This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 30, 2005 1:50 PM. The previous post in this blog was Lighten up. The next post in this blog is A worthy message. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, June 30, 2005

What they teach you in urban planning school

When you want to blight a neighborhood with gigantic apartment towers, you say: "We've got all these new people moving to the city -- where else are we going to put them?"

When population experts show that the population of the city is actually declining, you say: "That can't be right -- look at all the apartment towers that are being built!"

Comments (67)

I'd be interested to know what parts of Portland, specifically, are losing people. Houses stay on the market maybe four days in my part of town (and that doesn't count the rowhouses that get build and are then sold within days of coming on the market), so I suspect there's really differing trends in different parts of the city.

By the way, Jack, I was surprised that you didn't do a "We're #1!" post over the CNN story that Portland has the nation's worst July 4 traffic bottleneck.

Hey, forget the holiday weekends. I've been noticing that the afternoon rush hour in Portland now starts around 2:30 p.m. Today I-5 northbound started slowing around 12:30.

Wait 'til South Waterfront is operating. It's going to be quite the gridlock. The traffic studies for that development showed... oh wait, that's right, we didn't do any traffic studies.

The people who buy the $3 million condos in those awful, awful skyscrapers that are being built down there are not -- repeat, NOT -- going to be riding no freakin' streetcar. Each unit is going to have an SUV and a hybrid, and they are going to make a huge, huge mess. They deserve it -- alas, the rest of us who live here don't.

I'm confused, Jack. Do you want people to move to Portland, or don't you? Shouldn't you be happy Portland's population is declining? Or are you happy and just hiding it through a veil of rage?

Each unit is going to have an SUV and a hybrid, and they are going to make a huge, huge mess.

What are you talking about, Jack? They're going to take the tram up to their (new) jobs at OHSU, and then they'll spend all their time shopping and dining in the exciting new lifestyle center that is the SoWa district. I don't even think any of them will have cars. MAX to the airport, Tram to OHSU, Streetcar to the Pearl, et voila. They may even follow Homer's lead and buy Segways.

Re. the South Waterfront, I've got a new word - "tramfic."

On the whole, I'm glad the population's declining. But I'm enraged that the 200 planners and 10 pet developers of the City of Portland are wrecking the place based on a bootstrap argument. If you build a lousy condo tower and give everybody in it a tax holiday, sure, someone from California can be talked into moving into it. But I'd rather they stayed in California if they're not already inclined to move up here.

Plus, if two families of four move out of the city to Tualatin and three unemployed creative-class hipsters move up to Portland from San Jose, that's bad. And that's what's probably happening. More housing units needed, for fewer people. Tom McCall is rolling over in his grave.

What is your problem with creative-class hipsters? They get more tail than you in college or something?

No, actually, I like the creative class hipsters as people. I even like to think of myself as one of their senior members sometimes. But they get suckered in by Portland. There are no decent jobs for them here, or very few. And rather than do true econmic development, the city just builds more ugly boxes for them to live in for a while, until they wise up and move back out, or resign themselves to waiting tables. It's tragic. So I often find myself wishing they'd stay in San Jose, for their own sake as well as for the city's.

One reason the population of Portland is declining is that the average number of persons per Portland household is declining. To simplify, if the average household size falls from 4 to 3, then the population would decline by 25% even though the number of households (hence the demand for housing units) would remain the same.

In Portland, the demand for housing units isn't falling off -- just put up a "for sale" sign outside your house and wait 10 minutes for the doorbell to ring -- but it's slanted toward the childless and the empty-nesters.

Yeah, but the quality of life is so superior here.

We discourage single-occupancy vehicles. Why not the same with housing?

Hipsters get tail? Man, I've gotta rethink my image.

Many of them must work with their own tails.

