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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 7, 2007 6:17 AM. The previous post in this blog was Area Wild Oats stores -- closing or rebranding?. The next post in this blog is When he's not playing online games at work.... Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, September 7, 2007

Spreading the gospel on the taxpayers' dime

If, like me, you're a skeptic toward Portland's practice of giving away tax dollars to any real estate weasel who wants to slap up an apartment bunker along a bus line, it's a frustrating time. But I'll bet many such critics are not aware that the city is spending money developing experts in the field, who are journeying far and wide promoting the city's social engineering experiments to other municipalities. Here's a dog-and-pony show that a Portland city planner recently gave to like-minded bureaucrats in Honolulu. I hope to heaven that Portland taxpayers didn't pay the expenses to send this official over there. But I'm sure we Rose City saps paid for her time to develop, and fly over there and give, the speech. What a waste.

Comments (59)

Tax funded propaganda at it's worst. Ripe with ignorance, chuck full of deceit and cover up and a lesson in government agencies without accountability or ethics.

So distorted is this pitch for this approach to "planning" that careers should be lost and severe consequences realized by the central characters.

Commissioners, councilors and department management.

I always wondered why the voters in PDX are so rarely the target of criticism for their shallow review of candidates for city/county office and their inability to effectively "revolt" when the community gets skewered.
"You reap what you sow"

I have a cousin who has a doctorate in urban planning, teaches it at a state university in the southwest, and is highly sought after around the country as a paid consultant in the field. He has told me more than once that Portland is regarded as Shangri-La amongst urban planners everywhere.

That presentation really took me back. I remember in 2000 - several years before I convinced the wife to move from So Cal to Portland - seeing some of those plans for Hollywood. I had visited Portland many times but always stayed with relatives on Tabor and did the usual downtown, Irvington, Laurelhurst stuff as that area was not on the visitor radar. I now own a lovely old house in the Hollywood area and am thrilled to watch these plans come into fruition.

I was always a bit concerned about the I205 Max as it seemed to be a train to nowhere (no offense to the fine people of Clackamas). When you add in the Milwaukie part of the loop, and see the future corridors and extensions, it looks very complete and logical. Think of all that underutilized land and crappy lots that will benefit, which should reduce the pressure to sprawl out further. Isn’t it great to live in a town where future growth is being thought through as opposed to having it imposed on us by developers?

Mmmmm. It just occurred to me that this may not be the right forum for this post.

Unfortunately it never occurs to you that you are full of crap and haven't a clue what you are talking about.
Especially when it comes to logic.
You don't understand what you are paying for or getting.
Those corridors and extensions are friggin chaos rat races, gridlock in the making and completely disconnected from the realities of growth.
In effect it's the enormously expensive, delusional planning of fantasies.

The lessons learned are funnny:

- Plan first, build LRT later

This is fascinating considering they just "had" to commit $27M to light rail on the east side even if there is a financial risk due to deadlines.

- Don't over-emphasize parking

I would have never guessed

This entire City Council is a one-trick pony.

Isn’t it great to live in a town where future growth is being thought through as opposed to having it imposed on us by developers?

I don't know where you get such blind faith in the altruism of government v. private enterprise. Are government employees in general and planners in particular of some nobler race than the rest of us? Or are "developers" simply subhuman? Is their really any difference in their respective motivations?

The "imposition" of future growth on us by developers could not occur without the complicity of government planners. Indeed, government bodies are the only entities likely to impose anything on you, old darling.

Crooks are crooks, power is power, people are people.

Anyone who ascribes good judgement based on some artificial distinction like public employment is wearing rose-tinted spectacles...

...and a blindfold.

OK folks...
spend a fun filled morning on the web checking out the International Downtown Association @ www.ida-downtown.org and it's parent organization the atcm.org
Learn all about organizing a BID, setting up plannning seminars; purchase books videos and other educational materials to make your town or city "clean and safe". "Variety, vitality and vibrance" have been the watch words for some time now, but you gotta be a member to learn all about the secret handshakes and the pass words.
Portalnd isn't original, it is just one of the pack and the city pays big bucks to join the group. And believe me the city must join up.
Check it out. I would love the readers' opinions about this.

Who paid for the pull-out section in The Portland Tribune that says we need new taxes for road repair? The new taxes part is in the small print near the bottom.

I don't know where you get such blind faith in the altruism of government v. private enterprise. Are government employees in general and planners in particular of some nobler race than the rest of us? Or are "developers" simply subhuman? Is their really any difference in their respective motivations?

...and a blindfold.

Wow...

I fully agree with this statement by rr.

Those in government are just as banal and venal as those in the private sector. Of course, there are more in the private sector just because the private sector is bigger and has less notional and nominal oversight. Indeed, it is at the interface of government and the private sector, where contracts for government work by private contractors takes place that this can be seen so clearly.

From my perspective, this looks a great deal like those who have an interest in obtaining government contracts actively "cultivating" the family and friends who "just happen" to have government positions. But maybe that is skewed perception.

