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Thursday, February 9, 2006

When condo-mania is a bust

Here's a cautionary tale from yesterday's Times about a Florida city that thought condo towers would save its downtown. So far, they haven't.

Comments (49)

Duh. Obviously, they need a tram.

And a streetcar. Isn't Gragg tired of Boston yet?

JB has convinced me over the years that the condos are bad, but does this story support the argument? It sounds like they overbuilt Ft. Myers, and developers and investors are getting soaked. So what (pun intended)? That arguably helps Homer's "this is risky business, so I need city money" cries. Also, if the Portland condos flop as an investment, they're still convienently-located, so someone will buy them at some price, right? As long as they don't fall into the river. It seems that most of the condos that were sold in Ft. Myers went to people who only live there in the winter, so the population benefit to their downtown isn't there. Is anyone buying SoWhat condos to live in Portland part-time? Just some thoughts...

Linda - I'm a newcomer here, so I haven't read as much on this blog about condos=bad. I'd love to hear more on that...

I can see the argument against public $ going toward the projects, but what makes condos in and of themselves bad?

You can't equate Ft. Meyers with cities with more city-like layouts, like Portland. Ft. Meyers isn't a metro area either, in and of itself. These are factors that determine whether towers are do-able.

Have you been to Florida? Outside of Miami, the state is all sprawl, all the time. This mindset doesn't jive with higher-density development (unless you're talking snow bird havens), so you can't say with any certainty their failure in Ft. Meyers predicts failure elsewhere. Sometimes these things seem forced and ill-designed (The one near the Rose Garden comes to mind), while others are tailored to the commercial core. The Pearl district isn't ALL bad...

It seems like the problem with Ft Meyers is th the classic resort town issue. Most of the buyers of the new condos are snow-birds that will only live there in the winter.

I agree with TK, you cannot compare Ft Myers with Portland in any way. Ft Myers is the crap swamp land city you fly into on your way to the beach cities.

There are similarities with the condo towers, however. Many of the people who the developers brag are snapping up their precious boxes are not doing so to move into them and revitalize the area. They're there to buy and promptly resell at a profit -- "flipping," the speculators call it. Sometimes no one actually wants to live in the buildings. Look at what happened at NE 16th and Weidler -- lots of vacancies. Time will tell how many people really want to live in SoWhat. My guess is that it's a lot fewer than what they'll tell you down at the "discovery center."

The SW condos would be sweet for 1/5 the price. I see a silver lining: If the investors get so burned on the condos, perhaps they'll feel compelled to sell their other investment properties, and prices for real homes, now rentals, in established neighborhoods will plummet, so I can buy one. But that undermines the city's property tax strategy, eh? Doh!

I do not think there is anything inherently wrong with condos-or with compact development. There is much to be said for it from the standpoint of conserving infrastructure. But, when that is actually not what is being done-when there is little or no heed paid to impacts on schools, jobs, parks, rivers, public views and even traffic (nws the transit oriented development mantra), then its something other than comprehensive planning we're talking about. And then there is the real issue of livibility: Lots of people moved here because they didn't want to see NYC re-invented. I moved here after spending a couple years in NYC. When I found myself going into the financial district on Sundays to get a sense of being in a canyon, I knew I needed to be in a place where I could be more in touch with nature on a regular basis. Condomania can screw up the character of a place like Portland and destablize stable neighborhoods.

They're there to buy and promptly resell at a profit -- "flipping," the speculators call it. Sometimes no one actually wants to live in the buildings. Look at what happened at NE 16th and Weidler -- lots of vacancies.

If memory serves, didn't the developers at one of the SoWa towers institute some sort of rule in order to limit this kind of thing from happening? (Something like you must own the space for X number of years before selling, or some such.) I just recall this being a news story some months ago.


I don't doubt there's 'flipping' going on in the condo biz, but that's exactly what people are doing with houses... in fact, I'm guessing more so. We live in a livable, desireable city, so demand is going to outstrip supply for awhile.

Maybe the bigger issue at hand is defining what 'progress' is. For some reason, population growth has been a primary metric, but it's fools gold if everything else isn't in place to support it.

