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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 5, 2006 2:25 AM. The previous post in this blog was PDC art is to art.... The next post in this blog is Aw rooty. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2006

One way to burn money

The dopey Burnside-Couch traffic "couplet" idea is back, and Sam the Tram will be out there shilling for it tomorrow, according to the Trib. The current liars' budget puts the cost at $80 million -- up from the $40 million to $50 million they were crossing their fingers and winking about four years ago.

Who really wants this? Mike Powell and the condo tower boys. They'd like to build a wall of them along the south side of West Burnside, I suspect. There's also a streetcar in the picture now, which will get those L.A. blue hairs up here writing earnest money checks lickety-split.

I don't know what's new about all this that Trammy has to get his mug on TV again about it. It's been approved by the City Council since way back when he was working on Vera Katz's "economic development" projects (and what a fine job he and she did).

This is just another waste of scarce public money for the benefit of very few. God forbid we use that kind of dough to keep poor guys like Jim Jim Chasse on their meds and off the mall.

Comments (51)

There is also another red flag these narrowly serving public works projects like the Streetcar and Aerial Tram put up.

Both the Streetcar and Aerial Tram are quasi-governmental businesses. Meaning they are chartered with pubilc funds as a private business without the same open-books reporting accountablity as a government.

Screams patronage outpost to me. Years ago I read a book called Power Broker about NYC's and NY States urban renewal, parks building, and bridge building spurt under Robert Moses.

All the things going on here in river city smack of similarity.

Watch, I'm sure the commuter rail, additional streetcars, and commuter boats they've spoken of for downtown as well will also follow this course distinctly apart from each other and Trimet yet closely connected through a political appointment. They will also be subsidized as they fail to pull down a true profit.

How many miles of neighborhood roads could be paved for $80 million?

The almighty dollar triumphs again! This would never happen in Communist Russia, Jack—to think, a bunch of AMERICANS trying to draw INVESTMENT to their city by improving INFRASTRUCTURE.

But seriously: I've got nothing against rich Californians, and I don't see why you have. Is it because they threaten the cheap property here? If so, I suggest you move to Russia or Afghanistan. Iraq, too, has a dearth of new roads.

Then again, you could stop wingeing and save your energy for moving house when the Cali's offer you four times what you paid for it. An offer you'll be thanking "Sam the Tram" for, in due course.

By the way, am I the only one who thought "Sam the Tram" was funny twice?

No like? Go away.

wingeing???

Don't mind him. Just one of the kids from the Merc, all hopped up on coffee and money envy.

I realize that PDX is one expensive town but the cost of these projects continues to amaze me. If this relative ho-hummer costs anywhere close to $80 mil that's about one-fifth of the cost of the Millau Viaduct in southern France. Not exactly a third-world project in a country noted for lack of influence by the unions.

Portland is re-enacting the dot-com boom, only with tax dollars. The more ridiculous the price tag and the less public benefit, the better it looks to guys like Adams and Sten. These bubbles burst eventually, and I'm not kidding when I talk about a municipal bankruptcy. It's coming.

Why is it a dopey idea?

A re-engineered traffic plan that will cause people to drive slower yet get where they're going faster (due to timed lights), provide more on-street parking, and create a much safer and friendlier pedestrian environment seems like a decidedly un-dopey idea to me.

Sure, Powell's would benefit, and probably the condo-builders too. (Although you might note that the major opposition to this project has come from Gerding Elden, because their politically-juiced condo-dwellers in "The Henry" on Couch don't want more traffic passing their building.) But, in ways much more tangible than from, say, the tram, the public at large would benefit is well. Anybody who ever drives up or down Burnside, for example. Or tries to walk across it. (I was almost run over trying to cross Burnside at the North Park Blocks just last weekend.)

Not at any cost, of course. But as I understand it Burnside is in need of major repairs/improvements even without building the couplet. How much will that cost, and how does it compare with the couplet?

If the couplet costs twice as much, then it's a no-brainer to do it. If it costs ten times as much, I would argue that a strong case could still be made, considering the large public benefits. A hundred times as much, I would absolutely agree with you that it's a dopey idea.

