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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Warning: Sewage overflow in Portland

Forget the rain; we're talking about the local print media. First the O has Mark Larabee go out and sell the Burnside-Couch "couplet" as a traffic improvement, when logic compels the conclusion that it will do nothing but slow traffic down. He really lays it on thick. Most of the article reads as if a city p.r. flack wrote it. He also neglects to mention that the public right-of-way will be handed over to developer weasels in the process. A minor detail.

Transportation Sue pops in to complain about how long it takes to get through that intersection now. It has a bit of confessional tone to it, since it's her job to keep things moving. The Portland solution? Block the intersection with a condo bunker right in the middle of it! That will help expedite things.

Then over at the Daily Journal of Commerce, they have Tyler Graf try to sell the proposition that it was the recession that unexpectedly derailed the Burnside Bridgehead project. In fact, the project was planned and approved during boom times, after many months of intense public process, but it never went anywhere because it was botched by the Don Mazziotti version of the Portland Development Commission, and the Potter PDC was equally unable to get anything rolling once it picked up the pieces.

All the tall-tale-telling in the newspapers would be maddening if many people were paying attention. As it is, it's just sad.

Comments (13)

It's like the O's staff stopped pretending, isn't it? I'm waiting for its editors to start hanging around Sam Adams's front door, asking "Business, mister?"

No need to hang around city hall when email works so well.

I think Joe Weston will hit paydirt on his tiny triangular sliver at 1350 NE Sandy - currently it's a little remnant that's 90% street and sidewalk. (Check it on PortlandMaps.com). This will make it into a good sized piece of land.

Weston's a bigtime developer but not quite at Homer Williams' level of villainy. Or is that splitting hairs?

I had started a rant about the corruption of the PDC but you are right, Jack. It is just sad that the only sort of 'development' that seems to get built is condo housing instead of something that would result in long term real jobs that could actually offer a lasting legacy to the city.
...go by street car??? Why bother! There is no place to go.

Hey, Weston can't be all bad if he supports the recall...

instead of something that would result in long term real jobs

Actually, the effect of a couplet and going upscale with gentrification is a displacement of existing small-business jobs out of the area - the factors are the costs of rent increasing, more difficulty locating the business and parking, and lower traffic counts due to the one-way splitting. What businesses replace them often can't replace the wage base lost, at least immediatley. The first article mentions these businesses along NE Couch - one of those revealing slips that happens when you don't do any real editing.

I drive through that five way intersection during the morning rush about once a month. It takes a little time, but it flows okay. There's really nothing wrong with it as it is.

Couplets, speed bumps, obstructive traffic islands, blue boxes, green boxes, curb bull-outs--all designed to make driving confusing, difficult and slow. Add the holes,and parking is reduced and the price goes up. And for those of us who are past 60 this makes it more and more difficult to go into Portland. So whenever possible I avoid Portland and shop Milwaukie, Clackamas County, the internet. And the last play I saw was in Tigard. Don't go by steetcar. Go elsewhere.

And then the Council changes the name of the street to be sure we get lost, burn some more gas.

John Rettig: You said it very well!
But we know from our past experiences with these so called development types in and out of the city, that they do not care at all about existing businesses.

Apparently Salem caught a bad case of DeLuxe Condo Fever too. Not quite as bad as one sale in a whole building but pretty darn close.


The print article includes this tidbit:

"The project also will add bike lanes, traffic lights at every intersection and vegetation-filled stormwater catch basins. Construction will take about 14 months."

Just what we need: "traffic lights at every intersection...."

___ora et labora___


Salem has possibly the least amount of affordable rental apartments of any city in the State. They've been bought and either converted to condos or luxury apartments or razed and rebuilt for the same market. Portland is pressing for its record, however.

It seems that, with emphasis on luxury condo development, rescue of anybody whose home is threatened by foreclosure, and the erection of "market rate" cubicles along streetcar lines, the city, state and feds are completely ignoring the diminishing supply of affordable rental units and the associated plight of the low and low-middle income tenant. These are people who can't afford to buy a home - chiefly because they can't save anything when a majority of their income has to go to rent.

The amount of rent I pay per month now exceeds my yearly property tax bill on the house I used to own in North Portland. No protection against unlimited rent increases and fees. No protection against 30-day evictions for no reason other than development, unless it is for condos and then there is scant relocation assistance and a little more time to do so. Long, long lines for city-owned low income housing with preference given to substance abusers and large families. No breaks at all for those who are employed but not paid a "living wage" and just managing to keep their heads above water without government assistance.

Too bad they can't all go to work for the city.

Wow, Salem really does seem to picking up the worst of Portland's habits:


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