Reader Forum

Readers respond to stories about corporate transparency, affordable housing and the future of farming.

Share this article!

A year later the toxic scandal surrounding Bullseye Glass still reverberates in the glass community.

“I like to work with glass made near. That means I support the economy and use colors and material made in the same place it will be used. Like in old times, you had no chance of getting glass or supplier from outside the country (or it was economically unprofitable). Now we have to try hard to find a good one and the government doesn’t help at all.”

— Glass artist from New Jersey

Unmasked: Business secrecy and transparency in an age of disclosure.

Readers disagreed with op-ed writer Joe Cortright’s claim that boosting supply will solve Oregon’s affordable housing problem.

“Developers and “the market” will never lower rents (or come close to lowering rents) to what is considered affordable housing rental rates. I have been a renter for 25+ years and through all the recessions, my rent was never lowered, increased yes, but never lowered. Current rents may have plateaued, albeit 15% higher than market, but have modestly dropped 3%, which is still 12% higher than two years ago.

True affordable housing is for those making at or below 60% of MFI (today’s 80% MFI is what market rents were less than two years ago). Using 50% to 60% MFI HUD MFI rents for the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro MSA this would equate to rents for a studio $642 to $771, one bedroom of $688 to $825 and two bedroom of $825 to $990. Please let it be known that developers never lower rents but only offer concessions. Added fees remain or even increase such as pet rent, abbreviated lease terms, parking, storage, utilities, and the list goes on.

So please reconsider what you have written as the increased supply will only assist those high income earners with the ability to move around and get the best concession deal. This is no deal for affordable housing advocates as concessions will never equate or decrease to HUD MFI rent levels.

Also, developers will not stop building. They will find creative ways and locations and loopholes to continue building units. Oregon is unique. The Portland MSA’s urban growth boundary is more to blame (the cause) with rising rents and land values. The inclusionary housing requirement will help alleviate the burden of the UGB and allow for affordable units to be constructed in the desirable close-in neighborhoods rather than creating discriminatory geographic housing practices of forcing low income earners to live outside of the city and commute. Mixed-use and mixed-income buildings are the path forward. Developers, public entities and financial institutions need to forge a partnership with this new reality.”
— BB

Columnist Matt Alford’s views on farming attracted a more favorable review.

“Amen to that. From helicopter parents to helmets, elbow pads, and knee pads when riding a trike, to almost laughable “safety” instructions on every consumer product we have gone way too far toward wrapping everyone in cotton wool at birth and unwrapping them at age 21.

I grew up on a farm and I also hired out to local farmers. Girls weren’t asked to move sprinkler pipe so we mostly did field work, picking, pulling weeds (rye in wheat fields), as well as taking care of livestock. Of course there was the potential for danger but I don’t know of anyone who was injured.

I have to wonder what SAIF thinks about the county fair where 4Hers are showing cattle, hogs, sheep and goats, not to mention 1000 lb horses. No wonder our economy has gone from farm/ranch, forest products and fishing to food carts and selling hand thrown pots at the Saturday market. These were well paid, living wage and often union jobs. But between the environmentalists and the regulators who probably never shoveled manure or bucked hay, we have made it impossible to continue in these traditional fields … literally and figuratively.”
— Lisa Anderson

Searching for context: Workers in rural Oregon describe their love of place, limited job opportunities and the potential for economic revitalization.