This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 11, 2005 9:22 PM. The previous post in this blog was A national disgrace. The next post in this blog is Portland: We love dremers. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Monday, July 11, 2005

Yeah, but wait 'til we have an aerial tram

Hey, Portlanders! The CNN/Money 100 Best Places to Live rankings are out, and Portland is... er, Portland is...

Huh, we're not on there anywhere.

West Linn appears at No. 44, and at No. 91 -- you guessed it -- the Couv!

Actually, no big cities made the list -- it's all suburbs. But interestingly, here's Portland's report card. Check out this entry:

Property crime risk (100 is national average; lower is better): 191... Best places average: 78
You know, I'm not sure the wi-fi cloud is going to do us much good if the meth heads can steal our laptops without any chance whatsoever of incarceration.

People are noticing.

Comments (51)

Oh yeah well, So what.
All those other place have cheap houses, sprawl and global warming. We do things better here.
shut up.

To be fair, most of the places on the list are much smaller bedroom communities of large cities. Hollywood, FL appears to be the largest place. That being said, I know I'm going to let Money Magazine tell me that I should be living in West Linn or Vancouver rather than NE Portland. My house will be on the market tomorrow.

I'm starting to worry about the constant griping and moaning going on here ... Most of it is appropriate and useful discourse, but this? Seriously. What's next -- you're going to lament that we didn't make People Magazine's 100 Sexiest Cities?

I think it is totally valid to consider these surveys. Forbes and Money magazines have, in the recent past, rated Portland as "highest taxed" and "least affordable". The correlation to liveability is obvious. As the city and county mothers and fathers continue to believe we can tax ourselves into prosperity the economy remains stagnant and unemployment remains high.

How can New Jersey have the #1 spot on the Best Places To Live list? MommyCool.com wants to know if congestion is a city benefit? More western states should have had higher rankings - Oregon included.

It seems most all the places on the Best list are around the big places we have heard of or know or love or hate. I'm sure tens of thousands of San Franciscans (for example) will scream when they see their city is not on the list. And who has ever heard that Philadelphia is a great place to live -- yet one of its burbs is No. 1 and another No. 14.

At any rate, that's the lesson here: the "best places" are in the surrounds, not the hub.

I get to add the first "heh" to Jack's crime risk commentary. Underappreciated at too many protected or powerful levels, and overly destructive at others.

I punched in my preferences to the search box, and got about 10 flavors of New Jersey to move to. LOL. Guess it was just damn serendipitous that the last movie I saw was Garden State.

To the extent it is relevant, I would say that it is minimal. More relevant are all the issues that you and Jack have raised over the last year or two about issues facing Portland, not what Money magazine says.

I'm just raising the point that this list is as meaningless as all the other lists that are done these days in mags or on VH-1 that you guys hate. For example, Spin Magazine's 50 greatest bands (Public Enemy was #8, but the Rolling Stones were #9 -- I like Public Enemy but, really? Husker Du #42, Beach Boys #45), or my old law firm which was consistently rated one of the 100 Best Places in Oregon to work (no one told my boss).

Yeah, these rankings are ridiculous. I grew up in West Linn. It totally should've been #1.


Oh please, the size of the towns is obvious. It didn't need to be pointed out.
The problem is Oregon has been altering it's bedroom communities for two decades with infill, urbanization and overcrowding by way of our stupid urban growth boundary.
Otherwise we may have had a few more of them on the list.
Oregon's approach has been continually touted in green surveys which are certainly less reliable or good measurements. However those surveys enable the continued farce that we do things better. Reality is Oregon's approach is based on wild planetary objectives which lack any concern for the many dynamics which make bedroom communities desirable. Those we-know-best busy bee envrio-fanatics at Metro have deep disdain for the "suburbs" and the bedroom communities not yet screwed up by their forced meddling.
In our towns and cities they see every space between buildings or homes as another spot to plop in or stack up another unit, or units, and spend huge public sums to make it happen.
And they do so without regard for basic planning considerations.
Their weapon of choice of course is the full time publiclly funded PR campaigns found at TriMet, Metro and PDC. Non stop endless spending on snowjobbing the public goes unanswered by our press or an equally funded citizenry.

The end result is we get what is forced down out throats. Like it or not.

I don't see what the issue is. MONEY doesn't seem to have an axe to grind. They took hard numbers like housing, education, "quality of life" and culture and did a metric.

You use anything other than hard numbers and then you get into a debate about the validity of each measure, so take it for what it is only.

