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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Take it from Fireman Randy

"If we are creating a community down there where a car becomes more of a liability than an asset, people can buy more of a house and have amenities that they couldn't otherwise afford," he said.
Translation: In the near future, the working class people of Portland will be giving so much of their money to Joe Weston, Homer Williams, Gerding-Edlen, Trammell Crow, and the rest of the johns who patronize City Hall, that they really should give up hope of ever owning a car.

Comments (73)

If that's your idea of a translation, it's a good thing you never attempted Tolstoy or Gabriel Garcia Marquez. That's not at all what Fireman Randy is saying.

He's essentially saying that dense inner city areas make owning a car unnecessary, and even something of a pain in the ass, as it is in New York City. (Actually, owning a car anywhere in Portland these days is a pain in the ass, especially if you drive what I drive.)

You can disagree with that philosophy all you want, but don't put make up a class warfare issue where none exists.

owning a car anywhere in Portland these days is a pain in the ass

No, it isn't.

You can "buy more of a house" in SoWhat? There are no houses in SoWhat. Only overpriced junk apartments. You shouldn't own a car -- you should buy a nice condo at $400 a square foot. In Portland, Oregon.

Fireman Randy has now officially jumped the shark. Really. He was our last hope to right the ship, and he's apparently gotten sucked into the whole Portland State planning hole. So long, friend.

It is a mobile MO.

Checkout the SB 827 _inverse_ System Development Charge; at the request of City of Gresham. (Work session Monday.)

If I had sold any subject land recently I would surely like to renegotiate; to get my cut of the recent graft. Gil's rules for reasoning might conclude that such a thing might actually decrease the value of the land.

Shift the cost to the general public.

From Raz v. City of Portland, 203 Or 285 (1955) we find a common complaint:

"Plaintiffs' position is stated in their brief as follows:

'The precise question raised by this appeal is whether the said action of the Council of the City
of Portland in including the said California trunk area in the said sewer district is within the discretion of the Council or whether it is palpably arbitrary, capricious and confiscatory and in violation of the guaranties of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.'" (Dismissed at trial court; then affirmed.)

So, does this make Gil right? Take your Graft-hit like a man.

Trust me: the phrase Economic Development is infinitely useful. It has the added benefit of placing an upper limit on the capital-less working stiff of just a job -- working for another, like a slave.

And all of this is to what end?
There was a front page article in the Columbian yesterday about the area poverty rates. Interesting to say the least.
Rough number as I reacll are something like this.
Washington and Vancouver 11 %
U.S. national average 13 %
Oregon 14 %
Portland 17 %


Poverty rates are calucated on a "cliff" basis, meaning if you fall below a certain income level, you're poor.

Instead, we should calcualte wealth on a per capita basis (total household income divided by total population), recognizing that Socialism is just around the corner and the accumulation of private wealth will be discouraged. Then all the limousine liberals and condo developers that haven't moved to the Caymans will be paying 60% or 70% marginal tax rates.

We'll have city owned bikes, hybrid cars, daycares, ball parks, theaters, condos, biodiesel stations, and hippie communes.

Wapato will still be closed, and the secondary streets will be impassable due to the VW sized pot holes. But Randy will make sure the streetcars are running on time.

Dear Gil,

It is a class warfare issue. The effete intellectual class (The central committee) vs the wage earning class (the workers).

I bought a car a year ago for $15,000. I'm not sure how much more "house" I could buy for that amount of money in SoWa. The jump in prices between the condo tiers appears to be in the 100,000s, not the 10,000s.

The idea that Portland is close to ready for a dense, car-less society is one of our most enduring myths. To be car-less, one must be willing to make sacrifices. Trips of any distance must be few and carefully planned because they take much more time to complete (for instance, I have to go to west Hillsboro - way past the end of the MAX line - twice a week. with no personal car, this becomes a trip of hours rather than 1/2 hour.) Certain things - trips to the beach, or a skiing hobby - are out. Tri-Met rightly notes that people won't walk much more than 1/4 mile to a bus or MAX station, which means they won't walk more than that at their destination either. There are a million things you simply can't do anymore without a car.

Folks would do themselves a favor if they would try to live their life for a month without using a car. They will be shocked at all the things they miss and how carefully they have to plan their activities.

Folks would do themselves a favor if they would try to live their life for a month without using a car. They will be shocked at all the things they miss and how carefully they have to plan their activities.

Wouldnt even take a month. We sold our #2 car a few months ago because I have to use transit to get to work downtown anyway, and it just didnt seem like we needed it. Then my wife went out of town for 4 days with our only car. I was here with three kids and no car. What a pain in the butt. I have regretted selling that car since. And I will most likely buy another one before summer.
I mean just small things like getting to the bank, or to the grocery store is much harder. And what if one of my kids is hurt at school? If my wife cant get there, its an hour trip just to one of their schools from downtown.

