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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 23, 2008 9:01 PM. The previous post in this blog was Making good sense. The next post in this blog is Good news! They found your keys. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Why we live here

All day long, the beauty and charm of the mountain. Upon arriving home, the smell of winter-blooming daphne in the drive, and the taste of a well crafted ale brewed just up the street. Life is good.

Comments (35)

Take a look at the Minn bridge pictures and you will see they were adding a 12" concrete lift to a steel structure capable of supporting half that weight.

No rocket science needed here.

But isn't that like our Oregon government today where they continuing taking on more than they can support and its all soon to come crashing down?

I like living in Portland's old single family residential neighborhoods (Richmond neighborhood), too. But it's getting too expensive to live here for me and others. This November a bunch of new tax measures will be on the ballot, and judging from the all the tax measures passed in '06, I wouldn't be surprised to see them all pass as well. This could represent another 10%, or higher, hike in property taxes. The nature of the city seems to be changing, too, with high density projects being built along main car trip routes causing increasing traffic congestion. So, sadly, my family is planning to move in the next four years to a smaller city in Oregon or Washington.

Finally!

I have lived in several places, including Portland, and am currently in exile on the east coast. There is no city as nice as Portland, end of story. There's so much griping in the comments of this blog, and I recognize that the PDX gov makes many bad decisions, but come on, where else can you get everything you get in Portland... mountains, water, forest and wilderness, then go into town for farmer's markets, tons of restaurants, great local food, a mind-blowing selection of craft beer and wine, and incredible local shops. On top of it all, Portland is safe, cheap, and easy.

I know that a blog full of "everything's nice here" posts wouldn't make for great reading, but its nice to take a step back and note just how great Portland - and Oregon - really is.

There's so much griping in the comments of this blog, and I recognize that the PDX gov makes many bad decisions, but come on, where else can you get everything you get in Portland...

I feel the same way. When people complain about Portland, I always wonder where else they would live. Portland's not perfect, but it's still the best city in America.

The first time I set foot in Portland in Oct '94, I decided this place was going to be my home. No lie. The Bay area and Seattle were stops on the where-to-live list as well, but Portland won, hands down.

As if the Portland area wasn't a great place to live before the Sam Adams/Vera/PDC/Metro Scams?

Come on people, get real. The criticism
launched at the current establishment is quite specific, targetted and spot on.

Enamoring how nice it is here in order to brush off the widespread misuse of public funds, enriching insiders, neglect of infrastrcuture and lack of accountability only serves to make things worse.
Audits now!

Howard is spot-on here.

It's quite stunning how much for the worse Portland has changed since my wife and I moved here in late 1995.

And the bone-headed decisions, selfishness, misguided priorities, underhanded tactics, lack of being in tune with the desires of voters, and general incompetence of the city and county governments are directly responsible for 80% of the worse change.

Unfortunately I don't see sanity entering the picture anytime soon...

I'm not brushing off anything.

Howard and Gerry - No one's suggesting brushing off anything. If someone stole a billion dollars from Bill Gates, he'd be mad and want it back, and it would be a serious crime, but that wouldn't make him a poor man.

The bottom line is that Portland is way better - today - than any other city. Nowhere is remotely close. Sure, you can have differences in taste and opinion, but very few, if any, cities offer what Portland does in such a cheap and convenient package. Also, I doubt that it is really that much more poorly run than anywhere else.

What other city has Powells, the Portland nursery, mt hood, the coast and the wild only an hour or so away, Ken's bakery, Nuestra cucina, Rogue, etc?

very few, if any, cities offer what Portland does in such a cheap and convenient package.

Cheap? Convenient? Maybe not so. Certainly nowhere near what it used to be in either of those departments.

Also, I doubt that it is really that much more poorly run than anywhere else.

Compared to the Portland of 20 years ago, it is being run extremely poorly -- run into the ground, really.

What other city has Powells, the Portland nursery, mt hood, the coast and the wild only an hour or so away, Ken's bakery, Nuestra cucina, Rogue, etc?

Government has nothing to do with any of that. Nothing.

