“I’d appreciate if our electeds [would] say something like: the elk is an important symbol for Portland. It’d be good to restore it in its entirety. The world has also shifted… if it literally stands in the way of climate progress then it risks becoming an impediment to our vision for Portland.”
Our Comment of the Week feature highlights quality comments. We do this to model good comment practices and amplify people who help our discussions stay productive and enlightening. You can help us select these by replying with “comment of the week” to any comment you think deserves attention.
Question, do you click on BikePortland for the articles or the comments?
OK, maybe a little of both. Some weeks our articles inspire an outpouring of really good, informative comments, and this past week has been one of those. There were probably ten comments which merited “Comment of the Week” selection, so I went with my emotions and gut.
Steven Smith’s comment on our article about the Elk Fountain last week, washed over my internet-addled brain like cool spring water infused with mint— apparently that’s how badly I was longing to hear what he said.
Part of the reason the comment appealed to me was because Smith offered a solution. He took the time to put into words what a path forward out of divisiveness might look like. The result was inspiring and aspirational.
Here’s what Steven wrote:
Good grief is right.
I’d appreciate if our electeds say something like: the elk is an important symbol for Portland. It’d be good to restore it in its entirety. The world has also shifted. We’re in the midst of a climate emergency. Our goals and policies are to reduce driving. How can we come together and create something meaningful that honors our history and aesthetic while also contributing to the outcome of a low carbon, healthy city as enshrined in our policies and goals?
What kind of a symbol will the elk become if it represents an opportunity lost? Will it be resented as an enduring barrier to our vision? Will it be another line that divides us? Are our electeds leading us to that dividing line? Most of the conversation seems to reflect the taking of clear sides. Pro-Elk or Pro-Bike. Ideally our leaders would lead and not divide us.
The Elk, by providing water to horses and dogs was a wonderful civic gesture, beautifully done. But now, if it literally stands in the way of climate progress then it risks becoming an impediment to our vision for Portland.
Who are we Portland? What do we stand for? The Elk will soon tell us.
Thank you for the comment Steven.
Note: You may comment on Steven’s comment under the original article. Comments are disabled for this feature.
Lisa Caballero has lived in SW Portland for 20 years. She is on the Transportation Committee of her neighborhood association, the Southwest Hills Residential League (SWHRL) and can be reached at email@example.com.