Good point TK; there are places-Boulder Colorado and South Lake Tahoe come to mind that actually have managed growth to control quality of life with permit lotteries. And if the press were telling the whole story about Portland, people might think twice about the move.

"Another downtown retailer, Ron Killion, who owns a gift shop called Frog and the Fly, said his store was still open only because it is a hobby that he does not count on for income."

Ron's accountant must have liked that one.

I loved his name. I always thought a "killion" was a number so large that just looking at it could kill you.

I rent an apartment in a big, ugly tower in Goose Hollow - and like it. As much as I'd like to buy, it doesn't make sense. 2 bedroom condos at "The Civic" across from PGE park start at $500K with no view. Not to mention condo fees of $600/mo. One could rent a similar apartment for $1400/mo or so.

You don't have to be a financial wiz to see that the rents are lagging far behind prices. With "normal" (pre credit bubble) lending ratios that say one can spend about 3x salary, that puts the annual required income at $167K. Ouch. Most working families with that kind of bling aren't going to want to live in 1200 sq. ft. next to PGE park w/no view.

Personally, I'd love to see condos get way overbuilt downtown. The effect will be to increase supply and drive down prices. Downtown could become a lifestyle for the "creative class". Yes, the real "creative class": those talent and jobs. Not the hellhole that downtown is becoming, having been taken over by "artsy" trust-funders and manicured, empty nested prunes.

I saw build 'em higher and faster - wait for the crash - then downtown can become a real community for all income levels.


"well manicured empty nested prunes"...So true.

It reminds me of a couple in their 70's that I see walking around downtown every few weeks. They both have shocking white hair and they're always dressed entirely in black.

Very chic. Very prunish. I'll bet they drive a Prius. The only thing that could make the irony any richer would be if their parents owned a timber company, and they've been protesting the rape of the forests all these years.

linda richmond: But that undermines the city's property tax strategy, eh? Doh!
JK: It also undermines the city's policy of increasing land values to the point that it becomes economically viable to teardown even more low density and build multi story as far as the eye can see. Katz & Hale's wet dream - see the Hollywood Plan front cover.
(http://www.portlanddocs.com/NeighborhoodPlans/HOLLYWOODSANDYPLAN.PDF) (16meg)


Condos alone do not make a successful downtown core. Perhaps that's why the Pearl District is so successful. It has a great business association, thriving members and best of all...the Pearl is a growing and tight-knit community of folks that help make their local businesses successful. They buy, shop and eat locally...and yes, they go by streetcar!

"the Pearl is a growing and tight-knit community of folks that help make their local businesses successful. They buy, shop and eat locally...and yes, they go by streetcar!"

Wow... and apparently they have their own Chamber of Commerce. The Pearl sickens me. And a whole lot of folks are going to lose their a*s when the "hip" area of town inevitably moves elsewhere...


The venom with which you write is alarming. What is it about the Pearl and its community that sickens you, exactly?

I'm sure that many people that choose to live here do so based on it being a "hip" area, but there are many of us that have chosen to live here because of its livability. And people do LIVE here. Buildings have a maximum percentage of rental units allowed and if the buildings were vacant and mostly rentals, loans on those properties would be impossible to obtain.

I am proud to say that the Pearl has a very active neighborhood association in addition to its thriving business association. And, as in your neighborhood, you will note that these are comprised of neighbors that CARE enough to get involved. It's a very good thing.

The governing structure of condominiums require homeowners be involved and I am proud to say that many Pearl neighbors are involved in their respective homeowner's associations and serve at the committee and/or board level of the business and neighborhood associations. It is the power of the people that makes the Pearl a viable Portland neighborhood and that is why we are successful.

People like yourself that wish financial devastation on thriving and successful neighborhoods are the true plague on Portland. To what end will it benefit Portland if the business and neighborhood communities in the Pearl go dark? Yes, there are tax abatements and money from public dollars, but there is also a tremendous amount of revenue generated by the businesses and the MAJORITY of homeowners that do NOT receive those tax breaks. Portland benefits from the existence and growth of the Pearl and god knows, we would certainly appreciate your support rather than disdain.