The bottom line is that Portland is way better - today - than any other city.

prove it.

very few, if any, cities offer what Portland does in such a cheap and convenient package

i can name at least seven. i like Portland too, but you're presenting a very myopic view.

i can also name a dozen reasons why Portland isn't "the best", including:

* we have more elderly living in poverty per capita than most cities in the nation,
* the number of citizens using emergency food aid increases yearly,
* the housing/income ratio makes Portland officially the third least affordable large city in the nation,
*owner-occupied home ownership is sharply decreasing,
* Portland's air pollution levels are rising (the EPA documents it) and the Willamette is one of the dirtiest urban rivers in the nation,

and so on. Portland's got systemic problems, and those are just symptoms. the insulated sanctum of downtown and the Inner East Side make up about, oh, 4% of the city. the other 96% is not terribly interested in Mt. Hood and the "amenity package"--they want living wages, affordable housing, affordable food.

Government has nothing to do with any of that. Nothing.

Until it so badly messes things up to make these things impossible or to destroy them. Which has happened most other places and which is why the people of pdx do need to stay on top of the city's gov.

Gov in portland may or may not be awful now, but assuming it is, the city is still a wonderful place to live. Small and local merchants are overcoming the bureaucracy, natural wonders are surviving the onslaught, the streets can be walked without fear, and the citizens are still managing to save a little money from the taxman for spending on wine, beer, and good food.

The point is that Portland has so many unique and great qualities, that any criticism should be with Portland's greatness in mind. Its "you're messing up this wonderful place" not "this place sucks."

i can name at least seven

They are?

Small and local merchants are overcoming the bureaucracy, natural wonders are surviving the onslaught, the streets can be walked without fear, and the citizens are still managing to save a little money from the taxman for spending on wine, beer, and good food.

living in the Inner East Side, are we?

local merchants are overcoming the bureaucracy

small businesses are doing worse than ever. chain store presence is up 483% since 1995, in all parts of the city.

natural wonders are surviving the onslaught

the Willamette. the Columbia. air pollution. sewage. water supply. the opposite is true.

the streets can be walked without fear
depends on where you walk, doesn't it?

the citizens are still managing to save a little money from the taxman for spending on wine, beer, and good food.

dude. what a pretty, pretty world you live in. see my last post.

eco,

I get your point, even if some of the factoids are clearly not true, but the thing is, Portland should be an expensive city, and it really isn't.

Anyways, Jack's original post was "why we live here." I think its pretty clear why I'd like to live in PDX. Why do you live there? What do you like about the place?

"What other city has Powells, the Portland nursery, mt hood, the coast and the wild only an hour or so away, Ken's bakery, Nuestra cucina, Rogue, etc?"

"Government has nothing to do with any of that. Nothing."

Well - mostly not, but the wild wouldn't be as close or as wild without the urban growth boundary. All govmint there.

Luke, why don't you live here? From your utopian viewpoint of Portland, your job should not be a determining factor. For your physical and maybe mental health you should live here. What is money? According to you it isn't a big factor and Portland is so cheap.

Lee,

Why do you live in portland?

Money is, of course, a big factor, but I just think nice things should be expensive in the free market.

For all the griping about our mind-bogglingly corrupt local government that goes on here, and I happily contribute to that, parts of the town are still pretty nice, in spite of the ceaseless efforts on the part of the aforementioned Government planner parasites to utterly ruin it's character. Especially the inner East Side, where I cannot afford to live, much less buy property.

My neighborhood, 15th/Dekum, is nowhere near as violent and frightening as it was many years ago, but that has to do with demographics and gentrification. Most of the poverty has simply been shoved to the east, mostly along the Eastside Rail Slum Density Corridor. It is almost as if the entirety of East County has been permanently zoned as a slum. Long time residents of that area will happily give you an earful about this ongoing process.

It is most instructive to take the last Crime Train out to Rockwood late at night, near where Fred Meyers simply threw up it's hands in defeat and abandoned an entire store, and just walk around for an hour or so, taking in all that wonderful and progressive change that forced density and taxpayer subsidized housing bring.

That is the future of greater Portland, brought to you by our loving Government.

"I'm not brushing off anything".

I know, I owuld never suggest the bog was brushing off anything.
I was responding to comments suggesting thr "gripping" on this blog wasn't justified because Portland is wonderful place.

Yes everyone, Portland and the region is a great part of the country to live in.

Despite the broad wrong doing by public officials and having nothing to do with
the glorified planning which directs Billion into chosen schemes and projects which relatively few residents experience.

The vast majority of our region's residents live pretty much as we did 30 years ago. Living in typical urban and suburban neighborhoods while enjoying close proximity to the coast and mountains etc.