Of course, public agencies are supposed to have public oversight and relative ease of access to the the records of operation, right? Try getting that in the private sector. (ROFL)

This, by the way, augurs for a much, much higher level of banality and venality in the private sector than in the supposed "transparency" of notional democratic governance. I think experience bears that out.

Ben, There are a lot of people here who express anger at real or perceived slights but a quick look at your body of work really makes me worry. If you believe more than 5% of what you type, or tend to be the same even when stripped of the internet anonymity, I suggest you see some one. I have some experience in the world of CNS drug development. There is something out there that can help you.

Rr, I never said anything even close to “planners are saints and developers are evil.” Developers want to make as much money as possible, whether they are building snout houses in Sherwood or towers on Interstate. I have no fundamental problem with either. Many here believe that planners have horns and eat babies on the weekend. In reality they draw lines on maps based on experience, education and the will of politicians/voters (I know that statement will generate flack). I was merely saying that the Hollywood and Max plan looks pretty good to me. I take it you disagree.

“government bodies are the only entities likely to impose anything on you, old darling.” A ridiculous statement. Government may allow this stuff, but 99.99% of what you see was not built by our Orwellian masters. Drop the paranoia but keep up the sweet words.”

“Crooks are crooks, power is power, people are people.” A true statement.

He has told me more than once that Portland is regarded as Shangri-La amongst urban planners everywhere.

This is the gospel being spread--I heard it in grad. school in '91.

i still don't understand how building apartments is "social engineering". someone explain please!

Sherwood,

I love the game, too, but... Isn’t it great to live in a town where future growth is being thought through as opposed to having it imposed on us by developers? is obfuscatorially challenged.

You live in Hollywood - I grew up in Laurelhurst and Hollywood. Aren't they horrible? Don't you just recoil at the urban blight that those privately imposed, lawlessly unplanned, architecturally incoherent neighborhoods represent.

Developers "develop" what people will buy.

The notion that sprawl is inherently bad is an artificial one propagated by those whose careers and egos are dependent on "planning". Throw in a few whose land holdings or options might lose value in the absence of government-imposed sprawl (see Damascus/Happy Valley), and you've got a feel for the "moral high ground" of planning.

Hollywood and Laurelhurst were "sprawl".

Enjoy it while all those folks from East County whiz by on their way to Hillsboro.

Be careful crossing Sandy/Broadway near 39th, and stay out of the Laurelwood, won't you?

How is building apartments "social engineering"? It is not -- if that is all they were doing. Most Americans say they want to live in single-family homes, but Metro has decided that a much larger percentage of Portlanders must live in apartments. So they subsidize apartments and penalize (with high land prices) single-family homes. That is social engineering.

Regarding the Hawai'ian video: Bischoff tells at least one outright lie: She claims that Bechtel built the airport light-rail line in exchange for land. She fails to mention the $95 million that Bechtel was paid in addition to the land. I remember when that line was first being considered, some elected officials repeatedly told the public that Bechtel was building the line for free simply because it believed in light rail.

I've written a more detailed response to Bischoff for the Hawai'i Reporter.

*****Most Americans say they want to live in single-family homes, but Metro has decided that a much larger percentage of Portlanders must live in apartments. ... That is social engineering.****

You know I am getting tired of this holier than thou "social engineering" crap. ***Most Americans want to live in single family homes.**** Of course we do. And preferably on 5 acres and with a gardener.

****And that is social engineering**** Oh and what activity by government isn't? Are the developers are building those roads & freeways out to the developer owned farmland in that capitalist utopia you talk about. No they aren't. You can develop up or you can develop out. Each has it's plusses and minuses. And how you develop is determined as much by topography as by the decisions of "planners". Afterall there is a reason why there is sprawl in Phoenix and not so much here.

The experience after WWII when freeways were built out to the developer owned farmland was that in many cities the middle class fled to the tract homes leaving the poor in the inner city to fend for themselves. Portland has sought to counter this and succeeded by a combination of forward thinking, friendly topography (hilly land), and a unique combination of a concerned farm community and concerned urban citizens that resulted in the Oregon Land Use laws. Whether this can be replicated on a large scale elsewhere remains to be seen.

Greg C

Ps. Columbus Ohio has been in the forfront of planned sprawl since the 60's. They have annexed rural land and delivered services to it before the sprawl gets ther. It is one spread out auto oriented city. Yet it has it's version of the Pearl District located off a freeway in the eastern suburbs. A "new urban" collection of condo's, shopping malls, office towers, and yes even parking meters on it's "main" streets. And when I was there recently the head of the local homebuilders association was taking local planners to task. The planners fault? They weren't creating enough dense subdivisions with walkable streets that the market in America is demanding right now. Ponder that for awhile.

Rr, You should move back. Maybe you could put a deposit on one of those condos going in over the new Whole Paycheck. Now I take your point about private developers, although I would like to point out that they can choose to build single family homes by the MAX if they want to, especially if that’s all people want to buy. And unless it’s the biggest coincidence I’ve ever seen, the fact that every lot around here is the same size, the blocks match and we can all walk to a main artery where transportation can be found, I think a wee bit of planning may have occurred even here. As I've said before, all new urbanism is is stealing ideas from the past that worked.