Just because the tram was a boondoggle doesn't mean that all public improvements are inherently boondoggles.

The couplet is, in the abstract, a great idea. It absolutely needs to be subjected to a rigorous cost/benefit analysis. But it shouldn't be snowed under a pre-emptive avalanche of cynicism.

The sad (and frightening) part is that those guys actually think these projects are "good things" that voters tacitly endorsed by (re)electing them.

At least I hope they do - self-delusion is so much less distasteful than corruption.

I wonder where and when the concept of leadership enters into the discussion? Catering to your hard-core constituencies hardly rates as big-picture thinking. We'd be better off with direct democracy.

Municipal bankruptcy eh? Randy Leonard, any comment here? Prof makes it sound all but a done deal.

Extend the Tram.

Chalk me up as one of the dissenters -- at least as far as the commentators here are concerned -- on the general development of close-in Portland. I'd much rather have the Pearl District and South Waterfront areas than what preceded them, and think the high-density living they bring is a partial solution to the conundrum posed by the combination of population growth and our unwillingness to extend the urban growth boundary.

Could those areas have been more efficiently developed? Were some or all of the tax abatements unnecessary? Have the cost overruns made us all wonder who's in charge? To be sure.

However, we have a phenomenally livable downtown area. My job takes me often to cities of Portland's size, cities like Seattle, Oakland, San Jose, Denver, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Minneapolis, and a dozen more in the Midwest and back east. I wouldn't trade our downtown, or for that matter, our metropolitan area, for any of those. Not by a long shot.

The Burnside-Couch couplet idea is yet another example. In terms of urban communication, Burnside serves as an effective wall between two parts of Portland. It's not just the two-way traffic that more than occasionally whizzes by, its the lack of parking, the width of the street, the lack of sidewalks, and just the sense of separation the street provides. Couch isn't as bad, at least since the Pearl came into existence (remember the pre-Pearl Couch, anyone? nice place to be), but there's still something a little lacking in the ambiance on Couch.

The couplet idea warrants serious consideration, with learning from the past on the use of taxpayer dollars to accomplish any changes.

What he said. Off for more coffee.

The problem is, Will, the CoP puts all its efforts into making downtown 'livable' (whatever that's supposed to mean). All the while the rest of the city gets more unpaved roads and reduced basic services caused by TIF schemes and URDs.

Put it this way; would you be so irresponsible as to remodel your kitchen in lieu of repairing a leaky roof and feeding your kids?

Why oh why do these transit "solutions" always have to rely on systems that require so much hardware infrastructure (rail, unique rail cars or tram cars) that are expensive to maintain.

Put $80M into the bus system. Clean up the bus stops along West Burnside. Make it biker friendly.

If you want to make a special Burnside route jazzy then buy some eco-friendly electric buses or make the route an ever-changing showcase for mass-transit vehicles that utilize up-and-coming fuel technologies.

It makes no sense to sink $$$ into infrastructure that is inflexible and expensive to construct, operate and maintain. That kind of approach is old-school.

Jack, I'll have to disagree with you on
this one. I live in NW Portland and walk
on Burnside all the time. The pedestrian
safety situation there is egegious; a high
percentage of households do not have cars,
and thus walk and use transit.

But I do agree with J-On-Bike posting
about rail being a waste of money for
Portland--bus rapid transit would be much
better for us.


I'm encouraged by the Burnside-Couch proposal.

I think we need to acknowledge that 50 yrs of car-dominated land use and transportation investment have proven futile. Unlimited, congestion-free automobile infrastructure is unaffordable, undesirable, impossible.

Lets face it, Burnside from 2nd to 19th is a depressing area. Encouraging a vibrant business-friendly corridor and attracting high-density residential alternatives is card worth playing. The long-term return will likely exceed 1 more (quickly consumed) mile of suburban asphalt.