You assume that the South Waterfront condos will be fully occupied when completed. I think there's a chance that some (maybe even many) of the "purchasers" of these condos are really speculators, expecting to flip their units. When a large amount of residential housing is owned by non- residents (which I believe is the case in the Portland market), and when the poop hits the fan with respect to negative amortization mortgages and ARMs in an increasing rate environment, the people who signed up for these condos may not move in to the extent everyone thinks they will. We'll see.

My problem with the creative class/childless hipsters/empty nesters is that they are fairly unmotivated to do what needs to be done to pay for certain services (read: schools). I've talked to many, many people who have moved here from California, and I can't even begin to say how many of them have expressed some variation on the idea "I've paid my share of taxes in California, I'm here to enjoy the good (read: taxfree) life."

Classic example of this is what's going on in Bend. Tons of wealthy people moving in, getting developments built, requiring investments in infrastructure, city services, etc. etc. etc., and they tend to be the types who then vote down measures to pay for those services that their new house is creating demand for.

Amen, Dave J. Which is why it cracks me up that city government literally paves the way for these people. If Mayor Potter is for schools, then he ought to be for family housing.

Jack, your snobbery is what is tragic. You're basically saying people need to have permission to move here and should have to "show proof of acceptable employment" in order to have the luxury of living near you in Portland (sorry, can't move to portland if all you want to do is wait tables!).

And if they do decide to move here, and if they have a job that's acceptable in your eyes, well, they need to start coupling up and reproducing immediately so you don't get offended.

Everyone planning on moving to Portland, please send Jack Bog your W-2s from the last ten years as well as proof of ability to reproduce (sperm sample, et al), so he can determine if you're worthy enough to live among his royal highness.

Whatever happened to moving where you want to move, doing what you want to do and living where you want to live? You make it sound like Erik Sten is going down to the Bay Area with Greyhound buses and sounding out a megaphone saying "Hey Hipsters, come on up to Oregon! Plenty of graphic design work available and nifty condo living available!" I think people are moving here because they -- GASP -- like Oregon. Sorry if that bugs you.

Personally, as a native born Oregonian, I'd like to see ALL the out-of-staters kicked out. That includes anyone who moved here *cough* 27 years ago.

Get out of my state, Jack.

I've never understood the argument that new residences don't pay their way. An empty residential lot pays, what, $500 or so in property tax. A newly "developed" lot pays, what, $3000+ in property tax. Doesn't that increase in tax revenue account for something?

Chris G., the way you twist my point, it doesn't reflect well on "your" state.

And Molly, not if it's a tax-abated condo tower.

This was a rather tortured trek to the path of enlightenment. End tax abatements. If you own property, you pay tax. Next!

Molly, if you want to understand how residential development doesn't pay its way, think about all the things that we need to provide to deal with new development -- streets, sewers, schools, parks, transit, et cetera.

I'd highly recommend a book:
Altschuler, Alan A. and Jose A Gomez-Ibanez, with Arnold M. Howitt. Regulation for Revenue: The Political Economy of Land Use Exactions

It's a good, short overview of costs of growth issues from non-ideological folks (Harvard professors) written in language non-economists can understand.

For more info, visit 1000 Friends' website:


"...they get suckered in by Portland...no decent jobs for them here...until they wise up and move back out, or resign themselves to waiting tables. It's tragic."

This is what you said, is it not, Jack?

Personally, I think being resigned to being a lowly tax professor is a crappy job, and not one I want my children exposed to. So I would really appreciate it if all the tax professors in Oregon could please find somewhere else to do their jobs. After all, because I got here first, I get to decide what people should and shouldn't do for a living within *MY* state. And frankly, Tom McCall did not have a bunch of tax professors in mind when he was governor. It was not part of his sacrosanct vision. I never once heard him mention tax professors as something Oregonians needed.

After all, because I got here first, I get to decide what people should and shouldn't do for a living within *MY* state.

Gee, Chris, straw man much? Jack's point is that we have a paucity of jobs for the over-educated 20 somethings we are encouraging to move here thanks to our great lifestyle. And we do have a great place to live, and every one of my friends and relatives who has visited me here has contemplated moving here. And some have. But please don't pretend that we have the kind of job market that can support those people.

