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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 25, 2007 10:01 AM. The previous post in this blog was Why are gas prices so high?. The next post in this blog is Trouble in Ukraine. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Travels with Charlie

Former Portland City Commissioner Charlie Hales, whose motto is "An expensive streetcar for every subsidized condo tower," is apparently jetting around selling trolleys to the unwashed masses of the Northeast. (They already have the apartment buildings.) A correspondent in Providence, R.I. wrote us last night with this:

You seemed very interested about my evening, so I will give you the description that you have asked for.

Tonight, I attended an event hosted by Growth Smart RI. For your readers who do not know, I have spent the last two years being displaced from my beloved Chicago and have been living in the Northeast. I must begin by dispelling many rumors that we (west coasters, and frankly, the rest of the country) have about the Northeast.

I DO NOT THINK THE NORTHEAST LIBERAL EXISTS. Dude. A northeast liberal is like sasquatch. They may be seen in grainy pictures, but outside of that, I have only found puritans here.

But you have no interest in that... do you?

No. You want something more. I spent my evening at a rather fancy event. It took place in Providence's new Renaissance Hotel. Now, this building had begun construction in 1929 as a building for the Masons. However, the stock market crash halted all construction on the project and it had sat as an empty shell for nearly 80 years. I think that building fairly well describes Providence. A once thriving mill town that no longer has a purpose, and yet is searching for one, and searching desperately. How do we bring business into RI? How do we make RI a 21st century livable city? How do we foster proper development? These are all questions that are being asked by a group in RI called Grow Smart RI.

Now please don't get me wrong, these are all very valid questions. These are all good questions for every city in the country. Especially, those old urban centers that have been in a sharp decline.

But, tonight, they brought in a Gentleman from Portland, Charlie Hales.

They brought him in to speak about the success of the TriMet system (although he never mentioned it by name), specifically, to discuss Light Rail and the incredible positive impact that it has had on the City of Portland.

First, let us compare the City of Providence vs. the City of Portland:

Land area
Providence 20.5 sq. miles (no, I did not forget a zero)
Portland 145.4 sq. miles

Population
Providence 176,862
Portland 562,690

Basic math will give us this:
Providence population per square mile 8627
Portland population per square mile 3869

That last number is why Portland is to some considered an urban sprawl, not a dense livable City as most will describe it. For reference, Phoenix Arizona, to all considered the worst of the "sprawl" has a population per square mile of 2865, less than Portland, but both significantly less dense than many traditional cities.

Charlie was introduced to the audience by the mayor of Providence, David Cicilline. Mayor Cicilline introduced the Transit 2020 plan to the audience. An initiative on how to improve the public transit in the state: http://www.transit2020.com/2020E-Report.pdf

Check the link. Recognize any pictures?

Now, imagine a town like Providence, with almost 20% of the entire City of Portland, and what our public transit system looks like. Well, here in Providence, we really don't have a Providence public transit system; instead, we have a Rhode Island Transit System. Rhode Island being only 1200 sq. miles in size is only the size of Multnomah County, but with a little less than twice the population of Multnomah County.

I have only ridden the RIPTA system once. I have found it faster to walk anywhere in this city than to take one of the buses. And from my time in Chicago, I have been a HUGE fan of public transportation. (Chicago, 234 sq. miles, 2.12 million people, 9000+ people per square mile, similar density to Providence.)

Essentially, RIPTA is worthless. Although the system does serve more people than TriMet, it takes me fewer places.

Charlie began his PowerPoint lecture with a brief, locally geared introduction to Portland. He described connections between the Northeast and Portland, specifically in the namesake relating some story about how Portland's name was chosen on a coin toss, narrowly defeating Boston. Now that I have read the Wikipedia entry on Portland, he pretty much read the first paragraph of the "History" section.

Charlie then showed the crowd many pictures. He showed pictures of Portland in the early 1900s. He showed a picture of Portland in the '60s, and pictures of the city today. Now, if you were to compare these pictures of Portland to those of Providence, the growth they depict would be in reverse. Providence was far more prominent and affluent in the early 1900s than now; Portland, the opposite.