Will Aitchison Chalk me up as one of the dissenters -- at least as far as the commentators here are concerned -- on the general development of close-in Portland. I'd much rather have the Pearl District and South Waterfront areas than what preceded them,
JK:You seem to be forgetting that the owners of the North Macadam (South Waterfront is an incorrect name) wanted to develop the area to medium density, but were stopped by the bitch from New York because their plans were not dense enough. So, instead of having a finished area paying property taxes, we have a multi-billion dollar, tax sucking, Homer’s hole, eyesore Yuppie playground South.

Will Aitchison and think the high-density living they bring is a partial solution to the conundrum posed by the combination of population growth and our unwillingness to extend the urban growth boundary.
JK: Other solutions:
* Quit advertising and promoting Portland to the outside world.
* Quit feeding subsidies for development.
* Promote only cost effective, energy efficient transportation modes (IE: roads for cars)
* Lobby the state to allow more land for living, instead of lobbying to raise the urban renewal limits.

Will Aitchison Could those areas have been more efficiently developed? Were some or all of the tax abatements unnecessary? Have the cost overruns made us all wonder who's in charge? To be sure.
JK: Nice summation of why the government should NOT be involved in development. Now, lets get on board to shut down the PDC.

Will Aitchison However, we have a phenomenally livable downtown area. My job takes me often to cities of Portland's size, cities like Seattle, Oakland, San Jose, Denver, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Minneapolis, and a dozen more in the Midwest and back east.
JK: Are you saying that we have a better class of panhandler? Better drug dealers? More accurate gangland shooters? Fewer vacant store fronts? Safer transit mall? More vibrant fur protesters?

Will Aitchison The Burnside-Couch couplet idea is yet another example. In terms of urban communication, Burnside serves as an effective wall between two parts of Portland.
JK: That is nothing compared to the barrier formed by MAX, which actually put up a fence down the middle Interstate ave.

Will Aitchison It's not just the two-way traffic that more than occasionally whizzes by, its the lack of parking, the width of the street, the lack of sidewalks, and just the sense of separation the street provides.
JK: What the he*l is a “sense of separation”. Does it, or does it not separate? So that we can objective answer that question, please compare the separation of Burnside with that of MAX’s fence down the middle of Interstate ave.

Thanks
JK

$80 million? I think the idea of making Burnside and Couch one way is a great one. Why not do the easy, cheap stuff first, like buying a couple hundred "one way" signs? Skip the street car stuff for a while to see how it works.

The idea of making Burnside a one way is LONG overdue. It will create more parking, bike lines, a faster transit for cars, safer crossing for peds, and will open up left turns for better access. Why would you fight this one Jack? Take out the streetcar and your price is 40 million. Sounds about right.

And JK, I doubedare you to post without mention South waterfront...I now it will be hard but give it a shot.

TJ And JK, I doubedare you to post without mention South waterfront...I now it will be hard but give it a shot.
JK: Here is nice example of PDC tracking Portland praises. Want to bet on how many of them were the result of PDC’s PR department. Shut it down & we’ll get less press and less in-migration. And less excuse to promote condo farms.

http://www.pdc.us/bus_serv/praises/default.asp#frommers

Thanks
JK

Last time I commented I was accused by our esteemed host of blowing smoke, but I guess I'm a glutton for punishment.

The problem with the couplet is the lack of a cost/benefit analysis. For this Mayor and Council, if a project sounds good, is "progressive", and appeals to their constituency, they approve it. Burnside is a problem, but what does the $80 million buy us? Could the problem be fixed for less? Is there a larger ROI achieved by spending the $80 million elsewhere?

The Commissioners' aides certainly don't have the brainpower to do this kind of analysis, and City staff aren't empowered to do it (and probably lack the skillset in any case). Most importantly, the electeds don't want to see it. If we had a local media worth anything, they could at least ask the tough questions, but they're too busy. . . well, I have no idea what they're doing.

Regarding bankruptcy, it ain't gonna happen anytime soon. Anything's possible down the road (just ask Nostradamus), but the City is in a good financial situation. The problem isn't that we're overextended, it's that we're spending money on the wrong things.