Lynette--don't bother. There is a sizable contingent of people that likes to romanticize "olde" Portland--you know, the Portland that existed several decades ago, when what is now the Pearl District was a motley collection of abandoned warehouses filled with drug users and hookers. Back then, I imagine they griped and moaned about the "seedy" part of town--now that it is no longer seedy, they moan because they can't afford to eat at some of the restaurants, or buy some of the condos.

The venom directed at the Pearl has merely replaced the venom that used to be directed at people who moved up here from California (in many cases, they are the same group)--it is born of insecurity and petty jealousy. That's not to say that I love everything about the Pearl District, but like you I find the complaints about it tiresome, predictable, and pointless.

I like your comments, Dave. The Pearl is an authentic neighborhood, with many virtues beyond its exclusivity.

I would like to see much more "Pearl" like development in Portland - not for more galleries or to warehouse transplants, but to give middle income people such as myself the option to live in a walkable, urban atmosphere.

Our corner grocery store doesn't have to a Whole Foods - and we don't want to pay $30 a plate every night to eat.

What I'm realistically afraid of, is that any sort of dense urban living will become the bastion of the wealthy or uber-hip trust-funders.

If you have a regular job and want to responsibly save for your retirement - welcome to Gresham. Your only option is a townhouse, ten blocks away from the four lane highway with the Walgreens and McDonalds.

Too bad that this will be the _real_ Portland for the working class. We deserve better livability.

Again, more dense development = lower cost to live a walkable, urban lifestyle.

There are many pearl residents who are not wealthy. There are first-time homebuyers, newlyweds and retired individuals who trade-off space for location. In the end, with the absence of commute and increased livability, that trade-off makes perfect sense.

If you are willing to downsize your living space, the pearl can be yours for less than a small starter home in other established/desireable neighborhoods. Nearly five years ago, my husband and I were shopping for our first home and when we weighed our options against our wants, we decided on a smaller (850 sq ft) condo in the Pearl. We have never regretted that decision.

There are people with fabulous wealth in our neighborhood, but the majority of people are working class folks that have made a lifestyle choice to live here. There are many pricey restaurants and galleries, but there are also reasonably priced restaurants (Cha Cha Cha, Wrapsody, Blossoming Lotus, etc), venues for reasonably priced art (Caplan Art Designs, Urban Grind Coffee, PNCA, etc) and soon there will be a Safeway to balance our grocery option.

I don't think that the Pearl is or will become "the bastion of the wealthy or uber-hip trust-funders". Most of the living space in the pearl is under 1000 feet. Not to mention that we have a higher percentage of low-income housing than any other neighborhood. All in all, life in the Pearl is balanced. The perception of the neighborhood, however, is not.

Lynnette and Dave J.:

I was heartened to hear your sane and rational take on the Pearl. The district is a great urban success story on many levels, and I don't really understand the widespread inclination to condemn the area and mock the types of people who live there. This notion that people who live in the Pearl can be dismissively categorized--"trust-fund hipsters" or "wealthy empty-nesters" or "California transplants"--and are somehow not the real or authentic Portlanders is just plain weird, and kind of scary when you consider the venom and intolerance behind the remarks.

It takes all kinds of people and all kinds of neighborhoods to make a great city, and I for one will try to maintain enough perspective to realize that I personally am not the presumptive model for the "real Portlander" and that the Portland I grew up in is not by definition the way Portland should be, simply because that was the Portland of my treasured youth.

Cities change, and downtown areas have generally changed for the worse over the past half-century in America. The Pearl is an example of Portland changing for the better--by turning an under-used wharehouse district into a place that many people want to live in and enjoy.

By the way, in case anyone's wondering, I live in an old house in SE Portland. So my comments here aren't just a matter of someone defending his personal turf and lifestyle.

Thank you, Richard!

There is so much to love about Portland. The diversity of neighborhoods and the people that reside in them is fabulous. We're all in this together, so I say supporting one another is crucial for our success as a city.

Thanks again for your words of encouragement. You have no idea how good it feels to read something positive. :-)


Thanks for the comments. I'm certainly open to the possibility that I could have it all wrong.

Just now, I did a search for 2 bedroom condos in the 97209 zip code. The least expensive unit in the Pearl proper is around $400K - unaffordable for most couples.