I think that people who live in suburbs close to big cities seem to have the best deal (contrary to the anti-sprawl types) using this measure. You have better schools, less crime than the city, but can venture in there for the "culture" things.

I did forget one thing in Portland's favor - If you go to Burgerville you can have a city commissioner serve you (see Sam Adams blog).

This is how we are going to increase the quality of life and employment metric in Portland. Enough said as far as cluelessness goes.

This is silly. The structure of this analysis, and the reason it favors suburbs, is that it gives these random rings of influence for factors like museums, restaurants, libraries, etc. In essence this allows these suburbs, in which you can't walk or ride quickly to a great restaurant, the art museum, or an independent movie house, to take credit for the amenities that are found in cities. What's most annoying is that they use arbitrarily varying ranges for proximity (10 miles, 15 miles, 30 miles...)

Then, on the negative factors, there's no "within 15 miles" crap. Suburbs don't get downgraded for worse crime or air, even though they'd have to subject themselves to it to get to work or enjoy our cultural amenities.

So, what does this have to do specifically with Portland? Well, these standards are geared to benefit metro areas in which the discrepancies and separation between suburbs and city are greatest. An enormous city like Philly has alot of culture, museums, and restaurants. But it also has a hell of a lot of crime and other negatives. So, the suburbs get all the upper middle and upper class families, and corresponding concentrations of higher home values. In Portland, our prosperity and poverty are more scattered and evenly spread, so our suburbs simply can't compare to those in more economically segregated parts of the country. Sorry Steve, these are not "hard numbers." Hard numbers would be all these stats with out the "15 mile range" business.

Nolan - By hard numbers, I mean something you can actually measure. If you are telling me that the guy off Interstate in North Portland with a higher crime rate who can walk to light rail to his favorite museum is better off than someone who can drive from West Linn, I guess I have to disagree.

My only rejoinder is that this survey had to have some discrete measure of community. Sorry, people do drive the 10 miles into Portland for a restaurant, but prefer to send their kids to school and live in West Linn.

Okay, I'll give you that (although West Linn does have a higher student-teacher ratio than PDX, which was the only education factor they considered). My problem is simply that I don't think we should have different standards (regional versus local) in measuring crime and cultural amenities. Also, upon looking at the data, you'll see that in a comparison between West Linn, Lake Oswego and Portland, income and home value probably are the reason West Linn is a winner and Portland/LkOs are not. Lake Oswego also has high crime, but not the income and home values of WL. So basically this survey tells us that you'll be happiest if you're surrounded by rich people and expensive houses... Which also means that the results here are only useful to those who could afford to break into those communities (figuratively speaking). Glad we've got our priorities straight.

Sorry, I meant LkOs has low crime like West Linn.

Nolan said---"Suburbs don't get downgraded for worse crime or air"-----
and ---"Sorry Steve, these are not "hard numbers."---

Boy what a contradiction.
Are you "hard numbers" oriented?
"Suburbs have worse crime and air"?
Well, there you go folks. Nolan, a product of the
BS at Metro etc.

How typical. No one I have read propped up this survey up into "hard numbers" serious stuff.

It's a loosely put together analysis of interest with suggestions to be interpreted.

You ought to turn around your analytical critiquing eye and look at the garbage coming from our planning agencies.
You think TriMet and Metro operate with "hard numbers." They can't even count.

Schopp, I wasn't demanding "hard numbers," merely refuting the idea that the other Steve presented that these were a clear comparison of places. And as far as the worse air comment, I was refferring to the fact that suburbs benefit from our positives and don't suffer from our negatives (like worse air). But as it turns out, on a closer look, West Linn and Lake Oswego DO have worse air than Portland. How bout that?

I think Jack just looks for something, anything, to prove Portland is going down the craphole, because he sincerely believes it to be so. God, Jack, if you really believe Money Magazine, I'm sure you've already put your house on the market and are scouting places to live in the Couv. Your commute time to Lewis and Clark would triple, you'd have to pay sales tax on everything, but hey, at least you'd live where Money Magazine thought was cool!

You dumbass.

I'm starting to worry about the constant griping and moaning going on here ... Most of it is appropriate and useful discourse, but this? Seriously. What's next -- you're going to lament that we didn't make People Magazine's 100 Sexiest Cities?

Do you "worry" when our city fathers announce every time the city makes the "Top 10 Places to Ride a Bike to a Latte Place and Pose in Your Black Beret" survey? We're just trying to keep things "fair and balanced."

The property crime issue is real. I hope you're worried about that, too.

You dumbass.

Banned permanently.