I agree with Chris McMullen. The issue isn't, "Is this a good thing to do, if we had an endless supply of money?". The discussion should be, "Is this a good thing to do, or would $80m in transportation dollars be better spent building sidewalks to schools in outer NW, NE, SW, and SE?" Or on any of dozens of other transportation projects needed all over the city. Paving streets in Cully and Ashcreek? Improving SE 82nd? There is rarely an opportunity for citizens to weigh in on priorities, rather than on the false question of "Burnside couplet, yes or no?"

And North Portland, too, for sidewalks to schools, where there aren't any. North Portland was mostly built out at a time where citizens recognized having sidewalks was important, and provided them. But there are unimproved streets and streets without sidewalks in North Portland, too.

The headline on the inside page of the print edition Trib article reads "Couplet may cost $80 BILLION". Hope that's a misprint...

PMG:

It's not a misprint if it goes the same way as the tram.

Sure, "Burnside is a problem", but is it the most important "problem"? Everything's a "problem" for some group or another. The job of running a city efficiently should, first and foremost, involve prioritizing the needs of all the citizens, not catering to the wants of special interests. Instead of that calculation, what it boils down to here is, the more glamorous the project, the fewer the citizens served. The lack of a cost/benefit analysis isn't just a "...problem with the couplet...", it's endemic with this group of "leaders". Their notion of "benefit" is a gushing review in Frommer's.

JK is right. The craving for awards and accolades in national media (which, in turn, help drive the in-migration of the "blue-haired Califonians" and their ilk) appears to take precedence over the mundane tasks of serving the existing populace.

We're hostages to their hubris.

sounds like another "bait" and "switch" to me.

I bet the only thing we will get from this deal is:

*A streetcar
*Condos
*Urban renewal district
*Huge increase in traffic congestion.

Maybe I'm missing something here but is Burnside not the major East to West corridor through Portland's central core. What road is of more significance? What road should be in better shape than it? Sure we need better roads throughout the area, but none are as important as Burnside.

JK, Portland is among a long list of cities that get loads of national attention. See Seattle, San Francisco, NYC, Chicago, Austin, etc. Pitchforkmedia.com (etc.) could be given as much credit for the in-migration as the PDC's PR machine. In this day and age hype is created gound up as much as top down.

"Maybe I'm missing something here but is Burnside not the major East to West corridor through Portland's central core. What road is of more significance? What road should be in better shape than it? Sure we need better roads throughout the area, but none are as important as Burnside.

TJ,

Maybe you are missing something.

Case in point. Burnside is one of the WORST paved streets in Portland. Ever drive on W. Burnside? The alignment shops around here should pay a subsidy fee. If the city can't MAINTAIN Burnside, what the **** are they doing even contemplating spending 80M for some glorified euro-wannabe couplet.

Ooh, hostages to their hubris. Nice!

I totally agree that the lack of cost/benefit analysis is much bigger than the couplet -- it's the same problem with the Tram, SOWA, and the laundry list of special projects they approved last week with the "extra" money they found. I actually can't think of anything Council has done recently that was accompanied by an objective study.

Okay, maybe I do need to rethink the bankruptcy stuff. . .

TJ: Maybe I'm missing something here but is Burnside not the major East to West corridor through Portland's central core.
JK: No, I84 - I405 - US26 is. (143,000 daily cars vs 33,000) That is also how people will get from Metro’s new housing in Damascus to the jobs in Hillsboro.

TJ: What road is of more significance? What road should be in better shape than it? Sure we need better roads throughout the area, but none are as important as Burnside.
JK: US 26, I-5, I-84. All overcrowded & need to be in better shape and are used far more than Burnside. But they aren’t part of Portland’s yuppie playground.

TJ: JK, Portland is among a long list of cities that get loads of national attention. See Seattle, San Francisco, NYC, Chicago, Austin, etc. Pitchforkmedia.com (etc.) could be given as much credit for the in-migration as the PDC's PR machine. In this day and age hype is created gound up as much as top down.
JK: Ok, but PDC still needs to shut down its “attract people to Portland” unit. All it is doing is trying to keep demand high for Home’s holes, so we can continue to waste tax dollars on condo farms.