I agree that the space trade-off can be worth it. Last year, I sold my 2000 sq. ft. house in Tigard and now rent a 900 sq. ft. apartment in Goose Hollow. Never been happier. I love the feeling of community in my building - and being able to walk across the street for a slice of pizza and beer. The average rent here is around $900/mo. Were they to convert my building to condos, the average cost to own would be twice that - and the character of the building would change dramatically.

My point wasn't to Pearl bash. In light of your comments, I will give the Pearl another chance to make a first impression.



Why do you need a 2 bedroom? That is a luxury from where I'm sitting (in my 1 bedroom loft). Our friends and family stay at hotels when they visit. (Honestly, not a bad problem to have!)

Again, Livability is a choice and requires a willingness to redefine your "wants" vs. "needs". If you search for smaller units, there are nice choices well under 300k.

Thank you for your comments and your open mind.


Thanks for your reply! I work from home on occasion and prefer to separate my living and work arrangements. Granted, this is purely a preference. The transition from 2000 sq ft to 900 sq ft was certainly more painless than I'd expected.

Impressions are not always formed in a logical manner. About once a week, I get off work, drive home to Goose Hollow and immediately go walking. I'm in my work clothes - you know, kakhis and dress shirt. Pretty low of most scales of hipness. I get the friendly, accepting Portland vibe in most neighborhoods. In the Pearl district, it feels like "who let the square guy in". I've got a smile and "hello" for everyone and I just don't "feel" welcome.

I'd guess that I'm not the only one who's felt this way. I certainly never felt awkward walking in any gentrified area of Manhattan.

On my day off, I've gone into the Whole Foods at 2pm and it's packed with highly trendy folks in their 20s and early 30s (my age) ringing up $80 grocery bills. Do they all have the day off too? Do their flexible jobs support grocery shopping at 2pm? There's a look that someone has when they've worked 40 hours a week for a while. The people I'm seeing don't have that "look". There's nothing wrong with this - I'd just like to understand it better.

People such as myself - full time workers who are tired at the end of the day - would be more accepting of the Pearl if we understood the basic economics of the neighborhood. From the outside, it looks very "silver spoon" - and that's all we have to go on.

Thanks again for your replies!


You must be in a different Pearl District than the one I have seen if you think your Khakis and a Dress shirt wardrobe stick out like a sore thumb.

Seems to me that is what the majority of people there are wearing. The outside of Powell's books is hardly characteristic of the rest fo the place.


One thing you might consider as you walk around the Pearl is the number of visitors that are in the area. Chances are, many of the folks that you encounter don't actually live here- especially in an area as busy (and developed) as The Brewery Blocks. The south end of the pearl seems to have more visitors due to the ample parking and the familiarity of some of the larger, more established stores and restaurants. I'm sure there are residents in this mix, but the whole vibe around this area is pretty energetic/chaotic.

My experience with this area in particular has been of people trying to figure out where to park or where to meet their friends. People are on the go and not likely to be observant of your friendly smile.

You seem pretty well dressed compared to many of my pearl pals...they routinely rock sweats or jeans. Very casual. I can tell you that many of us in the Pearl are perplexed by the stories of the glamourous folks that frequent our restaurants, galleries, etc because we don't know anyone like that. Not to say that we don't clean up nice, but the people described in many of the articles just don't resemble our neighbors. Puzzling, indeed.

Whole Foods Market is busy all day long. I can't explain it other than to note it's a big metro area and it's our only Whole Foods...

In sum, don't give up finding the friendly folk that inhabit the pearl...we're here...and maybe observe the folks in the BB a little more closely.

Alice -- I recognize that "young" couple you describe. They always bring a smile to my face when I see them. I love it that they're out and about, enjoying the company they keep and taking part in a city they clearly relish. I love it that they've let their hair-color go so impudently white. Clairol? That's for those too sissy to make it to 70 and still be out walking. As for the sartorial splendor -- that's the best of all. That they still find fun in the theatrical aspects of their wardrobes is a sign of both rich imaginations, and rich personal histories.


Good to know, thanks for the education. What I'm hearing you say is that Pearl district residents are mostly normal working folks, but there are many "tourists" who come for a specific destination (Powells, pricey restaurants, 1st Thursday, etc.) and to see and be seen.