However, what I found stunning was that Charlie Hales seemed to relate this wonderful growth of Portland as "The Livable City" to be directly related to public transit, and specifically, to Light Rail. He showed one graphic that represented the growth of neighborhoods within one block of Light Rail, 2 blocks, 3 blocks, etc., to show the stunning development that can happen along these public transit lines. He also used the Pearl District as an example of neighborhood growth in Portland. Now, he did not specifically point out that this neighborhood was directly related to the onset of the Light Rail system, but I do believe he inferred strong coincidence.

Now, in my opinion, the Pearl District is built for those yuppies who work downtown, and can afford such luxury residences. They are frankly close enough to downtown that many of them could, or should, walk to work. I don't see how public transit should have any impact on the growth of this area. It is simply location location location.

Mr Hales did discuss the Pearl District for some time, showing quite a few before and after shots. When I left Oregon in 1991, central Portland was a place that I went to go to places like The City Nightclub and to fancy art galleries. It was not a place to live. Now, it most certainly is.

Having lived outside of Portland for 15 years now, I do find it very difficult to tell people where I am from. I always have to use "I am from Portland" as the general, because no one would understand "I am from Oregon City." To an Oregonian, of course, these are incredibly different places.

And most of these people I meet say, "Oh! Portland! I want to move there!" This is not a bad thing. In business terms, Portland has a great buzz about it. And truthfully, the Portland of 15 years ago no longer exists! There are some things, sure, but Portland is no longer that city that our mother tells us to lock the doors in the Plymouth Valorie station wagon with the vinyl seats when we get into town.

Many of these Northeast cities hit a really bad decline once the mills went under, and they could not find a way to crawl out of it. Portland found a way to crawl out from under any impact the spotted owl may have had on the economy and still grow significantly over the last 15 years.

Mr. Hales did make some reference to this growth. He described how the people of our generation have moved back into the urban areas, shunning the suburbs. This is true not just in Portland, but in Chicago and many other cities. Our generation got very tired and bored with the suburbs and decided that the urban living was far more appropriate and exciting. The one issue that I have seen that many of these cities have had to address is how to improve their school system to retain these yuppies once they have kids so they do not feel compelled to move back into the 'burbs simply for an improved education system. Chicago worked really hard to address this one issue, and has had some success with it.

Mr. Hales expressed that our generation WANTS to live in the city. We WANT public transit to be able to get to and from home/work/play. And it is the responsibility for the transit authorities and cities to provide this. And, I agree with that. I would love a great public transit system in RI, but instead, I walk to work, I walk to play, because it is easier.

Well, that's all on that.

Hope that gave you something you want.

Very interesting indeed.

Comments (30)

What nonsense. Washington, Clackamas and Clark counties are all growing much faster, population-wise, than is Multnomah County. It's even worse if you look at just the City of Portland and especially if you back out growth due to annexation. It's amazing the lies people are willing to tell to try and convert others to their religious beliefs.

"...but Portland is no longer that city that our mother tells us to lock the doors in the Plymouth Valorie station wagon with the vinyl seats when we get into town."
--------------

You got that right!

But if it ever was a Valore kinda town, that woulda been in the 70s and early 80s. Valore was intro'ed in 1977, had a production run of only a few years, and was such poor quality, they did not last more than 5-10 years in the used car market.

PDX is now more of a BMW convertible kinda town, or a Volvo/SAAB or Range Rover kinda town.

Harry

And the car was spelled Volare. Not Valore as I spelled it, nor Valorie.

But no matter the spelling, it was and still a POS.

Harry

Not to be confused with the Plymouth Valiant.

i liked that essay, pretty good insights. although i take issue with the population density figures... comparing metro areas always makes more sense then comparing the legal limits of a city.

but he points out something that rarely gets addressed in these discussions, that the focus on city life is in part a demographic switch. many people that consider investment in urban infrastructure a waste of money tend to be people outside of that demographic.

so its easy for both sides to accuse each other of drinking kool aide and having crazy irrational thoughts... but you can explain most of the differences of opinion by differences in experiences.

And the car was spelled Volare. Not Valore as I spelled it, nor Valorie.

If the author was who I believe it was, he was probably buzzed when he wrote that. Probably.

I like how socialist-types like Hales lumps everyone into one class of people:

"..Mr. Hales expressed that our generation WANTS to live in the city."

