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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 23, 2007 8:46 AM. The previous post in this blog was I'm glad I don't live in Newark, N.J..... The next post in this blog is Outsourcing, Salem-style. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Portland: We're geezer-ific

The Rose City has just made the new AARP list of the five best places in the country to live (and retire):

European charm meets environmental nirvana in this environmentally progressive city. 50-plus residents love the miles of safe bike lanes and the revitalized Pearl District.

Comments (31)

"Progressive," sure, until all those retirees who have the "I already paid my share, so no more for the damn kids!" attitude show up and shoot down bond measure after bond measure.

This just goes to show the dramatic change for the better in the lives of America's retirees over the past 30 years. If enough of them can afford the ridiculous real estate prices in Portland to justify a recommendation from a national group, we can stop worrying about their well being.

Yeah right. Just how many senior citizens do you see riding bikes around Portland. How about zero?

Most of the Portland bike riders I see are young, tattooed, alterno-hipsters on their way to their next barista job.

umm Chris, most of the bike riders I see are during the morning and evening commutes going to and from their downtown office jobs and on the Springwater Trail on the weekends wearing spiffy cycling racing jerseys and shorts.

I do see the "alterno-hipsters," as you call them, too around town. But I find it kind of funny that I don't see hardly any of them on the Springwater when I'm running or biking.

Maybe you should get out more.

At the risk of getting booted (please bojack take it as the joke that I intend)....
Bojack aren't you part of the "50-plus" crowd?

I dispute the assertion that there are more than 50 people who like the Pearl District.

touche!

Am I missing something? Most retirees don't work, work part time or work or take consulting jobs when they feel like it. Why would they live in Portland when they can save thousands of dollars in state income taxes by living in Vancouver,WA.? Aren't these people aware of the tax savings?

Another seldom discussed factor is that many federal gov't retirees (like most tier one PERS retirees) avoid Oregon taxes on pension income altogether (depending on when benefits accrued).

With no income tax, no sales tax and property tax rates fixed near the national median, Oregon must seem very attractive to gov't retirees.

""""Another seldom discussed factor is that many federal gov't retirees (like most tier one PERS retirees) avoid Oregon taxes on pension income altogether (depending on when benefits accrued).

With no income tax, no sales tax and property tax rates fixed near the national median, Oregon must seem very attractive to gov't retirees."""

Both PERS Tier 1 and Federal Retirees pay Oregon income taxes on their pensions. Federal retirees in the 90's got past paid taxes refunded to them as a result of a US Supreme Court case. PERS Tier 1 retirees get that part of their pension earned before 1991 increased to make up for the fact that it is now taxed.

Greg C (PERS Retiree)

one problem with retiring in vancouver is the associated health risks and increased financial burdens created by living in a car oriented town.

it just about nullifies the benefits of no income tax.

“Why would they live in Portland?” For the same reason my family (and thousands of others) decided to; it’s a great town that’s been getting better and better. All those things that many people on this blog hate – walkability, density, public transit, bike paths, the growth boundary etc… - are the reason Portland keeps featuring on these lists and attracting more and more people that have a choice about where to live. I’d save at least $12k a year by living with Lars across the river, but would never do it.

As for biking, in my neighborhood it’s mostly white collar professionals in all the gear or hirsute males collecting cans. There are quite a few older folks biking at the weekend.

Chris: open your eyes. Most of the cyclists around Portland (the overwhelming majority, I would say) are AARP-eligible. Jack: I think in fact there are 51 or 52 people who like the Pearl. Dave A.: you may be astonished to learn that not everyone organizes his or her life around tax minimization. Some people actually think it's worth paying taxes to live in Portland rather than in SW Washington.

Greg,

Maybe I missed something, but here is what the Oregon Dept of Revenue has to say on the matter:

Federal pension income. You may be able to subtract some or all of the pension income included in 2005 federal income. This includes benefits paid to the retiree or to the surviving spouse. The subtraction amount is based on the number of months of federal service before and after October 1, 1991. If all your months of federal service occurred before October 1, 1991, subtract your entire federal pension. If you have no months of service before October 1, 1991, you cannot subtract any federal pension. If your service was both before and after October 1, 1991, you will subtract a percentage of your pension income.

Interesting to see all the hilsys, Sherwoods and Allanses wetting themselves when anyone dares to criticize Portland's beloved new urbanist ideology. I bet you're all jumping for joy over the rampant malfeasance occurring at Cascade Station.

I really wouldn't care what Portland does except for the fact you have to drive through it to get to the other side of the river. That and the rest of the metro area is somewhat economically dependent on Portland proper -- of course that's happening less and less.

Moreover, the Sam Adams sycophants on this blog will never convince me Portland is full of bike riding sexagenarians. Anyone over 50 is usually biking somewhere beautiful, like Scholls or Hood River.

Dammit!

Can't we do something to stay off of these "Best Place to Live" lists? The one that was released in the late 70s was the kiss of death for Portland being a decent place to live. It's been downhill ever since....of course, that was when Goldschmuck was mayor, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Wow Chris M., you sure read a whole lot into my comment that I didn't write. I just commented about what kinds of bicyclists I was seeing as compared to what you claimed to be seeing.

