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Thursday, March 27, 2008

A lie a day

And with the Portland-Vancouver area poised to take on 1 million new residents by 2030, the landlocked city of Portland views the streetcar as a tool to help absorb those new residents without the burdens of yet more vehicles and parking needs.
The O ought to send Sam the Tram a freelancer check for that paragraph. He must have written it himself.

At the risk of interrupting this ritual chant, a fact: The population of the City of Portland, where the shiny new condo-selling streetcars would run, is growing by approximately 1.1 percent a year -- and that estimate is arguably on the high side. At that rate, only 156,000 new residents will be arriving in the city by 2030. If another 844,000 come to the area, it will be to the suburbs, which will not be served by the streetcars.

Sam the Tram loves to throw the million-newcomer number around, as he did a few weeks back on the Lars Larson radio show (the one on which he said the city shouldn't use contractors who employ illegal aliens). The problem is, he's not running for Metro, which would be a much better job for him. As mayor, he'll do everything but what he is supposed to do -- insure provision of essential services to people within the city limits.

Comments (25)

City of Portland folks, like Sam, think those one million people are going to work inside the city limits of Portland. They are dreaming.

I'm an unapologetic fan of the MAX trains, but even I think that touting the streetcar as a way to absorb a million more people, especially when so many of them will be on The Other Side of the River, is ridiculous. The only way the streetcar could viably help with the expansion problem is if it extended much further out, like the MAX, went faster, like MAX, and made fewer stops, like MAX. It will be none of those things, but the magical phrases have been invoked for the boondoggle.

The planning number for this side of the river is that Clark County will have a population of 1,000,000 by 2050. That is roughly 600,000 more than the current population. If that growth is linnear then about 1/3 of 2030 population number will be north of the Columbia. My point is if they are going to work south of the river we need a new bridge if only for the MAX trains to bring them all there.

Greg C

What I think is happening here is that Oregon is entering a recession, and the construction and developer folks who control our city commissioners and Metro Councilors want them to start lots of expensive public works projects. After all, you can't make money when the cranes and paving machines are idle, and our local governments are a reliable and endless source of easy revenue for the local construction industry.

Ergo, we're seeing a big push for more streetcar lines. We'll also continue to see intense pressure on Metro to build a headquarters hotel for the convention center, the economics of it be damned. Without a doubt, you'll soon see the city and Metro announce plans to construct new buildings or remodel others. And the sure winning bidder there? Hoffman Construction, of course.

Will Sam ask call for a public vote if they want their SE neighborhoods to be five to ten story high along and five blocks back from the identified future trolley lines?

Will he really give an accurate picture of the density and congestion this will cause?

Is it good journalism for the Oregonian to write, "And it's time for the public to weight in." after the agenda has been set, expenses spent, and the studies completed?? Where is Dylan's other side to the story on trolley's?

This is another typical Sam the Tram operation-here's our Agenda, our Plan, our TownHall meetings, our BlueRibbon Committee, our Results, and now it's MY time to make the Decision even without Funding nor a Vote.

And if you're interested in seeing this issue play out for yourself, the Northeast Portland Workshop for the Streetcar System Plan will be held Tuesday, April 8 from 7pm to 9pm at the Grant High School Choir Room at 2245 NE 36th Ave. And don't forget to bring your wallets....

I understand the bridge and light-rail, but the streetcars are just developer gimmes for the East side of town. Portland proper isnt even growing at 1% annually. Besides condos where have you seen new residential construction? Most of the growth (gasp!) is suburbs, just look at where the retail and office sapce growth is.

I get that there are five of you too embarrassed to ride the bus from Irvington to downtown, but that hardly justifies re-installing an anachronistic mode of "mass" transport. If streetcars are so great ("they built the city around the original streetcar lines"), then why were they ripped up in the first place? Ahhhhh, because people saw they were no longer efficient as the city expanded so far west and east?

As suggested to the Oregonian: Drive your car, park, and take an express streetcar from NE 39th into downtown.

Get real . . . if parking was the problem to solve, that makes perfect sense. But replacing a medium distance commute with a very slightly less than medium distance commute seems to be a waste of money.

Developer gimme's.
Give me a break.
Considering how much the LID bills for the damned things cost, the developers ought to be getting LRT, or individual jet packs maybe. Streetcar sure hasn't sold any codo I'm aware of. And if one of those condo owners out there tells you it did, they're lying.

Key error here is assuming that Sam cares about being mayor. He doesn't--he's most interested in setting himself up to be Blumenauer's successor when Earl steps down in a few years.

Sam wants more than to be Blumenauer's successor, he wants to be President.