Unfortuatley as 100s of thousands more people were added basic infrastructure stayed the same. Even those highways to the beach and through the mountains remain the same while people needlessly die every year.
Felony flats is still felony flats while gentrification makes much of the inner city unaffordable.
The shiny Pearl and few other expensive ornaments scattered around make for nice outings but life for most Portlanders is much like it was before, Metro, before the Pearl and before PDC's et al's frenzied misappropriations of Billions.

Sure we have more open space and trails but our parks, where most families spend more time, are forever strapped for money and in disrepair.

That's the same with other infrastructure.

Yeah we have some trolleys and light rail but our roads are stuck in 1970 dealing with 2007 traffic and danger.
Even bus service lags far behind the service it should be providing many neighborhoods with little transit.

Same goes for other basic needs.

The list of basic needs shortages has been mounting while the spending and debt for shiny stuff piles up.

Example this.
Even as the Sellwood Bridge is approaching it's life's end irresponsible officials are choosing to build a new light rail bridge first.

It doesn't seem to matter how reckless and wasteful the decisons are, they are justified with fear mongering chants of global warming and sustainablility.

Howard,

I'll put the question to to you for which no one else seems to have an answer. Where would you rather live? What city is a paragon of municipal government? Granted, you could always consider a smaller town, but that's not a real comparison. Do you think Cleveland is run better? Tampa? Denver? Where?

My whole issue with the griping in these comments is that most criticisms are generally unrealistic and fail to take into account the fact that Portland is still a much much nicer place to live than anything comparable. As has happened in this string of comments, people complain about things - crime, traffic, cost of living, govt waste, etc - which may not be perfect, but are far better than any comparable city. I think anyone who lives in Portland too long may run the risk of losing that perspective.

My whole issue with the griping in these comments is that most criticisms are generally unrealistic and fail to take into account the fact that Portland is still a much much nicer place to live than anything comparable.

"Luke", you're trying to argue that not only do other commenters need to stop "griping", but that they need to do it only in the way that you like. you want to label it "griping". get over it.

and consider that you, in fact, have only one view of Portland--there are a few others, and there are glaring, verifiable, well-documented facts about Portland that you overlook in order to name Portland "best". that's fine, but give us a break with the "you all need to stop complaining and talk like me" nonsense.

It strikes me that the local subjects and politics treated here make the most sense in the context of a sincere investment in, and affection for, our community. Decent, honest, competent government is our right, and we should be demanding it or, failing that, keeping the initiatives of our errant public leadership under some degree of oversight and constraint. Does that happen because of a principled devotion to good (or opposition to bad) government in general, or is it because good government here is a necessary component of the quality of our life here?

Luke,
You appear not to read and comprehend the essence of the gripping.
You're either not up to speed on the issues or would rather not know.
Instead you default into,
"Where would you rather live?" anmd "What city is a paragon of municipal government?"

That's pretty much a greenlight pass for anything goes.

Never mind where the money goes? We're better and everyone else does it?

Your assessment that "most criticisms are generally unrealistic" fails to take into account reality.
The fact that Portland is still a nice place to live is not the measure of official malfeasence. Far from it.

Your extended assumption that local govt waste, etc is far better than any comparable city is baseless and simply your misguided impression.
What you you "think" about other's "perspectives" you need a lot of work on your own.
You appear to be either deliberately blind or incappable of comprehending the problems.
Leaving you failing miserably to grasp the severity of the mounting problems and conlficts of interests.

Here we are 25 comments, and still no one can name a better city than Portland.

Not that there aren't things worth complaining about. I'm with Jack, the city isn't being run very well.

It's just, maybe you could appreciate Portland a little more.

For my money, the only city better than P-town. Is New York City. But I'm not rich enough to live there yet.

"no one can name a better city than Portland..."

Because it's totally subjective.

However, Money magazine ranks similarly-sized Tucson, AZ with higher job growth and higher average income. A better choice for those who like heat.

Albuquerque, NM has higher job growth and a similar average income. A much more diverse culture than Portland's I might add.

Nashville has a much lower cost of living, plus a local music scene envied the world over.

Charlotte, NC has a higher average income, higher job growth, more diversity and more colleges.

I live here because my family came over here 200 years ago. I have ties that stretch to Prineville -- a street was named after one of my relatives. My kids are knee-deep in school and friends and I have a decent job. I'll move away only when the economy goes completely south. That or I can't stand the rain anymore.

I have ties that stretch to Prineville -- a street was named after one of my relatives.

