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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 29, 2007 2:24 PM. The previous post in this blog was Use a hoe.... The next post in this blog is The new other white meat. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Linchpins, linchpins everywhere

All over the great Pacific Northwest, it's so wonderful to see local government giving money away to the deserving real estate operators so that they can build, build, build those vital community assets, with no thought for their own financial interests.

Comments (12)

"Filby said the process has been flawed, but that the city has invested too much time and political capital to back out now."

Is there an official talking points memo that every city council person uses to justify throwing good money after bad? Someone should remind them that Bush uses the same logic to stay in Iraq with the same successful results I am sure. Hubris!

I will repeat. The question isn't whether we will be sudsidizing some developer. It's what deveoper will we be subsidizing where.

Do we spend tax money on freeways and utility expansion to subsidize developement in the suburbs or on tax abatements to subsidize them in the Cities.

It's not about to subsidize or not it's where and when.

Show me somepleace that isn't susidizing development one way por the other.

Greg C

"Do we spend tax money on freeways and utility expansion to subsidize developement in the suburbs..."

Ahem. Road construction and expansion is overwhelmingly supported by gas and weight-mile taxes (federal and state). You know; user fees. Plus, almost everyone benefits from freeways, that's how most commerce is transported. Oh, and don't forget; emergency vehicles can't run on light rail tracks.

Show me where tax oriented financing, transit oriented development, light rail and condo subsidies even come close to a positive return on investment. And where does the public benefit from increased density?

The thing that floored me was that you could build an entire arena for $10 million less than we spent on the tram. Whatever the merits of the arena, and I'm sure they are few, and whatever the cost overruns they had in Spokane, they are simply not in the running in the public-money giveaway sweepstakes.

Ahem. Light rail construction and expansion is overwhelmingly supported by gas and weight-mile taxes (federal and state). And almost everyone benefits from ligtht rail by keeping the freeways clearer of comuter traffic.

Lastly freeway construction benefits many but freeway exits benefit mostly local real estate developers. Build me a freeway between Portland and Seattle with only exits for the then existing Cities and I will start to buy your argument. The fact is inner belts, outer belts, most freeway exits, and freeway expansions (a major part of a freeways costs) benefit only local surburban developers. It's using gas mile dollars to support a particular type of social policy. Social expirementation at it's worst.

Again show me a freeway system not designed to support surburban expansion to the neglect of then present Cities and I will start to believe your argument.

Greg C

How about freeways wider than two lanes, in a a major shipping terminus with well over two million inhabitants, so that the very companies that pay all these taxes can get goods and people where they need to go in a timely manner ?

I recall hearing a while back that I-5 through central Portland is now one of the most congested freeways in the country, ranking right up there with LA.

"And almost everyone benefits from ligtht rail by keeping the freeways clearer of comuter traffic."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! That's the s**t-all stupidest comment I've seen all month! Go find some data to back your assertion there, Pal. Hell, even Metro operatives admit MAX is more of a development tool than a transportation device.

Regardless of where the roads go, they're paid for by people who use them. Unlike light rail, which is paid for by everyone, but 2% of the population uses.

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! That's the s**t-all stupidest comment I've seen all month! Go find some data to back your assertion there, Pal. Hell, even Metro operatives admit MAX is more of a development tool than a transportation device."

Except you miss the main point. In the US almost ALL transportation development is a development tool. The only question is a development tool for what outcome.

Back East developers are crying for more dense development because that is what the market is buying right now. Your homage to 1950's style development is being rejected by the very market forces that is driving 21st Century development. Namely for density, and walkable neighborhoods. The only question is does it occur in the central cities or in the suburbs. Is density transit oriented or fed by suburban style freeways. Is it spread out at great cost overall or constrained and thus cheaper overall. Costing out only some of the parts is lies by statistics.

You can feed me some of the costs all you want but until you can compare the cost of creating the Pearl District in Tualatin vs the cost of creating it where it is you are missing the big picture.

Greg C

"Back East developers are crying for more dense development because that is what the market is buying right now.."

If that was the case, then places like the Pearl and SoWa wouldn't need to be subsidized. Of course, the smart-growth fools are still more than willing to line the pockets of Homer Williams and his ilk.

"If that was the case, then places like the Pearl and SoWa wouldn't need to be subsidized. Of course, the smart-growth fools are still more than willing to line the pockets of Homer Williams and his ilk."

There is no question in my mind that at least some of the Pearl Development would have occurred without the subsidies. The problem I have is that I don't know of any major development in the country that isn't subsidized in some manner. Whether it's suburban Easton in Columbus Ohio, or the Pearl in Portland all the development involves transportation and other subsidies by Government.

Read em and weep. Your tax dollars will be used to support "growth & prosperity" so long as there are elections.

Greg C

Back East developers are crying for more dense development because that is what the market is buying right now. Your homage to 1950's style development is being rejected by the very market forces that is driving 21st Century development. Namely for density, and walkable neighborhoods.

Greg this is simply not true. The fastest growing areas of the country are the suburban and exurban areas.

The "market" that is buying new urbanism developments is comprised of wealthy retirees and young urban professionals. But the other market that is driving new home building in this country comprises a much larger proportion of the population, and are locating outside of city centers.

There is a problem with the way our urban development has gone, and that is that we're excluding families from the fun. Affordable housing is built into most projects the PDC is involved in, but these days a $850/month studio passes muster as "affordable", so that's what gets built. City council needs to re-examine their criteria for tax breaks and make sure that more 2- and 3-br homes are included, at workforce rates.

ps - Tanska, the city spent $8.5M on the tram, state/federal funds paid another $2M, and OHSU picked up the rest.


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