Neighborhoods are collections of stories - each resident has one to tell. It would be interesting to hear a cross section of "Pearl district" stories: how people came to end up where they are. Something more personal than demographics, but more informative than a fluff piece in WWeek.

I will say you're an effective ambassador for your neighborhood!


YES! I would say that is true. :-) And I would go one step further to say that people rely on their perception of how they "should" look when they visit the neighborhood (and dress accordingly when they do).

When we moved to our loft, our friends that lived outside the neighborhood were very apprehensive about coming to visit us and would crack comments about "not looking good enough to visit us in the pearl". That was very weird. :-(

I think that your story idea is a good one and thanks for the compliment. :-)


Be sure to thank the taxpayers of Portland for supporting your basic services in the Pearl while your property tax stays in your own neighborhood. Except, of course, for those millionare "historical" condos that only pay a couple hundred dollars a year.

Yes, it is amazing what over $200 million of taxpayer money can do for a neighborhood.


Good evening Jim,

Evasive jabs are seductive, but I'm not into playing games. Please answer the following questions and please elaborate where and when you feel inclined. I am truly interested in what you have to say and I'm sure that all of us will benefit from it.

1. Which basic pearl services are being paid by the taxpayers of Portland (now and over the past decade)? What, if anything, do Pearl residents pay for?
2. Why/how is it that pearl property taxes stay in the pearl? What is that money used for?
3. Which condos are valued at millions of dollars and receive historical tax breaks? Do all units in buildings with historical tax abatement pay low property taxes? How many properties in the Pearl have this historic property tax abatement? Do all properties on the historic register receive property tax abatement? If so, for how long?
4. Where/When was the $200 million dollars of taxpayer money spent and whose money is it (pearl money that stays in the pearl or other people's money?)?

Thank you for opening this dialogue. I appreciate your interest in the Pearl District and look forward to hearing your response.

Thank you,

I, too, recognize the couple Alice describes:charming, witty, engaged, sharing a rich personal history indeed. Moreover,the mcmbers are comfortable in their own skins, a phenomenon too rare in Portland where middle-aged reporters chase much younger women and brag about their conquests on their blogs instead of chasing the really important Oregon stories; ( To the O: Meth is just a poor people's drug, not the Story of the Century).

lynnette Fusilier, February 10, 2006: "Please answer the following questions "

JK : That is an urban renewal district using tax increment financing: The value of each property is noted when the district is formed. ALL taxes on the property value above that value are the increment and is kept in the district to pay for local improvements and/or pay off bonds issued for that purpose. That means that you are depending on the rest of the city's taxpayers to pay for those services normally paid for by property taxes. And you got the benefit of around $200 million city money to build your brand new infrastructure.

See www.saveportland.com for an example of a million dollar (almost) condo that pays under $200 per YEAR property tax and more about the cost of tax exemptions.

It’s a bit like a whole neighborhood on public assistance.


Hi Jim,

Before I respond to your post, I'd really like to stress that I would like to have you answer all of my questions. I feel like you are giving me a general answer, but I really do want specifics. I would like the full picture from your point of view and your answers are crucial to my understanding.


If you are starting from square on on Urban Renewal perhaps you should first stroll thorugh Jim'd website
The PDC's too. Link to Urban Renewal and district then Downtown Waterfront.
Take a look at some of the publications and see the amount of money diverted by Urban Renewal.

Hi Steve,

Actually, I'm not starting at square one, but I am trying to get answers from Jim that will give me information on how his impressions are formed and on what basis he is drawing his conclusions.

There might be things Jim has wrong, ya know!

Thanks for your input.


It's just not accurate to describe the Pearl as a neighborhood with regular middle class folk.

You claim that someone can get a property in the pearl for less than a small starter home in a desireable neighborhood. That is false.

A small starter home will run you $225k, will have 2 or more bedrooms, 1000-1200 sq ft, 1-1.5 baths, and a small yard. If you have less than school age children, you can get a house in a neighborhood with less good schools for $175k.

That same $225k in the Pearl *may* buy you a 1 bdrm with 900 sq ft, a single bathroom, and one living space. 2 brdm (a "luxury" to you) costs more than $400k.