I found this quote a little further in the Oregonian article "We're open to all alternatives," Durgan said. "We're going to work with them on anything that's symbiotic and mutually beneficial."

and if you look up the word symbiotic you get this:
"the living together in more or less intimate association or close union of two dissimilar organisms (as in parasitism or commensalism)"

So is he admiting to being a parasite?

Durgan's not a parasite.
But Randy Leonard is the most impressionable knee jerk guy around. Over and over again he gets some notion from something and immediatly it's gospel and he's an expert.
That pitch about people being able to "buy more of a house" in entirely concocted, has no application to SoWa at all and serves only to add to the make believe theroetical jibberish used to justify SoWa and other chaos spending.
He must have heard that from one of our local and very special citizen transport activists.
Randy's pretense of wisdom and insight on the matter makes it insulting.
Especailly since he obviously doesn't know what the heck he is talking about.
Heck he might as well be telling us again that all of SoWa was a toxic waste land (which it was NOT) needing public spurring to alow any development,,,or that the Tram at $15 million was getting out of comntrol.

Here we have yet another piece of absolute, cockamamie, convenient presumption doled out by Randy in an effor to shroud and obscure the horrific planning and spending chaos which he approved. All he's doing is perpetuating the delusion and deception that SoWa
isn't going to have major choke point traffic snarling because planners
"declared" (dreampt up) that huge numbers of trips would be non auto or truck.
It's really too bad that while the public is being forced, without any public votes, to pay for this farce over decades they also have to listen to this kind of "creating a community down there" planner-speak from a commisioner making an asset out of himself.
Ir Leonard wants to show concern about something legitimate he should be pondering how much of this the taxpayers and city "can otherwise afford".

How's the planned I-5 flyover ramp to SoWa coming along anyway? Oh, no so much? I'm shocked.

Councilman smell bad, has high hopes of being king someday. This nacissitic know-it-all loves to flaunt his knee-jerk policies on the dim-wits as though it were gospel. As a legilsture he did so little for so many. He once more proves that the hero image of city councilman is illusionary.

Why is anybody surprised by this besides his actual confirmation of the anti-car attitude?

Everything CoP has done is to discourage cars - From not fixing 82nd or neglecting road maintenance to turning downtown into a grid of light rail tracks.

I know when they have their little cabals and pass around the same books and agree they are experts and there is no middle ground. So now they are screaming density is the solution even though that may contribute a lot more to global warming than greenhouse gases.

If they had a real job and had to visit customers like a salesman or transport goods (both pretty sizable chunks of the economy), maybe they would realize what real people have to do to survive.


If you only needed a 2nd car for 4 days why not rent one? The cost would be a lot less than owning a 2nd car.


If you only needed a 2nd car for 4 days why not rent one? The cost would be a lot less than owning a 2nd car.

It's like trying to communicate with aliens - they're lost, lost, I tell you!

Jon could rent a car for four days EVERY month for less than the cost of owning a car. Moreover, using flexcar for such trips as picking up a child or making a grocery run costs even less and eliminates the cost of fuel. And don't reply that it's too cumbersome. Reserving a flexcar never takes more than 4 minutes, and I never have to worry about taking time from work to schlep it to the shop for repairs. Being too lazy to seek solutions doesn't mean that none exist.

Randy's myth continues: eliminating cars and relying only on mass transit saves the poor.

This is totally false as found in several urban studies that even PSU Planners know about. As societies economically develope with use of auto/trucks, the poverty levels decrease and economies increase. That is not to say that we don't provide as many travel modes as physically/economically feasible; but there has to be a balance. We have lost that balance in Portland. Definitely in our planners/politicians' minds, and now showing up in our abused infrastructure.

I encourage Randy to seek other opinions that have researched transportation, economic matters to understand the other side of the coin.

each time i read about density solving the problem of auto use, i refer people to this post of mine about New York City, arguably one of the densest and most transit-connected cities in the world.

in the long run--density's not working. the story above that's happening in NYC is being duplicated in Hong Kong, Beijing, Sydney, Chicago, Sao Paolo, Paris--you name it.

and--who is the South Waterfront for? even the most affordable condo unit requires an average annual income of about $85,000 to create a mortgage. most units require a six-figure salary. so--what are we creating there?

an enclave. no amount of streetcar service is going to make it otherwise.

The question shouldn't be whether it should be possible to live in most areas of Portland without owning a car, but whether it's possible to design and operate a transit system, and mix land uses together, to make it possible not to need to use a car for many of the trips that now require a car. (Flexcar is neat, but it's not always the solution, for you still have to get from your home to the Flexcar.)