The Laurelwood advice came a little too late. I have a six-year-old, so tend to live in that place. In the summer we hang out on the back patio of the Moon and Sixpence. The smoking ban cannot come soon enough for me.

"The notion that sprawl is inherently bad is an artificial one propagated by those whose careers and egos are dependent on 'planning.'"

Sprawl may not be inherently bad, but it's usually bad in reality and especially in its modern, freeway-era form. I grew up in sprawling Beaverton and thought the place was a horror. I know many, many people who agree with me--and in the case of none of us do our careers or egos depend on planning.

So, please, all you antiplanners, don't tell me that sprawl and tracts of single-family homes eating up farms and forests are the only things that all or most people in this city want. Many of us approve of government planning and basically share Metro's goals. If the "comment community" on this blog--especially considering the deluge of comments posted by a few individuals of a libertarian bent--were representative of Portland as a whole, then yes, we'd have to conclude that city government around here is completely disconnected from the citizens.

But that doesn't seem to be the case. Unlike most places in America, in Portland the Sherwoods appear to outnumber the Ricky Raggs, Bens, Antiplanners, Karlocks, and McMullens.

Welcome to Portland, Sherwood; I like the way you think. May people like you prosper and multiply (but at no more than a zero-population-growth rate, of course).

I don't get it, Jack. What's the complaint? The powerpoint seemed pretty straightforward. It described the planning process used by Portland, and highlighted the steps taken to implement T.O.D. in the Hollywood district.

Of course it's "propaganda," so is anything that promotes what someone thinks is a successfully implemented program.

Is your position that the Hollywood transit line and associated development has been a failure? That is was or is badly managed?

Or that Portland planners should not talk to their cohorts around the country?

The person is paid to plan for Portland. The person is not paid to generate p.r. for a particular type of plan so that she can fly to Hawaii to promote it to other cities.

I think transit-oriented development subsidies are a waste of money. If the gazillions of people who we're told are going to move to Portland really do show up, there will be ample demand for apartments near bus lines. They can be built without needing to have the taxpayers subsidize them.

Richard,
Thanks for the welcome. I have received many in the three years since I moved here - not what you would expect if your views of Portland were derived from this blog. Rest assured that I tell everyone it rains all the time and the wife and I are finished on one child, nicely below the replacement rate.

Jack,
If Portland paid for this guy to fly around the world on a pr jag you may have a point. I suspect it's more of a professionals yacking to fellow professionals type of thing with Hawaii paying the fare. Lawyers have plenty of get togethers don't they? After all no one else will talk...(joke removed by author).

Jack is right; the point is that this planner is paid to plan for Portland, not go around telling every one else what they should be doing.
Planning is not all bad. If there is no planning one ends up with something like El Paso, TX which is just awful. You have not experienced real sprawl till you see El Paso!
However the costs of all the junkets, seminars and organizations can be excessive. Also the end result can be that every place ends up looking like every place else. This is what has happened to retail stores and restaurants; homogenization.
But then maybe the majority of folks now want to see the same things everywhere they go in the world.
I am not one of them. I do not want McDonalds in Butan or Wal Mart in New Zealand, nor do I want to visit another place only to have it look like Portland or for Portland to look like Boston or Denver, or Billlings.

Sherwood,
As I said up thread you haven't a clue what you are talking about. Your narrow minded use of the tired "you're mean and our planing is stopping sprawl" fails miserably to explain in any way how our planners plans are any substitute for accomodating growth as was done before the Metro "Smart Growth" agenda.

The current planning subsidizes and spawns a few pockets of pretty at the expense of evereything else.

It certainly isn't "managing growth" despite the morons at the oregonian editorial board and Portland Tribune.

But then you obviously have no idea where the countless millions comes from to subsidize the fanatsies, or what it is spent on, or how bad of a problem the region has. Yor three years here has rendered you a genuine sap lapping up the hogwash like no one else.

The UGB is nothing but a blind blockade. UGB expansions, clear back to at least 1998, sit stuck in the planners quagmire in search of more planning and countless millions to divert into subsidizing grand and unworkable schemes.
Pleasant Valley is sprawl, Damascus is sprawl, North Bethany is sprawl, Wilsonville's Villebois is sprawl but they all have Metros' stamp of approval so I guess it isn't sprawl?
Nearly all of the infill TODs are heavily subsidized and chaos in the making with indadequate parking an zero consideration for traffic and the cost of congestion. While NEVER triggering the transit riders promised.
Three years and you've got it figured out though.

I'm with Jack on this issue. Somewhere along the line the FACT that this planner is taking both time off from her job and possibly being paid by the City of Portland to evangelize about "Smart Growth" is being missed. And this is no doubt given the "Okay" by the idiots at City Hall who can't seem to find the money to fix potholes or pave the dozens of unpaved streets in the City. Talk about poor priorities!

As the original post says, even if Portland pays none of the travel expenses (who knows in this case?), it does pay for the employee's time -- in preparing the talk, and perhaps the time spent giving it as well.