Well looky there.
We got another fool playing the usual game of "if you believe". Today it's money magazine and yesterday it was Lars Larson as if the critiqing of Portland planning involves no more.
Money Mag, Lars and the anti-gov straw man have little or nothing to do with the overwhelming observations that we live in a place getting more screwed up every day.
If you believe TriMet, Metro and PDC there is a dumbass in your mirror.
Of course, I mean that in a constructive way.

>Banned permanently.>Banned permanently.

And overdue! Disagreement's one thing, but there's no need to go over the top.

Let's face it, folks: Portland has high crime, high drug sales/trafficking, low income and high tax, corrupt officials...

Actually, it's a wonder we weren't ranked higher based on these facts alone.

Unless you're

A) a Californian property owner;
B) independently wealthy;
C) A local politician;
D) Have ties with the Mexican Mafia; or,
E) all of the above

Portland's not the place for you. Unless, that is, you like being poor, crowded and continuously dissatisfied and lied to by your public officials.

Portland (and I am sure the surrounding areas) are clinging to the great toilet bowl, just waiting for the flush. Who knows? Maybe, just maybe, something good will happen to Portland... like the apocalypse.

"You know, I'm not sure the wi-fi cloud is going to do us much good if the meth heads can steal our laptops without any chance whatsoever of incarceration. "..I don't really care what Money Magazine thinks but I do care that you think that no one is getting incacerated these days. That must be why the legislature and the Governor signed off on a new prison in Madras.

Yep. I look at those surveys by our City "fathers" the same way as this... To boil it down to its simplest form, I am with you in your criticism of government -- I want the City to concentrate on doing only its core responsibilities, and doing them well. That includes putting people in jail for property crime. I'm just not quite the Eyore that you are. Judging by your writings Portland is the west coast equivalent of Flint, MI or Gary, IN or worse, Newark. :)

For what it is worth: In December 2000 Portland, Oregon was the best place in the country to live according to Money Magazine.

I still think it is (inflated housing costs, rampant meth use w/associated crime, high unemployment rate, etc... not withstanding).

You forgot nonexistent crisis mental health treatment. Makes it a little tough to get into the Ram's Head for lunch.

But at least in Portland, while you're lying on the ground after being stabbed in the back by a complete stranger, you'll be breathing clean air, with the gentle sounds of a Streetcar in the distance.

If you lie there long enough, though, a homeless person will come up and say, "Hey, this is my corner."

Connecting meth crime to the streetcar is the kind of obfuscatory argument that I expect from republicans, not Jack.

We are in for a long, expensive defeat if we think that spending money putting meth heads in prison will solve meth-related property crimes. Has that ever worked? No, they do meth in prison and they do meth when they get out. They steal as much after prison as before prison.

Spend money on mental health services, and distribute methamphetamine to addicts like methadone, so they don't steal as much.

Methy - "...if we think that spending money putting meth heads in prison will solve meth-related property crimes."

It works great, actually. With the local meth kid in jail, my car hasn't been broken into this month. When he returns, that's another problem. He'll likely favor breaking into houses by then.

"Spend money on mental health services, and distribute methamphetamine to addicts like methadone, so they don't steal as much."

Actually, you spend the money on stopping the addiction. I favor the 'Tiger Pit' treatment myself; drop the tweeker in an empty tiger pit for 10 days, after the worst of withdrawl is over...continue treatment.

FYI - Using a loaded tiger pit also provides positive results.


I would add that whatever temporary decline in crime results from incarceration should be compared to its cost.

Your comment about the tiger pit foreshadows a future that is more likely than principled prevention. Assuming we go that way, I would dip the tweaker in fish guts, dunk him in a huge blacklit great white shark tank surrounded by hot chicks doing lesbian porn, and market it for pay-per-view.

Thanks, Methy, for the Google hits I'll be getting to this thread...

This is absolutely stupid. Y'all are placing credibility in a survey that places Naperville, IL the third best place to live in the county. Anyone actually *been* to Naperville? Anyone ready to pull up stakes and move to Naperville?

The survey is as meaningful as the numbers that produced it, it is no better and no worse.

So arguing whether the numbers are "right" or not is stupid. But so is questioning someone who says the numbers reward suburbs for the things that suburbs have (higher average income and education and lower crime rates) while simultaneously crediting them for amenities that they have only by virture of being in a major metropolitan area.

Be candid: if you're travelling, do you really say you live in "West Linn"? Or do you say "Portland"?

