RE: "The Burden of Proof" [News, Oct 15], regarding questions over the effectiveness of alternative sentencing programs in Oregon.

DEAR MERCURY—Mr. [Dirk] VanderHart missed an opportunity here by failing to ask the district attorneys, who're demanding rigorous data be gathered before investing in alternative sentencing, for proof that incarceration actually works. Does sentencing people to prison, especially for nonviolent crimes, improve our society? Is America, with the largest number of people in prison outside of China, safer than say, Finland, with its decriminalized drug use and focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment? Here is proof from the deplorable ongoing experiment in harsh sentencing: We have the highest murder rate of all industrialized nations, massive criminal enterprises created by criminalizing drug use and the use of jails and prisons as mental institutions. 

Rex Burkholder


RE: "Polyproblema" [Savage Love, Oct 15], in which advice columnist Dan Savage answers questions regarding alternatives to monogamy. Speaking of! Answer our questions about all kinds of sex things at portlandmercury.com/sexsurvey. The Mercury Sex Survey results will be in the November 5 issue!

Openness and polyamory aren't the same thing. HAPPY seems to be in some sort of legit polyamorous relationship. NNP is just in an open relationship, the terms of which he isn't happy with. Open isn't poly. Stop using them interchangeably. If partner is just having "novel experiences" (i.e., sex) with other people, and not actual relationships with those people, she's not "having polyamorous relationships." Sex doesn't always equal "relationship." If NNP came to terms with that, maybe he wouldn't be so crabby about the arrangement. Or maybe he should just find someone who wants to be monogamous with him and leave her, so everyone could be happy.

posted by FrolicandDetour


RE: "Dead City" [Everything as Fuck, Oct 15], regarding the cultural losses to development that Portland faces as the city rapidly changes.

There's plenty of room to still be weird, real, and whatever the fuck you're talking about. You just have to be willing to get over your fear of everything east of 82nd Avenue. Portland City Hall doles out bullshit every time they talk about improving outer Southeast, while turning around and building a streetcar-bioswale-tram on SE 20th, and dropping $1,000,000 on a nature-themed park in Westmoreland (actually just happened). Lots of room out here for neon-soaked drunken escapades. Guess how many Portland mayors have said during their election campaigns they'd fix the dirt roads in outer Southeast for the last three decades? All of them. If Portland is so worried about equity, progressive ideals, and supporting those in need, guess what? All you have to do is give a shit about the other half of Portland.

posted by Mawnkey McTwoknuckles

Ten years ago I was renting a decent one-bedroom apartment on SE 20th and Hawthorne for $600 a month. I saw the writing on the wall three years ago: Leave Portland altogether or head east. I chose to stay, east of the 205, and guess what? I still do all of the things I used to do, except now I have 2,500 square feet with my own basement studio in a very well-built, non-cookie-cutter mid-century ranch that I own for $1,200 a month. The people living out there ARE THE REAL PORTLAND LOCALS and they are not scary. I still have all my friends, resources, and access to inner Southeast or any other PDX local fare any time I want. When the streets of inner PDX turn into a dysfunctional shitshow around 3 pm, I beeline back to my mid-century palace and do my Portlandy shit on my own terms. All my neighbors are great too—they look out for me and always wave. Ten years in inner SE, I had maybe three cool neighbors and a ton of assholes, whistleblowers, and creeps. Your address does not define you.

posted by Ten Red

GOOD FOR YOU, Ted, that means you won't have any trouble getting down to the centrally located Laurelhurst Theater to use the two free tickets you get for having this week's Mercury letter/comment of the week!