Jack wasn't talking about the "quality" of jobs from a worthiness standpoint, he was talking about them purely in economic terms (ie., salary), since his larger point was that Portland is encouraging people to move here without ensuring that there is adequate supply of the type of jobs that will help fund the city's efforts to lure them here.

We're trying to give people NYC living while paying them Salt Lake City salaries, and eventually that's going to cause some problems.

Hey Dave, good for you, you saw the ridiculousness of what I was saying -- but I was only taking Jack's ridiculousness to its logical extreme.

The job market is what it is. People are resourceful enough to live where they want to live and find whatever work it is that makes them happy. They can work in jobs that are "supplied" to them, or they can start their own g.d. business doing whatever they like. The market will determine if they succeed or fail.

"We" aren't giving people anything or paying them anything. The real estate market and the job market take care of that on their own. Yes, local government is trying to get people to live in the central city to increase the "vibrancy" of Portland. Jack's saying they shouldn't do that - fine, then vote for people who won't support such efforts.

But don't give me this b.s. about how people have to have a the right kind of quality job in hand before moving here. They'll make their own way, without waiting to see if you approve of their economic and spending choices. And if some accept a lower salary just to live in a nice place, fine -- it doesn't bother me, why should it bother you?????

Quit worrying about whether people are going to have the "right kind of job" and mind your own g.d. business.

I'd also be curious to know, if as Jack said in comment #2, that rush hours really are getting that bad, if there's NO JOBS IN PORTLAND, what the **** are all those people doing on the roads????????????????????????????????????


And if some accept a lower salary just to live in a nice place, fine -- it doesn't bother me, why should it bother you?????

That doesn't bother me--it's their right to live wherever they want. My only concern is that our city's focus on economic development seems to have two prongs: build nice places for rich people to live, and then build nice stores for them to shop at. Great, but the city can't get by on a couple hundred new sales jobs at places like West Elm, Henry's, and Anthropologie.

HOWEVER, the city now (after all this building) has new obligations (new sewer lines, new electric system, a few new schools, more cops, fire, more salaries for the new city employees they had to hire, etc.), and if it isn't building a tax base to help fund that, who's it going to look at?

Dave, assuming you live within Portland's city limits, can't you vote for those who promise to stop such activities? (i.e., higher taxes and more "crazy" development)

And if your candidate doesn't win, then aren't you obligated to respect the wishes of the majority until the next election?

And if you don't live within the city of Portland, then aren't you relatively powerless to do anything about how Portland taxes its citizens?

Dave, assuming you live within Portland's city limits, can't you vote for those who promise to stop such activities? (i.e., higher taxes and more "crazy" development) And if your candidate doesn't win, then aren't you obligated to respect the wishes of the majority until the next election?

Well, one problem is that I generally disagree with the anti-tax crowd about every other issue in the book, so it's a bit of a bind. I'm pro-environment, pro-education, pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage--heck, I'm a damn liberal! I'm simply saying that I'd love to see as much effort put into recruiting good middle-class jobs to Portland as there is to building big towers with fancy new restaurants.

Perfect example: the M&F Hotel. Now, I think that block is generally pretty skeezy, so I'll be glad to see it made bright and shiny. But that's costing how much? $30M? Great--but will it bring a surplus of $40K-$70K jobs? I doubt it. More $11/hour jobs, but not much more. So what good is it? (Apart from the aforementioned skeeziness banishing.) Why can't the city use that same $30M and do something to recruit some new company to move to Portland, or, god forbid, convince a Columbia Sportswear to stay?

Dave, but then if more companies are recruited to Portland, then Jack Bog's commute gets worse, and lord knows we can't have that. Because that leaves less time for snarky blogging. Until he gets wifi in his car so he can live-blog from the top of the Marquam Bridge.

Jack seems to want the best of everything -- lots of new high paying jobs for everyone, but without any new housing construction or new cars on the road. And have the population fall to boot.

