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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Got a second?

We got a pretty nice response the other day when we opened up the floor for discussion of the first of the four questions on the City of Portland's "vision" questionnaire. So here's Question 2, which in some ways is an easier one to answer. The main challenge is not to say the same things you said in response to Question 1:

What changes would you most like to see in Portland right now?

Comments (27)

I'd say there were some thought provoking answers to the previous question peppered with responses from ultra-libertarian, tax/regulation/law-free utopianists (you know who you are Brainstormers).

As for today's question:

1) Stable funding for public schools

2) better road surfaces including paved streets and sidewalks in more neighborhoods

3) less city government work on "pie-in-the-sky" ideas and more on basic infrastructure, not including wifi access

4) police precints open 24/7

5) a solution to the fire/police pension fiasco

6) another bridge across the Willamette for both vehicle and ped/bike crossing (I wait in line to et across the Ross Island every morning, and that is only going to worse)

Enactment and enforcement of non-panhandling laws. Downtown business would uptick overnight.

A four lane replacement for the Sellwood Bridge.

Why? It is illogical to replace a 90 year old bridge with another bridge likely to last 90 years without an increase in vehicular capacity.

Why? At some point in that 180 year period, the traffic volume doubled, then doubled again, then quadrupled.

I know City/County leaders hate to plan beyond the next election cycle, but we need some leaders with the vision necessary to lose a few votes from the Sellwood neighborhood association.

If they refuse to build a four lane bridge in Sellwood (two lanes in each direction), then we need a bridge between Lake Oswego and Gladstone. Yeah right.

My dream list:
· I would like to see the rough places made plain and the crooked places made straight.

· Abandon the photo-radar enforcement of traffic lights. Or change the slogan "The City That Works" to something that humorously refers to the Kafkaesque nature of the mechanical administration of traffic laws.

· Daily, public exhibitions of Abu Ghraib-styled humiliation and abuse of meter maids. Well, maybe twice daily. Okay, three times a day.

· Worst magazine ever Brainstorm cease publication. Obviously. Obviously.

· Frankly, I'd like the opportunity to fight the terrorists over here because that may actually work in our favor. They would get Macadam and Barbur confused all the time, for one.

· I don't know what needs to happen to keep dogs out of cemeteries, but I have a dream that one day America will rise to the demands of this challenge and stand together. It is my hope.

1) A second daily newspaper--one whose editorial page is not directed by the ghost of Harvey Scott.

2 A real effort to develop affordable FAMILY housing--that is something with a decent yard, so that young families can stay in Portland. At one time Buckman and Sunnyside were good family neighborhoods, before the housing got too expensive. The yards are small, but if enough kids live on the same block, they can find at least one good back yard.

3) A big public market like Pike Street on the EAST side, such as around the Esplanade at Salmon St. With a multicultural flea market on weekends.

4) And one NO CHANGE--other than No. 3 above, leave the central east side alone.

Jack What changes would you most like to see in Portland right now?
Quit driving family wage jobs out of town. Don’t plop down hosing in industrial areas.
FBI corruption probe.
Stop developer welfare.
All elected officials acknowledge that light rail costs too much and does too little.
Sam Adams suddenly realizes that we need to solve congestion with the only proven solution: build lane miles.
Saltzman quits pandering to Portland’s chicken little types and recognizes that we are not really running out of oil.
Trimet discovers that they have been causing congestion and removes all bus stops at monster curbs (“transit supportive extended curbs”). Further Trimet policy becomes that buses must pull over to let trapped cars pass by; more streetcar lines will not be until a way can be found to not increase congestion behind them. Trimet decides that their mission is to provide transpiration for the needy instead of trying to attract yuppies out of their BMWs. Trimet quits advising that new development should be high density.
Developers (and Neillites) are remove from all boards and advisory committees.
PDC employees quit pretending to be ordinary citizens on the blogs. And they learn to be polite.


MORE "...ultra-libertarian, tax/regulation/law-free utopianists...".

and all the other stuff hilsy wants

Abandon the photo-radar enforcement of traffic lights.

