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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 19, 2005 1:35 PM. The previous post in this blog was Like buttah. The next post in this blog is In the evenings he's still singin' with the band. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Erik and Sam's Portland

The accolades just keep rolling in. Phil Stanford points us to the latest.

Comments (49)

Uh, the link points to Forbes best places list, and Portland is ranked 26, with 1 being best and 150 being worst.

According to Phil Stanford's article Portland is #3 on the list of most over priced cities, but I couldn't find the complete list on the Forbes site. Oh well. At least we aren't Seattle.

All I know is Portland must have on helluva PR firm. Every national article written about Portland touts 'sound planning' as our crowming acheivement.

Same link has Portland ranked #17 out of 150 on "cost of doing business," with lowest c.o.d.b. beng Albuquerque at #1. Huh!

here's the link to the portland page according to Forbes:
http://www.forbes.com/lists/2005/1/2912.shtml

geez, jack, you sure do take every opportunity to break stones. i like to think of this town as my portland even though it's not the same town it was in the 70s and 80s before the californians/east coasters/midwesterners/seattlites came to stay. i also welcome the creative class whether they be enriching my city or making my coffee.

the only people i wish would leave are those who believe there is no price to be paid for living in a society operating under the theory that we all should live in our isolated little worlds paying for exactly what we use, not a penny less or a penny more thinking that they're not part of the problem, why should they be part of the solution. i could do without these people.

how come you don't gripe about the eastbank esplanade or lightrail or the 'green' construction that has put pdx at the vanguard of the national enviro-friendly movement all of which our elected officials helped with? oh these are good ideas, right?

and i realize that my posts are going to make it difficult for me to get your endorsement when i run for office, hanging myself with a thread, if you will, but i think you'll still back me, rose [city] colored glasses and all.

As I've said here many times, I like the Esplanade. And light rail makes sense to me.

the 'green' construction that has put pdx at the vanguard of the national enviro-friendly movement

That's nonsense.

And with the local economy on the ropes, the local leaders are building streetcars and aerial trams and Convention Center hotels. Fight Enron! Fight Comcast! Fight WalMart! Hey guys, how about scraping up some decent jobs around here?! Not their job, I guess.

It's safe to say to most of us, "living well" means: a decent job, affordable health care, time to coach the kids's baseball teams and put the kids to bed, camping trips, going to the beach every now and then, a mortgage, decent public schools, a car or two that run, some sort of pension or retirement plan, helping the kids pay for college if they choose to go, pizza night, clean water, safe streets, good parks, etc.

Here's how Forbes defines living well in it's rankings:

"We tabulated the annual costs for a family of four with one child in a private college and one in eighth-grade and attending a private school. Our fictional clan has two houses--one [4000 square feet} in a nice neighborhood and one in the country or at the beach....Our family has two very upscale cars; a sporty BMW 325i sedan and a capacious Lexus RX 330 with front-wheel drive, both 2005 models...We had them take three vacations each year: A week-long winter stay in Palm Beach for the parents; a romantic three-day jaunt to Paris in the spring; and a seven-day ski vacation for the whole family. We researched the cost of luxury lodging (the Hotel Ritz in Paris, The Breakers in Palm Beach, and Beaver Creek Lodge in Colorado), dining out and airfare from the major regional airport."

Here's what you need to live well in Portland, according to Forbes:

Net Income After Taxes $230,613
Primary Home Cost $1,000,000
Annual Home Payments $55,570
Vacation Home Location Bend
Vacation Home Cost $750,000
Annual Vacation Home Payments $41,777
Cars $17,478
Dining Out $8,359
Food at Home $8,359
Travel $20,100
Health Care $3,800
Utilities $4,494
Private School $18,235
College $30,295
Other $22,146
Savings $2,329
Local/State Taxes 12.7%

This is why I don't get too worked up over Forbes lists and rankings.