This scenario makes no sense whatsoever.

>I'd also be curious to know, if as Jack said in comment #2, that rush hours really are getting that bad, if there's NO JOBS IN PORTLAND, what the **** are all those people doing on the roads????????????????????????????????????


Posted by Chris G. at June 30, 2005 04:18 PM

Jay, I'm glad to see you agree with my comment so much that you posted it again word for word!

>>I'd also be curious to know, if as Jack said in comment #2, that rush hours really are getting that bad, if there's NO JOBS IN PORTLAND, what the **** are all those people doing on the roads????????????????????????????????????


Posted by Chris G. at June 30, 2005 04:18 PM>>I'd also be curious to know, if as Jack said in comment #2, that rush hours really are getting that bad, if there's NO JOBS IN PORTLAND, what the **** are all those people doing on the roads????????????????????????????????????


Posted by Chris G. at June 30, 2005 04:18 PM

Trying this again...The only thing that doesn't make a lot of sense to me, here, would be you.

Our freeways are overloaded because Portland has been busy spending billions on trams and choo-choos, rather than looking at actual traffic needs. The Port of Portland has lost two major container lines, and now a lot of that is being trucked north to Puget Sound. The stuff offloaded at Puget Sound is trucked south to NoCal. We get all the benefits of the increased truck traffic, primarily because Portland hasn't had any real leadership in decades.

Then you have the fact that there's a Starbucks on every corner, and the poor shmoes who work there are driving their beaters in, adding to the congestion.

The higher-paying jobs are beating cheeks outta here, and with good reason. What's left are the folks making $9 to $11 pouring coffee and selling shoes. Taken together, it's hardly a recipe for a good economy.

"Portland hasn't had any real leadership in decades."

OK, I take it you voted in Portland elections for decades, and no one you wanted to win actually won?

Who would be the last person of leadership in the mayor's office in your opinion? Frank Ivancie? Yeeshh...if not Ivancie, then perhaps Terry Schrunk? Wasn't he tried for bribery?

Chris G., you are banned for a while. Go calm down.

Terry Schrunk was, as mayor, tried on a charge of receiving bribes in his previous job as sheriff of Multnomah County. He was acquitted and went on to serve four terms, during the course of which (for better or worse) the City built Memorial Coliseum, remodeled the ancient Civic Auditorium, built the Forecourt Fountain, started urban renewal south of Market Street, pushed the creation of Tri-Met, replaced the Morrison Bridge (technically a county job, I think), organized (with voter approval) the Portland Development Commission, and started the Downtown Plan project (with, curiously, staff support from Commissioner Ivancie).

The situation was described and elaborated upon to a fairly well a year ago in Brainstorm NW, in an article written by Jim Pasero, Life in the Land of the Latte Leftists.

Yes, Portland has always been a backwater and insular burg. It's just that in the last 35 years or so it has also moved much more in the direction described in the article, to the left and anti-business, accelerating that move in the last 15 years.

Before the May, 2004 primaries the Mayor's race was Jim Francesconi's to lose. Francesconi, who is otherwise your standard issue leftwing bleedingheart liberal Portland lawyer, had somehow managed to go against type and correctly discerned that Portland's reputation as being closed to business was hurting the Portland area economically --indeed hurting the whole state economically-- and more critically he realized that if he were to approach businesses with that message he would be welcomed with open arms. And with open checkbooks too. So that's exactly what he he did, and he thereby amassed a formidable campaign war chest. He looked invincible, and the mayor's job was his little cupcake for the taking. But in that dynamic Francesconi made a dreadful mistake. Tom Potter, to his credit, had the acumen to spot the mistake, and was adept enough to know how to exploit it. Potter correctly discerned that Portland voters don't really care that much if Portland's reputation as being closed to business was hurting Portland economically. Potter knew that voters wouldn't respond to that message. Potter also knew that Portland voters would resent a candidate who collected huge campaign donations from big business, and would reject a candidate who seemed to be in the hip pocket of business. In essence, Francesconi had left daylight on his left flank, and Potter adroitly moved quickly to occupy that position. Can we just agree that Potter jetted right by Francesconi to the mayor's seat, war chest or no, business support or no, by simply out-liberaling Francesconi? Isn't the clear lesson to be learned here that when running for mayor of Portland, never, never, ever leave any room on your left, not even an inch? If you do, as a candidate you die.