As to how much more house can you buy if you don't need to buy a car? Suppose that you would buy a car for $20,000 -- not the cheapest, not the most expensive -- and finance the price over 5 years. Your payment at 7% would be about $480. That's enough to finance about $72,000 of a 30-year home loan at the same rate. There's some additional savings from not paying car insurance or buying gasoline, that might be offset by the cost of renting a car or using public transportation. So someone who doesn't have to buy a $20,000 car can in theory afford to pay $72,000 more for a house.

It makes sense to me for the city to create areas where people don't need to use their cars every day, but not to expand that concept to include the entire city -- not unless we're going to build out to New York densities.

Comparing a 5 year auto loan payment to a 30 year mortgage payment makes what kind of sense?
If you want to make that comparison you'll have to assume there will be those same car payments for the 30 years of the mortgage or extend the car cost payments over the 30 year period.

But when you are done it still doesn't take whatever point it is supposed to make past Randy's rhetoric, or have any significant impact on SoWa.
All the yammering in the world about alternative modes or car costs etc. doesn't mean squat compared to the totality of the imminent dysfunction.
The problem here is the deliberate public deception. There is not going to be 40% of all SoWa trips by transit.
That's a lie.
There is not going to be any "balance" or effective handling of traffic.
That is s lie.
There is no plan for traffic or the soaring congestion this farce of a plan will cause.
That has all been a lie.
There will not be adequate access or road capacity for SoWa or the adjacent thouroghfares.
The city is deliberatley ignoring traffic.
Just as they ignored the falsehoods of 10,000 biotech jobs,
ignored what form a bitoech cluster really utilizes,
ignored earlier development efforts and other less costly options for SoWa, ignored early Tram criticisms,
ignored faulty estimates and revenue projections across the board,
ignored citizen outrage,
ignored the SoWa Urban Renewal Citizen Advisory Committte requests and questions and
ignored the the mounting fiscal hole resulting in Parks and PDOT budgets being raided.
All in all it's business as usual with public officials saying how well it is all working.

Many home buyers are limited in how much they can pay a month, and the fact that their car payment will end in 5 years doesn't mean that a lender will pretend it doesn't exist today, when they're applying for a loan. For the majority of home buyers, who have to borrow to finance their purchase, the limiting factor is how much their lender will lend them. The lender will take into account any monthly installment payments that will last more than 1 year.

"Flexcar is neat, but it's not always the solution, for you still have to get from your home to the Flexcar."

Those of us who live in the type of density Randy referred to, and who walk the walk, tend to live in very easy proximity to at LEAST one flexcar. There are three within a quarter mile of my home. It's not about EVERYONE being able to walk to one, it's about facilitating that in certain parts of town for those who choose to do so. As a result, I'm not clogging the roads when I don't absolutely need a car, and I'm sharing that one parking space with many other Flexcar members. YOU car owners benefit from that.

"ignored citizen outrage"

Sorry pal, we speak through elections, and the outrage lost. We keep electing the same pro-density creeps, because more people agree with me than you. Deal.


You put the incontrovertible truth out concisely like that too often and you're likely to get in trouble with the man.

Wait, perhaps the man is the woman these days - I'm sooooo confused.

As for the car/house sideshow, the solution is to live in your car. Erik & Randy might want to look at that "affordable housing" option.

...or not.

who walk the walk, tend to live in very easy proximity to at LEAST one flexcar

Well, aren't you a saint. When you get an emergency call from your kid's school, is that Flexcar going to be there waiting for you? What's that you say? "Maybe"?

BTW, "sorry pal, deal" doesn't work here.


I greatly appreciate your excellent idea for an experiment. In exactly 2 minutes time, I just went to and found 2 cars within 3 blocks of my office that is available. Besides, having a car doesn't mean you get there faster anyway. If someone lived or worked far from their child's school, I wouldn't advocate they go carless. But that's kind of the point, nobody's saying you should all go carless! All we're saying is that plenty of people do so perfectly well, and that planning for communities with fewer cars is a smart, fair thing to do.


Sorry pal, we speak through elections, and the outrage lost. We keep electing the same pro-density creeps, because more people agree with me than you. Deal.

Given voter turnout, I'd say you're off base. More people don't agree with you. More people aren't outraged. More people have given up.

I greatly appreciate your excellent idea for an experiment. In exactly 2 minutes time, I just went to and found 2 cars within 3 blocks of my office that is available.

I'm interested in your office - is it really available?

Has anyone else noticed how the city is upgrading sidewalk corners downtown to accommodate ADA compliance with those yellow dimpled 18" X 30" rectangles? Rather than saw out a depression to install the yellow plate, they're ripping out the entire perfectly good concrete corner....sidewalk....curb....scooped out wheelchair slot and all....pouring a whole new corner. Demo crew with heavy equipment to rip it all out, close a lane; then a crew to set the forms: next a concrete truck to pour/block traffic; then a finishing crew to complete the job.

