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Readers' Letters: GMO debate must consider pesticides

An important part of this conversation that most Oregonians will care about (Genetically modified foods hard to avoid, Sustainable Life, Jan. 16) is the large amount of chemicals that accompany GMO seeds.

The GMO seeds that Monsanto sells are “Roundup ready” so that farmers have to buy both the seed and the pesticide from the company. The more GMO seeds planted, the more Roundup in the soil, which leaks into groundwater, remains in food products, and causes problems in not just humans, but other species and the environment, too.

The harmful effects of pesticides are well documented over many years and in peer-reviewed journals. If people want to debate science, look at the pesticides component in GMOs. Children and pets are especially susceptible.

This kind of industrial food system is not something that Oregonians want. Neither do most countries around the world.

Susan Laarman

Northeast Portland

PPS story had a few points wrong

Thanks for the article focusing on equity (After initial discomfort, race talks forge on, Jan. 16). It’s an area needing focus, and needing much more than just Courageous Conversations to make a difference.

While the part quoting me was mostly accurate, here are a few needed corrections and clarifications: First, I said that several, not a majority, of the students who are counted as “African-American” in the Portland Public Schools categories are Somali immigrants who have an experience greatly different from African-American students. And by the way, I think it’s absurd to lump such different students together.

Second, the impetus for Community Education Partners was the inequitable treatment of students of color in PPS, especially around discipline — not Courageous Conversations. Even before Courageous Conversations were used at PPS, CEP has worked with PPS to change the discipline policy and adopt a measure of the relative rate of exclusions, then went into the schools to see how the policy and measures were being carried out. CEP members share the frustration at the slow pace of change.

Finally, for me, the big story at Jackson Middle School is that inequities persist even with an unusual level of effort to reduce them, but the staff isn’t slacking off. In a school where most kids are white and privileged, the professionals are taking the need for better results with kids of color very seriously, and acting on that need.

Will Fuller

Southwest Portland

Patient happy to be part of clinical trial

I am involved in an Oregon Health & Science University study and find it interesting and feel very positive about my minor contribution (Patients balk at ‘experiments,’ Jan. 16). The staff is friendly and always tries its very best to make certain that I’m informed of the routine.

Sometimes they have to perform a procedure such as a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) that’s uncomfortable and a bit painful, but it’s a small price to pay for finding a cure.

David Nackerud

Southeast Portland

Editorial missed the mark on bridge truth

So your argument is, we already wasted $180 million, let’s throw in another $4 billion to $6 billion to avoid heartbreak? That makes little to no sense (We must find a way to build the bridge, Jan. 16).

The first problem with this editorial is that the Columbia River Crossing is not at heart a bridge project, it is a megahighway expansion project. If you want to focus on the Interstate 5 Bridge, however, it is by no means the most vulnerable to earthquakes in the area, and if we do spend all this money, we won’t be able to fix the bridges that really need it. Not to mention the fact that we could significantly reduce the number of bridge lifts by simply fixing the rail bridge to the west — repairs that already could have been completed if we hadn’t spent more money than they would cost planning a freeway expansion we don’t need.

Bjorn Warloe

Northeast Portland