I'm extremely pessimistic that this situation will change. If you want to live in Portland, that's what you've got to put up with.

Jack, as usual, your "tax-abated condo towers" point is right-on (albeit an extraordinary exception to the general 1.5% + 3% annual increase + GO bonds rule, thank you Don McIntire and Bill Sizemore). I guess that's why I got a B something your tax class. However, for the rest of you, as a fifth-generation Oregonian who's land grant, home-steading family has (probably) not paid extra assessments for "necessary" development (since 1852), why is my $2400 a year any different from a new guy's $3500 a year? Why do you expect the new guy to pay any more or anything exceptional?


P.S. Evan: Thanks, I'll take you up on the "Regulation for Revenue" suggestion (what a fabulously Fascist title). But, no offense, I usually try not to rely on 1000 Friends for guidance on anything. My family lake property was "exacted" by eminent domain in the 1970s. I have no sympathy for thieves, especially when in government dress.

Jack - Just curious, what is the official current job outlook for Portland?

Between the still-high unemployment rate and folks like Columbia Sportswear being driven away, I can't imagine Potter even pretending there is a stable market within the city limits in, say, 5 years.

Right now, there's no silver lining. But I think we should give the mayor and his new development team a chance to improve things. He is proving to be a very smart and very persuasive man.

I was having a chat with one of Erik Sten's key staffers during a break while testifying at the voter owned elections council session. I won't name him, but his statement to me was "We will never have a fortune 500 company in Portland again". His view was that real estate development and speculation would be the future economic engine of Portland. In my view, this philosophy has us heading toward an "ephemeral city". The haves make their money receiving rents and speculating in property. The have nots pour them lattes and wait on them in the restaurants. The city's statements that they support business and want to help create living wage jobs are not backed up by their actions. They tabled a plan to reform the city /county business tax and had nothing but criticism for Tim Boyle when he told it like it is at the Portland Business Alliance. The core mission of the city, fire, parks, sewer and water, police and roads have their budgets plundered for the sake of studies to buy PGE, campaign finance reform and a myriad of other things which are not the chartered responsibility of the city government. I don't think there will be a general call for action until the meth tweekers start plundering the luxury condos in the Pearl.

Dave J.: Just to point out that your initial comment is misleading. The actual result has not much to do with "Portland" though it likely involves "Portlanders."

From AHUA's ranking of worst holiday traffic: "US-20, US-30, US-26 and SR–18 and SR-22 provide access between Oregon’s Willamette Valley and the Pacific
coastline,often winding through the rugged Coast Range."

So if you'd all stay home and enjoy your families, instead of rushing to the coast like Lemmings, all would be fine.

Oh, and Jack, the "increased number of condo towers" and "decreasing population" (if the population *is* actually decreasing; note the conflicting findings in the story to which you link) is fairly easy to rationalize: Look North.

You've got young folks moving to Portland, presumably childless or with a young one (+2 or +3 population), but your families are moving to Clark County in substantial numbers with their kids (-4 or -5). It's not hard to see how a bunch of childless couples could fill up a slew of condo towers while the city still shows a net decrease in population. Vancouver has grown more than 209% in the last 10 years, and more than a third of that is ex-Portlanders.

There are two stories in the O today outlining more of the failed leadership and planning in Oregon over the last two or more decades.
Horrific traffic to, from and along the coast and freight rail gridlock in the Portland Vancouver area. Outdated deadly roads, no interstates or bypasses, Port hobbling rail/road congestion and all deliberately brought about.

