Greetings from the Editor, Summer 2009

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In this issue of Metroscape®, we present a very mixed bag of stories. Our lead story is about the open combat developing between motorists and cyclists. Kyle Cassidy takes us through the growth of bicycle ridership and the clash it has engendered with motorists, raising both the blood pressure and the level of risk for each group. As the Portland region increasingly becomes Bike City, USA, the animosity between the two factions (plus pedestrians) only grows. In any case, he analyzes the situation incisively and offers wise counsel to both factions. The back anchor is an essay by Rachel White probing how and why our places get the names they do. As surely as the mountains, rivers, forests, parks, and the elements of the built environment influence our impression of our surroundings, Rachel discovers that place names make an indelible impression on the land.

Our atlas concerns samples of recreational proclivities in the region. Once again, our imaginative technical editor, Dr. Vivek Shandas, has come up with a way to profile spatially the revealing patterns of everyday life in the area. Vivek’s contribution is followed by an attempt to get a more penetrating reading on the workforce outlook for the Portland metropolitan area than we are used to seeing. Not that the economists and reporters following the travails of workers don’t do a good job of describing the situation, but we were looking for the insights of someone on the everyday frontlines of both the numbers and the policy issues surrounding the most depressing unemployment picture of our time to date. In Ray Worden, one of the nation’s foremost workforce professionals, we found the expert we were looking for and he gives us a complex but completely accessible view of the employment picture in our interview.

Our research coordinator, Liza Mylott, has come up with an interesting piece for the “Landscape” feature on the history of and prospects for ferries in the region. At a time when bridges and roads are in the news a lot, we’ve forgotten that our rivers have also been thought of as roadsteads and might be again. Liza thought it would be interesting to review what regional ferry service would look like and do for the region, and she was right. She also put together an “Indicators” piece that adds yet another dimension to the story of the impact of the recession in the Portland area. By looking at free or reduced school lunches, she adds depth to our understanding of the ramifications of the slowdown, especially for our most vulnerable people—kids.

These are parlous times for everyone, as some of the features in this edition of Metroscape® illustrate. If the issues are nervous-making, they also make fascinating appraisal. If you can’t enjoy the times, we hope you enjoy the reading.

Craig Wollner
Editor in Chief