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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A funny thing happened on the way to SoWhat

That absurd SoWhat District citizens' advisory committee meeting that we blogged about last week included an amusing sideshow. Two presenters from the Portland Development Commission reportedly couldn't make it to the confab in time to give their spiels. Sources report that "one was late due to difficulty accessing the site and the other had a flat tire."

"Difficulty accessing the site"? That's a polite way of putting it. The meeting was held at the National College of Natural Medicine Administrative Building, at 049 SW Porter Street. This place has horrible street alignment and access, which is part of the greater and growing traffic dysfunction in the SoWhat area. As a PDC staffer reportedly found out, you can't get there from here.

One of the things that the Lair Hill neighbors of SoWhat have been pushing for is to realign the various streets in their neighborhood to alleviate the mobility nightmares that they suffer on a daily basis. They were promised some help in this regard as part of the Goldschmidt-Kohler-Katz lie package that led to the approval of the SoWhat condo tower jungle, but of course, like the 10,000 biotech jobs promised to the rest of us, that's all supposed to be forgotten now. Maybe they can hold a bake sale and get a pedestrian bridge built over I-5.

The other no-show from the PDC was reportedly from a flat. Driving? What -- didn't go by streetcar? Or aerial tram [rim shot]? How un-progressive.

Comments (16)

Yes Jack - all very true about the horrible street access from various parts of Lair Hill. Upper Naito Parkway offers few places to make turns of any kind; though making the appropriate cuts in the existing curbs would alleve many traffic problems. Of course, that would be too obvious and easy. Some traffic engineer would have to study it for a year or so and then maybe add some "traffic calming" curbs to make sure any access was as difficult as possible.

That's not all... The money for the next step in the circulation study is supposed to come out of what's left over from the pedestrian bridge budget. Most people seem to think that there's not going to be anything left over, and that the ped bridge budget isn't enough to get the bridge built, so it's unlikely that there's going to be money for the next step in the circulation study.

I think South Portland residents view this is insult to injury. It doesn't make sense for the COP dedicate millions to study the controversial HQ hotel and the couplet, but nothing for these transportation issues that a consensus of residents and stakeholders recognize as a priority.

Quite the lame excuses...if you couldn't find parking...park farther away, and like Jack said, get on the streetcar or tram (rimshot). And as far as a flat tire...unless they were stuck on the freeway, that's no excuse either. If the meeting was important, he/she would have pulled over, got on the max, bus or streetcar, and made it to the meeting. What a great promotion that would have been for the location...you CAN get there from here...

I'm astonished that anyone could manage to get a flat tire these days what with the 21st century street surfaces and constant maintenance around here.

Or is that 19th century...

I forget so easily.

Chris..I LOVED your post. I'm not a big fan of SOWA, but blaming 'existing' traffic problems on the SOWA is a bit of a stretch. I will concede that it will probably get much worse, but I'm sure they can just extend the Tram into Sellwood to fix the problem..:)

What's to screw up?

I think the PDC people would be coming from the Pearl. Get a map for that quest and see -- oh! the places you'll go...

oh! the places you'll go...

I see your point. All bets are off south of I-405 when you're coming from the north.

My favorite Google search. The key is step #23.

HT: Bill Simmons.

somebody must've left the linchpin laying in the street. his tire's center of gravity got caught on it and...pop, there goes the district.

In the case of a "presenter" from PDC, I think I'd go with "pop, goes the weasel".

Jack, in your blog friday that you mention, there was an interesting conversation going on about happenings in the last SoWhat URAC meeting. All of that has been removed from your post. Any chance that could be recovered and posted?

Alas, I have recovered all of the comments that I could. The whole post is there, but any comment left between 11:15 a.m. on Friday and 10:20 a.m. on Sunday was eaten by the server crash.

Once Mass Tram America's network is completed, transporting yourself between Corbett and SoWa shouldn't be an issue.


The naturopathic college is right in the middle of an area that's sometimes called the "Bermuda Triangle". Not real smart holding a meeting there. Unless you're hoping nobody will show up, I mean.

If the PDC drones had tried walking, they'd have discovered the area is fairly hostile to pedestrians too. And arriving by bus, and then getting from the bus stop to the meeting safely? Ha. It is to laugh.

It was a memorable moment to essentially hear Sam the Tram tell the South Portland NA at their meeting in the fancy, new OHSU Health Club that "the ped bridge is over budget, atleast $11M, but we only have $7M committed, so I want to be magnanimous and let your neighborhood help decide if you want to make design changes to the bridge to leave some dollars for the implementation of the South Portland Circulation Study"- which will help undivide Lair Hill and maybe someone can get to the Naturepathic College.
Sam forgot to mention that the $7M of fed dollars were also to go to other SoWhat transportation projects too ($170M rough total of unfunded transportation projects).

How thin can you slice a thin pie? When it is thin its nice of Sam to put the impossible onus on the neighborhood-don't want to hurt his future political life. He can claim "I never was involved-blame the neighborhood-I was never involved in the transportation failures of SoWhat". Nice and clever.

Here is a interesting dichotomy concerning the SoWhat URAC meeting. You get a report from PDOT that there is little funding for the bridge, none for the SP Circulation Study, little for any of the transportation projects, but on the SoWhat budget you have over $18.5M in three taxpayer funded items like "OHSU Commercializable Research Space", biotech enhancement accelerator fund, etc., plus in the new OHSU Health Club an additional $5M was given to OHSU for "research space". No biotech/research jobs but your money is at work.

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