And to Steve, while I sometimes appreciate your criticism of planning, in this case I think the density of Portland (and NYC and SanFran) is precisely what allows the suburbs to end up on the ranking. The exurbs don't appear because they aren't close enough to the amenities.

So interestingly, if you want West Linn to be "best of" then you ought to be in favor of a dense urban core.

On the crime figures which seem so popular here, I have two questions:

1) Does anyone know how they are calculating the best places "average"? Are they weighting by population size (I suspect not)? If not, this means that the average is highly skewed by the large number of small towns in the dataset.

2)Has anyone bothered to check a few comparisons? Seattle: 249. Pittsburgh: 105. Charlotte: 190. Phoenix: 229. Austin: 142. Portland: 191.

Is this good or bad? I'd sure like to attack the meth crisis (although tossing people in jail is unlikely to work very well), but seems to me what we're seeing is that large urban areas have crime, Not that Portland is particularly bad.

Course, figuring this out would require some actual analysis.

Methy - "I would add that whatever temporary decline in crime results from incarceration should be compared to its cost."

Since I'm paying offical taxes out the *%&@, I want the bad guys locked up - because my Supplemental City Tax (replacing broken windows and stolen radios) is nearing $500 for this year alone.

paul - "although tossing people in jail is unlikely to work very well"

Tossing people in jail works GREAT - when it's actually done - the statistics from places that aren't Portland show that. The same thing goes for the death penalty - dead people don't commit crime.

Paul - I have been to Naperville (it has some very high tech businesses there) and is a pretty well planned suburb of Chicago. Good schools, parks for children, low crime and rising property values.

Yes, I would have no problem saying my residence is in West Linn or Portland. I am not that elitist.

As far as high density housing, usually that correlates to higher crime rates/$500K condos/no children neighborhoods, so I don't know if that is a ringing endorsement for the new urbanism opposed to the antiquated suburbs where a lot of people like to live.

Methy seems to not realize most meth addicts commit their crimes while high, so I do not know what giving thme legal/illegal meth does to curb those urges.

Mr Bog - I just got that "Google hits" joke - v. funny!!!

Awwww...b!X beat me to it...

Meth addicts steal to buy more meth, not because they have an irresistible urge to steal for no reason. If meth was free, they wouldn't steal as much. And if they don't steal as much, we wouldn't need to waste our money on everything it takes to put them in prison.

Also, there wouldn't be so many people, like Sisyphus, frittering away their lives chasing addicts into prison, only to have them roll right out soon afterward.

Hey Jack-

Did you notice that Outside magazine lists Portland as one of the best 18 cities to live in. Certainly arbitrary, but interesting. It's in the August issue that arrived today:


Notice the cover picture. Looks like Portland to me.

I don't contest that we're "hip, smart and packed with adventure." And there are lots of nice outdoorsy things to do around here. Great scenery. Climate's good, if you don't mind grey skies.

Let me add great restaurants, music, beer, wine. Small business pressing on against all odds. Involved, caring, educated, decent citizenry for the most part.

It's when you try to have a career, buy a house, get back and forth to work, take home your pay after taxes, send your kids to school, feel safe walking around at night, etc., that Portland's slipping. By the time you're 35, you find yourself in Tualatin, or back in L.A.

I think that last comment may have hit the nail on the head: "back in LA."

Maybe it's just those who came from LA in the first place with weak stomachs who never loved Portland enough in the first place to want to stick around, tough it out, and commit to making it a better place.

Nolan - "...with weak stomachs who never loved Portland enough..."

If LA is a cheaper, safer alternative to Portland, 'weak stomach' has nothing to do with it. The proper term is: good judgement.

Cities' greatest weakness over the past 50 years has been the fact that when the going gets tough, middle and upper class Americans jump ship, leaving the problems (and problem people) to fester and thrive in greater and greater concentrations. Is it any surprise that schools get worse when the educated motivated parents who can help to ensure accountability bail? Call it good judgement if you like, I'll call it selfish lack of civic responsibility.

Do at least a little bit of homework please. Finding the sources on the *lack* of correlation between rates of incarceration and crime rates is pretty simple. Here is one for you, prepared for the Division of Corrections of the State of Florida, not what you'd call namby pamby soft on crime types:

Jail time just doesn't act as much of a deterrent, *especially* for folks motivated by chemical dependency.


My guess was that someone who lives in West Linn will say "Portland OR" when asked where he/she lives. Just trying to illustrate the point that West Linn is part of the Portland MSA.