On the contrary, I'd like to see those at ALL traffic lights. We cross SE Grand at Madison every morning, to go over the Hawthorne bridge, and it used to be a nightmare of red-lights run, and cars and trucks blocking the intersection. Nowadays everyone is so much better behaved, and the intersection isn't gridlocked. And I write this as someone who got zapped at the photo-radar on Burnside by PGE Park (I mean Civic Stadium)...too distracted, late one night, looking at the high-rise condos a'risin over there. My bad.

humiliation and abuse of meter maids

They're not "meter maids." They are parking enforcement officers. I bet you still call "flight attendants" stewardesses too. You won't cop any free drinks with that attitude.

4) And one NO CHANGE--other than No. 3 above, leave the central east side alone.

Number 3 above being an east side public market...but why? We have so many successful farmer's markets already, so what public need are we meeting? I'd rather see 24 hour precincts...and sidewalks and better access to the river for our close-in SE neighborhoods. And that big piece of vacant land between the Hawthorne and Morrison bridges held hostage by ODOT? Let's turn it into a world-class skateboard park!

Council agenda items on-line would be good. Not just the titles, but the actual documents so we can read them. You can't judge a book by its cover, or an ordinance by its title.

Please, not too much critiquing of other folks' answers. Just give your own.

1.) More police accountablity. (i.e. If a police office shoots an unarmed person in the back, i'd like to see them fired)
2.) Less money into Condos in the industrial areas and more money into N/NE portland.
3.) I'd like our schools not to need to beg for money every few months. Some stability in portlands education system is needed.
4.) More multi-use lanes for walkers, runners, bikers, etc...
5.) End funding to the OHSU tram.

"Some stability in Portland's education system is needed"

Really, this is #1 and #1a on my list. The widespread effects of righting the ship on PPS would be tremendous. There wouldn't be mass exodus in some of old PDX neighborhoods, much less to Beaverton and L.O.

But I guess I get a kicker soon!

I would like to see less emphasis on creating "utopia" for "creatives" and retirees and more focus on providing basic services for all citizens. Serial urban renewal is kind of like serial monogamy. It sounds good, but doesn't work, and, ultimately, is just an excuse to avoid committment and run with whims. I would like to see local government committment to the basic public needs of the citizenry instead commitment the whims of fanciful developers, even if they are way cool on their segways and skateboards.

Fundamentally, Portland has long needed a more savvy newsmedia. I am encouraged that that may be starting to happen. Reporters who will look beyond preferred sources and who realize that if someone is being panned as stupid or crazy, perhaps they know something someone is trying to suppress and so it is important to find out.

In addition to some of the other great suggestions already put forth:

1. Public schools greatly expand second-language immersion programs.

2. Bring back Tyger's Heart Shakespeare Theatre (or its equivalent).

3. Double the police presence in North Portland with an increased focus on community outreach.

4. (Completely pie-in-the-sky idea alert): Bury I-5 with something along the lines of Boston's Big Dig (only, one that works) to reclaim east bank of downtown river.

Kick everyone out who wasn't born in Portland.

I would like an end to the "Visioning"

I firmly believe Potter will spend his enitre term "visioning"

oh and how about somemore
Sustainable, High density, Green, carbon-neutral, non-smoking, affordable, empowering, bike only, peak oil aware, progressive, diverse, grassroots, community activist, organic, shade grown
Widgets??? You cannot build your utopian city with out these widgets.

What changes would you most like to see in Portland right now?

More Brainstorm

More common sense
Less "vision"
More paving
Less Tram
More paving
Less MAX
More paving
NO trollies
More self-reliance
Less "Outreach"
More private contracting
Fewer public employees (in a "nice" way)
More diversity of opinion.
Less emphasis on "diversity"
More jobs
Fewer panhandlers
More Charter schools
Fewer failed public schools
More efficiency
Fewer "fees"
More "neighbors"
Fewer Neighborhood Associations
More beer
Less coffee

To help achieve (almost) any and all of the above become reality...

...what Cynthia said about local media.

She hit the nail on the head (and shoulders).


I can't help it...
re Sheef's comment:
In the interest of equal rights (or equal protection or whatever); bury all the bike lanes, too.

Just kidding.

Dismantling of the PDC, the agency which is destroying Portland.