Actually, light rail is the biggest lie ever perpetrated on Portland. It's costing us big time and used by such a small percentage of commuters we have some of the worst traffic in the country. The esplanade was an outright swindle by Vera Katz, who convined the Feds to give her $5 million for a "transportation corridor" that was mandated to be open 24 hours a day. Of course, immediately it was recognized that the guys with needles stuck out of their arms make it waaaay too dangerous to keep it open all the time. But I guess we don't have to give the Feds their money back. My goodness, the trolley is a complete joke. Of course, Mr. Bowtie in Washington thinks it's wonderful. I'm sure he's never ridden the subway in D.C., where he would have learned that to be RAPID transit, you have to put it underground, not on city streets.
whew, thanks, Jack... i feel better now

I strolled down the Esplanade last week... watching hundreds of people (including money-waving tourists) enjoying the sidewalk that taxes built.

I took Tri-Met #14 to the Esplanade. It was Standing Room only on the bus. Both ways.

While downtown, I jumped onto the Streetcar at PSU. Again, I had to stand for two stops until I got a seat, which I took from some money-waving tourists clutching Saks bags and heading to Powell's (they love our NO SALES TAX thang).

So, two people. Two stories. One's TRUE. You can tell by the real name.

Amusing real-estate anecdote of the day: Near where I live, on 30th and Hawthorne, five new "luxury" townhouses just went up. They are right behind Claudia's, a sports bar, and sit across the street from a convenience store and laundry. Not exactly the most glamorous location, though not horrible. They are nice--modern, but nice. 3 stories, 3 bed, 2 bath, not much of a yard. Maybe 2000 sf. Price: $479,000-$499,000. On sale about a week, four have sold, and I think the fifth is pending.

Insane. Totally freaking insane.

The Esplanade is open all night, if you're daring enough to go down there. It's a wonderful statement about the future of the inner east side, it's got the best downtown views you could imagine, and it allows you to get a sense of the beauty of the river. It's been heavily used since it opened. It was worth whatever it cost.

The MAX train is great, particularly during rush hour when it makes more sense than anything on four wheels.

The Portland streetcar, however, is ludicrous. As is the aerial tram.

They are nice--modern, but nice. 3 stories, 3 bed, 2 bath, not much of a yard. Maybe 2000 sf. Price: $479,000-$499,000. On sale about a week, four have sold, and I think the fifth is pending.

That is indeed nuts. Obviously not people who have lived in that neighborhood. To pay $250 a square foot to live in a townhouse on two busy streets, one with serious traffic saety problems, about a block from a recent pedestrian fatality, and in an area with more than its fair share of heroin problems, is borderline mental illness. And when interest rates are another point or two higher, those will be very hard to re-sell.

But as my German mechanic once told me, "Jeck, zere is an ess for every sit."

I did a paper on MAX a couple of months ago for a writing class at PCC. According to Tri-Met's own studies, about 1/3 of the people who ride MAX are using it only for recreational/shopping purposes, own cars that they use for commuting, and are upper income (family income over $70,000). Average car speed on the Banfield during rush hour is 10 mph higher than MAX speed over the same distance.

Hey, Kai, wanna publish your paper on this blog? I'd be interested in seeing it.

I live a stone's throw from those Hawthorne townhomes, Jack, and even my wife, an experienced realtor who works the neighborhood, was shocked they went so fast, for so much.

The Creative Class (and older folks and Californians) are willing to spend $200 a foot for anything in a neighborhood they like, $250 for something "good", $300 or more for something sweet.

I'm enjoying the ride, so is the Mrs., but we want folks to know that we're very concerned (like many posters) about lower-income folks getting decent housing in this town. Projects like the Waterfront Towers should have put closer to 25% of their apartments away for folks who are just starting out in life.

BTW, have you any of you "Portland Can't Plan a Picnic" folks ever thought about the medium-income families who were smart enough to buy a house in North Portland for $75,000 a couple of years ago? All it cost was $2,000 down, tops, if you even had to pay a down. Now, those families have as much as $50,000 (or more) in equity, allowing them to pay medical bills, send their kids to college, start a blog, or buy a bass boat.

Not everyone is on the outside, looking in.

I'm not sure I would borrow too much against that equity. Tough times are comin'.

Oh, Jack, I totally agree.

House equity should only be used when someone -really- needs it. Agreed.