What generation? For every smart-glassed, urban elitist I can show you a hard-working middle-class suburbanite.

God I'm tired of the Haleses of the world trying to force us into adopting Europe as our model.

"God I'm tired of the Haleses of the world trying to force us into adopting Europe as our model."

Yeah, why would we in Portland want to look to, say, Paris, Rome, or Barcelona for any kind of example when we could just emulate beautiful Beaverton--which, I'm sure you'll hasten to point out, has a higher standard of living than those "socialist" places. And bigger yards.

Chris McMullen, no one is forcing you or anyone else to adopt a model (though now that I put it into those words, it's an idea with possibilities . . .). Anyone who doesn't like population density or wants to live in a decentralized, car-based community in this country has lots of choices. Some people (like me, for example), on the other hand, like the "European" model. Copenhagen makes for a nice example -- a city about the size of Portland, it has subways, interurban passenger trains and a dense bus network -- but no streetcars. Much of the urban traffic moves by bicycle in a climate that's wetter and more harsh than ours. Density brings those advantages, and Portland's density brings some of them to us. I can't think of anyone who would seek to restrain you if you wanted to forsake living in such a place and settle in a different environment. Go and do it!

Jack,

What, I ask you, was wrong with the Plymouth Valinat???

I mean, it had the "bent six" and all...

...you're just so negative these days.

I can't think of anyone who would seek to restrain you if you wanted to forsake living in such a place and settle in a different environment. Go and do it!

Allan, old darling, what a lovely sentiment.

Many times I've thought to recommend the same to but decided that it would be untoward.

Who says that liberals have no passion?

Button pushed.

Ooh, without reading all their slick drivel, I’ll guess that they left out a few things:

1. What light rail really looks like in Portland:
www.DebunkingPortland.com/Transit/RailNeighborhhod.html

2. Light rail does not cause development, the subsidies do:
www.DebunkingPortland.com/Transit/LightRailDevelopment.htm
www.SavePortland.com

3. Light rail DOES NOT go near the Pearl. (the streetcar does).

4. Our vibrant downtown gained 167 businesses and lost 4008 jobs between 2001 and 2005.
Downtown Employees Getting to Work by BUS decreased 9% (from 25 to 23%)
Downtown Employees Getting to Work by MAX Light Rail decreased 43% (from 20 to 14%)
Downtown Employees Getting to Work by DRIVE ALONE INCREASED 10% (from 44 to 48%)
www.DebunkingPortland.com/Smart/VibrantDowntown.htm

5. Our streetcar costs OVER $1.67 per passenger-mile WITHOUT construction cost. For comparison private cars cost $0.202 per passenger-mile.
www.DebunkingPortland.com/Transit/Cost-Cars-Transit(2005).htm

6. Europeans are abandoning mass transit too, Rail = -23%; Bus&Coach = -27%; Tram & Metro = -21.4%
www.DebunkingPortland.com/Transit/EuroTranistShareLoss.htm

7. Streetcars aren’t electrically powered, they are powered by whatever provided local electricity. Electricity is merely a way to move power from one place to another. In most areas that makes the streetcar powered by COAL which emits mercury, Uranium and Thorium into the air.
www..ornl.gov/ORNLReview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html

8. Be sure to see their list of supporters in that slick booklet - how many are going to make money off of the construction, financing and operation?

Thanks
JK

Chris McMullen, no one is forcing you or anyone else to adopt a model.

Absolutely correct, Allen! They're just forcing us to pay for it.

Jim,

Where have you been, mate. It’s not a transportation debate unless you chime in comparing 2% of the cost of cars to 100+% of the cost of light rail. Total codswallop of course, but I find it strangely reassuring.

Chris, are you saying that there isn’t a big move back to cities? Most of the whinging I hear here is aimed at the influx of young professionals forcing up house prices in inner Portland. I would stick with that argument as it may be the only time you’re right about something. I, and thousands of other people, are pouring into Portland to get away from the sterile auto suburbs and exhurbs that carpet freedom’s land. Those same type of places cover most of the Portland metro area (see density numbers in the original note) but most of the folks (almost all looking disturbingly like recent transplants) I saw at the Hollywood Market this morning don’t want to live there.