This may seem fine for a well-off yuppie couple, but anyone with 1 or more children and anywhere near the median income in portland can't come close.

The Pearl has the lowest percentage of families with children in the city. A July 11 2005 story in the Oregonian said there were 25 *total* school-age children in the Pearl and fewer than 20 babies a year.

The reason people complain about the Pearl, perhaps, is to offset the constant celebration of these kinds of developments as the future of Portland, meanwhile the working and middle class families are fleeing the city.


Why not do a home search in the following neighborhoods:

Irvington: 97212
Hosford Abernathy/Clinton: 97202

Look for neighborhood with similar amenities and compare apples to apples. Compare walkable neighborhoods like Irvington and Clinton and see what kinds of price tags you get. These two zip codes will get you started, but check out the hot Mississippi area of NE Portland or the neighborhoods along Fremont (Sabin and Beaumont) and see where that takes you on your search. Sure, I can pull up houses that are massive for less than $200k, but will they offer the lifestyle of the pearl, clinton, mississippi or Beaumont? Not likely. And... you may have to search for the perfect home/price for a while. These are hot neighborhoods for the livability-minded. That's why people pay earnest money to secure a home in new pearl buildings and wait as long as 2 years for their homes to be built. It's worth the wait.

I wish that I could afford a $400k home in any of these neighborhoods, but I cannot. If I were going to move into a traditional home, it would be into one of these neighborhoods with nice livability. The pearl offers amenities that make up for my lack of yard space and square footage. When I have a larger amount to invest, I will definitely look here first.

Regarding children in the Pearl, I can scarcely believe that you would quote the Oregonian as your source for the number of children in the Pearl. Lets just say there are more children in my BUILDING than in the particular article. The demographics specified in that article were for school-aged children and not for children that attend anything other than public school. Many of the kids go to Emerson (a charter school in the Park Blocks), Portland French School and many, of course are below school age. There are many young couples with one child building out their 1 bedroom/den lofts for multi-use living. It can be done and IS done all the time.

And let me add that like space, children are the biggest lifestyle choice of all. Do not knock people for choosing not to populate the planet. Even though we like children, my husband and I have chosen not to have them- we prefer our life without them. Condo living suits us (and people like us) perfectly. As people without children, we probably do have more disposable income, but we shouldn't be faulted for it. Some choose to pay for private school and others prefer to invest in an IRA. It's all about choices. It perplexes me that people feel so free to critize and call names those of us that have chosen childless lives. It's highly intolerant. I expect better of you and everyone else with this attitude.

And, finally, to summarily dismiss the pearl as not being full of working class singles and couples based on your search and how you feel is the worst argument I've heard. It's not about how much you make, it's about what you do with it. Investments, savings, good financial planning and the willingness to compromise can score you a home in one of these neighborhoods... even if your income is average. I am speaking from experience and I am not unique.


I've been reading this thread and find it VERY interesting. I chose to live and work in the Pearl because of its livability. I bought a townhouse that is designated as live/work. I am self employed and prefer this lifestyle. I particularly enjoy that I can go several days without having to drive my car.

The community in the Pearl is very active and friendly. It is a diverse mix, we have everything from low income housing to extremely wealthy people, but the majority of people here are hard working, ordinary people. Most of the uber trendy or fashionably dressed people of the Brewery Blocks area don’t live here. They are coming from other neighborhoods for an evening out. Since the Pearl has this reputation they feel they must dress up when they visit, and more people see this so they feel they must dress up to visit the Pearl. You can see how this builds.

Regarding property taxes, yes there are historical buildings which receive tax abatement so that the building is preserved. This preservation adds a great deal to the character of the neighborhood. If all the old buildings here were demolished and replaced many would complain that no effort was spared to preserve the past and that Portland was losing its character. Further, units like the million dollar condos that pay less than $200 a year in taxes are not the norm. I followed someone’s suggestion and went to www.saveportland.com for examples. Anyone with an agenda can make anything look bad, and this site is HIGHLY biased in its point of view. Nowhere do they talk about all the new construction that pays the same property taxes as everyone else. Nor do they give percentages of units that get tax abatement versus those that pay full taxes to give any realistic perspective. They simply give a few examples to support their point of view. Personally, I paid just over $7000 in property taxes and I didn’t pay anything close to a million dollars for my townhouse. One last point, tax abatement doesn’t last forever; it’s an incentive to preserve the building. Eventually owners will have to pay full property taxes. Something those who trash the Pearl never seem to point out.