Another thing I would change right now is the minds of people who think Oregon has to be marketed (lead editorial, today's Tribune). The area is alluring itself without marketing. And marketing WILL NOT improve the business climate until we address the problems with our agencies and our courts. No one wants to open a business when he comes to realize that, if he has a dispute with a good ole boy or girl competitor, Phil Knight's cousin's lawfirm (or another "connected" firm) can manipulate results to favor of the insider. The good ole problem really is the crux of what is wrong with this place, imho. The editorial emphasises how important trust is in doing business. It is important, but good ole action is going over the line on the trust issue. Blind trust for empty status is, may I say st*pid?

Should be: The area is alluring enough itself...

manipulate results to favor an insider...

And please pardon the spelling errors..

I think (which is difficult right now) you should stick with your call for some critical, discerning "journalism" around these here parts.

Some good ol' muckraking would do wonders.

and you're right on the monkey about marketing - it's a red flag. When you need to "market" something of the civic nature, that "something" is defective by definition...

at least by mine.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Why not a cap on city employee compensation? Let them keep the cadillac pensions, there's no reason to pay above market wages too.

Be it resolved that no city employee shall be compensated above the median wage for all Portland residents.

Give the savings to the schools. IT'S FOR THE CHILDREN!

Yeah, I think you are right, rickyragg. True investigative reporting could cure a multitude of sins. I've got just one more thing I would like to see changed right now: the idea that scandalous scams are enlightened and make us a "national leader".

Got email today advising that Dog Fancy Magazine has declared Portland "Dog City USA"-or something like that. Apparently the article boasts about Portland shelter's low euthanasia rates for cats and dogs. I got the email from a woman who was expelled from the Multnomah County Animal Shelter after she found evidence that statistics were being altered. We kill the messenger. We believe the public relations lie.

I remember when I saw Wesley J. Smith speaking at the University of Portland a few years back. I made a comment on how frustrated I was with Portland and asked what he would do. He said that Jesus would not expect us to stay in town and say the same things over and over again and be ridiculed and not heard; he would shake the dust off his feet as a witness against the city. I hang around,don't know if it is out of love for the place or sheer stupidity.

(intro) Give most Portland debt a new name -- Sten Dollars -- and let it float on the open market and strip it of any color of authority that might imply that it is somehow tied to the sovereign power to tax the locals. It is instead backed only by a promise of replacement with more Sten Dollars, and interest on debt will be paid only via bond coupons -- Sten coupons.

(body) Blue Dollars (known alternatively as Sten Dollars or Goldschmidt Dollars)

(conclusion) This would transfer the risk back to the bondholders, where it belongs. And to drive the point home -- Public employees in Portland shall be paid in Sten Dollars, which they can convert to US Dollars if they wish.

And Rickyragg,

I was thinking today while running around doing Saturday stuff that, imho, it IS important to tell our individual stories, perhaps especially when they challenge icons. That may be where to start in order to get from where we are to where we need to go. Several people seem to think so, social justice movement types. I know there is much fear and intimidation in this town, but I think silence on some of these issues is a part of the reason why. I think we actually hold up some problem figures with our fear of speaking out.

Why not a cap on city employee compensation? Let them keep the cadillac pensions, there's no reason to pay above market wages too.

Could someone point me to the salary survey that shows this is true? I know it's the preception it's just that I have never seen a reported salary survey that shows that City employess total compensation is greater than that for private sector employees working the same jobs.

Be it resolved that no city employee shall be compensated above the median wage for all Portland residents.

Similar comment to the above. We are talking about the average public employee acountant making the same as the average privately employed accountant. Or is there some reason we should want the avergage accountant/lawyer/doctor working for governmemt to be paid the average salary of the privately employed barista/construction worker/Mc Donalds cook?

Stop using tax dollars to subsidize fancy condo playgrounds for the well off. This type of tax policy is unconscionable in a city where we have neighborhoods with unpaved streets and a school funding crisis. The policy decisions seem to be driven by a desire to make Portland a "World Class" city. I would prefer that policy decisions focus on maintaining a high quality of life for EVERYONE.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Got a second?:

» Question No. 3 from Jack Bog's Blog
One of our earlier posts in support of Portland Mayor Tom Potter's "vision quest" survey actually made the news the other day -- a slow news day, to be sure. Anyway, I like the way the conversation is going, and so it's time to pop the third of the fou... [Read More]


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