RE: “A New Report Shows Highway Widening Won’t Solve Portland’s Congestion Problems” [News, March 7], News Editor Dirk VanderHart’s story about how expensive plans to add auxiliary lanes to Interstate 5 will not ease the “near-complete breakdown of traffic that cuts the freeway’s efficiency roughly in half.” “As officials study the concept of fighting congestion–and potentially curbing auto use–by tolling portions of I-5 and I-205,” wrote VanderHart, “some want to know if tolls could aid commuters even without the state dropping billions on new highway lanes.”

File this under “DUH.” Widening didn’t help congestion on the 405 in Los Angeles, despite the billions spent there. I love the idea of tolling and congestion pricing for inner Portland. We shouldn’t be subsidizing personal auto use.


Seriously. The average speed everywhere is easily halved during rush hours, and even if there were no such thing as Google Maps, Waze, and Uber and Lyft, drivers everywhere would, during those peak hours, always try to squeeze a little speed out of hopping onto the roads that promise unfettered 50 and 60 MPH travel and no stops–and fail to deliver those promises, no matter how many hundreds of millions we lavish on the Oregon Department of Transportation.



RE: “These Are Our Demands” [Feature, March 7], our International Women’s Day feature in which the Mercury’s Lady Brain Trust laid out their demands for a better, more equitable society–demands that included “No more guns for domestic abusers,” “The ability to walk home alone at night,” and “Equal representation in Congress and a president who isn’t a bigoted white dude.” Oh, and priority access to weight machines at the gym. “Ever notice that women don’t grunt to show how strong they are when they lift weights?” asked Senior Editor Megan Burbank. “That alone should get us to the front of the line.”

I say this with love: If y’all aren’t grunting at the gym, LIFT BIGGGER WEIGHTS. If you’re dead-lifting serious weight, your breath is important. Grunts = gains. Is the weight too long for your desired machine? Throw some kettle bells, sisters! I’m not looking for priority at the gym, I’m looking for my next personal record. Poor gym etiquette knows no gender, and if you belong to a gym that’s too overcrowded or filled with oblivious douchebags eying themselves in the mirror while hogging the equipment, there are plenty of great locally owned gyms that would love to welcome you into their sweaty, grunting arms. Love, your swole sister,



RE: “Love Notes” [Feb 28], in which reader Betty Jo Braford wrote in to One Day at a Time columnist Ann Romano. Braford wrote that “the only reason we read this rag is that it’s a smidge better than watching the dryer tumble,” called Ann’s repeated references to how many votes Donald Trump lost the popular election by (2,864,974) “whining,” and added that Ann “is so condescending it makes me want to place all copies of the Mercury into the recycling bin.”

Let it be known that the only way I have survived the last year, one month, and 11 days is reading Ann Romano’s column and watching Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah, Steven Colbert, and John Oliver. It’s the comedic observations of these people that make me feel sane–the fact that they too see the insanity that we live under gives me a little peace of mind. I LOVE every time I read how many votes Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton in One Day at a Time.

Betty Jo, if left-leaning rags aren’t your thing, there’s a big world of right-wing crazy out there for you to explore. But you would need to move away from the dryer to get started.

Long live opinionated women! Ann Romano for mayor!

Jen Laverdure

Jen, your shameless flattery has earned you the Mercury’s letter of the week! (And has led to Ann “seriously considering” a campaign for mayor. So... thanks for that.) We’re also going to send you two tickets to Portland’s beloved Laurelhurst Theater, where you’ll find movies that’ll give you a little more peace of mind–and help you survive the next few years.