You are correct, the one variable that can't be measured consistently is family ties. And I think if you ask most people why they live somewhere, it's because it's where they grew up, or it's where their family lives.

Oddly enough, I live in DC. Not because I like the city, though I do. But because they pay me more than any other city will.

If you like the Valley rain:
Eugene
Corvallis
Salem

If you like the sun:
Bend
Sisters

If you like California:
San Francisco (food)
Berkeley (hippies)
Oakland (Jerry Brown)
Los Angeles (Hollywood)
Bakersfield (malls)
Manhattan (beaches)
Redondo (beaches)
Newport Beach (beaches)
Laguna Beach (beaches)
San Diego (Navy)
etc ...
etc ...

Other than almost anywhere else, Portland is the best!

Luke, you asked me why I live here.
My grandmother was born here.
My mother was born here.
I went to school here.
My profession is here.
I own property here.
My family is here.
I've spent 40 years serving my city.
I recognize the intangible and God given attributes of our region.

But I have the right to comment, suggest, harangue the things that I feel are detrimental to our state, city; hopefully to make it better. Being a native, I remember how things were in the 50's and beyond. Things in many topics are not better, and I look at things in a planner's perspective knowledgeable about government. Yes, the physical features are wonderful, but those are not what we can affect.

I could live in San Antonio, San Diego, Denver, Seattle, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Boston, Savannah, Charleston. Even Minneapolis is great, but I don't know if I could endure the winters since I have never spent a long time there in that season.

Harry:
Get packing, then!
None of those places draws me. Bend? sprawl. Corvallis? Fog. Eugene? A bombed-out downtown. Sisters? Only one grocery store (maybe 1.5). And little else. California? Too many people. Maybe Atascadero or Montecito or Paso Robles or San Luis Obispo, but there isn't much culture in any of them except maybe Montecito through its proximity to Santa Barbara. But who could afford it besides Oprah?

This thread is getting a little dated, but one last note...

My point is: Portland is a nice place. Sure, govt may be bad, it may be poorly run, etc, and it is essential and great to criticize that, but don't let the criticism blind you to the many quotidian virtues of the place. Also, don't let the criticism make you think that Portland is worse than it really is.

Lee, of course you have the right to comment, that's not the point. The point is Portland is worth being proud of, worth staying and fighting for its quality. Most of the cities on your list are far more expensive than Portland and have much of the same issues. This is what I mean by not thinking its worse than it is. I mean, have you ever heard anyone say "I've lived here for 50 years, and the place has only gotten better."

Howard, I've never been talking about official malfeasance. My point is Portland is, right now, taking into account everything, very nice, much nicer to live in than (in my opinion) anywhere else.

Eco, did I ever say anyone should stop griping?

Justin, Nothing like a stint in DC (as I am also serving) to make you love Portland, eh?!

Allan L. - Right on!

Eco, did I ever say anyone should stop griping?

man, you've made about *ten* points, but you're *still* not willing to accept others have a range of views (and can still like Portland.) instead, you feel the need to admonish everyone else. like this:

Lee, of course you have the right to comment, that's not the point.

no, Luke, that *is* the point.


Luke, you need to do a little googling to find that many of the cities I mention are less expensive than Portland based on cost per income basis. And don't forget the studies that fairly consider all the taxes AND fees that are normally not considered.

Allan needs to get around more too.
Bend isn't nice bacause of sprawl?
What vague notion and wild reach.

And as if Portland doesn't have the most sprawl in the State?
Sprawl via the most convoluted planning anywhere resulting in chaos infill and expansion without any genuine regard for any basic needs of growth.

"California? Too many people."

Rediculous.
There are countless communities identical to Portland and/or our suburbs.

No matter the place, and there are many fabulous paces to live and raise a fmaily across the country, one's enamor over their city should never cloud the goings on of public officials.

Luke,
No one is being blinded by the criticism.
And I doubt anyone needs to be reminded of Portland's qualities.
It is not the critics who are failing to take in the full spectrum.
Quite the contrary the defenders and excuse makers are the ones lacking a full perspective.
It is your enamor that has you thinking Portland's problems aren't as bad as they really are.
Trying to correct come of them is the act of staying and fighting for its quality.

Your perspective of other places being more expensive than Portland while having much of the same issues is off base and is punting local reality.
The problems here are severe, the planning is abhorant, priorities irresponsible, spending insane and the detriments are causing chaos.


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L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
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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: 104
At this date last year: 151
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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