Of course, there are a few smart ways to play it. Or you can lose your shirt (see interest-only loans in a stalling housing market).

Houses in North Portland for $75K would have been well more than a couple of years ago. Even five years ago you (or we) couldn't find a dump for less than $100-125; fixer-uppers in marginal neighborhoods were already $150+. Taxes high (no breaks there) and property and other crime still a very real and frequent problem.

[I wrote this earlier but thought it was too long (still is too long). Now it seems I'll only be preaching to the choir, something must be wrong.]

Businessweek offers this . . .

My House, My Tax Burden

Before you get euphoric about your home's booming value, consider how rising property taxes may crunch your retirement budget

If you've owned a home in Alexandria, Va., or Virginia's Fairfax, Loudoun, or Prince William counties over the last few years, congratulate yourself on a great investment. According to data compiled by The Washington Post, the value of the average home in these areas is estimated to have increased from 114% to 131% since 2001.

But home values aren't the only thing that has increased in the area. Real estate tax bills are up anywhere from 58% (Prince William County) to 111% (Loudoun County).

The desire to blame Measure 5 for our present "revenue" problems must surely now get more air time.

The call for a living wage for everyone also needs a little revamping too, upward; as it seems our home-purchasing power has decreased.

Is there a truth in labeling law that is applicable to politicians? I would think that our City Council has lost sight of democratic ideals of lifting the bottom rung of the population rather than catering to the asset-rich class. The vast majority of the population are just glorified renters . . . renters who’s financial fate is tied to the further speculative excess in the real estate market.

The price increases have exceeded that which corresponds to decreases in payments based on reductions in interest rates. There had been a time when the price of a home was 3 times earnings. Now it seems to have gone well past X times earnings.

Finfacts offers this . . . “Global House Price Boom: The greatest BUBBLE in history

Japanese property prices have dropped for 14 years in a row, by 40% from their peak in 1991. Yet the rise in prices in Japan during the decade before 1991 was less than the increase over the past ten years in most of the countries that have experienced housing booms.

The link has a good table listing the boom across the globe, with China’s current boom listed as simply “na.”

The boom has already gone flat in the UK and Australia, not reduced but flat lined.

There is a particular sense of horror to have taken my Economic Development related courses personally and then to have to witness some elected folks drink the equivalent to Jonestown grape Flavor-Aid and call it Economic Development rather than Euthanasia.

A home that is purchased with borrowed dollars is not wealth. It is a tool for an outside entity to extract a fraction of a person’s income in interest payments. The extraction is starkly contrary to anything remotely called “Economic Development.” That extraction directly competes with the City's desire to extract more taxes . . . taxes from the same stream of income. But Erik does not see it cause all he sees is the latest sale price.

The boy wonder and this team need to take a break from their Flavor-Air festivities and their blind subservience to false prophets that the path to wealth is through debt.

Projects like the Waterfront Towers should have put closer to 25% of their apartments away for folks who are just starting out in life.

I agree, but the rich folks who are buying up those apartments would cease to do so if they knew that 25% of their neighbors were going to be "low-income." What, move from California and be forced to share a tower with the local riffraff? Pfft.

The fact that the tower condos are selling at the reported pace is irrefutable proof that the developers did not and do not need the massive public subsidies and that the entire North Macadam area (prime property) could have, should have (and still can for the most part) been developed without public assistance.
Just like the property owners had previously attempted.
Unfortunatly we now have massive amounts of Urban Renewal dollars (skimmed from property taxes headed for schools and other basic services) going to help line the pockets of the deep pocket campaign buying fat cats.

School dollars will be paying for part of the Tram
and are currently paying for Interstae MAX as 3744 acres of North Portland has it's property taxes skimmed.

Maybe Doonesbury was right... about you bloggers... all I see here is doom and gloom... Chicken Little's saying the sky is falling... the sky is falling.

Try a bike ride, kids. Sun's out.