God forbid local governments communicate with each other and try to learn from each other's successes and mistakes. They might actually become more efficient!

Yes, and God forbid they should do it by e-mail.

Sherwood: Rr, You should move back. Maybe you could put a deposit on one of those condos going in over the new Whole Paycheck.
JK: Speaking of “you should move back” why don’t you take your own advise? Don’t Californicate Oregon.

Sherwood: Now I take your point about private developers, although I would like to point out that they can choose to build single family homes by the MAX if they want to, especially if that’s all people want to buy.
JK: No they can’t. Most zoning (and soon ALL) around toy train stations has a minimum density - no homes allowed, only high density crap.

Sherwood: And unless it’s the biggest coincidence I’ve ever seen, the fact that every lot around here is the same size, the blocks match and we can all walk to a main artery where transportation can be found, I think a wee bit of planning may have occurred even here.
JK: Wrong again. Hollywood was built, before zoning, on prime farmland. It was sprawl. It was entirely planned by the developer, not some idiot city planner, enabled by modern transportation of the day - the little toy train (streetcar) PAID FOR BY THE DEVELOPER so his customers (the home buyers) could get to jobs in the downtown. Of course, most of the jobs are no longer downtown and the streetcar was replaced by something better - first buses then cars.

Sherwood: As I've said before, all new urbanism is is stealing ideas from the past that worked.
JK: Ideas that worked for a lower standard of living. Now that we have progressed in our standard of living, we demand something better than a crummy little condo next to a noisy, gang infested toy train track.

But not to worry, Portland’s policies are slowly lowering our standard of living as the average person can no longer afford a house.

Thanks
JK

How about we mandate that all public debt (including all forward promises beyond the terms of any city council member) be reduced to zero no less frequently than once every twenty years? Then remix. It could be that simple.

Extended remarks -- PDX: We're Still On The Sustainable Level of Development Kick

Don't forget the farmer perspective. Sustainable development types, in any context related to use of land and land use planning, should prefer to send Bruce Warner on junkets carrying frozen tins of Marionberries and the like to foreign destinations.

rr, if you mention Damascus you might note that the principal drive for the formation of the city was to spare it from becoming the DEVELOPMENT (read it exclusively as expanded tax base) play ground for either Gresham or Happy Valley. I just spent the last two days trying to knock down some weeds in a hay field out that way, to meet a local need for horses. I would like to be able to do the same in twenty years. It is the Rex Burkholder's TOGETHER with the M37 crowd that are practicing astroturfing to present the notion to local yokels that this is their last best chance for development, SO AS TO DRIVE DOWN THE PURCHASE PRICE . . . whereupon the "strategic" buyer will use their connections to reanimate the full development potential. The planners are themselves acting like glorified property aggregators to FACILITATE development.

The question I posed, but remains unanswered, over at NWRepublican was "Can I just treat M37 and M49 as an ill wind that will pass?" Talk about Orwellian crap from the so-called defenders of individual liberty and their tripe about the OTHER landgrabbers.

The present value calculation of the forward tax burden to cover public debt to accommodate someone else's private development desires results in property values for those who do not develop of far below zero. Ah . . . but for Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve's drive to stimulate the economy through debt/credit creation we would not all have become such whores for creation of illusionary WEALTH. Land use planning nirvana can try to be the glossy lipstick that is put on the cancerous-big-debt-pig. Article XI of the Oregon Constitution however offers sage advice that is more suitable to defining the relationship between citizens and their runaway beast of a government than does trying to shape all public debate on development into one related to the private-limits/public-license pertaining to land use planning. If there is some nexus between public debt AND use of land for nearly all land development and any economic undertaking which of the two competing analytical regimes should predominate?

Prevent sprawl by limiting public debt. Simple.

Limit public debt - great idea. Perhaps you should start referring PDC debt issues to the voters through the ballot initiative process. ORS provides for it. If enough people are opposed to these shenanigans, seems like it would be easy to stop this runaway train.

Jimmy,

Great to hear from you. Lately we’ve had this guy called Ben who may be the only person to read your webpage and believe it. He’s using you words but is way too angry to function effectively in the real world. Anyway, off we go:

“Speaking of “you should move back” why don’t you take your own advise? Don’t Californicate Oregon.” I hear this a lot. There is nothing in SoCal that is anything like the parts of Portland you hate so much. It is a vast (about 250 miles to get out of San Diego heading North) sprawling hell hole much more like Beaverton than anything else. Surely you would want me to make it more like that.

“Most zoning (and soon ALL) around toy train stations has a minimum density - no homes allowed, only high density crap” If nobody wants to live in these festering hell holes they will not be built. Then along can come a developer of “normal” houses and persuade the city that they made an error. I’m assuming that as every city since man started building these things is dense at the core it won’t happen. But all we can do is stay tuned.

“It was entirely planned by the developer, not some idiot city planner,” All of Portland was built by one developer using the same guestimates! I could have sworn I’ve seen many maps and zoning diagrams from the early 1900s. I guess you learn something new every day.

