I know we've come a long way
We're changin' day to day
But tell me,
Where do the children play?
-- Cat Stevens
There was a story in yesterday's New York Times that's generating quite a buzz here in P-Town. It points out that our fair city is filling up quick with empty nesters and DINKs (double-income, no-kid couples), while families are fleeing to the 'burbs in droves.
Mayor Potter is wringing his hands over this trend, and vowing to do something about it. He's bringing kids in to speak at City Council meetings, and surely he's got more meaningful steps in mind as well.
Let me make a suggestion: Put people on the Portland Development Commission (including a new CEO) that will demand that child-friendly housing be the city's number 1 development priority for the next four years. Right now the vast majority of what the PDC is paying our tax dollars to build are luxury condos and low-income housing. Not that New Columbia doesn't look great -- it does. But it's just a drop in the bucket when it comes to welcoming families, particularly middle-class families, back to town.
We're racing as fast as we can, it seems, to become another San Francisco or Seattle, both groovy as can be to the Graggies in the trendy restaurants and black T-shirt lofts, but no place to raise kids.
To reverse that slide will take radical action. The hundreds of millions of dollars that flow through the PDC every year could be the perfect agent of change.
» Why I choose to raise urban PDX kids from Metroblogging Portland
I took my daughter down to Saturday Market today for the very first time. We waited for the bus in the pouring rain, transferred to MAX, and got out under the Burnside Bridge to a world that's much different on... [Read More]