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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 17, 2011 2:41 PM. The previous post in this blog was Stupidity tax doing well in Oregon. The next post in this blog is Weekend at Frank's. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Here's the O, whether you want it or not

We've been wondering for years why the City of Portland, which is now about to try to ban plastic grocery bags, isn't doing anything about the unwanted phone books that show up (wrapped in plastic bags, of course) on our front porch several times a year. Yesterday a reader wrote us to note that she was about to get a 13-week free subscription to the Oregonian, paid for by the O, Oil Can Henry's, and the Portland Timbers, and that got us thinking about the subject again.

If Portland banned dumping phone books, would it have to ban handout subscriptions such as the O's as well? If the city banned only the unsolicited delivery of free books and not of free papers, would that be an unconstitutional abridgment of the phone book publishers' rights of free speech? That might explain some of the City Council's reluctance to move forward. Free newspapers are a big deal in Portland -- and their publishers can bury just about any politician if they want to.

Comments (12)

Don't ban the phone books outright. Just enact an opt-out program with teeth.

I'd say this about constitutionality of it all. The city should have an opt out law that is rigorously enforced. Telcos and newsprinters don't have the right to litter on my property or anyone else's.

I've had an ongoing battle with the O about not leaving their weekly bird cage liner on my property. Every so often they start up again, I guess thinking that the property ownership has changed. From my POV, they've been notified verbally and in writing and that should end it.

If I want a free local paper, I know where I can pick one up. I don't need it littered on my property.

The phone book thing is annoying too, but it's harder to figure out who to contact for that.

I got one of those free 13-week subscriptions to The Oregonian. That was four months ago and I STILL get the paper free every day. A very good price.

Not to forget the Weekly Shopper Rags (the weekly Big ad publications) given FREE to those who don't subscribe to the newspaper and continue on for ever more.

Just try to cancel those.

Not to mention that my daily paper is delivered in a, wait for it, plastic bag.

However with the way daily subscribers are dropping we'll be plastic free there soon as well.

Plastic bags.

Paper newspapers - including those FoodDay and neighborhood association papers, and those "newspapers" that Metro puts out about how to recycle.

Telephone books. (Should be opt-in. And frankly this is something I don't have a problem with charging for, but it should be a phone company's choice to charge for it, NOT a government mandated fee.)

Junk mail - ANY unsolicited mail. (Here's talking to you, COMCAST! I don't need three pieces of junk mail every freakin' day!)

Bill statements. (Remember the days when your electric bill was JUST a postcard?)

The city's bloated motor pool. (Whatever happened to taking TriMet or riding a bike on city business?)

Police officers in big, oversized, V-8 powered Crown Victorias. (Why not use motorcycles and smaller econocars, and for jail transports use paddywaggons?)

Huge, oversized fire trucks that go out on medical calls. Why do fire trucks go out on medical calls anyways, why not JUST the ambulance?

Traffic signals that are turned on 24/7, but surely aren't needed after 9:30 PM and could be turned off until 6:00 AM or so. Pedestrian signals that are always on, instead of on-demand only.

Lighted advertising signs. (The Portland, Oregon/Old Town sign, and the Rose atop the Rose Festival/Water Bureau building are in this category.)

Hmmm...what other else, no-brained ways could we come up with saving the environment, that mostly hit the city rather than its residents?

Erik:

One I can think of is light pollution. Most street lamps are too bright, direct light where it's not needed or desired, and there's too many of them. This wastes a lot of electricity, and causes light pollution. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to see the Milky Way in town?

Crappy lighting can aggravate night blindness in old people, and while they're often installed to deter crime and that seems intuitive, study after study shows the relationship is the other way around. I'm too lazy to dig it up now, but just Google "light pollution" and crime together.

Check out Dark Skies Northwest.

Aaron,
In the stores as well, sunglasses are needed in some of them.
It would be very nice to see the Milky Way in town.

Police officers drive in big, oversized, V-8 powered Crown Victorias because half of the people they chase drive oversized V8 powered things. You try to jam a Buick Riviera with your Honda Fit, let me know how that goes for you.

Why do fire trucks go out on medical calls, not JUST the ambulance? Well for one there is no ambulance. They are all private, owned by AMR. The few cents in diesel it takes to send out the fire department vs. the hundreds we have to pay AMR = send fire dept every time. If they do not go on calls they sit in the firehouse and we still have to pay them.

Traffic signals? The Portland, Oregon/Old Town sign? The Rose atop the Rose Festival/Water Bureau building?

We could save 10's if not 100's of dollars!

Tector--watch out, all of a sudden you're going to find yourself with a $38 bill, because the "free" part of your subscription has an end date and they don't call to ask if you want to change your subscription plan.

Police officers drive in big, oversized, V-8 powered Crown Victorias because half of the people they chase drive oversized V8 powered things. You try to jam a Buick Riviera with your Honda Fit, let me know how that goes for you.

Actual pursuits are rare. Certainly the Police would still have pursuit capable vehicles; just not EVERY vehicle would be pursuit capable as we have today in our homogonized fleet of Crown Vics (with a few Chargers added recently).

(Not to mention that police pursuits actually decrease public safety and it might be to our advantage to let certain criminals flee...provided we know where we can catch up with them later.)

Why do fire trucks go out on medical calls, not JUST the ambulance? Well for one there is no ambulance. They are all private, owned by AMR. The few cents in diesel it takes to send out the fire department vs. the hundreds we have to pay AMR = send fire dept every time. If they do not go on calls they sit in the firehouse and we still have to pay them.

A private ambulance is still an ambulance. On a medical call, both the Fire Bureau AND AMR respond. They work together. But at the end of the day, you have a lot of people standing around, and a decision is made to transport or depart. AMR only gets paid if it transports; yet it responds to every call.

Further, the vast majority of fire calls are not fire calls, they're medic calls. With absolutely no need for a huge fire truck (which aren't cheap to purchase, maintain OR fuel.) Not to mention aren't exactly environmentally friendly (but they're nice to have - when there's an actual fire.)

One I can think of is light pollution

Aaron, I actually thought about including that but couldn't figure out how I wanted to word it. But excellent point - do we REALLY need all of those street lights? Must they be huge incandescent bulbs that spread light everywhere?


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