Next is to toss out all of the jobs in the inner East side for a whole new condo farm. Then more Billions to get rid of I-5 for more riverfront condos. (See, I have vision too!)

Thanks
JK

Isn't it just this simple? Couplet project with buses: $40M. Federal contribution: Zilch.
Couplet project with streetcar: $80M. Federal contribution: $72M.
Lots of people think that federal money is free.

"please compare the separation of Burnside with that of MAX’s fence down the middle of Interstate ave"

Ok, I'll give it a shot. I don't spend a lot of time on Interstate, but I've been over there on my bike a few times, and on foot. I live pretty close to West Burnside, so it's more familiar. My experience with West Burnside jibes with the statistics. There's no way I would ride a bike on it in either direction -- it would be too dangerous. As a pedestrian, I find it very difficult to cross, and I would not attempt it except (and then only very carefully because of the large number of red-light runners) with the protection of a traffic light, which means a fair amount of careful planning or extra walking. Businesses on Burnside itself are not easily accessible by car or on foot. Auto traffic on West Burnside moves fast when it can, and there's a lot of it. It's intimidating.

By contrast, Interstate, which is now down to one lane of car traffic in each direction, offers pedestrians safe crossing at any intersection, with a refuge in the middle. The fence is irrelevant -- it keeps wayward pedestrians off the tracks in places where they would be a hazard to themselves and others, but doesn't otherwise impede movement. Car traffic moves fairly slowly, which is necessary for a safe mix of cars, public transit, bicycles and pedestrians.

Since JK seems averse to any form of locomotion other than cars, I can see why he prefers Burnside as it is. But it's the cars, not the street furniture, that make for separation.

"I live in NW Portland and walk
on Burnside all the time. The pedestrian
safety situation there is egegious;

Try to show some compassion for the souls who live around SE 82nd, which is where the most dangerous intersections in town are.

That's OK, though, as long as Sam can keep buying the condo dweller vote and screw over the not-so-pretty people.

I think there's no question that West Burnside can be made better for pedestrians. Part of Sam's new-old "plan" now calls for a traffic signal on every corner. Fine with me -- in fact, it should have been done long ago.

If you cross at a light, Burnside really isn't that bad. All this talk about a "barrier" is cr*p.

But the only way these guys will give you the lights is if you give their real estate pals the streetcar and the rest of the condo scamming. It's like the east side of the couplet -- one of the Usual Suspects is going to build a condo tower right in the middle of what is now the intersection of Sandy and Burnside. That's really unforgivable, but Adams watched Vera do it, and he's doing exactly the same thing.

And all the 20-somethings scraping by, with no prospect of moving up, while this town is being handed over to the developers think it's fantastic. Go figure.

'All this talk about a "barrier" is cr*p.'

It's certainly subjective. But, while crossing at a light may be all right (there are some issues, because of the speed of traffic and the frequency of cars running lights and the bias of the lights to the Burnside traffic), the fact is that there aren't many lights, and even the zebra-striped crosswalks at 9th are perilous for pedestrians. Barrier or not, Burnside is a boundary between neighborhoods.

As I say, I'm all for the lights on every corner. Put in speed bumps if you want. But it's a long way from there to a couplet, a land giveaway (literally), and a streetcar. A long, disruptive, expensive way that benefits very few.

Allan L. By contrast, Interstate, which is now down to one lane of car traffic in each direction,
JK: A text book example of light rail causing traffic congestion.

Allan L. offers pedestrians safe crossing at any intersection,
JK: One of us has a memory problem. So, valuing my time, convenience and safety, I chose to drive (rather than a dangerous bike or public welfare transit) over to have a look at Interstate. Starting at Alberta, going North:
Alberta crosses Interstate and has ped crossing.
Webster: Blocked. Big sign no crossing.
Sumner: Blocked. Big sign no crossing.
Emerson: Blocked. Big sign no crossing.
So, there you have it - a 4 block long, unbroken, fence separating the neighborhoods.