“Ideas that worked for a lower standard of living.” No, no and may I add no. They work because humans can walk a certain distance in a certain time. Your legs may have atrophied due to only ever operating pedals, but most people still have the same requirements for a human scale development. Check out Rome, Barcelona, London, Boston etc. They have different architecture but very similar scale. I think we need to start a fund to get you out and about a bit. There are hundreds of thousands of places out there that are better than Tigard. Honest to god I’m not making this up.

“next to a noisy, gang infested toy train track.” This is becoming a bit of a theme with you. Not every one that is walking or riding a train is out to hurt you. Put down the garage door opener for a bit and go and share some space with your fellow man. Admittedly some of them are total arseholes, but 99% of them are fine.

“But not to worry, Portland’s policies are slowly lowering our standard of living as the average person can no longer afford a house.” Portland is the cheapest large town on the west coast by a vast margin. The housing bubble has nothing to do with any of this and you know it.

And what have you read Sherwood?
Nothing but Metro's web site of public deceit no doubt.
You really shouldn't pretend to know Oregon having been here only 3 years.
As far as your views of the planning around here and what it does and doesn't do you obviously have no inclination to genuinely study any of it.
Instead you trumpet the fraud in the tones of the biggest liars around here.
Your dishonesty is only surpassed by your ignorance. Your lack of familiarity of land use and transportation planning around here leaves you looking like a sloppy Metro Councilor.
The countless examples of unintended outcomes, missed objectives, unrealized promises and complete failure are easy to list.
In stark contrast all we hear from the likes of you is smearing of the messengers and empty sloganeze.
Metro and our other local planners (and officials named Sam) are lost in visions overly reliant upon perpetual conceptualization and theories forever waiting for reality to come along.

There are no plans for the rising traffic and worsening congestion from growth, no plans for affordable housing, no plans to shorten working class commutes, and no plans for replacement revenue to cover the misspent millions.
There can't be. They are all too busy having delusions of graduere about saving us from sprawl, global warming and peak oil.
I can hear them now as we get bowled over with congestion, debt and regional chaos.
Voters will be blamed for not handing over more millions for more of the same delusions.
Delusions that prioritize $300 million for more light rail and streetcars while the Sellwood Bridge, closed to trucks and buses, gets not one dime.
The 205 MAX, transit mall, Milwaukie Light rail, more streetcars and more transit oriented development will contribute nothing to our road system as growth worsens the entire region's congestion.
Pretty darn special huh Sherwood?

I wonder how much you know about the rest of the region outside of Portland?
It ain't working pal.

I guess you haven't figured it out yet Sherwood, being a native Englander and all, but Portland isn't located in Europe. I personally don't want this area to emulate London or Barcelona. They're dense, polluted hell holes.

http://tinyurl.com/2z63xh
http://geographyfieldwork.com/BarcelonaPollution1.htm

Portland's planning elite and their emulation of the European model will ruin this city. What's the point of saving farm and forest land if we all have to suffer in an urban labyrinth?

There's only 35.6 people per square mile in Oregon, as opposed to the UK's 637. I think there's enough room for a few more people in this state without packing them in a relatively small are like the poor Londoners.

And I think Ben is correct, I doubt you've ever ventured out of this city.

Careful, guys. You'll rile him up to the point where his continual ad-hominems start to insinuate things like your inability to read such luminaries of the Peak Oil pantheon as Y2Kunstler.

OTOH, I am quite fond of quoting Y2Kunstler's opinion that, in a world of dwindling oil reserves, we are going to have to return to heavy water-based industrial shipping, and deal with all of the truly vile grit that goes along with that. Amidst all of the man's logical fallacies and lack of critical thinking, he is actually dead right about that one, in the same manner that a stopped clock is right twice a day. You would think that all of the Metro types that endlessly polish that naked emperor's knob all year long, would have read the guy enough to absorb the full impact of that key idea.

Instead, they work overtime do as much as they possibly can to drive light industry and shipping traffic out of Portland. Someone, some day, is going to make a lot of money tearing out those hideous condos along the waterfront, as we gear back up to be an industrial port city again.

In the meantime, I plan on making a nice living off of idiots who give up their cars, hoping that public transit will magically solve all of their needs, that is, if my taxes don't rise so far to negate the increased revenue.

Cabbie,

Love the new moniker.
I was in a cab the other day in Minneapolis heading to a golf course. The driver didn’t know where we were going, or indeed where the largest park in town was, but I had a nice chat. It seems that the economics of driving a cab there have been turned upside down by the new light rail system - $1.50 to downtown as opposed to $45. When I say system I mean one line, but I’m sure others are planned (maybe they had a visit from a Portland planner). He seemed like a nice guy but was resigned to an imminent career change. They are putting in some condos downtown, so maybe I should have told him to hold on long enough to make his fortune off the newly arriving idiots.

Maybe we should look to some European cities for ideas on how to run a transit system. It seems that London contracted out their system and saved something like 50% of the cost. Copenhagen did the same and saved some 25% and expanded the coverage by about 10% and that socialist haven of Stockholm followed with a 20% savings. How about contracting out Trimet and see what is saved?

