August 16, 2010 Published in the September 2010 issue of Portland Monthly

Online readers had a lot to say about the features on dogs, beer, and St. Johns in our July 2010 issue. Join the conversation at

Striking a Balance

I read the article A Dog’s Life today with interest. But I wonder, what is the author proposing? What does it mean to “loosen the leash”? By and large, we no longer live in country settings but in dense cities with lots of people, vehicles, and lots of other pets who aren’t well-socialized. We can’t let our dogs roam Portland and ignore leash laws meant to keep people safe. So what does she think we should do? While massages and acupuncture are extravagances for dogs, veterinary care and shelter are not. To the question the author poses—"would our dogs be better off with a little less of our love?"—I would answer no, we can love them all we want. However, they would be better off if we took time to learn about dogs before bringing them into our lives and educating ourselves about dogs as animals before we accept them as companions.
—Kara Kerpan
Northeast Portland

Missing Brew

Being an Oregon resident for many years now, I have fully come to appreciate (and become spoiled by) great Oregon beer from all over the state. But I was completely disappointed that you totally missed a shining gem on the other side of the state in your feature Welcome to Beervana. Baker City’s own Barley Brown’s Brew Pub has to be one of the best breweries I’ve ever had the chance to experience. In my humble opinion, their nationally recognized beer (most recently in Maxim’s "25 Best New Beers in America" issue) rivals even established giants Rogue and Deschutes. Not to mention the Cheers-ish atmosphere makes Barley Brown’s a must-stop for residents and visitors alike.

New and Old in St. Johns

I’ve visited St. Johns (The New Frontier) a couple of times—and will be back again since my son and his family live there. It is rough around the edges, but you can definitely start to see the swing back toward some “gentrification.” Three cheers to all those who have kept a stiff upper lip and are making the best of things, as well as to all the transplants who have moved to the area and are improving their homes and neighborhoods with all their ideas and “new blood,” while enjoying all the tradition of St. Johns.

St. Johns has a lot more to offer than white people moving in and making it a “better place.” Local businesses that have been in the neighborhood for years are what make St. Johns—such as Santa Cruz and Nicola’s. St. Johns has a lot of misfortune, but it’s also one of the most diverse neighborhoods in all of Portland. We need to be celebrating this and recognizing the people who have lived in this neighborhood after the 1950s and before the gentrification.

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