As to Naperville, well you can have it. I grew up near there. It is about as boring a suburb as they come. I understand its attractions, but no one on this conversation seems willing to acknowledge a) how these rankings are heavily influenced by the assets of the metro area (e.g. take Naperville and plop it into the middle of Kansas and it would not receive the same ranking), or b) the assets of urban areas.

Look, "new urbanism" wouldn't exist as a concept if we hadn't experienced a 25 year renaissance of our major urban areas.

Is anyone willing to say that this is a *bad* thing for American society (even if you yourself don't want to live in an urban center)? That sure seems to be the direction of this conversation.

Paul - OK, I live in Lake Oswego and if people ask my address, I say Lake Oswego. I am not ashamed nor do I think I am any better than anyone else. I am only trying to be accurate. I really don't think Portland has that rosy of a glow associated with it. If it does, then say Portland is in the same MSA as the 44th best city in America, West Linn.

"Is anyone willing to say that this is a *bad* thing for American society (even if you yourself don't want to live in an urban center)?" OK, what I will say is that when we spend a disproportionant amount of development dollars trying to make these urban districts work with tax abatements and mass transit dollars to the exclusion of the rest of the city, then it is a bad thing.

In effect, we embrace the 5000 or so in the Pearl district and tell the rest of the city no matter how poor or deserving you get no tax breaks because you are not what our central planning thinks is a cool community, so f-you.

I think you are in love with this idea of the elite who all read the same urban planning books coming up with this single solution for all problems and that is troubling especially since no one man (or small group) is smarter than the entire group collectively.

What is your issue with letting things happen spontaneously for population growth?

What a fallacy. Things never happen "spontaneously for population growth." Even in anti-zoning Houston, developments are planned and to some degree regulated. Never has any state, metro area or city developed on its own without government planning, subsidy and guidance.

These decisions always come with winners who agree or benefit financially, and losers who disagree or suffer financially. In the case of Portland, most people are happy with these decisions, as evidenced by the extreme infrequency with which local politicians are ousted. Steve and many of the anti-Pearl, anti-transit, anti-economic development types are simply sour that they have fallen into the latter camp.

Nolan - Last comment since this is getting tedious. Perhaps instead of spontaneous, I should say without the heavy hand of planning. If you look at areas like SE Hawthorne and NW 23rd (places where actual people frequent) I don't recall a PDC plan for these.

I am not anti-Pearl it has some good restaurants, but I am against a $1M condo paying $150/yr in proptaxes while fixed income people get no relief from prop taxes in the rest of town.

I am not anti-transit, I do pay TriMet taxes so that a $5 ride only costs $1.50. However, a trolley between condos and PSU and a tram from condos to OHSU should be paid for mostly by the immediate areas served.

Furthermore, I am not anti-economic development, unfortunately the only development CoP has engaged in is within the Willamette west to 405 area. While this has enriched a few developers, how does the make the life of someone who pays his full prop/inc taxes in the rest of town any better?

If I am anti-something, it is a few government employees deciding an anointed class of developers will see all of our taxed dev money to the exclusion of the rest. I am only asking for equitable treatment for the rest of Portland.

I really see nothing from the CoP that is pro-economic development. However, Mr Adams has discovered that min wage jobs at Burgerville may not be the future, so there is some hope.

Great last message. I pretty much agree with all of it.

Nolan said----"These decisions always come with winners,,and losers,,, many of the anti-Pearl, anti-transit, anti-economic development types are simply sour that they have fallen into the latter camp"----

Nolan you are simply among the lying, distorting, dishonest cabal that is playing fast and loose with public policies and public money.
The classic "anti" speak creating people that do not exist is getting old as well.
There are no "anti-Pearl types". There are many who object to public cash giveaways for condo projects and boondoggles masquerading as transportation investments.
I have yet to hear or read of anyone who is "anti-transit". Not one. So who are you referring to? I challenge you to name a single anti-transit person. Nearly everyone who condemns the Tram, Streetcars and light rail do so because they know how little those contribute to transit relative to their cost. It's a matter of responsible and efficient transit serving as many people and neighborhoods as possible. You no doubt have heard all of this many times but cling to your dishonest portrayal.
"Anti-economic development"?
It is truly sickening how folks like you continually try to pass off illegitimate wasting of millions of tax dollars on ill-conceived projects as economic development. Again the relativeness of cost and benefit are of no interest to your crowd of dishonest, voter ignoring schemers.
The convention center expansion and upcoming hotel fly in the face of fiscal responsiblility and the voters. Just as so many other obscured decisions and bad investments.
To put it shorter you are anti-public

Clicky Web Analytics