Pretty expensive "busy-work" to keep the city workers working. And yet there's still time to dither about biodiesel.... transfats....plastic bags....Iranian invasions.....and the many other social engineering priorities that supercede just plain old basic maintenance.

As long as it's OPM, who cares, right? Where's the outrage, Portland?

BTW, "sorry pal, deal" doesn't work here.

But apparently this does:

"It's like trying to communicate with aliens - they're lost, lost, I tell you!"

DE and Isaac are providing a reasoned and rationale reponse to those claiming that it's impossible to live without a car. Disagree with them if you want, but let's not cast them out as the unreasonable ones.

Besides, more often we're talking not about going carless, but about families going from three cars to two, or two cars to one. That is a significant cost savings, even with regular use of Flexcar or occasional use of cabs, and for some families it works just fine.

Given voter turnout, I'd say you're off base. More people don't agree with you. More people aren't outraged. More people have given up.

It's no secret that the City is pushing for both increased density and more subsidized mass transit, and has been for 20+ years. It's pretty clear that the City Council is implementing exactly what the voters want. Emphasis on voters. Perhaps there is a silent majority out there that will rise up and throw the bums out, but I won't hold my breath.

my wife and i own no cars and dump a huge % of our money into home ownership. we are right about at median wage.

we rent cars from thrifty to go to the beach (take the max to downtown thrifty). use the flexcar truck about once a month for errands. use taxi's for emergencies and late night lazy trips home. $150 a month for transportation?

what has this done to our finances? we are richer then we have ever been.

so yea, i would say, no car and dumping all your money into a home is a GREAT way for straight up middle class people to greatly improve their finances.

so while randy's quote is pretty damned lame, on the surface, i think i agree with him. however, i think SOWA is not the right hood to pull off that lifestyle.

"Given voter turnout, I'd say you're off base."

I could suggest that non-voters are actually too comfortable/satisfied to feel the need to vote, but shucks, guess we can't really say what non-voters think if they don't show up to put their voice on record. Looks like the only valid way of public decision making is to HAVE AN ELECTION.

I'm also pleased to see that my grammar is being corrected; the last resort of someone who can no longer engage with others on the merits of an argument...

Anybody know what Randy's wife's name is?

I'm guessing her initials are D and E.

I wasn't trying to make any point regarding the stats on poverty, but those are interesting numbers that the city has ignored for years.

Portland has this bias against business, especially manufacturing. The snooteratti also love diversity except for when it interfers with their special agenda.

The housing in this area is some of the most expensive in the nation mainly because of government regulations.

Trimet is entirely focused on building a lite rail monster that will just suck up more tax dollars. Screw the little guy who is trying to get from one point in the suburbs to another.

If I was selling you a car and told you it could get 100 miles to the gallon, but ended up getting twenty you might get a bit peeved and so would the government and I might get hauled in front of some grand jury, but if some politician sell you a transit system that is over priced and doesn't live up to its promise, well so what. Just suck it up and pass those tax dollar and re-elect the GOOD 'OL BOYS next time.

It is sad and a grand jury should be empaneled to investigate the games being played, but it'll never happen, not with this crew.

We need to recycle a saying from the '60s. "We don't care. We don't have to. We're Trimet", or any other agency that you want.

I think a big part of the problem here is the design of the transit system we have here. It seems that the trainspotters in charge of the transit agenda here want to shackle us with a 1910-style rail network of regular and oversized (MAX) trolley cars. Slow and inflexible. Also, we have an almost all-local bus operation.

The Metro area would have been much better off with a well designed, flexible bus rapid transit system, which could offer a variety of services, local and rapid. But Portland seems to be loaded with obsessive activist "railfans" who seem to want to put their hobby in the streets of Portland.

BTW, I never have driven a car, and am a regular user of Trimet. Fortunately, I am retired since I moved to Portland 6 years ago, so have plenty of time to plan my trips. I can see very well what other posters are saying about the inconvenience of using transit here.

Yessss! Grammar correction AND identity accusations!

Randy's wife is named Julie, which you can find using a Google search. I'm not even a Randy-fan. And my initials aren't DE, I just use an alias so that you tools won't go snooping around to impugn my motives like you do anyone else who lives on the "dark side."

Are you my ex wife?
And are the police still impounding flexcars that are used to solicit hookers?


In the three years I've been reading this blog this one of the few two-sided debates I've seen. I suspect there will be some banning of these folks on the horizon so we can go back to business as usual.