Care to comment on that?

Oh, and I see plenty of AARP-eligible, 50+ year-olds on the Springwater Trail on bikes and most of the times they are zooming past me. (I try, but I'm just not that fast on the bike). The city isn't "full of bike riding sexegenarians," but there sure does seem to be more and more of them every year.

one problem with retiring in vancouver is the associated health risks and increased financial burdens created by living in a car oriented town.

The other problem with living in Vancouver is that you have to live in Vancouver.

I really wouldn't care what Portland does except for the fact you have to drive through it to get to the other side of the river.

Chris, for goodness' sake, you could go around. We'd all be better off if you did, wouldn't we?

I'm damn near 60 and commute by bike every day--and in pretty regular clothes, not the weird lycra stuff. I put in eight to 20 miles a day depending on how much I wander around after work.

Maybe the reason you don't see us AARP types on bikes is that we don't look that old.

"""""Maybe I missed something, but here is what the Oregon Dept of Revenue has to say on the matter:"""""

Pancho I stand corrected as to the Federal pensioners. I guess both Federal and PERS recipients get compensated for that part of their pension earned prior to 1991. Of course how many Federal pensioners know that and factor it into their decison to move somehwere is problematical.

What happened was I reacted to the "Governemnt employees don't pay taxes" declaration and missed that you had clarified that with the words "many" and "depending on when benefits accrued."

So for any of you who are confused. What Pancho said was some government employees effectively don't pay Oregon taxes if all of their pension comes from work done prior to 1991. Did I get that right?

Greg C

To George & Allan L.: I guess Vancouver must be a horrible place to live given that it's rate of growth is about 5 times what Portland's is.

European charm meets environmental nirvana in this environmentally progressive city.

i assume they're not talking about 82nd Avenue, the Superfund site, Willamette River pollution levels, nationally high-ranking traffic congestion, one of the least affordable housing markets in the nation, and the highest student-teacher ratio in the nation.

for starters.

and what does "European" mean? the IKEA out by the airport, perhaps?

by the way, Portland has one of the lowest levels of public transit use of all major cities on the west coast. almost 90% do not use public transit. Seattle and San Francisco both use public transit far more; LA is only a few percentage points behind us (10.5% vs. PDX's 13%).

bike commuters? almost 97% of Portlanders do not commute by bike. Phoenix, the city we love to hate has over three times the amount of bike lanes we do.

i love Portland. i live here. but magazine rankings that consist of a freelance writer taking a day walk around downtown Portland and writing about it is worthless at best, and at worst nearly immoral.

i really like vancouver. don't remember saying anything about it being a horrible place to live. just saying that increased driving miles increases your risk of getting into an accident and makes it harder to exercise.

just walking to work or for your daily errands is really great for your health. for retiring folks, its something to think about.

no reason you can't do that in vancouver, its just generally harder compared to say inner portland.

New city motto: Home of the Hipster-Geezer.

European charm? There is that one block in the Pearly Distract that wasn't demolished.

With no income tax, no sales tax and property tax rates fixed near the national median, Oregon must seem very attractive to gov't retirees.

And if they live in the Pearl, they probably are not even paying property taxes...

ahhh yes. the old pearl. i personally liked it a lot when it was a pile of dirt and rubble....

http://www.retrojunk.com/details_commercial/1837/

Some of the old Pearl area was awful. Not all of it was. But good and bad were all cleaned out together for the high-priced junk that's there now.

"And if they live in the Pearl, they probably are not even paying property taxes..."

Contrary to popular belief almost all if not all owners of property in the Pearl pay property taxes. The tax subsidies for the new buildings come mostly in the form of "free" roads,sewers and parks for the residents. Oh yes and an occasional Armory turned into a theater.

The one exception to that is mostly the tax freeze for rehabbing "historic" properties. For example turning an old warehouse into condo's. This scam uh tax incentive taxes the new condo's for 15 years as if they were still run down warehouse space. The owners still pay some property taxes just not very much.

The no property tax comments mostly concern the fact that the increased taxes from the district go to pay off bonds that fund the new streets and parks. Thus they are not available for the rest of us to use for our needed local improvement.

Greg C

Contrary to popular belief almost all if not all owners of property in the Pearl pay property taxes. The tax subsidies for the new buildings come mostly in the form of "free" roads,sewers and parks for the residents.

Greg, you're way off. a significant portion of housing in the Pearl receives huge tax abatements, for many years. so, a lot of owners are paying a fraction of the property taxes the rest of of are. for example, see the taxes listed on this site:

http://www.bpr.com/pearl-district-lofts-the-avenue-lofts.html

several of them only pay a few hundred a year on half-million dollar condos--for many years to come.

watch the stampede when those abatements end, though. then watch the head scratching that follows, accompanied by "geez, i thought that was going to work."

...watch the stampede when those abatements end, though

What makes you think the Pearl condo market is going to hold up that long?


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