Comment of the Week: A calm take on Arleta Triangle Plaza

“In Portland, to get extraordinary action from a city agency requires cooperation from bureau(s) with an elected commissioner, of course at some level it is or looks political… I’m just grateful Nadine and Matchu and others could get someone’s attention and get something done.” Jim

Welcome to the Comment of the Week, where we highlight good comments in order to inspire more of them. You can help us choose our next one by replying with “comment of the week” to any comment you think deserves recognition. Please note: These selections are not endorsements.

Comment of the Week

I’ve noticed that our weekly bins of comments differ from one another. Some weeks BikePortland gets a lot of thoughtful policy comments, other times a nice bunch of stories about what readers have personally experienced. Obviously, the articles we post effect the tone and style of the comments they inspire.

This past week seemed a little loud to me, so I was happy to see Jim’s very calm comment early this morning.

He describes the meat and potatoes of how things get done in our town—often from the tenacious, boring work of neighborhood advocates. You get your ducks in a row, and then seize the moment when an opportunity arises.

Jim’s comment also gives me an opportunity to plug the “related posts” section which appears at the bottom of every new post. Some of these related posts are automatically generated, but often we hand-select a couple of them because they provide background for the current post.

The post Jim commented into was an old one, written last March. But he probably arrived at it from last week’s post, Mt. Scott-Arleta residents celebrate vibrant plaza on formerly violent street.

Here’s what Jim wrote:

I live in the area and I haven’t noticed any ramp up in police presence. I’m sure there have been some increase but I couldn’t call it big.

Hardesty is PBOT commissioner and closing the slip lane and adding traffic barrels is low hanging fruit that could be done quickly ; but we’ve been trying to get the slip lane closed for years with no progress.

In Portland, to get extraordinary action from a city agency requires cooperation from bureau(s) with an elected commissioner, of course at some level it is or looks political.

For me, I’m just grateful Nadine and Matchu and others could get someone’s attention and get something done.

Do we need more to be done to deal with the shootings and other crime? Of course we do. What has been done doesn’t deal with the root cause of the nationwide uptick in crime.

Thank you for the nice, low drama, comment Jim! You can read Jim’s comment and all the others in the March post about the plaza, and Jim also has another comment in our latest plaza article.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)

Lisa Caballero is on the board of SWTrails PDX, and was the chair of her neighborhood association's transportation committee. A proud graduate of the PBOT/PSU transportation class, she got interested in local transportation issues because of service cuts to her bus, the 51. Lisa has lived in Portland for 23 years and can be reached at

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1 year ago

I can kind of understand the idea that featuring a “calm” comment could be in-validating, in a therapy-speak sort of way. I get upset, too, so I also understand why people feel negatively to begin with.

Finally, maybe it’s a good thing that people have a forum (like BP comment threads) to vent frustrations about the city.

But ultimately this kind of comment is more useful. It’s not a rant. It’s useful info about how shit gets done here, and about some of the hyper local context of the article.

Furthermore, this kind of argument is usually more *persuasive*, and I’d love for people to be persuaded that safety is important!

Just ranting, and especially ranting that is only kicking down at our society’s poorest, most miserable people, just turns some voters off.

We who care about safety and community values *need* all the voters we can get! We cannot afford to push away voters who are turned off by the constant, emotional vitriol directed at homeless people.

I truly get the anger. I just care more about the facts than these feelings.

1 year ago

If comments don’t seem “calm” it’s because our quality of life is in a tailspin and this site often seems like it’s in utter denial of that. There’s an attitude that talking about what’s going wrong is bad and part of some right-wing plot to re-elect Trump or something. It’s not, we just care about the city and are tired of the direction it’s headed in. We’re not a happy bunch. I don’t much feel like putting on a clown wig and a tutu and going on a “fun” ride when every practically block features a burnt husk of a car and a pile of needles.

AJ Jones
AJ Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Jennifer

Who is “we” here? Because this “we” group seems comprised of a lot of people who haven’t interacted BP comments much before, and seem dedicated to turning the comments section of every single BP article into an attack on homeless people. Sometimes it’s dog whistles, sometimes it’s just direct hate, and very rarely does it do anything other than blame individuals, instead of looking at the systems that cause these problems.

Weird to bring up Trump, but what’s wrong with this rhetoric is that it looks at the symptoms of late stage capitalism, and blames some of the hardest-hit and most affected people. It’s cruel (maybe that’s the point), but also, it solves nothing. All it does is attempt to rile up an in-group (“our quality of life”, “we just care”) against a de-humanized out-group (“pile of needles”). This leaves the door open to suggest all sorts of inhumane “solutions” now and in the future.

I wish the comment moderation here was more responsive in removing this hateful othering, though no doubt that suggestion will get some people working in bad faith to cry “free speech”.

AJ Jones
AJ Jones
1 year ago

Thanks for the reply, and I appreciate the insight. I can’t imagine moderating these comment sections is an easy job – you have to read everything, including the stuff that’s not fit to post, and make a call on every single one. I appreciate the work that you all do, and to me, the fact that I feel it’s worth writing up a response here is a sign that things are definitely more good than bad. Keep up the tough work!

1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Jones

Some of the “we” are people who have supported the taxes that we now pay to help the campers and yet out politicians can’t seem to figure out how to spend it on anything except “housing first”.
No talk of temporary or transitional housing as a first step off the streets and starting on the journey to a better, less hazardous, life.
So, “we”, well just me, I’m tired of the inaction. I’m tired of seeing the piles of garbage. I’m tired of seeing the blackened spots where fires have happened. I’m tired of having to wonder if the stoned/intoxicated/whatever people are going to be violent. I’m tired of not being able to walk to my local grocery store. I’m tired of telling biking friends from out of town that no, the trails haven’t been cleaned up so if you come to bike, the risk is all yours.
I could go on and on of course, but I’m also tired of complaining. (not that I’ll stop)

1 year ago
Reply to  SolarEclipse

And what’s been the neighborhood response to every “temporary or transitional housing” proposal? It’s not just the politicians’ failure.

1 year ago

I wholeheartedly agree with Jennifer. Portland seems to be in a tailspin.

The selection of a “calm” post citing the work of getting things done as comment of the week is peculiar. Portland is most definitely not getting things done.

I nominated a critical and thoughtful comment by Mom of Kiddos as comment of the week and at least 13 people agreed.

A be happy attitude and ignoring the severe degradation of our community and the loss of access to our MUPs is not helping to correct our massive problems.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Reply to  J_R


We can only choose one. Sorry the one you wanted didn’t get picked. This isn’t a popularity contest. Also, please see the note at the top of all the COTW posts: They are not endorsements. We don’t necessarily agree or disagree with the content of what people write in the ones we choose. We choose them because they are noteworthy for some reason.