I couldn't agree more that this is exactly what the voters asked for. It's also why most of the recent arrivals moved here. When you see the auto slums that pass for cities in most of this country trams, MAX, and growth boundaries are fantastic to behold. It's certainly why we moved here (bringing a child for the schools and a high six-figure salary job) and why we will stay until M37 turns it into Houston with drizzle.

Sorry chaps.

Don't apologize to me. The voters of this town think that everything's peachy. That became quite clear during the last municipal election. We'll see how they feel about the municipal bankruptcy.


just to let you know, voter turnout is heavily skewed toward the inner SE, SW, and NE neighborhoods.

I don't doubt that this city looks good to you with one child and a six figure income.

But that doesn't represent all the city.

yes, the outer areas don't vote and as a result these areas, where most of the working class and poverty (and color and ethnicity) reside are essentialy unrepresented.

But don't kid yourself that the "progressive" city council really cares much about these lesser off areas or that the transit oriented development serves these interests at all.

It serves your interests. And what the city will look like is not Houston, but San Francisco. You'll end up just fine. We'll simply drive out the families and the working class.

Does anyone know of an organization that analyzes possible precursors to a municipal bankruptcy? Like, a company that scores cities and governments on the basis of their fiscal health and stability? Or creditworthiness? Kind of like those companies that give individuals credit scores? I'd imagine they'd provide some solid info about whether we're at risk of bankruptcy. Companies like that don't mess around, right?

"Does anyone know of an organization that analyzes possible precursors to a municipal bankruptcy?"

Wouldn't that be Standard & Poors?

Sure there are such companies. They're called bond rating agencies. As for not-messing-around part, don't be too sure. They're selected by the very cities and companies that they rate. Sometimes the people they rate get a chance to edit what the rating agencies say about them in advance.

Five years ago, they probably would have told you that San Diego municipal bonds were a fine investment. That was bum advice.

Look at how much Portland is borrowing, all on the false premise that condo values are going to climb forever. Sooner or later you have to pay your credit card bills, even if you don't get that big raise.

Okay Sherwood so you don't like Houston. Well maybe you can fill us in. Is it something to do with the fact they don't have zoning which is regularly voted down, especially by the African-Ameican members of that city.
Oh by the way I knew an African-American woman who lost her job because her car broke down and she worked in the suburbs where Trimet doesn't serve, but of course she wasn't making six figures so it doesn't matter.
And while you are here you might want to go through Metro's plans. Seems they want to make Portland like LA

Jon could rent a car for four days EVERY month for less than the cost of owning a car.

Not really. It was a great little car, it was paid for, (17 yrs old), got 30mpg, rarely needed service, and full-coverage insurance was $50/month. Renting a car for one day nearly comes to that. And because of how much I really drove it, I rarely spent more than $25/mo for gas.

Flexcar would work for those days when I need to run back to the 'burbs from downtown to pick up a child from school or whatever. But once Im back home, it would be much harder. The closest Flexcars to my house are downtown. At least 40 minutes away by transit. But I also dont like their "use it or lose it" policy. I dont like throwing money away either.

I dunno...we're trying the one-car thing. I just dunno how long it will last.

ok, so I just looked at Flexcars' site again. And it seems they have added a few cars to Beaverton. One about 10 minutes from my house! They have also lowered their annual memebership fee to $35. So its getting more promising.

I agree that public transport does not spread wide enough, and I look forward to the strong support the patrons of this blog will give to the new MAX line to Milwaukee and other Trimet initiatives. The one thing everyone can agree on is you cannot fix bad planning with transportation. I used to live in San Diego (oh lordy, it gets worse and worse) which is spread out over a vast area and is rapidly coming to a standstill. Spending billions more on roads (it makes the tram and streetcar seem so trifling) only makes things worse. Now everyone is trying to find an alternative where one doesn’t exist.

The solution of many here is to sprawl out over as much farmland as needed to ensure cheap housing (where’s Mr. “we only use 4% of the land” this week?). There are a million problems with this but the biggest has to be that I don’t want to live in the Portland/Salem metro area. The only other solution offered here on a regular basis is for people to go away: Jack back to New Jersey, Amanda Fritz and I back to England etc. Again, if M37 turns the place into a damp Phoenix that process will begin, but that will take some time.

The noble concern for the poor does not combine well with the cars are the only solution theory. Cars cost $6-8k per year on average, a number that swallows half of a minimum wage salary. With gas at $3 (let’s not get into peak oil and future prices as it upsets Jack. The CEOs of the oil companies recognize it and are spending billions to counter it, but what would they know?) living 30 miles from work only makes sense for those with the money. So let’s get some sidewalks and trains built in the outer SE, along with some housing that average families can afford, and we’ll all be happy. See, that wasn’t so hard.

