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Letters: Spring 2008
Author: Kathryn Kirkland
Posted: May 19, 2008

Why we love Portland

The article "Age-Friendly Portland" (winter 2008 magazine) was another example of why we love Portland--more so perhaps when you live elsewhere.

Dr. Margaret Neal's and student Alan DeLaTorre's work with the World Health Organization on assessing the age-friendliness of the city demonstrates an important piece of planning that is lacking in other cities across the country. Although some folks talk about "elder friendly" planning and the need to plan for the dramatic population structure changes coming when 78 million Baby Boomers lurch into late life, few communities are doing the serious work needed. Even fewer are actually listening to today's elders or involving them in planning efforts.

I wonder if Portland's reputation as a livable city or its history of participatory planning is the reason that Portland was the only American city involved in this effort?

Donna L. Wagner '75, MUS '78
Professor and Director of Gerontology
Towson University
Towson, Maryland

Where have all the gerontologists gone?

As a doctoral-trained gerontologist, I was at once excited by the winter magazine story, "Age-Friendly Portland," and also quite saddened. The excitement comes from knowing that PSU and its Institute on Aging are participating in such projects in my hometown. The sadness is basic but profound. Could it be true that Portland was the only city in the nation to participate in something as important as the World Health Organization's Age-Friendly Cities project?

Not only should Portland serve as a model to other cities as they consider the aging of their citizenry, but Portland State University and Margaret Neal and her students should serve as an example for other gerontology programs. I realize that not every gerontology program may have had access to the information or received an invitation to participate (my program did not), but the real question may be, where have all the gerontologists gone?

Thank you to Dr. Neal for raising the gerontological bar and reminding all of us that there is lots of work to be done.

Kelly Niles-Yokum '96, MPA '98
Director of Gerontology Studies
Colleges of Worcester Consortium
Worcester, Massachusetts

Let's remember former film program

It is excellent news that PSU is developing a new film major (winter 2008 magazine). Congratulations, it's clearly time to acknowledge the importance of media in our culture. Let's remember, however, that a PSU film department is not new. From the late 1960s into the 1980s, PSU's Center for the Moving Image (CMI) was one of the finest film departments in the country.

CMI was created and led by two extremely talented individuals: Andries Deinum and Thomas T. Taylor III. Deinum worked in Hollywood as an assistant to Fritz Lang, Alfred Hitchcock, and others. He eventually turned his talents toward scholarship and taught film at University of Southern California. Today there is a plaque in USC's Cinema Department commemorating Professor Deinum's contribution to film study and acknowledging the school's complicity with House Un-American Activities Committee in terminating him.

Taylor, a superb documentary filmmaker, left an active international career to organize and run the production side of PSU's Center for the Moving Image. The program launched careers for a hundred or more students, including my own.

Bill Bowling '79
Worldwide Locations Executive
Warner Bros. Pictures
Burbank, California

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