Don't bother going to any 1000 friends web site for their crap. They are part of the problem.
They can't even observe the reality which you asked about.
Typical subdivisions must pay for all road improvements, sewer extensions and other infrastructure as well as pay ever increasing fees which then get misspent by the horrific planning machine 1000 Friends loves so much.
The type of development that doesn't pay it's way is the Urban Renewal South Waterfront type where the taxpayers pay for all of the infrastucture
(Streets, sewer, water and alike) on top of other subsidies and tax exemptions handed to the influential campaign contributors.

1000 Friends answer to road capacity increase demands and other infrastructure is to not build any, punish some developers with high system development fees and reward others with bug subsidies for building high density chaos.

The Goldschmidt/Katz era stopped the Mt. Freeway,
killed the Westside bypass, ended all major road building, neglected basic infrastructure, morphed Senate Bill 100 into a tool of chaos making and spawned the euphoric adulation for the Metro-think 1000 friends of Oregon religion. It's sick and it confutes.

The results have been and will harm Oregon for decades to come.

Even as we Blog today, leaders such as Randy Leonard are working to divert endless tax dollars to risky, unwarranted and ill-conceived ventures.
The same money desperately needed for the obvious yet neglected need to expand our basic and real infrastructure.
Voters be damned. South Waterfront is an outrage and the recent convention center expansion farce is being followed by a push for a convention center hotel which promises to ratchet up the annual losses. More tax dollars towards a certain failure and long term commitment to those losses. More light rail, a light rail transit mall, commuter rail, street cars and endless public subsidies for private development that does not work will devour hundreds of millions every year as far as the honest eye can see.

1000 Friends of Oregon do not have those honest eyes.

The lies of New Urbanism, Smart Growth, Metro, TriMet, PDC, ODOT and the City of Portland, along with many others are to blame.

(bug)"big" subsidies

"It's sick and it (confutes) "continues"

Have to call Mr. Schopp on his little bit of revisionist history with respect to the Mt. Hood Freeway. Actually, Mr. Goldschmidt was fully in support of the Mt. Hood Freeway from the beginning. It was citizen uproar, including citizens from my neighborhood which would have been gutted and divided, that IMHO caused the change in heart stopped it.

And though you do seem to keep consistent to your themes here on bojack, Mr. Schopp I'd like to hear if you believe in public education.

Let the rant begin!

The Goldschmidt/Katz era stopped the Mt. Freeway,

Thank god.

"Mr. Schopp I'd like to hear if you believe in public education."
Certainly,who doesn't? But I believe in "honest" public ed., not the CIMCAM fraud that imitates our land use planning model.

Total retardation

-----"Oregonians don't have a lot of alternatives to driving the state's coastal highways, said Lincoln County Commissioner Don Lindly. The beaches aren't served by an extensive bus network. Commercial flights aren't available. Light rail doesn't exist"----

Oregon road problems are due to a lack of Bus, Air and Light Rail modes?


Light rail to the beach? Geez... if you left after work on Friday you wouldn't get there until Tuesday afternoon!

Oregon road problems are due to a lack of Bus, Air and Light Rail modes?

I'd suspect the road problems (to the coast, in this instance) are more due to the geography. Not a ton of major cities on the west coast that lie close enough to the ocean that people want to go out there yet far enough from the ocean that a lot of new transportation corridors would have to be created. Think of the current roads out to the coast--mostly one lane because of the mountainous areas they go through. I think the financial cost to widen 6, or 26, or 30, or 18, or whatever, would be prohibitive, to say the least. (And that's not even considering the likely environmental factors.)

some of the comments here are off the hook. I'm a mid-twenty something "hipster" that returned to my hometown after many years in Phoenix. I moved into P-town at the height of it's recession. Unemployment here in Oregon was something like 8% I think, and probably higher here in P-town. I don't have my college degree finished and I moved up here with my partner who similiarly had some call center expereince but many more years of college still to go. We moved for the quality of life, which along with forests, rivers, great urban planning, and easy to use transportation, also included finding quality jobs. Within two months of me living here I found a very decent job and have now been with the company for 3 years. My partner also is employed by a major corporation that has a Portland presence. We both work downtown, live close-in, and contribute most of our earnings back into the local economy. I don't understand how us "hipsters" aren't the ones, you say, Portland should be attracting. We don't have kids, we choose not to live in a single home dwelling, we take the train into work everyday, and we buy local.