So, if I were to go for the cheapest flexcar option @ $65/day, I could rent a flexcar for 5 whole days in exchange for the cost of my current vehicle which I get to have 24/7 all month long. Doesn't sound too flexible to I'm gonna have to pass on that grass.


Good luck with the one-car transition. The wife and I made the decision to drop down to one car when we moved here from Atlanta seven years ago, and it has worked well for us - even now that we have two young kids. It's been a little inconvenient for me, as the one who gave up the car, but our finances have improved tremendously.

We'll see if the one-car model holds up as the kids get older . . .

I'm also pleased to see that my grammar is being corrected; the last resort of someone who can no longer engage with others on the merits of an argument...

I'm pleased that you're pleased, but please don't assume that I was engaging you on the "merits of an argument". The merits of a little humor at the expense of self or others are manifold. It's a shame to take yourself or the world too seriously. As for my jab at your grammar being some sort of last resort; a more common last resort is name-calling and rudeness:

Being too lazy to seek solutions doesn't mean that none exist.

Sorry pal, we speak through elections, and the outrage lost. We keep electing the same pro-density creeps, because more people agree with me than you. Deal.

I just use an alias so that you tools won't go snooping around to impugn my motives like you do anyone else who lives on the "dark side."

Those sorts of reactions to those with whom you disagree might signal insecurity and unresolved anger problems. Perhaps a long drive in a Flexcar would help you relax.

BTW, I think Flexcars are a great idea - unless the city or some other governmental body usurps the concept and triples its cost (see Tri-Met). MAX, trolleys trams - not so much.

Have a nice day.

Sherwood said: "Spending billions more on roads (it makes the tram and streetcar seem so trifling) only makes things worse."

Yeah, mass transit works so well in San Francisco, doesn't it? BART, Muni, buses, taxis galore and they’re still spending billions to expand the Bay Bridge. Ever driven in the Bay area? Tell me their mass transit system has done a thing to reduce vehicular traffic.

As much as you think you can't build your way out of congestion with roads, you definitely can't build your way out of congestion with trains and trams.

Moreover, I'm all for you moving back to where you came from. I'm an Oregon native who's lived here for 40 years and a major supporter of M37. I'm sick of the socialist bent this state is adopting (mostly perpetrated by transplants) and welcome property rights to their fullest.


San Diego's problems stem directly from misreporting on the pension system, not from the types of deals Portland has made in the Pearl, SOWA, etc. Regardless, it hasn't stopped them from expanding their trolley system:


You're missing the point of flexcar as many often do. Nobody except cross country truckers drives all day. I have never paid for a full day on flexcar. I only pay for the 1-2 hours I need it at a time. The whole point is that you're paying to have your car available in your garage, while I share the cost of having the flexcar down the street with other users in my neighborhood. Again, nobody's saying it's for everyone, and it's probably not for you. All we're saying is that it helps people who envision a carless lifestyle achieve that. If that means I'm less sensitive to your car-dependent needs, so be it. Most car users aren't exactly looking out for the needs of the average transit rider.

Whatever merits mass transit may have, you still have to admit it is a one dimensional solution. It moves only people. It does nothing for the transport of raw materials, finished goods (sold at IKEA), food items, fuels , virtually anything that you buy in a store or restaurant, not to mention emergency services. Unless the next bicyclist that gets run over by a Flexcar in the Pearl doesn't mind if the EMT's wait for the next Street Car to get to him, then we may have a myopic vision of our transit needs.

San Diego's problems stem directly from misreporting on the pension system

San Diego actually had more of a reserve put away for its pension liabilities than Portland does. Portland's is currently at zero. If lack of transparency in pension liability reporting is what doomed San Diego, I can assure you that Portland will go down even harder.


I’ve driven in the Bay Area many times. Don’t forget “I ain’t from around here.” SF public transport system leaves much to be desired, after all it was tacked on after much of the area was built (my main point, I believe). Having said that, putting the tens of thousands of users into tens of thousands of extra cars probably wouldn’t improve it.

I think your ethnic cleansing solution could work. You can use the skills you developed on M37 to get something like that passed. However, you may need to start another anti-gay campaign at the same to fire-up the base and distract the masses. I agree with you entirely that transplants tend to hate M37 and love much that the city is doing. We’ve lived with the alternative (a handful of people making a killing and the rest of us paying to support the infrastructure – socialism for the rich in action) and would rather it didn’t happen to this very pleasant part of the world.

If cars served as a better vehicle for taxation to the graft kings then cars would become king. (Needless argument in support. Emphasis on debt slavery, public and private, to remote masters.)

Sherwood blurted: (a handful of people making a killing and the rest of us paying to support the infrastructure – socialism for the rich in action)

You obviously haven't been paying attention. You're living with that very same 'alternative' right now, right here in your smart growth urban utopia. What do you call the Pearl, SoWa, trollys and light rail: laissiz-faire capitalism?

