5], News Reporter Doug Brown’s story about the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s undercover operation to catch Matt Orchard, a Portland carnivorous plant smuggler.
I’m a member of the International Carnivorous Plant Society and the de facto admin for the Facebook page that represents the online community for Oregon carnivorous plant enthusiasts.
I’ve never known Matt Orchard, but I’ve grown carnivorous plants since I was five or six years old. I’ve heard incredible stories about illegal imports, trespassings, international violations, and poaching. It, like other hobbies that deal with natural creations, has a dark side. Though I have no issue with your story, I feel I must address its context for the carnivorous plant (“CP”) community.
The International Carnivorous Plant Society (ICPS), the international authority and volunteer organization that helps coordinate international, scientific, conservational, educational, and social endeavors for CPs across the globe, is made up of exponents in our interest that have fought for the ecological preservation of these wonderful plants. We are not poachers, and we do not support poachers. I fear a few of my friends in the Portland group might feel that the article, though well written, has cast an unintended shadow on our mission.
In all cases, conservation is the main concern of our organization. Members found poaching plants are ostracized. Matt Orchard, sadly, got caught up in the illegal and unethical trade of plants without permits—specifically Nepenthes rajah, taken straight out of the wild. In our community and internationally this is a nearly unforgivable sin. N. rajah is beloved in our community and dangerously rare.
RE: “New Tenant Protections Are Likely to Die in the Oregon Senate” [Blogtown, July 5]. “As Oregon continues to grapple with an affordable housing shortage, the Oregon Senate appears ready to kill renters’ best hope for new protections in this year’s legislative session,” wrote News Editor Dirk VanderHart. “The bill would have allowed cities and counties in Oregon to establish rent control policies for the first time in more than three decades, limited landlords’ ability to issue no-cause evictions, and more.”
Good. This entire bill was ill-conceived, and would do lasting harm to the Portland housing situation, only benefiting incumbent renters. Look at Santa Monica, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York if you want to see the long-term effects of rent control measures on housing prices.
Rents have just about flattened out thanks to all of the new supply finally coming online. You don’t have to involve the full Oregon Legislature or amend state law to bring more housing supply online.
FlavioSauve, my 75-year-old father has lived in his Santa Monica apartment for 30 years, and would have been displaced long ago without rent stabilization, as would all other working-class and elderly renters. I was also able to stay in my neighborhood in Los Angeles for a decade thanks to rent control, as were the Latino families in my building, even after the neighborhood became ridiculously gentrified. There are tens of thousands more stories like ours.
Housing prices are high because the areas are desirable and land is finite, not because of rent control. As for the “trickle down” theory, I watched many higher-end apartments sit almost empty in Los Angeles while the formerly affordable housing stock was snapped up and priced well beyond the means of the working class.
Excellent points, Hindenwood. You win the Mercury’s letter of the week—and two passes to the Laurelhurst Theater!
DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS
A story in last week’s Mercury, “Lawmakers in Salem Have Failed on Tax Reform” [News, July 5], incorrectly stated the Oregon Legislature requires a two-thirds supermajority to pass a new tax. It requires a three-fifths supermajority. We regret the error.
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