Within months of moving to P-town in the highet of her recession, we both landed good paying "middle-class" jobs, adjusted to our surrounding community, and started pumping money back into the economy. Maybe David J is upset that he can't get a good "middle-class" job because us hipsters have snapped them all up.

For those that lament the "choo-choos" and how we should spend the money on bigger freeways and better roads, maybe you should take the hint while sitting on 84 stuck in traffic. You hate the train because it can get you there faster. I drove into downtown earlier this week for work in the middle of rush hour. I counted 5 trains pass me while I was bitching about being stuck in traffic. Heading home at the end of the day was worse! I think this city needs a MAX next to every freeway and a streetcar up all the main avenues.

I also voted for the I-tax and believe that we as Oregonian, corporate and individually, aren't paying our fair share to sustain a truly world class state.

More condos?

Less people?

Has anyone considered the possibility that there are fewer people on average living in every dwelling unit in this city? A trend that's been going on in the U.S. for, say five decades or so?

I was distressed by a front page story in the O a week ago today: senior citizens living in mobile home parks that are being sold so that their owners can profit bigtime from the real estate boom. If we had real urban planning here, local governments would develop strategies to hang on to such affordable housing- perhaps by offering subsidies, transferring development rights or otherwise giving the park owners incentives to allow the tenants to stay. Instead we subsidize high end housing. Speculation ain't land use planning. Land use planning is supposed to help control it. That's what I learned in planning school. A few years back, a lawyer who was representing the Gray Panthers got run out of town on a rail. Tell me spec developers don't run things here!

Maybe David J is upset that he can't get a good "middle-class" job because us hipsters have snapped them all up.

No, I have a good middle-class job, as does my wife. I really have been very fortunate, and none of my complaints are about things (other than the horrible school funding issues, as they will affect my kids) that really affect me. But, Mark, just as you can share your story, which worked out, I could share ten stories with you about highly qualified people who moved to Portland because of quality-of-life issues, and who haven't been able to find jobs anywhere close to what they used to make.

My point is very simple: if Portland were to take the money it is currently spending on fancy new developments and invest them in strategies to bring JOBS to town, the development would likely follow. However, jobs are not just as likely to follow development. Essentially, we need to be careful about being a sustainable mechanism to afford all this development, and I don't think we are.

I've got news for you, Dave J., the tram is being built in part to keep and expand OHSU in Portland. That sure sounds like a jobs strategy to me. Health Care is a rapidly growing sector of the economy, and a lot of the jobs pay a good amount of money, last I checked.

I don't think I've been "fortunate" in achieving what I have in a relatively short amount of time. I work hard every damn day to achieve more and become a better and more well rounded person. I have a desire to succeed and won't let a shut door deter me. I think large groups of people in our city have a shut door mentality that they've done what they can do and there is no support and no money so they give up or relegate themselves to be second class. "Well, the money isn't there so I guess we can't try for (insert: baseball, Intel, or anything you like here ____)"

Is it really all about money though? Portland has become what it is not because we are a rich community, which we aren't, it is that we have brilliant ideas and are not afraid to try them out, even if they end in failure (guess it wouldn't be that brilliant of an idea than would it?). Our screwy tax system is causing shortages in funding, not our willingness to pay as Portland voters have three times apporved I-tax increases in the last few years. We have enough money to build new neighborhoods that maintain or improve our ability to market the quality of life and sustainability here, upgrade quality schools, and keep all offenders locked in jail AS WELL AS attract more good jobs and encourage the economic growth in the city...but we go about economic growth in the wrong way.