Rr, I have noticed that you are one of the few curmudgeons here that isn’t “threatening” to flee this hell hole as soon as possible. It’s only going to get “worse” you know. It might be better for your blood pressure to find a nice spot in outer Vancouver. You can still pop over (gas prices willing) to catch informative debates at the airport Shilo Inn. I saw one the other night where an Orange County Register “journalist” came to tell the good wingnuts of Portland that planning doesn’t work. Now I’m as big a fan of irony as the next man, but when a writer from the worst paper in America (it makes Chris and Howard’s bizarre “I see socialists” rants seem normal) comes to tell us Portland should be more like OC I get dizzy.

And 100% of the cost of cars would include subsidies such as "free" parking, oil defense, pollution clean-up (like a portion of the Big Pipe) and some roads (like those funded by Washington County's MSTIP) as well as indirect subsidies, such as new suburban schools (where biking/walking/taking transit is less feasible).

Also, if 100% of those costs were paid for directly by motorists, we might not need light rail and streetcars to attract people to transit. Either that or riders might be willing to forgo discounts such as free fares, transfers and passes.

Sherwood You can still pop over (gas prices willing) to catch informative debates at the airport Shilo Inn. I saw one the other night where an Orange County Register “journalist” came to tell the good wingnuts of Portland that planning doesn’t work.
jk: Just when was it that you saw the OCR guy - (I must have missed this latest appearance)? The only talks that I recall, he was mostly outing idiot planners and city officials for things like cutting deals with big box stores to use imminent domain to steal people’s property and give it to the big box store so the city can get more sales tax revenue. He also talked about one city manager bragging that he controlled the city council.

Which of those do you disagree with?

Sherwood Now I’m as big a fan of irony as the next man, but when a writer from the worst paper in America (it makes Chris and Howard’s bizarre “I see socialists” rants seem normal) comes to tell us Portland should be more like OC I get dizzy.
jk: What did he say that gave you the, probably false, impression that he thinks Portland should be more like OC? From what I have seen, he spends most of his time criticizing OC officials for the same kind of crap that the PDC and council do here.

Thanks
JK

Given all the great talk about how fine and cost effective Trimet is and the lightrail it might be nice to get some comparisons regarding their accounting system.

How does it compare with other transit systems around the country?
Are we getting good data?
Does it meet with the standards of the Government Accounting Standards Board?

It might be nice to see a costs/benfit analysis from an independent organization.

MHW

This one is so easy: "Given all the great talk about how fine and cost effective Trimet is and the lightrail it might be nice to get some comparisons regarding their accounting system."
Tri-mets answer Federal money all for us, State money, all for us, county money, all for us, city money, all for us. Taxation on employers, money for us.Taxation money from home owners, money for us. Now that the credit side of Leger.
Now we go to debit side of Leger: Nice shinny new toys, to show the suckers err voters, we care. Plush jobs for polititco cronies, nicely covered up. Money spilled over, financing the politico's that back us in an election. Money for slick advertising. Money spent on getting more money for more projects.
And that is why we left the great city of Portland, and we aren't coming back

I keep reading imminent domain on this site. It’s “eminent” isn’t it, or is this one of those divided by a common language moments? I do have a problem with it being used to select winners (the supreme court ruling a while back seemed very dodgy to me).

This time he was going on about various OC towns trying to create centers: i.e. trying to get some there there (the place makes LA feel like Amsterdam). To be honest I think that the only way make OC livable is a tsunami followed by starting from scratch. The implication was that they are messing with what makes OC so great, and going against the laws of god and nature. Of course normal in OC is three development companies (it makes Weston seem like small fry) building cookie cutter shite wherever they have land and joe taxpayer paying to join up the dots.

I’ve spent thousands of hours behind the orange curtain. Married in Laguna Beach to a woman who was raised in Mission Viejo. I shudder at the prospect of Portland becoming even one percent like that. Of course the roads are in great condition and no money has been “wasted” on light rail.

To take 2 of Richard's three examples that I've visited recently. Both are great places to visit but I think poor development examples:

1) Paris. Sure, fine city, where the wealthy live in the city and the poor and working class are relegated to terrible slums (with lousy public services) like Lyons. Unemployment is high, incomes are lagging, and most of the city sneers at the tourists that prop up its economy.