Kai Jones' data is a good argument for taking MAX. You could rephrase that as "Average car speed on the Banfield during rush hour is ONLY 10 mph higher than MAX speed over the same distance." What kind of difference is that in time? Maybe a few seconds, maybe a couple minutes, depending on where you're riding. For me, I ride MAX from downtown to the Parkrose station, every day. Max time is always 29 minutes. Driving in the car is usually 22-25 minutes, but it could be a lot worse if there's an accident. Also, what do I do for those 22-25 minutes in the car? Curse, get hot, wish the traffic was moving better, listen to music in the radio. What do I get on the MAX, besides an extra 4 minutes of commuting time? I read a book, maybe the paper, relax, gaze out the window. Damn, that train sure sucks.

Bingo, Jud!

Funny thing is, I never see the train haters on the train.

Funny thing is, I never see school haters at school.

I guess the truth hurts.

I live in the Parkrose area too and find that my driving commute varies daily between 25 to 45 minutes depending on how the traffic is moving in the Banfield Canyon. One stalled truck, one fender bender and I watch as MAX train after MAX train passes me by. I would rather have the free ride (work pays) and the daily, reliable 30 minute commute, rather than risk the unknown, spend my gas, and than pay $8 so I can store my truck in some garage for the day...besides, I like that the trains are electric and not contributing to a brown cloud over Portland that so many other cities have permanently blurring their skylines...

Jack, I didn't think you'd like the MAX or the Eastbank Esplanade for that matter...what's your opinion on burying the 5 on the east side when more lanes are needed for the freeway in the future?

The truth hurts?
Haters?

How original.

I have yet to hear any "hater" claim that our light rail is not a nice and useful ride for some. There is no doubt.

The dabate is how much does it cost and how many does it serve. The answer is the truth hurts.
It serves "realtively" few while costing far too much. That recipe results in the sacrificing of a broader bus service for people who don't live next to "fixed" rail, less overall transit use and a gridlocked transportation system from lack of capacity increases.
We are paying big time for the total lack of planning for traffic. As growth continues and our planners fail to accomodate the needs of that growth conditions will only worsen.
All the while every single detriment will be ignored by those infected with the choo choo fever.

Steve Schopp.... now I remember... Lars' number one fan. You are LEGEND at KXL and on the Net. I am truly humbled.

We can't call you Incredi-boy, that's taken.

How about "HATEFUL-boy"?

>>It serves "realtively" few while costing far too much.

So do freeways. Yes everyone is allowed to drive on them but everyone is also allowed on the train.

I'm not arguing that metro traffic doesn't suck - it does. I'm not saying that I-5/205/405/US 26/99W/etc don't need more lanes or improvements. They certainly do.

However simply saying that if we spent dollar for dollar on freeways what was spent on MAX would have alleviated our traffic woes is wishful thinking. All you have to do is look at rush hour 150 miles north to know that 8-10 lane freeways are not a panacea for traffic.

The truth is traffic sucks in every major US city because we love our cars. While not building freeways is not the correct answer neither is not giving people choices other like the MAX.

I don't live near a freeway or the MAX (Westmoreland) but I don't complain incessantly online because I don't use either and have neither within a 10 minute drive. You have to start somewhere with big capital projects and yes they cost lots of tax dollars.

I don't like seeing cost overruns and PDC style purchasing policies anymore than anyone else.

However I do not think the answer is to simply say that "I don't get to use it everyday so therefore I shouldn't have to pay for it." In that case stop repaving SE Powell (except the sections between the Ross Island bridge and McLoughlin - I do drive on that section.) Oh yea while you're at it - close all the schools until I have school age children and fire all the cops because I haven't called the police once in more than three years.

I think a more appropriate answer is that most every public service/road/transit/etc has a targeted purpose. While there maybe areas such as the PDC that need more careful thought or oversight of its usefulness before being given large amounts of tax dollars. The usefulness of MAX - just like freeways - is proven by the crowds on it every day.

Stuart, I agree that another transportation option besides the automobile is necessary, but I have reservations about the limitations and escalating costs of light rail.

An express bus-only corridor could have been built in place of MAX for a heck of a lot less. And the lane could have doubled for emergency vehicles when traffic jams arise. The buses could run on electricity or propane or biodeisel, and they wouldn't have gummed up traffic downtown.