Aren't the same Planners who are claiming we'll have 1,000,000 more residents by 2025 the same Planners that claimed that Sam's Tram will generate 10,000 to 15,000 bio-tech jobs in SoWhat?

In a world where gas prices are only going up, and will never come down again, I think streetcars make sense.

The energy costs of transporting someone on the streetcar -- are they any less than doing so on a bus? The energy comes from a PGE coal plant in Boardman rather than a diesel tank on board -- is that so much better?

One big difference is that the taxpayers pay the costs of running the streetcar, because nobody pays any fares.

Jack, add to your point PGE's natural gas power plant on the lower Columbia. Electricity to run trolleys isn't carbon free, nor cheap, nor environmentally friendly. The data proves this.

True, the streetcar is powered by fossil fuels also - albeit indirectly. Isn't it a lot more efficient, though, to transport 30-40 people on a streetcar vs. driving 30-40 separate vehicles. Seems to me that is a strong argument for streetcars. The argument for streetcars vs. buses is local air pollution - although I agree that does'nt help the air quality in Boardman. As a far as the fares go - I agree that they need a system different from the present streetcar setup that let's everyone ride for free.

The streetcars aren't always transporting 30 people. At some times of the day, they're pretty empty. At those times, cars turned off win over streetcars running without passengers.

Then again, buses would also be empty at those times. Buses vs. streetcars, then, would come down to where you want the enviro cost to be paid.

Buses are a lot cheaper to acquire, run, and maintain, and they're much more versatile.

Well - I have to admit, when you put it that way, streetcars sound like a dumb idea.

I like high-speed rail to the 'burbs, but the streetcars are the stupidest thing Portland's done in decades, except for the aerial tram [rim shot], of course.

I wonder if looking at San Francisco's transit network would offer any insights. That's the model Portland seems to be moving towards: a network of streetcars like Muni combined with high-speed LRVs (MAX/BART), heavy-rail commuter trains (WES/CalTrain), and a bus network. I wonder if being blanketed in mass transit options in SF has had any measurable impact on promoting density, reducing congestion and pollution, and spurring economic development.

'Course, San Francisco is a world-class, large city people want to live in and will settle for high density and giving up cars. Portland's doing it the other way: build it and they will come (we hope . . .).

I look out from a space at the SoWhat trolley for two hour stretches,10AM to noon. Average ridership each 15 to 20min. cycle is 2 to 3 passengers. If they paid the $1.50 for all wouldn't pay for removing the gum under the seats.

No, let's not have Sam mayor. Sho don't get it, either. Find someone in the herd who doesn't talk to Stickel's nickels, and doesn't care, just keeps the seat warm. Maybe scrub the Portlandia statue, or something. Draft Potter. Who knows?

And no, there isn't any sense in traipsing trolleys all around, and it wastes the public treasure. Slam the tram, too. What might |klunk| those things to a halt, is if the electricity is more needed elsewhere ... electric car recharging stations, or something, who knows.

Anyway, however, it is not crazy, and may be understating, to estimate a million more outside the door. Real soon now. Who knows how to prepare or what they'll do. But here they come, fairly sure.

Ironically, which I totally hate to say ironically, the decades-long, world-around, Oregon derogatory as the place with so much rain to stay away from, could be what they come for.

Lake Mead, Key Water Source For Southwestern US, Could Be Dry By 2021, University of California, San Diego (2008, February 12).

ScienceDaily (Feb. 12, 2008) — There is a 50 percent chance Lake Mead, a key source of water for millions of people in the southwestern United States, will be dry by 2021 if climate changes as expected and future water usage is not curtailed, according to a pair of researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.

“We were stunned at the magnitude of the problem and how fast it was coming at us,” said Barnett. “Make no mistake, this water problem is not a scientific abstraction, but rather one that will impact each and every one of us that live in the Southwest.”

...analyses consistently forecast reductions ... over the next 30 to 50 years, which could affect the water supply of between 12 and 36 million people.
The researchers estimated that there is a 10 percent chance that Lake Mead could be dry by 2014.

Barnett said that the researchers chose to go with conservative estimates of the situation in their analysis, though the water shortage is likely to be more dire in reality.

“Today, we are at or beyond the sustainable limit of the Colorado system. The alternative to reasoned solutions to this coming water crisis is a major societal and economic disruption in the desert southwest; something that will affect each of us living in the region” the report concluded.

Region? When Atlanta's drinking water dried up, recently, surveys found the Number One destination target for wannabe emigrants was ... 'someplace where it rains all the time' -- see if y'all can guess what their name for that place is.