But then we are in the UGB. Wouldn't want to think outside of the box, er UGB. Reminds me of those secure hamlets in Vietnam, or maybe its the Rez as what the natives refer to. Just think the Rez, UGB and Secure Hamlets are all pretty much the same.

Michael Wilson

Sherwood: They are putting in some condos downtown, so maybe I should have told him to hold on long enough to make his fortune off the newly arriving idiots.
JK:Oh, you mean the big condo tower right on the transit mall? I got to attend a talk by the developer - that is a neat project with the lower 10 floors being parking! And that is right on the transit mall!!

Thanks
JK

We all have to drive cars all the time.
No we all have to ride bikes and take transit all the time.
No we all have to drive cars all the time.
No we all have to ride bikes and take transit all the time.
Roads!
MAX lines!
Tastes great.
Less filling.
Taste great.
Less filling.

Wait what was I talking about?

Greg C

Ps. You're bright people, figure it out.

Sherwood, don't feel sorry for the lazy airport cabbies. We don't. It's just another approach to business...instead of waiting in a queue out at the Port for three hours, hoping for a $45 fare, you hustle out on the streets, $15 per hour for three hours at a minimum, more if you are good at it. Lots and lots of short trips from customers who don't own cars for whatever reason, add up, and you are burning tons of gasoline the entire time. I've been curious enough to compile rudimentary statistics, and the number of gas-sucking, pollution spewing taxicabs per capita goes way up in denser cities with lots of rail.

Of course, in Europe, most cabs run on Diesel or even Biodiesel, but that is another can o' worms. The new 2009-2010 US Diesel emissions standards are far more stringent than those across the pond, from what I have read, but our Diesel fuel was really filthy for a long time, so it's not such a bad thing, maybe.

Funny thing, the new light rail that is going in, in my home town of Austin, will run directly on Diesel powered trains, unlike Portland, where the pollution belching power plants needed to provide the power for the trains are located far away.

The official website does have a picture of our MAX, though, I found that hilarious for some reason...

Sherwood I am not sure what you meant by this, "'Most zoning (and soon ALL) around toy train stations has a minimum density - no homes allowed, only high density crap' If nobody wants to live in these festering hell holes they will not be built. Then along can come a developer of “normal” houses and persuade the city that they made an error. I’m assuming that as every city since man started building these things is dense at the core it won’t happen. But all we can do is stay tuned."

There are a lot of people living in place that are poor and substandard simply because they cannot afford to move elsewhere. This city has bigotry just like other cities do and we see it from city hall. It is just papered over and called progress.

Michael Wilson

JK. I saw a bunch of condos going up in Minneapolis, probably including the one you mention There is no way I would live in the Midwest without a car. That town is sprawled from the equivalent of Salem to Longview and probably beyond. If gas only goes up to $5 or $10 Portland will struggle but that place, and many others, will be a painful place to live.

Cabbie, why would they run a light rail using diesel? Was it some sort of bizarre nod to the oil industry? Centralized power is half the point. Easier to produce cleanly and able to be switched around as technology changes.

So anyone actually interested in surburban development and the associated subsidies involved should read this article in today's Big O'. Http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1189232717204570.xml&coll=7.

Especially interesting is the quote from Wash Co Chair Tom Brian that without these large subsidies for roads, sewer, and other infrastructure the houses in North Bethany would cost around $750,000.

Greg C

*****There's only 35.6 people per square mile in Oregon, as opposed to the UK's 637. I think there's enough room for a few more people in this state without packing them in a relatively small are like the poor Londoners.******

Wouldn't a better comparison be the UK vs Western Oregon? Most of Eastern & Central Oregon is not capable of supporting a large population without massive investment in water projects.

Greg C

No Greg, the UK and Oregon have roughly the same size land mass -- Oregon being a tad bigger. There are also rural areas in the UK, you know.

*****There's only 35.6 people per square mile in Oregon, as opposed to the UK's 637. I think there's enough room for a few more people in this state without packing them in a relatively small are like the poor Londoners.******

Wouldn't a better comparison be the UK vs Western Oregon? Most of Eastern & Central Oregon is not capable of supporting a large population without massive investment in water projects.

OK, well if we guesstimate that the inhabitable part of Western Oregon is only 1/4 of the state total, that brings our people per sq mile up to roughly 140, as compared to the UK's 637.

I'll never forget my next door neighbor from Britain...he would just go on and on about how wonderful it was to have a nice yard with his garden and room to breathe, and what an overcrowded, crime-ridden, violence filled hell-hole his homeland was, with hordes of people just stacked on top of each other in huge, run-down council flats like something out of "A Clockwork Orange."

Been out to the Eastside rail slum corridor lately ? I have. Just imagine it stacked on top of itself three times over...