With every new MAX line built, the costs per mile increases exponentially -- way above inflation. Look at Seattle, the proposed monorail is at $1 billion per mile. This is absolutely ludicrous. Moreover, MAX carries a small percentage of commuters, only 10% of all transit users.

Even MAX proponents have switched positions on its benefits. MAX was originally all about reducing traffic congestion. Now that that hasn't worked, MAX is purportedly now a catalyst for Transit Oriented Development.

And I though Smart Growth advocates were against sprawl....

"The dabate is how much does it cost and how many does it serve. The answer is the truth hurts.
It serves "realtively" few while costing far too much."

Hey, Steve... got those numbers yet?

EB: Nice job pointing out what Forbes means by living well. That family's payments on their vacation home are higher than my annual income. :-)

One thing to remember. The Federal government covers much of the MAX building costs. We would not be able to get that kind of money in the area for Bus lanes. Thats Billions of federal dollars going to local contractors (and trimet does a great job hiring local minority contractors)and the economy that would not have come to the community if not for MAX. Its a solid long term infrastructure investment. Now if the feds stop sending us cash then the debate changes.

How uninformed Chris you are. First off, you can't compare the boondoggle monorail Seattle is building to our MAX. Seattle is also building a LRT line for a heck of a lot less per mile than the probably wont be built Monorail.

According to TriMet's 2002 stats, the latest I could find available, MAX's I-84 corridor carried 47,700 riders daily. That is more than 20,000 cars off the road during morning and evening rush hour equaling approx. 2 additional lanes of freeway in the direction of the congested traffic. Can you imagine 20,000 more cars on the 84 in the morning and evening? How about the 29,000 daily riders in the Sunset corridor or 10,000+ additional cars trying to squeeze through the curves heading into downtown? There is most certainly traffic relief because of MAX not to mention a HUGE environmental impact. If you hadn't read, P-town recently was honored and received national press for bringing our emissions down to 1990 levels, the only city in the WORLD to do so. Maybe, and just maybe, the MAX had something to do with it?

I also have to take aim at your notion of "sprawl." The 3 BILLION bucks plus in private development along the tracks isn't encouraging sprawl but is having the opposite effect. Take the new Interstate line for example. The line was built with the hopes that it would one day connect to DT 'couver, but was also built to encourage more density along Interstate Ave. Infill on Interstate could hardly be considered sprawl since it's so close in and will have the effect of running out the prostitution and drug hotels that currently exist. You will probably see more projects like the recently announced Killingsworth Station popping up down the avenue. The connections to Clackamas and 'Couver are to encourage development along the line, not past the lines, and also gives the residence along and at the end of the line a cheap, reliable and clean way to commute daily...Get off the anti-Max bandwagon will ya?

somehow I don't think Forbes' equation of what "living well" means, squares with mine. I like to breathe fresh air and avoid strip malls and poorly designed subdivisions, among other things. Certainly job growth and income growth are very important things, but to know the "price" you must be clear on what it is you're getting for your money.

Mark, you accuse me of being uninformed, but I think it's you who's drinking the Koolaid.

First, it's probably a good idea to check data sources other than Tri-Met's -- they're hardly objective.

The truth is, Portland has seen an increase in traffic of 80% between 1980 and 2002 -- all during the time light rail was implemented.

Portland ranks around 24th in the nation in travel delays -- the same place Portland ranks in media market and population. If MAX was really reducing congestion, our travel time would be well below our national population rank.

Moreover, the purported $3 billion in development along MAX lines means nothing if it's subsidized with tax dollars (look at the Pearl and SoWa). And neither you nor Trimet (nor the PDC) have proof development wouldn't happen without subsidies. Plus, there's a lot more development going on that's no where near a MAX line.

Finally, if looking logically and critically at wasted tax dollars and public-works boondoggles makes me a 'bandwagoner', then I'm proud to be one.

Chris-

An 80% increase in traffic from '82 to '02? I'd like to see the source, but okay, let's take that as true for now. That sounds horrible... until you look closer.