Maybe the in-trekking hordes will drop off bit-by-bit, and put down roots, distributed along the Willamette coming north, and never actually get to Portland proper or the suburbs. But, then they're all camped upstream, and who knows what's in the water by the time it reaches Charbonneau.

Tenskwatawa: ScienceDaily (Feb. 12, 2008) — There is a 50 percent chance Lake Mead, a key source of water for millions of people in the southwestern United States, will be dry by 2021 if climate changes as expected and future water usage is not curtailed, according to a pair of researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.
JK: if climate changes as expected
As expected by who?

By the people that didn’t notice that, since 1998 was the warmest year in a millennia, (until NASA revised the data & put 1998 in a tie with 1934) that means that we have not warmed further since – warming HAS STOPPED! Actually global temperature, using the best data available, the USHCN and satellite data, has leveled out and then declined in the last year. Some solar scientists think this is all caused by the sun, as the length of the solar cycle shows much better correlation with earth’s temperature than CO2 levels. Of course CO2's effect on temperature is a log function, so a doubling of CO2 from present levels will have relatively little effect anyway.

Then there is that little inconvenient fact that as the earth warms, evaporation increases, putting more water in the air and causing MORE , NOT LESS rain. (Those of you who paid attention in physics will spot a basic principal of nature here: evaporation of water on the earths surface causes cooling of the surface and condensation of that water vapor in the atmosphere radiates the heat OUT TO SPACE. This is a natural temperature regulator that works just like the heat pipe in some computers, and is the basis of refrigeration.)

As to the general subject of warming, I hope we all know, by now, that:

1. The antarctic ice pack is growing and the temperature stable to decreasing. The melting is ONLY on a narrow peninsula that extends far into the warmer southern seas.

2. The arctic ice pack has recovered from the summer melt and is now above normal for this time of year.

3. The antarctic ice cores show that, in the past, first the temperature rose then, a few HUNDRED years later, the CO2 levels rose, proving that CO2 DID NOT cause the warming. Interestingly we are now a hundred or so years into the temperature increase after the depths of the little ice age.

4. Current temperatures are within historic norms.

5. Current rates of change are within historic norms.

IE: there is utterly nothing unusual about our climate. (except that we are not in an ice age, which IS the NORM, historically speaking.)


Don’t forget that the streetcar will DOUBLE TRAFFIC CONGESTION as shown by the Oregonian a while back:

Oregonian If the Eastside Streetcar is built, about 4,537 housing units would be added along the route, compared with 1,105 without it,... Residents in such dense neighborhoods travel an average of 9.8 miles a day by car, less than half the 21.8 miles a day for Portland-area suburbanites. By driving less, they reduce roadway congestion, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
JK: Wrong.
The correct math is:
Low density......1,105 x 21.8 = 24,089 new car-miles per day IN THE AREA UNDER DISCUSSION.
High Density....4,537 x 9.8 = 44,462 new car-miles per day, about double the total new driving IN THE SAME AREA
That is an example of how high density causes congestion.
Also see:


City of Portland folks (like Sam), think many of those one million new inhabitants will work FOR the City of Portland, or the County, or the State, or the Feds, or the BPA. They see government jobs as MORE desirable than the private sector, because they're more stable.

Which begs the question: how does a municipality dependent on property taxes fare in the WORST HOUSING MARKET SINCE 1932? Whistling past the graveyard, still?

JK: "what" you supply to "hope we all know, by now," is bygone. That was yesterday, this is new age. You can lead a reader to look at the written records, but you can't make them stop thinking.

It also is written, (and I like that it sums up scattered tidbits), the average global temperature for this whole century, already exceeds the highest global average (of any) year last century.

In other words, (reworking the foreground/background shift of awareness in, "knowing the cost of every thing and the value of no thing"), you seem to inhabit a pre-set conclusion on which your facts are based.

Such as your "some solar scientists think" -- then there are all the rest. On the whole, solar- and planetary- and atmospheric- and climatologic-scientists, indubitably the Science industry thinks: You're trifling with dust motes in your vision while a boulder's coming at you.

Fully cognizant that you can't see them at all when you haven't seen one, that a thousand citations are unseen when the first one already blinds you, yet here's a chorus of reference in unison, (and more than fringe 'some thinking' scientists, these all have names and repute and factual records of proof): www Nature.COM, Archives, Keyword - climate change, this date, arbitrary.

Mister Tee: I'm unsure if this answers your questions or questions your answers, (depending on what you're pointing to), but the policy you describe, in the year that you compare, is fairly much exactly what was done. Grass-roots grown socialism is good, it's the top-down dictated version that's bad.

Some unconventional reflections on the Great Depression and the New Deal, By F. William Engdahl.


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