As for the rest of your smarmy comment: congratulations! You get the Godwin's Law award for today!

Oh yes those transplants they be smart.
They've lived in the "alternative".
Nice babble.
Why do they hate M37? It hasn't reulted in a single detriment yet. The only reason they may dislike it is due to the naive and dishonest presumptuous hypotheticals coughed up by the anti M37 regime. That same regime that touts and defends every Tram like boondoggle and failed plan around.
You know,,, they "love much that the city is doing"
Who is "they" anyway?
Your ignorance on socialism and what is happening to "this very pleasant part of the world" is a very strong lesson in why there is such slow adjustment to the detrimental status quo you so mis characterize and do not understand.
I can only assume you either work with dishonest planning nitwits or hang out with them living as a wanna be.
Either way your disingenuous contribution is part of the evermore tilting towards
fully exposed fraud that it is.

This distinction between transplants and natives is silly. There are people of both groups who agree/disagree with what's going on, and who love/despise M37. I am a 4th generation Oregonian who did spend time living elsewhere, so I agree with Sherwood that we've got it better here than anywhere else. My grandmother was a small business owner and member of the Planning Commission in Tillamook County in the 60's, and she'd be appalled by Measure 37. It's not natives versus transplants at all.

We'll see if the one-car model holds up as the kids get older . . .

We're there. My kids are 13, 16, & 18.

" I agree with Sherwood that we've got it better here than anywhere else."

That's because we still have a relatively small population (28th) in a geographically large state (10th). All the 'planning' and repressive property rights laws in the world won't make Oregon any more livable. It'll just jam us all in smaller areas for the sake of 'farmland.'

Meanwhile, Metro paves over more and more natural areas inside the UGB.

This distinction between transplants and natives is silly.

Channeling your grandmother may have you convinced; but, by definition, M37 claimants are natives or long-term residents/land owners.

I'd wager both my dollars that a large majority of the 1K Friends and other dedicated opponents of M37 are less-than-20-year transplants.

I don't think the distinction is silly at all - I think it's very representative of the divide on the issue.


That was five insults followed by a garbled conclusion. Even by the standards of the blogosphere that’s simply not up to snuff. I could sort of tell that you believe my knowledge of socialism is lacking. Having been raised in a country that is occasionally socialist (in a cuddly northern European kind of way), studied it for many years at university, and, on occasion, thought of myself as that way inclined (that’s right, we walk among you with out horns covered) I’m always up for a chat. What did you learn at the University of Lars Larson that could enlighten me?

Chris, you are absolutely right that the Pearl is in no way laissez-faire capitalism. It also seems to have been cursed with more than its fair share of dodgy deals and smarmy greed. That may be, but it doesn’t mean that all those people would have been better spread out over virgin farmland. Freeways (despite the confusing name) are not free. Hundred billion dollar fleets of ships to keep the oil flowing are not free. Trillion dollar wars have to be paid for. Farmland does not reappear. That smart growth utopia is much, much better than the alternative. Plus, and this minor point always seems to be missed here, you don’t have to live in it. Nobody is coming to take your car away. The massively subsidized gas will continue to flow from the pump. Roads (99% of the transportation spending in this country) will continue to be built. Sam may put a little island in the way to get you to slow down a tad, but it will all be OK.

"Channeling your grandmother may have you convinced; but, by definition, M37 claimants are natives or long-term residents/land owners."

Really? My reading of it says you only had to own the land before the law passed. So it depends on how old the law in question was. Many of these claims are about laws passed in the 80's and 90's. So, by definition, it's not about long-term land owners. If the city of Portland passed a new land-use law tomorrow, every transplant that bought land last year would be a potential claimant under M37. Moreover, when your family has owned a farm for 4 generations, people who arrived in the 70's and want to develop suburban housing seem like transplants too. It's a useless distinction.

Finally, the 1000 Friends comment is irrelevant. It was founded by Oregonians who were here before the land use laws went into place in the first place, so whether that torch has been passed to newcomers (who, incidentally, are members of our state and have a right to participate in any discussion of its future) or old-timers, is not important. This mentality belongs with the DAR or some other native-elitist group.

Sorry, but I think the "saving farmland" argument in Oregon is a bogus one. The only crop in Oregon that makes any money is wine grapes, and frankly thats not a crop that does any great service to society. Another viable crop might be grass, but taking burning away will send grass farmers "out to pasture", so to speak.

And the same demogogues that whine about saving farmland are the ones that take water rights away from farmers, so its not useable in that capacity anyway.

Jon, you have absolutely, incontrovertibly no idea what you're talking about.