Allan L. with a refuge in the middle.
JK: a 4 block long, unbroken, fence separating the neighborhoods.

Allan L. The fence is irrelevant -- it keeps wayward pedestrians off the tracks in places where they would be a hazard to themselves and others, but doesn't otherwise impede movement.
JK: a 4 block long, unbroken, fence separating the neighborhoods.

Allan L. Car traffic moves fairly slowly, which is necessary for a safe mix of cars, public transit, bicycles and pedestrians.
JK: Of course the toy train kills more pedestrians than cars by about 50% (per passenger-mile) Why slow down cars - the train is the real killer? You want to save lives - replace the toy trains with buses. You want to save money and energy - put people in small cars.

BTW people who have cars have a better chance of getting a better job, because the car allows you to search for jobs over a wider area. That is why some programs are now helping low income people get cars to improve their incomes.

Thanks
JK

"Barrier or not, Burnside is a boundary between neighborhoods."

What's wrong with building a couple pedestrian bridges?

even the zebra-striped crosswalks at 9th are perilous for pedestrians

For pedestrians and cars. I was rear-ended once while stopped for a pedestrian there. Then, not that long ago, once again stopped for a pedestrian, the car coming up next to me slammed on its brake at the last minute and was itself rear-ended. At least both instances narrowly avoided squished pedestrians.

I think part of the problem is the inherent contradictory mission of PDOT...keep traffic moving AND provide safe passage for pedestrians. So far, the keep-traffic-moving crowd has prevailed and so we see resistance to simple solutions like more traffic lights, stop signs, and even marking more crosswalks.

I walk across --and on-- Burnside a lot and it's an awful mess (and my wife drives on and across it every day). But $40 million is a lot of money, let alone $80 million to include a streetcar, which brings with it the dubious benefit of yet more subsidized transit-oriented-development.

Whatever happened to the idea of new development paying its own way? It's really not that radical a concept, and could go a long way toward funding our infrastructure needs in this city.

Someone wrote: "There's no way I would ride a bike on it (Burnside) in either direction -- it would be too dangerous"

My response - so what? EVERY street doesn't need to be appropriate for bicycles. And I'm not anti-bike by any stretch, but I'm tired of hearing people complain about SOME streets not being bike friendly. That's why there are often bike routes on streets that parallel those. It works the same way with truck traffic - some streets are not appropriate for trucks, so they're required to use others.

I agree with Jack that all this "boundary" talk is crap. I can't count how many times I've crossed Burnside. C'mon people, it ain't that bad. Never once did I think to myself, "Gee I'd really like to go into Chinatown, but big, bad Burnside prevents me from doing so."

As for the couplet, what worries me is the thought that they may reduce traffic lanes to accomodate wider sidewalks and the streetcar. Someone please tell me that's not true?

US 26, I-5, I-84. All overcrowded & need to be in better shape and are used far more than Burnside. But they aren’t part of Portland’s yuppie playground.

And only move one thing...the evil automobile. Therefore ignored.

Isn't it just this simple? Couplet project with buses: $40M. Federal contribution: Zilch.
Couplet project with streetcar: $80M. Federal contribution: $72M.
Lots of people think that federal money is free.

Brilliant post. I think it is that simple.
Here anyway.


"Someone wrote: . . ."
I wrote that. And apparently I was misunderstood. It was not a complaint. Just an observation about Burnside. It doesn't need to be a bike thoroughfare, and it isn't. It is a corridor of high-volume, 40 mph auto traffic in both directions. That makes it different from Inerstate, which was the point.

Interstate, or maybe Intestate, but not Inerstate.

