RE: “Oregon’s $450 Million Plan to Widen I-5 Has Portlanders Preparing for War” [Feature, Sept 6]. “For $450 million, ODOT wants to slay one of its longtime dragons: A notorious choke point on Interstate 5 as it rushes—or, more often, crawls—through the Rose Quarter,” wrote News Editor Dirk VanderHart. VanderHart noted that a “coalition of transportation activists, environmental groups, and economists are trying to stop the megaproject before it starts”—in part by pushing for alternatives such as congestion pricing.

Congestion pricing is a good way to finance roads. But we need larger roads if we are growing. We are not all going to be able to ride bikes and public transport—indeed, most of public transport relies on roads.


Congestion pricing will just move traffic from the freeway to the arterial streets. But the larger issue is how it will affect lower-income residents, many of whom have already been pushed to the suburbs and have increasingly longer commutes.

My commute is 45 miles total each day. TriMet doesn’t go where I work, and it would take me four hours of cycling. I already feel like I pay enough in gas, car expense, insurance, and time loss. Congestion pricing shouldn’t be considered until there’s a plan that considers and mitigates the effects it will have on lower-income people.


Sorta sounds like I-5 shouldn’t run through downtown at all. What if it took a serious dogleg at Hayden Island and briefly hopped on Marine Drive over through Kelley Point, then over a new bridge (the St. Johns is hell at rush hour), across the West Hills, linking to a newly expanded Cornelius Pass Road? Follow that down to a greatly expanded Highway 47, all the way to McMinnville, where it gradually starts to wander back over the valley floor, joining the extant I-5 at, say, Wilsonville.

See? Easy!

rich bachelor

They’re saying that “you can’t build your way out of congestion,” yet when the I-205 bridge opened, traffic on the I-5 bridge didn’t reach the same level for 18 years. Building a third system, west of I-5, would facilitate freight and traffic going west on Highway 26, getting both out of the city core. And 18 years would give us a chance to see if other means of transportation (buses, auto-driving cars, ???) are robust enough to eliminate the need for more.



RE: “Should We Ban Fireworks? Let’s Look at the Pros and Cons” [Blogtown, Sept 5]. “The Eagle Creek disaster should have us reexamining our fireworks laws, because they’re not working,” wrote Senior Editor Ned Lannamann. Noting that the only benefit of fireworks—they “momentarily distract the most primitive parts of our lizard brains with 1 to 2 seconds of sparkly lights and boom sounds”—can be accomplished “with a simple blow to the head from a two-by-four,” Lannamann added, “For those who insist it’s their Jesus-given American right to light up fireworks, perhaps every Fourth of July we can set up Patriot Stations, where interested parties can line up and have a large wooden beam cracked across their skull.”

Could you find out if there is any sort of firework amnesty program? I stopped with the fireworks years ago, but I still have a bunch in my garage. Yes, I could get them wet, but then they dry out, and where do I dispose of them? In the garbage? Does it qualify as hazmat? Should I be cool with it leaching? See, I’ve thought this thing through. Seriously, no snark, what’s the best way to dispose of them?

pork chop

Pork chop, we passed your question to Rich Chatman, the public information officer at Portland Fire & Rescue—who confirmed that, as in the past, all Portland fire stations and police precincts are happy to accept and dispose of unused fireworks, even ones that are illegal in Oregon. “We’re not going to take your name,” Chatman says. “We’re not going to take anything other than the fireworks.”

And as if a personal reply from Portland Fire & Rescue isn’t enough, pork chop, we’re rewarding your conscientiousness by giving you the letter of the week and two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater—where you can see all kinds of cinematic fireworks, without burning down half the goddamn state like some dipshit teenager.

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