The farm that my father grew up on is a hazelnut farm. Oregon is the world's leading exporter of Hazelnuts after Turkey. They represent far more of Oregon's agricultural income than grapes. So do Hay, Potatoes, Pears... We grow and sell more Christmas trees than any other state.

Moreover, not all farms make money from "crops." In Oregon, livestock is a far bigger use of land and revenue source than all fruit production combined. Finally, "its not usable in that capacity anyway...?" What are you talking about? The use of water in the Klamath is unsustainable for them, for the others with claims to that water, for the fishing industry. It's basic water management. And it's not a problem in locations that aren't native deserts or with crops that aren't water needy. Maybe ignorant newcomers are the problem after all...

Darn it. I was really hoping the farmland argument had legs. Next time some character at the farmers market tells me it was grown in the Willamette valley I will set the lying con artist straight. Then I can go back to having all my food shipped up from the California central valley. There’s a bastion of laissez-faire capitalism in action. Billions of dollars of government pork to irrigate the desert, a few billion more each year in agricultural subsidies to giant agribusiness, and then government guaranteed cheap oil to truck the stuff on the interstate highway system.

"The only crop in Oregon that makes any money is wine grapes, and frankly thats not a crop that does any great service to society." It does a great service to my kind of society.

Maybe ignorant newcomers are the problem after all...

Nice try. I grew up in the Klamath area. And water was never a problem when I lived there. It was only after Wendell Wood and the ONRC types got a burr in their ass about "how things should be", in an area they knew nothing about, that water became a problem. They decided they wanted the farmers off the land, so they could turn it into a big marsh again.
So far, they got the farmers to stop farming, but the land is just a big dustbowl. And when the banks finally forclose, they might might get their wish.

DE, if all that stuff in your link is made here, how come its not in the grocery stores? I shop Haagen, Albertsons, and Winco. And its very rare to see any products that say "Made in Oregon". (Besides Foster Farms products.)
Most of the produce says its from south of the border. Kind-of ironic.

Geez, why isn't DE banned already!

Morgan. You have a good point. DE’s constant rebuttals using facts and statistics are becoming tiresome and should have led to her being banned long ago. Poor Jon is getting so confused by the presence of an actual debate he seems to be about to faint on his keyboard.

Jon. There is very little irony in the world of agriculture. If you take a look at the government statistics (I know, what would they know. They only collect taxes on the stuff) that DE supplied you’ll see that the average farm in Oregon is 428 acres. Not big enough to compete in the laissez-faire paradise that is American agriculture (see my reply above). By the way, if you stop buying vegetables at Albertsons and Winco you may get your sense of taste back.

Okay-after reading all the comments-I will put in my two cents:
My husband and I went down to one car 2 years ago and haven't looked back. We live outside of Multnomah County and between riding bikes, walking and busing it we haven't missed the second car. We are both healthier and even dropped a few pounds.
I manage to get to a part-time job in the Pearl on the bus without any problems.
Eight years ago I started gardening at a community space one short mile from home and I grow enough food in one little 10'x20' space to fill our freezer and tummies for a lot of the year.
For those of you who cannot find local food-yes you can starting today!!
We can all buy local food "Made and Grown in Oregon" starting today at Portland's Farmer Market in the South Park Blocks near PSU from 830am-tp2pm. All Saturdays until December! Bon appetit everyone !!

Owning a car in Portland? Ever wonder what Portland's shopping cart pushing crowd would say about the ability to own a car? I bet they wouldn't mind, at least they would have a roof over their heads.

The solution of many here is to sprawl out over as much farmland as needed to ensure cheap housing (where’s Mr. “we only use 4% of the land” this week?). There are a million problems with this but the biggest has to be that I don’t want to live in the Portland/Salem metro area. The only other solution offered here on a regular basis is for people to go away: Jack back to New Jersey, Amanda Fritz and I back to England etc. Again, if M37 turns the place into a damp Phoenix that process will begin, but that will take some time.

Sherwood, go to the PSU Pop Center website (or Metro for that matter). Regardless of how we handle population growth, it is a myth to claim that the growth is stemming from newcomers.

The vast majority (I believe the figure is 80% but that is from a possibly faulty memory) of Metro area population growth is "natural"--e.g. people having children.

We are slated to double in size regardless of in-migration.

Posted by jj | April 8, 2007 9:29 PM

JJ, your memory is indeed faulty.

Census data from 2000-2006 (go here:, click on the first "Excel" and proceed to row 289 in the spreadsheet.

Total growth, Portland metropolitan area, 2000-2006: 209,684

Natural increase: 83,196 (40%)
International migration: 68,125 (32%)
Internal migration: 64,985 (31%)

Posted by Morgan | April 8, 2007 11:01 PM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
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: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
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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