Larry K states above: "...all this "boundary" talk is crap. I can't count how many times I've crossed Burnside. C'mon people, it ain't that bad. Never once did I think to myself, "Gee I'd really like to go into Chinatown, but big, bad Burnside prevents me from doing so." I agree with Larry K on this point. Burnside is not any more of a safety hazard than any other major thoroughfare around town. Take a drive down S.E. Powell, S.E. Division, S.E. Hawthorne, N.E. Broadway, N.E. Sandy, S.W. Barbur or S.W. Capitol Hwy and you have the same issues as those presented by Burnside. These are all congested streets and inherent risks exist with car vs. car accidents and car vs. pedestrian accidents in high traffic areas. I would venture to say that a large number of the pedestrians who get hit by cars along Burnside would get hit no matter where they happen to be stumbling around drunk and/or high, and anyone who has spends an hour in the downtown knows that a large concentration of stumbling drunks and addicts hang out along Burnside. I think that this proposal has almost nothing to do with safety and everything to do with cosmetics and thereby raising the dollar to square footage ratio for a small handful of landowners. A fancy couplet with a pretty street car will make the area more appealing to the affluent, and thereby make the area less friendly as a hangout for the non-pretty smelly people. Face it, this is a bum erradication project pure and simple. The "barrier" presented by Burnside of course is the prospect that a large portion of people are intimidated to walk in a neighborhood congested with derelicts. The downside of course is the homeless folks will end up over on the eastside or elsewhere in downtown. Spending 10% of the 80 million on long term meaningful solutions to the homeless problem on Burnside would do more than a bunch of expensive infrastructure we don't need.

Amen, but...

Spending 10% of the 80 million on long term meaningful solutions to the homeless problem on Burnside would do more than a bunch of expensive infrastructure we don't need.

Spending $8M on "long term meaningful solutions..." assumes there ARE long term meaningful solutions. Spend some dough first to find them, if they exist. There are enough darts in that dartboard already.

Priorities - an alien concept to the "City that used to Work".


Utah Phillips on urban renewal and his inspiration for the song, Larimer Street (They're running the bums out of town). (www.utahphillips.org/songbook/larimerstreet.html)


"To me the skid road is the most human part of a city. You can find the best and the worst in city people. You find people helping each other and hurting each other. They hate each other and they love each other. You find the working class bars, you find the cheap flophouses where the old pensioners living on $60 a month can find a room. They've got to have a place like that; there's no other place for them. That's where you find the hock shop, the neighborhood fence, where you can unload some stolen merchandise you've picked up and get yourself through the world a couple more days.
I wouldn't say the skids were a pleasant place, just that they are a very human place. It's as you move out from the Skid Road toward the suburbs that things begin to look the same. People look the same, they talk the same, they dress the same, they live in the same kinds of houses, and they do pretty much the same sorts of things. When the urban renewal and the model cities come in and they tear down the skids, I wonder where they think these people are supposed to go, these people whose skills have run out on them, who are just old and have been turned out by the system.
We live in a system that uses up all kinds of things. It uses up air, it uses up water, it uses up trees and minerals. Our politicians have a lot to say about that, especially if they want to get votes. They never talk about how this system uses up people, how it will take somebody and milk them for their sweat, for their energy, and for their skill, and as soon as they can't deliver any more, just chuck them out on the back side of town.
If we're going to talk about ecology, in terms of our natural resources, we ought to talk about ecology in terms of our people. There isn't any difference between a skid road Salvation Army soup kitchen, a transient barracks like the Harbor Lights, and the automobile graveyard on the edge of town, or a tailing heap by a mine, or a slag dump by a mill. It's all waste."

Wow. "Face it, this is a bum erradication project pure and simple."

If they tack bum erradication onto the project for the measly 80 milion, I'm betting I could find enough volunteers to churn up the money.

My numero uno problem with Portland is when I get reminded of the rat holes of Jacksonville, New Orleans, Memphis or any other number of other horribly ratty, nasty cities that have a minority middle class and can't afford to even attempt to stick the bums somewhere. Portland is nothing like those cities, except with the bums, but even in that role Portland has far more real "bums" than any of those cities. Probably by a multiple of 2 or 3.

...and why do people get a pass and an excues in the city to all of a sudden become a "bum". That crap does NOT happen in the country, the small towns. People don't let that mess happen in small towns. You work or you get the #$%^ out of town.