Sherwood: If gas only goes up to $5 or $10 Portland will struggle but that place, and many others, will be a painful place to live.
JK: Not really, we'll just get more efficient cars, hybrids, etc --like the Europeans who drive almost as much as we do with gas st several times our price and a generally lower income. (The claim that we should be like Europe to reduce driving is just another planner's lie - the Europeans drive for 78% of their person-kilometers. See DebunkingPortland.com/Transit/EuroTranistShareLoss.htm )

Thanks
JK

JK. So all they need to do is spend say $5 to $20 billion on new cars (that don’t currently exist), not to mention a cheap fuel source (that doesn’t exist yet) to heat and cool their homes and they will be dandy. Once again, I learn something “new” from you every day. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, get out of the basement and go on a hunt for Tigard or Phoenix in Spain or Germany.

Cabbie, The Eastside is an auto slum with a single track running through .000005% of it. Reversing logic is a technique that works in high school debates but not when people have a chance to read it. I’m going to start using the upper Westside of Manhattan as proof that auto dependent suburbia is vastly more expensive. This Brit in Texas seemed very happy. Of course, anyone that would find Texas nice has to be mentally ill. I was raised surrounded by rolling green hills and Range Rovers. Needless to say I was desperate to move to a city to escape. That’s the great thing about Portland. A fine city surrounded by countryside (fingers crossed on 49) where you can enjoy both.

The person is paid to plan for Portland.

This is a professional development session. We can't have planners who learn by sticking their head in the ground.

1) She was at a professional meeting, not a propaganda session.
2) Like it or not, many planners think Portland is a model city.
3) Ergo she gave a presentation.

Is this really so shocking?

Of course, anyone that would find Texas nice has to be mentally ill

And here I was, thinking you might get into the mechanics of England's "Town and Country" act and how it created the conditions that my friend grew up in, vs the ones you were lucky enough to be born into.

Classic. I think I'll start using "to Sherwood" as a term for childish ad-hominem sniping in lieu of reasoned debate. ".000005 %" ? Really ? As in one two hundred thousandth of one percent ? Elaborate for us...

I'm still laughing, thinking about all the rolling green hills I grew up surrounded by in the lovely Texas Hill Country. Too bad it's so hot there.

Tell us, what do you do for money ?

Cabbie,

I retired at 35. That's how I have enough time to post here. I may unretire soon as my daughter seems to have grown tired of me. Any suggestions for a new career? I’m not sure about the cab thing as I scare easily and the suspension on American cars makes me want to puke when cornering a lot.

The Town and Country act is the finest piece of legislation I have had the privilege to benefit from. It showed superb foresight and gave the people of Oregon something to borrow from many decades later. My second favorite passed a few years ago. The Right to Roam act is almost enough for me to forgive Blair for being a poodle – almost, but not quite. You can look it up but I warn you it may not be to your taste. It would be to your absolute benefit, but I sense you have aspirations to be an upstanding Republican in all things regardless of logic.

“".000005 %" ? Really ?” I may be a teeny bit off on the decimal places, but the point is unarguable. It’s the most auto dependent part of Mutltnomah county so not really where you should be looking for anti-transit anecdotes.

I hear there are hills in Texas. I’ve been there a few times, and flown over it frequently, but I’ve yet to see one. I’ve seen bugs the size of my head, people the size of my car, ugly sprawl with not a walking human in sight and, as you say, felt temperatures that I did not believe existed on earth. It also comes with this “don’t mess with Texas” smugness that makes the whole place truly surreal. In its defense I would say that Florida was even more vile. That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Ah, so now I'm a Republican !!! I'm gonna have to let all of the people I was warning about Dubya 10 years ago know that. You're right, Dallas and Houston do suck, but that is as much a matter of overpopulation, demographics and class issues as urban planning. To find some people that really, and I mean, really hate Republicans, go to Central Texas.

Speaking of class issues, that is an amazing piece of legislation all right...but property rights are a foundation of American law. I would never think to trample on someone else's land...that's what public state forests are for. Apples and Oranges argument, really.

"Don't Mess..." came from an anti-littering campaign, BTW.

Getting back to class issues, just what was it you did that allowed you to retire at 35 ? I'm 35, and my father busted his ass for a PHD, and still has not retired by the age of 63.

And, do continue with how the "Town and Country Act" helped to create those horrible, overcrowded council flats my neighbor grew up in...


In no particular order:

Marriage

The right to roam doesn’t threaten anybodies property rights. It merely allows people to walk in their own country - assuming they respect the property of others and follow the countryside code. We’re not talking about peoples backyards here. It’s for when aristocrats buy Scotland or Ted Turner buys half of Montana. It’s not more his country just because he has more money.

I’m struggling on the connection between the town and country act and council flats. It’s the same red herring as the growth boundary and house prices. There were some terrible place built in the 60s/70s but they were considered modern paradises at the time. Meanwhile, the occupants, no matter how poor, do have easy access to countryside. Now even easier thanks to the persistence of ramblers.

Sherwood,
The basis for some of your comments must be limited to a nano knee jerk imporession.
Yes there are hills in Texas and beautiful country side and cities too.
I have relatives there and have been all over it on multiple vacations.
The people are no different than here, and they are very friendly.
Their sprawl is no different than ours with the exception of the overcrowded mess Metro has mandated can't be found there,,,yet. The closely packed housing and infill Metro has spawned is ugly sprawl. You're either don;t get out, are blind or an idiot if you think otherwise.
And out here in our Metro sprawl there are countless places with no more "walking human in sight" than you perceive in Texas.
Yeah it gets hot there in the summer. No different than any other southern State.
The rest of the year is bathed in moderate and warms weather.
Ya'll don't get anything about Texas so shut up. You're the smug one.
Yes you are wrong.