Do correct me if I am wrong, but I presume your "traffic" is measured in the unit of "vehicle trips", where each trip is a one-way journey from one location to another. Home-to-work, say. Obviously, most people are going to make a round-trip journey in a day, such as home-work-home, which counts as two trips.

Google reveals that from 1980 to 2000, Portland-Vancouver's population grew 43.8%. Naively assuming everyone works, that 44% population growth should have resulted in 88% more trips. Looks like Portland Metro is ahead of the game, or at least close to breaking even.

(I realize the situation is much more complicated, but as my oversimplification is less drastic than yours I can't bring myself to feel too bad about it. :-) I feel worse about the ambiguity in your usage of "traffic". Perhaps your "traffic" number refers to something besides trips. Sadly, since you didn't include a link to your source, I can only guess what you really meant.)

"Portland ranks around 24th in the nation in travel delays -- the same place Portland ranks in media market and population. If MAX was really reducing congestion, our travel time would be well below our national population rank."

The assertion you make is not supported by the facts you cite; it is overbroad. A supported assertion would be "If MAX were really reducing congestion more than the additional freeway lanes we have failed to construct, our travel time would be well below our national population rank."

I was a pretty young fella when MAX got started, but I seem to recall that there have been no additional freeway lanes added to the Banfield (from 205 to I-5) in the last 25 years or so. (I'm less sure about the Sunset, but I think that's also true over the 405-zoo section, which is a big bottleneck.) So, if we really haven't added additional freeway lanes as other cities have, yet we have maintained a travel-delay-time ranking commensurate with our population ranking, it seems to me that MAX (or something) may be filling the gap as well as additional freeway lanes would have.

Posted by Sid Leader at July 20, 2005 09:33 AM Maybe Doonesbury was right... about you bloggers... all I see here is doom and gloom... Chicken Little's saying the sky is falling... the sky is falling.

JK: Sid, it is so refreshing to see someone that is also tired of the chicken little sky is falling crap. Hopefully that includes peak oil, ozone hole and global warming.

Thanks
JK

MarkDaMan at July 20, 2005 02:47 PM : There is most certainly traffic relief because of MAX not to mention a HUGE environmental impact.

JK : Have you looked at the traffic counts before and after MAX opened on I84, Sunset or I5? Look it up and get back to us.

MarkDaMan at July 20, 2005 02:47 PM : If you hadn't read, P-town recently was honored and received national press for bringing our emissions down to 1990 levels, the only city in the WORLD to do so. Maybe, and just maybe, the MAX had something to do with it?

JK : Have you seen the data behind this claim. The answer is NO because they are not releasing it yet. Seems the study’s author is too busy just now, and the supporting data is not organized enough to release.

MarkDaMan at July 20, 2005 02:47 PM : Infill on Interstate could hardly be considered sprawl since it's so close in and will have the effect of running out the prostitution and drug hotels that currently exist.

JK : You forgot to mention that it is already driving out low income renters. Great move Vera.

Thanks
JK

Tearing down the rathole hotels on Interstate Ave and replacing them with condos and apartments=moving out low income renters? No tearing down the hotels means moving meth heads and prostitutes out of our neighborhood. Housing prices across the nation have been rising and displacing low income renters. It's a NATIONAL issue. Even though I love national press about Portland, good or bad, I haven't found anything that said Vera Katz started the trend of displacing low income renters. Sorry.

These are approx.
Portland Metro Population in 1986 1.2 million
Portland Metro Population currently 2.2 million

JK how 'bout you provide the traffic counts, we'll see if they increased by a half million cars a day, or how about 250,000?

As cities grow so does traffic, but the MAX has HELPED eleviate the need for more lanes than we currently have on our freeways. It isn't the only answer to smart growth. Show me another metro our size that still has 4 and 6 lane freeways ringing the city?

I'd be interested to take a look at the number of low-income rental units on Interstate in say 1998 compared with today, or 5 years from now. I'm sure there's an impact, particularly within walking distance of Interstate.

