The statistics from the city's one-night count of Portland's homeless population are out, and they don't look good. Since last year, the number of homeless Portlanders has grown eight percent—up to 4,655 people either sleeping on the street, in shelters, or in transitional housing, according to the city's snapshot count conducted the night of January 26. The number of homeless families has increased a whopping 35 percent. The numbers are likely lowball figures—counting every homeless person in the city is impossible, as people sleeping in the homes of friends or family do not qualify and others refused to take part in the survey ["The Homeless Census," News, Feb 3]. SARAH MIRK


Presenting her office's annual report during the June 15 Portland City Council meeting, Independent Police Review Director Mary-Beth Baptista finally offered a public explanation for why the city's new Police Review Board, the centerpiece of a plan last year to tighten police oversight, didn't start meeting until nearly three months after it was formed last September. Blame the Portland Police Association. The union had filed a grievance over the new board, and it didn't withdraw its protest until the city, during last year's contract talks, offered a sufficiently sweet enough offer. The Mercury first reported on the horse-trading regarding that grievance, and others, earlier this month ["Behind Closed Doors," News, June 2]. Baptista was diplomatic in describing the impasse during the council meeting, referring only to "issues." But when interviewed after the meeting, she confirmed what those "issues" really were: union opposition. DENIS C. THERIAULT