Regarding families in the Pearl, Lynnette addressed that very well. I’d just like to say that I believe the Oregonian article was a thinly disguised hate article by the reporter. Most of the “facts” in the article were just dead wrong, and again, this reporter seemed to have an agenda and only used “facts” to support her position rather than give an accurate perspective.

The Pearl is a thriving neighborhood because it is a mix of residential and commercial. It has a lot to offer, and judging by the amount of people who come here for entertainment, it’s very successful.


Your arguments are incoherent.

You search Irvington, historically one of the most expensive areas in the city, and Clinton, one of the hottest new markets, and use that as a comparison? Gee, why not add Alameda, Ladds Addition, and Eastmoreland to the mix??

Try searching out near 52nd and Holgate, where regular working class folk live. You'll find lots of entry level homes at the 200k range.

I never said these areas had the "lifestyle" choices of the Pearl. But you want to have it both ways, you want to describe the Pearl as a neighborhood of "regular working folks" but then you only want to compare it with the most posh and hip areas of the City. Which is it? Is it a posh hip yuppie paradise or a "regular folks" neighborhood?

I don't know why the Oregonian, which relied on CENSUS DATA, is a bad source. I guess your own impressions are better. More than 25 kids in your own building? Which one?

And once again, if you're telling me that the only families in the Pearl are single child and send that child to an expensive private school, you're really undermining your "regular working folks" image.

I'm not knocking anyone for choosing to be childless. But only in the fantasy world of the Pearl could you describe childless couples living in one bedroom condos as typical working folk.

Come take a swing thru Lents or Woodstock or "Felony Flats" or down 82nd avenue, and you'll get a sense of how the majority of Portlanders live, the ones who are sick and tired that all of the City development policies are targeted trying to recreate the Pearl.

I don't begrudge the Pearl. I do begrudge the City ignoring the rest of us.

I just started scanning this and think this is hilarious.

"Try searching out near 52nd and Holgate, where regular working class folk live. You'll find lots of entry level homes at the 200k range."

If you check the rest of the web sit, you'll find that this guy lives in the Irvington, one of the most expensive and elite neighborhoods in all of Portland. He has the nereve to talk about "regular working class folk".

What a hypocrite. Jack, you're part of the problem, hardly an advocate.

Nice. Bye.

John, your last couple of sentences seem to suggest that you think that the city is helping the Pearl to the detriment of the rest of the city. I suspect that that is a fairly common sentiment and is the primary reason for why people feel bitter about the Pearl. I guess I'm a little puzzled as to why.

As Ken Aaron pointed out above, the residents in the Pearl pay a large chunk of city property taxes. All this talk about historic building tax abatements make it seem like everyone in the Pearl benefits from these. The only buildings I can think of that fall under this category are the Marshall Wells Lofts and the Avenue Lofts. However, the vast majority of buildings in the Pearl, also pointed out, are new buildings. And thus, pay the same taxes as anyone else. One could argue more, if you go by sq footage. I myself pay over $5000 per year on taxes for a place that is just over 1000 sq feet. IMHO, I pay more than my fair share for the amount of city space that I take up.

Furthermore, I not only didn't complain about Measure 26-48 (the 3 year Multnomah income tax), I voted for it, out of a sense of obligation to be a good citizen and because I believed that it goes towards the greater good - Portland's continued economic health as a city. What's in Portland's best interests is also in mine. And I willingly paid it in spite of the fact that I don't make use of the schools, police, or social services that measure was meant to supplement. Many others in the Pearl also don't benefit from it and didn't complain about paying it either.

As far as affordable housing, there are also at least 5 buildings in the Pearl which are VERY nice buildings that house "low-income" people/families. This is the city's way of creating a more diverse neighborhood AND giving a way for the "working class" to live in a great neighborhood. I've yet to hear anyone in the Pearl begrudge the city for doing so.

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