I just want to say "yes" to the following message from A. Fritz. A good way to look at it:

Fritz writes: "I agree with Chris McMullen. The issue isn't, "Is this a good thing to do, if we had an endless supply of money?". The discussion should be, "Is this a good thing to do, or would $80m in transportation dollars be better spent building sidewalks to schools in outer NW, NE, SW, and SE?" Or on any of dozens of other transportation projects needed all over the city. Paving streets in Cully and Ashcreek? Improving SE 82nd? There is rarely an opportunity for citizens to weigh in on priorities, rather than on the false question of "Burnside couplet, yes or no?" "


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In Vino Veritas

Louis Jadot, Pouilly-Fuissé 2011
Trader Joe's, Grower's Reserve Pinot Noir 2012
Zenato, Lugana San Benedetto 2012
Vintjs, Cabernet 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White 2012
Rainstorm, Oregon Pinot Gris 2012
Silver Palm, North Coast Cabernet 2011
Andrew Rich, Gewurtztraminer 2008
Rodney Strong, Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Canoe Ridge, Pinot Gris, Expedition 2012
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Rose 2012
Dark Horse, Big Red Blend No. 01A
Elk Cove, Pinot Noir Rose 2012
Fletcher, Shiraz 2010
Picollo, Gavi 2011
Domaine Eugene Carrel, Jongieux 2012
Eyrie, Pinot Blanc 2010
Atticus, Pinot Noir 2010
Walter Scott, Pinot Noir, Holstein 2011
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
Coppola, Sofia Rose 2012
Joel Gott, 851 Cabernet 2010
Pol Roget Reserve Sparkling Wine
Mount Eden Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains 2009
Rombauer Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2011
Beringer, Chardonnay, Napa Reserve 2011
Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Schloss Vollrads, Spaetlese Rheingau 2010
Belle Glos, Pinot Noir, Clark & Telephone 2010
WillaKenzie, Pinot Noir, Estate Cuvee 2010
Blackbird Vineyards, Arise, Red 2010
Chauteau de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2005
Northstar, Merlot 2008
Feather, Cabernet 2007
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Alexander Valley 2002
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2002
Trader Joe's, Chardonnay, Grower's Reserve 2012
Silver Palm, Cabernet, North Coast 2010
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
E. Guigal, Cotes du Rhone 2009
Santa Margherita, Pinot Grigio 2011
Alamos, Cabernet 2011
Cousino Macul, Cabernet, Anitguas Reservas 2009
Dreaming Tree Cabernet 2010
1967, Toscana 2009
Charamba, Douro 2008
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend No. 12
Opula Red Blend 2010
Liberte, Pinot Noir 2010
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red Blend 2010
Woodbridge, Chardonnay 2011
King Estate, Pinot Noir 2011
Famille Perrin, Cotes du Rhone Villages 2010
Columbia Crest, Les Chevaux Red 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White Blend
Familia Bianchi, Malbec 2009
Terrapin Cellars, Pinot Gris 2011
Columbia Crest, Walter Clore Private Reserve 2009
Campo Viejo, Rioja, Termpranillo 2010
Ravenswood, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Quinta das Amoras, Vinho Tinto 2010
Waterbrook, Reserve Merlot 2009
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills, Pinot Grigio 2011
Tarantas, Rose
Chateau Lajarre, Bordeaux 2009
La Vielle Ferme, Rose 2011
Benvolio, Pinot Grigio 2011
Nobilo Icon, Pinot Noir 2009
Lello, Douro Tinto 2009
Quinson Fils, Cotes de Provence Rose 2011
Anindor, Pinot Gris 2010
Buenas Ondas, Syrah Rose 2010
Les Fiefs d'Anglars, Malbec 2009
14 Hands, Pinot Gris 2011
Conundrum 2012
Condes de Albarei, Albariño 2011
Columbia Crest, Walter Clore Private Reserve 2007
Penelope Sanchez, Garnacha Syrah 2010
Canoe Ridge, Merlot 2007
Atalaya do Mar, Godello 2010
Vega Montan, Mencia
Benvolio, Pinot Grigio
Nobilo Icon, Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2009

The Occasional Book

Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
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: 115
At this date last year: 21
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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