However, provided the new construction that occurs on vcant lots and old 1-hour hotels on the strip provides added density (shudder... TOD!), alot of the pressure should be balanced. I agree though that it's a huge improvement and a possible return of real vibrance to what could be a great street.

Alan DeWitt, actually if the newcomers to the area use their cars exactly as often as the people who are already here, then the 44% increase in population should cause a 44% increase in the number of vehicle trips. It's true that if everyone works and takes two trips a day, the number of new trips will be twice the number of new workers, but the existing workers are also taking two trips a day: i.e., 1 million workers = 2 million trips; 1.4 million workers = 2.8 million trips.

Let's go beyond vehicle trips. What counts is not only the number of trips, but the length of those trips. If the old workers are driving from their homes in Beaverton to their jobs in downtown Portland (10 miles), and the new workers are driving from their homes in Hillsboro to their jobs in Wilsonville (20 miles), then traffic will increase faster than population growth, because the new arrivals are using their cars to drive more miles even though they're taking the same number of trips. Conversely, if the new arrivals drive from their closets in the Pearl District to their jobs near the Lloyd Center (2 miles), they'll barely add to the overall level of congestion.

MarkDaMan, you can't take the 47,700 I-84 MAX trips per day and then assume that they all replace rush hour trips. Some of those trips are off-peak trips and they aren't replacing rush-hour car trips. I don't know the rush-hour capacity of the Red and Blue Lines from Gateway to downtown (the stretch that you referred to, that parallels I-84), but let's make some guesses. If the double Blue Line car can carry 250 persons and the single Red line car can carry 125 persons, and if the Blue Line runs about twice as often as the Red Line, maintaining a headway of 3 minutes in rush hour between them (i.e., 20 trains/hour combined), then MAX can run about 33 cars inbound in an hour, or about 4000-4200 persons/hour in one direction. If the average commuter car has 1.2 persons, then at full capacity MAX along I-84 removes maybe 3500 cars/hour from the freeway. That's nothing to sneeze at -- it's equal to about two freeway lanes -- but I think the math is a little different from how you've presented it.

If the double Blue Line car can carry 250 persons and the single Red line car can carry 125 persons, and if the Blue Line runs about twice as often as the Red Line, maintaining a headway of 3 minutes in rush hour between them (i.e., 20 trains/hour combined), then MAX can run about 33 cars inbound in an hour, or about 4000-4200 persons/hour in one direction. If the average commuter car has 1.2 persons, then at full capacity MAX along I-84 removes maybe 3500 cars/hour from the freeway.

Ah, memories of my 9th grade algebra teacher, sweet, sweet Mr. Charlie Rooney.

Good math Issac. It's also worth noting that as Portland grows, and even moreso for more sprawling cities, the majority of that growth will inevitably be in suburbs. As a result, it's pretty remarkable even if you did maintain the level of vehicle trips, rather than increase it, since the average person's distance from the core is growing. Naturally vehicle trips should rise substantially with the addition of people who would normally have to drive.

Good math Issac. It's also worth noting that as Portland grows, and even moreso for more sprawling cities, the majority of that growth will inevitably be in suburbs. As a result, it's pretty remarkable even if you did maintain the level of vehicle trips, rather than increase it, since the average person's distance from the core is growing. Naturally vehicle trips should rise substantially with the addition of people who would normally have to drive.

Issac, you are so right. What was I smoking?

The title of this one had me going.

See, I have this brother named Erik. Exact spelling.

True story!

But he lives in Virginia Beach VA, and I was wondering how you got that tied in.

Jack,

I know you're not checking comments for a while, but in case you happen to come across this, I wanted to point out that Portland's listing on the most overpriced places list was a based on a study that followed Forbes' Best Places for Business, which listed Portland at #26 out of 150 large US cities. I know you were on vacation when it was released (May 23), but still, you should point out the good and the bad, especially if the research is coming from the same magazines, otherwise it's just cherry picking...


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Chloe, Pinot Grigio, Valdadige 2013
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If You See Kay, Red 2011
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Cherry Tart, Cherry Pie Pinot Noir 2012
Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Cabernet, Oakville 2012
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Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
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Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
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Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
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Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
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Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 319
At this date last year: 172
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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