2) Barcelona. What struck me most about Barcelona last summer was how *dirty* it was. Unlike Portland, awash in greenery and clean air, Barcelona promenades wide sidewalks (good) but few trees and lots and lots of trash.

Both Paris and Barcelona have subways--not light rail and streetcars--and incredibly extensive bus systems. And both are millenia old.

Sherwood You can still pop over (gas prices willing) to catch informative debates at the airport Shilo Inn. I saw one the other night where an Orange County Register “journalist” came to tell the good wingnuts of Portland that planning doesn’t work.
JK: As usual, you have most of you facts wrong:
1) He didn’t mention Portland in his talk.
2) He wasn’t at the Shilo, he was at the Crown Plaza Hotel. In Atlanta. (For shame, you can’t tell Atlanta from Portland)
3) It wasn’t a debate. It was a talk on the folly of government planning practiced in Orange County.

BTW his name is Stephen Greenhut. I can see how you got confused, because his telling of the planner’s folly in OC sounds much like Portland.

Just to inform the casual readers, here are a few of his main points:

Do American officials make better decisions than individual people through a free market place?

He observed, based on his visit to Vietnam, that the big difference between Vietnam officials and ours is that theirs like to talk about free markets.

Main purpose of downtown development is to maximize revenue to the city government.

Garden Grove used eminent domain & subsidies to create a bunch of hotels which were mostly empty, so they needed an attraction, built a river walk and downtown which also failed. Greenhut called it the Eastern European model.

In Brea, they bulldozed the downtown and went $600 million in debt to build a new downtown for a city of 32,000 people. ($20,000 per person debt)

City of Cypress tried taking a church with eminent domain because “churches don’t pay taxes.”

Redevelopment officials say that not all of their projects work out, but there is no other alterative to the city degenerating without their schemes.

Greenhut gave details of Anaheim’s new deal, a broad de-regulation plan:
1) No more eminent domain for non-infrastructure.
2) Tried to change attitudes among the planning staff.
3) Eliminated home business license
4) Reduced / eliminated many business fees.
5) Reduced code violations from misdemeanors to infractions.
6) Allowing housing instead of big box stores.
7) Stopped harassing owners of older hotels.
8) Allowing old shopping centers to develop
9) Overturning planning commission decisions that go against property owners.
10) Creating an environment that says you are free to do what you want. (No he wasn’t talking of putting in a rendering plant)

He read from Jane Jacobs: “There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder and this meaner quality is the dishonest mask of pretended order achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served.”

Also from Jane: “As in all utopias, the right to have any plans of any significance belong only to the planners in charge.”

I liked his final line: “Its not a question of planning, it’s a question of whose planning - are we planning or is the government planning in the goal to create successful down towns is to let us - individuals - plan our lives, not let them - the government officials do it.

BTW that show is part of a weekly series on local cable TV called Preserving the American Dream. It’s show times are:
Sunday 10 pm, ch 11 (all metro region), Mon 7pm, ch 22 (Portland only); Fri 5pm, ch 23 (Portland only)

This weeks show, starting tonight, is about housing afford ability and how the planners screw us again. It starts with a dynamite presentation by Wendell Cox on how planners have driven the cost of housing out of most people’s reach even in Australia!, followed by Ed Stringham (San Jose State University) explaining hosing prices in the Bay area.

Portland’s planners could learn a lot from these people, as could you.

Thanks
JK

I accept that it wasn't a debate. Otherwise his stream of "amusing" anecdotes would have been challenged and forgotten instantly. I also believe you that it wasn't at the Shilo Inn. Whenever I see see programs on obscure stations that make Fox look fair and balanced I assume it's the Shilo effect. One conference room look likes much like all the others (insert dig about American towns here).

I also agree that the attempts to create somewhere in OC were pathetic. As I said before, the only solution to that mess is to start agian from scratch. I do, however, understand the desperation that caused it. I fell it every time I'm there.

The housing affordability talks were interesting. The idea that it's cheaper to holiday in a fine hotel in Cancun that live in a tiny house in SF tells us a lot about bubbles. Stay tuned.

