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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

They get you coming and going

When the City of Portland lets the developer weasels wreck its storied neighborhoods with bulky infill bunkers, we're told that it's saving farmland on the edge of town. That causal connection has always seemed pretty dubious to us, and now we see that the farmland on the edge of town is being destroyed anyway. Just ask the folks out Helvetia way.

How far out can they push the story? What are they going to say in a few years? Probably something like, "We need five-story apartment buildings all around your ranch house in Sellwood so that the millions and millions of people coming here any day now don't try to build houses in Burns instead."

Comments (8)

Like I've said for years, the view from outside the "UGB" looks very different than from inside it.

thanks for posting stories like this. they (hopefully) continue to raise awareness that the UGB isn't a boundary at all--it's just a line in the sand to mark our place while we plan the next expansion. Helvetia, etc. are just the latest protester-victim in front of the bulldozer.

funny how cities must always eat more and more resources, land and taxes just to survive, isn't it?

Just one more example of why our land use laws don't work. The whole system needs a serious overhaul but that wont happen.

Without our land use system, we would have nonstop subdivisions and strip malls from Portland to Hillsboro, Aurora, and Sandy. I don't have an answer on regulating infill development in older PDX neighborhoods, but that doesn't mean our state land use laws don't work.

“it's just a line in the sand” agreed. People here blame it for everything from house prices to erectile dysfunction but the reality is the thing is vast and constantly expanding. Now, having driven 176 miles (half the length of Oregon) in California without seeing anything approaching countryside, I accept that it has shaped growth patterns in a positive way. If it were much more restrictive, and perfect agricultural land such Helvetia was labeled as permanently off limits, then we would have something to boast about. Of course there would then be more pressure for infill. Personally I feel that every neighborhood I enjoy in this town has multi-story development as part of the mix – sometimes from the 1920s but often brand new. Jack, are there any “condo bunkers,” old or new, that you like?

The Sellwood Lofts are pretty good. Belmont Dairy is o.k. The cr*p along NE Broadway and Weidler is hideous, and the Randy Rapaport wet dream on Division is grounds for a prison sentence. The guy who's wrecking NE 11th and Tillamook should be taken out and shot.

I accept that it has shaped growth patterns in a positive way.

I disagree on the positive part. Shaped, yes, but once land's inside the UGB, things get generally ugly. case in point: much of the western edge of the UGB.

that line in the sand moves with the tide. "smart" growth is still growth; slowing the tide down and diverting it so that it seems slow to a human lifespan doesn't make it better. the UGB only slows down growth with artificial scarcity so that it's forced to densify--sort of.

but hang about--someone from 1000 Friends will be along shortly to set me straight.

Just out of curiousity, I googled 1000 Friends of Oregon. I doubt they have much to do with anything falling within the UGB but I haven't noticed any activity from that group in some time. They were so active in the 1980s, ran short of money and in trouble for awhile. They've still got a website:


but there's more on it about the Metolius situation than any urban chatter.

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