I think it’s important not to get pissy about grammar or spelling on the wondrous interweb as it will come back and bite you, but: “a nano knee jerk imporession” is too much.

The other arguments seem to be that the weather is vile but it’s as bad in other unlivable parts of the country, and there is horrible sprawl too, although any attempt to change that here is the devil’s work. Oh, and “yes you are wrong.” I submit.

I refer the honorable gentlemen to the answer I gave earlier in the thread.

Sherwood, my fine feathered friend, I think you miss the gist of some of what I am trying to say. I'm first and foremost fascinated by failed utopianism, as I've followed it for so long.

See, I want to believe that train corridors help to reduce traffic congestion. When I first came to Portland nearly a decade ago, I remember being struck by the lack of a rush hour. Now, we have some of the worst traffic congestion increases in the United States. I-5 though the central part of Portland beat out Los Angeles last year for rush-hour gridlock travel delays, and, yes, I've driven through LA.

I want to believe that train corridors improve the livability of a city, but I am lucky enough to have an occupation that gives me the opportunity to see how the opposite can often be true. Earlier tonight, I was out at the Eastside rail slum corridor, 162 and Burnside. If you scare easily, as you said, then that is a very good reason for the fact that you apparently don't spend much time out there.

I do.

There were police all over the place, and Burnside was all taped off for about 15 blocks. People were milling around everywhere. I stopped into a mini-mart for a delicious Jarritos Tamarindo soda, and asked around. Apparently, a gang member had tried to kill someone over a girl.

Lots of dialects of English and Spanish were being spoken, as everyone milled around the broken glass asphalt nightmare near the tracks and gossiped...nothing too unusual around that area.

It reminded me of many neighborhoods back home.

Cabbie,

For the last three years I’ve spent lots of time out “there” as it’s where my daughter went to school (a fabulous place if you know someone looking for a Montessori school). She is now in the local school and I will be spending as little time there as possible.

What you are describing is poverty, immigration, blight, and government inaction. If your position is that this is caused by emissions from the MAX train you would have a point – an odd one but it would have some logic. Without the train this would be happening outside the nearest 7-11 or strip mall. Would they be the cause, and would you be calling for their removal?

No, Sherwood, again you miss the point. Of course the trains themselves do not cause poverty, gangs and violent crime, but rather the dense concrete jungles created by our planning commissars' rail corridors and the areas adjacent to them in slum neighborhoods seem to encourage, and I would even argue, enable all kinds of nasty behavior.

Wayward teens and budding criminals are always looking for somewhere to congregate and cause trouble. It usually happens around bus malls where there are no train lines, and, as you said, mini-marts and shopping malls. The Eastside MAX offers a most excellent place for criminals to conduct business late at night, I see it with my own eyes all the time...I have to tell pimps with shark-like, soul-less eyes that I won't drive them specifically down Burnside to check on their girls, and I've been physically attacked at those stations. One time a gang of hoodlums busted out my passenger window near where that attempted murder happened on Monday, not too far from where 10-20 people beat the crap out of another guy the same night.

I refer you to the LEO's post on that earlier thread, re the sheer amount of violent crime along the Eastside MAX, and the pressure on them from Tri-Met and METRO to play this down. He told us that you are flat-out taking your life in your hands out there after dark, remember ?

As far as more government goes, I agree with you there, and so do the police:

http://www.katu.com/news/9725662.html

Question is, do you drive to that Rockwood Montessori school from your Hollywood District house in the evenings, or do you use the MAX yourself ?

oops, should have been "did" instead of "do you drive" there, wrong tense, my bad.

Wrong school. Anyway I mostly drove and occasionally biked. It’s a vile place to bike as it’s designed entirely for cars. With some research I found a fairly decent, if longer, route. As I’ve mentioned many I times, I have $50k of Swedish steel that can whisk me to the 95% of Portland that is built for government mandated car ownership. Downtown and the airport I visit via MAX or the bus, although I tend to go out of my way to avoid the bus.

You tell me I’m missing the point but then make no effort whatsoever to come up with a rational point of your own. Are you saying that if not for the MAX and evil planners, “these” people would be living in nice snout houses in Tigard, using their garage door openers to avoid all contact with their neighbors and, therefore, any temptation to act in antisocial ways? I know you’re not, as that would be insane. They would be living in a crappy apartment complex a few yards away and acting in exactly the same way at the local park, strip mall or parking lot. The only difference would be that those among “them” that want to fight their way out of poverty would have fewer options of getting to where the jobs are.

Poor little MAX. He gets blamed for crime in Gresham and blamed for gentrification (i.e. lower crime) in North Portland. The boy can’t get a break from you people.

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but have you considered another line of work? Or at least concentrate on areas away from the Burnside methadone treatment clinic on 161st.


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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

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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