Sherwood The housing affordability talks were interesting. The idea that it's cheaper to holiday in a fine hotel in Cancun that live in a tiny house in SF tells us a lot about bubbles. Stay tuned.
JK: Its not only about a bubble, its about planning destroying afford ability through idiot schemes that deliver the opposite of what was promised.

Check out 10pm tonight on Cable Ch11. You’ll see how planners managed to create a land shortage in Australia! And unaffordable housing too.

Those idiots are all over the world screwing up people’s lives.

Thanks
JK

Jim,
Mmmm. I believe one of his points was that about three affordable units had ever been built. I think it’s safe to say that has had absolutely no effect on prices whatsoever. Now, what we’ll refer to as the “market” solution has resulted in people moving to Stockton to find cheapish housing. To get these people to work will cost the taxpayer billions of dollars and even after that money is gone the situation will remain a farce costing businesses and individuals hundreds of billions in lost time/gas/poisonous air etc. Thinking things through (hereto after referred to as planning) doesn’t guarantee success but the alternative guarantees failure. I’ll take the Portland way every time.

Check out 10pm tonight on Cable Ch11. You’ll see how planners managed to create a land shortage in Australia! And unaffordable housing too.

Those idiots are all over the world screwing up people’s lives.

Thanks
JK

Gosh guys can you'all give me a break. The only question here is what developers do you want to susidize. The ones who want you to pay for freeways and utility extensions into the farmland so they can build out. Or the ones who want you to extend streetcars and utility extensions so they can build up. The rest of it is all so much philosophical claptrap.

By the way Jim you never answered my earlier question. Is it cheaper to build light rail from Gresham to Portland or to expand the Banfield to 24 lanes like they are doing in Phoenix? Or are you comparing the costs of Urban Light rail to the costs of building a new freeway from The Dalles to Bend? I'll give you a hint. It's always cheaper to build anything on the outskirts because the land aquisition costs are cheaper.

Greg C

Check out 10pm tonight on Cable Ch11. You’ll see how planners managed to create a land shortage in Australia! And unaffordable housing too.

Point #2. Land costs (and housing prices) go up when the availability of BUILDABLE land is growing slower than population influx. I have seen housing prices skyrocket when cities couldn't build water and sewer lines to the farmland as fast as builders needed. Typically what happens then is that the builders pay the city more to make sure the utility lines get built faster.

Greg C

Greg C: You apparently haven't been following the money trail for SoWhat that is typical of the other 10 Portland URA's. Homer and Co. hasn't paid a dime for the "streetcar and utility extensions". Us, the taxpayers have paid it.

Even the Local Improvement District formed for partial payment of the streetcar in SoWhat has not received any money from Homer and Co. because he wrangled a "deal" that the LID obligation was transferred to other property outside of the LID boundary.

If you only knew.

The taxpayers have paid for almost all infrastructure improvements in SoWhat. The streetcar extension into SoWhat was also additionally funded by the sale of PDC owned land (taxpayer's land) where The Strand condos are being built in RiverPlace (another Homer project). Then Block 3 next door to The Strand(again owned by US) recently was sold to Homer for $4.2M, and that money will be applied to the still remaining debt for the streetcar. Plus Block 8 right south of Block 3 was "given" to Homer with "exclusive rights" to purchase at a future date; and that money will also be used to help retire the streetcar extension debt.

Wait, there is more-us taxpayers from our CoP transportation budget (our street maintenance budget) also gave $3MILLION dollars for the streetcar extension. Yes, you are right, developers in URA are sure subsidizing a lot of improvements-not.

That God we have people like Charlie and streetcar advocate and City Councilman wannabe Chris Smith telling us that no tax dollars are used to build our streetcar lines. The lines don't even collect fares. This all adds up to true subsidy by the rest of us, especially when less than 1/2 of 1% of all residents use the streetcar. This doesn't mean that I dislike the concept of the streetcar, but I do like reality and common sense in setting our priorities.

I have to wonder if "Choo-Choo Charlie" told the folks that a growing portion of TriMet's budget comes from taxes on ALL businesses in it's territory - even those that have little or no service nearby? That in 1995 65% of TriMet's budget came from the business tax and now it's 70% and growing evry year.

