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Saturday, July 26, 2008

While we were out of town...

... it looks like the people who are most responsible for ruining Portland's older neighborhoods had a party and reminded each other how wonderful they all are. The photo's kind of small, though -- you can't see the strings on the marionettes, or Gerding, Weston and Homer Williams pulling them.

Then there are the ever-present architect weasels:

He said the medium-density developments could be slipped into existing neighborhoods along major thoroughfares and include housing, retail and community spaces. "Let’s try," McCulloch said. "Let’s risk (it). Let’s find places for that."
Yes, let's risk Portland and see if we can make more of a Fake New York out of it. Go by streetcar!

Comments (16)

When they start tearing down single family homes to build condos, then I'll be on your side. But for now, it just seems like they're taking vacant lots and old warehouses and converting them into condos. That doesn't seem like the end of Portland to me.

Well, you are wrong. They are tearing down, and moving, single-family houses to build condos. They have done it all over town. And so your opinion is based on a faulty understanding of the facts.

"Adams said, with the expected influx of new residents, planners and residents need to invest in improving communities."

Planners need residents to pay higher taxes to keep them employed planning chaos.

Jack, What is your preferred method of accommodating the additional people moving to the Portland metro area?

Simply tearing down single family houses is only part of the problem. Developers are also acquiring affordable apartment complexes and garden apartments, and either tearing them down to replace them with condo towers or doing superficial revamps and raising rents $200-$300 a month or more.

In many cases they call these project "Infill" projects even though they don't replace a vacant space between buildings. Now the term "infill" also means using vertical space that is currently considered wasted by a one story building. They do this with the city's blessing and backing and nobody cares about what happens to the tenants who are turfed out and have either nowhere else to go or who have to relocate to Hillsboro or Gresham and commute long distances to work.

The greatest irony is that the well-to-do folks who buy into these places often get 10-year property tax deferments (even if the place is not a primary residence), developers get perks for including a small percentage of "affordable" units at $250,00 and up and more perks for locating somewhere near Tri-met or light rail even though the new tenants will drive and park on the street rather than use mass transit and the fact that the property is within spitting distance of transit is probably only a coincidence.

When the neighborhoods object to invasive Borg cubes, they are told that the land management folks' hands are tied and that the developer is "entitled" to do build their edgy new structures.

I don't know what the benefit to making a condo building "mixed use" is but there must be one or I can't image they'd do it. If they didn't allow for retail space they could squeeze more lucrative condos into the structure so there must be some kind of reward from the city for incorporating retail space. Anybody know?

What is your preferred method of accommodating the additional people moving to the Portland metro area?

Since relatively few of them are moving to the City of Portland -- whose population is growing at a puny 1 percent a year, even by the dummied-up numbers coming from Portland State -- it's really more what the suburban communities want that matters.

Here in Portland I want the historic character of the neighborhoods retained as much as possible. I want height restrictions. I want setback requirements. And as a taxpayer I don't want to subsidize development, at all.

Let's see. Hmmm. If city hall can jack up the price of housing by keeping the available land at a minimum then the same tax percentage results in more tax dollars going to cityhall.

Then we'll get rid of those undesirables a.k.a. low lifes. Ah diversity! More room for us creative types.

But since most Oregonians pay mortgages to out of state mortgage bankers that means more money flowing out of state. Hmmm. How can we blame big box stores for this problem when we are doing it ourselves? Have to find a solution.


“We need to start thinking about the quality of design,” said Richard Potestio of Potestio Architecture. “We used to define home as the house we live in. Now, the definition of home is our community: the pocket parks, the plazas. For these spaces to work, we have to have quality design.”

Who wants to bet that most of these bastards "define" their own homes as rather large ones on large lots, with lots of trees and privacy ?

Did it ever occur to you Condo Ponces out there that lots of people liked the central part of Portland just the way it was ? Of course it did. You simply don't care, because it boils down to the fact that your policies mandate that we commoners live one way, while you live another.

This afternoon, I was doing a little work in my garden, and looking around, thanking my lucky stars that I still have this cheap rental house up by NE Dekum. For now, anyway. I would bet money that numerous greedy scumbags have driven by the place, and thought to themselves what a tidy profit they could make by cramming some hunk of crap townhouse down right on top of my yard.

Methinks that 'Go by streetcar' should be changed to 'Go buy streetcar'. As we are so doing, we should recognize that the hands in our pocket are Adams & Smith.

Next time they have one of these, we need to have a bouncer at the door. None of these technocrats get in the door unless they are living in a high-rise with no car.

When they start putting these infill projects next to their own homes in Alameda, Irvington and the West Hills, get back to me. Until then, it is just more of a war on people poorer than them.

NW Portland, one reason that condos generally are "mixed use" is that ground level units on sq.ft cost/per return is higher.

Secondly, zoning along transit or arterial streets has been changed to generally commercial/residential (CX)-it is required by our planners.

Also, condo units on the ground/street level, especially along busy, noisy streets do not make for great living quarters, but commercial needs just that.

Then, there is the planning schools spewing out graduates that believe that mix-use is the savior of all things and it needs to be set in stone (zoning, codes) without free market determinations.

Oh, I forgot the most important reason. There are over five tax incentives given to developers for the condo-commercial mix. Taxpayers are paying for this idea which should just happen if it is economically, and all the other reasons, viable.

Oh come on Jack , 'architect
weasels' , you know it is

here's a question i've never heard a credible answer to:

what would happen if we all simpy decided to not "accomodate growth", and instead decided to hold or decrease density?

the embarassing truth is--nobody knows. which also happens to be the answer to the question "what happens if we create extreme density inside the UGB?"

"Adams said, with the expected influx of new residents, planners and residents need to invest in improving communities."

So, if this is "improving communities" do the people who live around 26th and Division feel "improved" by that shoebox stack they put there?

Again, as I asked in Jack's July 10th entry, "U.S. Census: Portland State overstates Portland population", where are our electeds and city planners getting their scary population growth numbers from? Actual growth in the CoP is around 5,000 residents per year - that's only 100,000 over the next 20 years, not the 500k or 1M we keep hearing about...

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