For Portland to be successful, the region as a whole needs to be healty. I am amazed that we are still the only state that elects regional governments. Our success will really come when Seattle to Eugene wakes up and realizes that we can pool our resources and market the region, not compete with our neighbors. If we all contributed to the pot, there would be a lot more $$$ to go around.

A few months back, there was an article in the O about a meeting between GW Bush and Vladmir Putin. A commentator quoted said that Russia couldn't attract investment because the courts and regulatory agencies were too pliable. Imho, that observation is easily applicable to Oregon. Deal with the corruption; don't deny it. This advice is especially directed to the big O. There are lots of stories out there about companies that got run out because of questionable practices of their competitors and their lawyers. And the regulalators who won't take on corrutption in high places because it is socially unacceptable in the over-collegial Good Old Boy culture we have here.

Mark is right, though. Whatever you may think of the 20 somethings moving to town, there is no evidence that they are anti-tax or anti-public schools. When Dave J. cites his few anecdotes, he's ignoring all the voting evidence from Multnomah County.

But mark, you're wrong when you say Portland is where it is not because we're rich. Oregon *did* benefit for decades from timber and other raw material sales. And we benefitted from a "new urbanism" in the 1990s (as did many cities). Yes, big ideas helped and continue to help draw in-migration, but for some of us, we've become a prisoner of big ideas when the prevailing economic models around us have changed. So we're still pursuing white elephants like PGE Park or the Tram in the assumption that we'll just grow the costs away. I don't think we can assume that anymore.

I'd love to add to the discussion but I think I'm still banned. Go, Mark, Go.

Unemployed Oregonian #1, right here at your service. I moved back after a stint in Seattle, because....I love it here, this is my home. Job offers in Bristol, CT do nothing for me; I am here to stay. So...what can city hall do for people like me?

"If we all contributed to the pot, there would be a lot more $$$ to go around."

There's plenty of money: for the downtown trolley, for the downtown tram, and for the downtown condos (almost) without property taxes.

As far as bringing the anti-tax "sensibilities" here, it's not the 20-somethings (who only stay a while before relocating) who are the problem. It's the Marin County retirees who are coming to the condos of Portland, and elsewhere in Oregon. Unfortunately, Portland government is doing everything for them, and nothing much for anyone else.

Gordo, the naive says,---"the tram is being built in part to keep and expand OHSU in Portland.----

I have watched/witnessed the entire OHSU/SouthWaterfront/Tram process and at no time did the city or OHSU present a fact based case for this claim.

The entire process was, and is, a convoluted mixture of blatant falsehoods, baseless speculation, pie in the sky delusion and official misrepresentation.

So lacking in fundamental considerations for making a "plan" actually a plan, South Waterfront and the Tram guarantees three easily predictable outcomes.

Enormous public cost, windfall profits for the developers/campaign contributors and a quagmire of civic dysfunction.

Keep in mind that the upcoming Alexan Tower of 340 luxury apartments will be seeking a full 10 year property tax exemption for most of it's $66 million cost.
Just this one building, of some 50 planned for the area, will be excused $1.5 million in annual property taxes.
As with many other buildings elsewhere in Portland, for 10 years that means no property taxes for paying back the Urban Renewal Public subsidy to build it and not one dime for basic services.


Any evidence on your claim about 20 somethings staying a while and leaving? That's not what I hear from the fine folks at the Pop Center at PSU.

I also understood (on this I'm less well informed) that lots of those condos are being populated with empty nesters from here in good old Oregon, suburbanites cashing in on their equity and moving back downtown.

If the youngsters are staying, it certainly isn't in the "creative class" jobs told of in City of Portland Planning mythology. I read and hear stories like this, on a City Club site no less, and they send a very different message.

PSU also has a course on the wonders of urban renewal, taught by the outgoing dum-dums at the PDC. So don't believe everything you hear over there about what's going on in the particle board canyons of the Pearl.

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