Greg C By the way Jim you never answered my earlier question. Is it cheaper to build light rail from Gresham to Portland or to expand the Banfield to 24 lanes
JK: Why would we want to build 24 lanes? According to Trimt, light rail only carries the equivalent of 1.2 lane of a freeway. See trimet.org/pdfs/publications/factsheet.pdf.

But Trimet forgot to tell us that most of their riders would be in buses, not single occupancy cars. Once you adjust for this little oversight, you get a light rail line removing about 1/3-1/4 lane worth of traffic from the freeway. see DebunkingPortland.com/Transit/RailAttractsDrivers2.htm

Comparing the cost of 1/3 lane of freeway to one toy train track is no contest:
Light rail costs too much, does too litle.

Greg C Or are you comparing the costs of Urban Light rail to the costs of building a new freeway from The Dalles to Bend? I'll give you a hint. It's always cheaper to build anything on the outskirts because the land aquisition costs are cheaper.
JK: Of course, the reverse is true. A freeway actually uses less land than LRT in any fair comparison:
1) Transit to transit: Rail on tracks to buses on busways. Buses carry several times more people.
2) Heck, even transit on rail compared to buses on a freeway leaves enough free space to carry 2/3 of all the cars that a freeway normally carries PLUS FREIGHT!
Light rail costs too much, does too litle.

Thanks
JK

Hooray for urban planning, light rail, density and all the rest of it.
I'm serious.

I didn't have the stamina to read all the comments on this thread or others, but I can't quite figure out your point of view on land-use planning etc, Jack. (Though I do have the utmost respect for your intellectual curiosity.)

In one post I read, you rightly lambasted those darn property rights nuts, who have some perfectly valid ideas but go way too far.

In others, you deride PDX's planners, light rail, condo developers, etc.

I'm not saying we have to embrace one or the other, but what do you propose?

Also, I remain convinced that despite "subsidies," Portland's high density development is largely self supporting and positive--especially when compared to the suburban sprawl type development that is the alternative. As examples, I give you the I5 bridge (price tag, $2B+), and a laundry list of road projects that ODOT and or Metro estimated at $3-6B, unfunded. With the gas tax as it's current level, there's no way to pay for all this. It makes the city's $9 to 10 MILLION for the tram look minimal.
Of course, we can be sharp accountants and find a lot of other subsidies, but in the big picture cost benefit analysis, I believe that appropriatelt sited mid and high density growth are about as costly to the public as sprawl. What puts dense growth over the top is that it can achieve other goals: pleasant, walkable neighborhoods; lower CO2 emissions; preserved natural landscapes; less insane stuck in traffic time.

Thanks for blogging, cheers, pick Oden.



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In Vino Veritas

Chloe, Pinot Grigio, Valdadige 2013
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir 2013
Kirkland, Pinot Grigio, Friuli 2013
St. Francis, Red Splash 2011
Rodney Strong, Canernet, Alexander Valley 2011
Erath, Pinot Blanc 2013
Taylor Fladgate, Porto 2007
Portuga, Rose 2013
Domaine Digioia-Royer, Chambolle-Musigny, Vielles Vignes Les Premieres 2008
Locations, F Red Blend
El Perro Verde, Rueda 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red 2
If You See Kay, Red 2011
Turnbull, Old Bull Red 2010
Cherry Tart, Cherry Pie Pinot Noir 2012
Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Cabernet, Oakville 2012
Benton Lane, Pinot Gris 2012
Campo Viejo, Rioja, Reserva 2008
Haden Fig, Pinot Noir 2012
Pendulum Red 2011
Vina Real, Plata, Crianza Rioja 2009
Edmunds St. John, Bone/Jolly, Gamay Noir Rose 2013
Bookwalter, Subplot No. 26
Ayna, Tempranillo 2011
Pete's Mountain, Pinot Noir, Haley's Block 2010
Apaltagua, Reserva Camenere 2012
Lugana, San Benedetto 2012
Argyle Brut 2007
Wildewood Pinot Gris 2012
Anciano, Tempranillo Reserva 2007
Santa Rita, Reserva Cabernet 2009
Casone, Toscana 2008
Fonseca Porto, Bin No. 27
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

The Occasional Book

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: 345
At this date last year: 211
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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