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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 15, 2009 12:35 PM. The previous post in this blog was Crossing the line. The next post in this blog is Paid off your tax debts? That was a mistake.. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Metro: Fix the bridges we have

Just got a press release from Portland's regional government:

The current urban growth boundary around the Portland metropolitan area is large enough to contain virtually all of the population and employment growth forecast for the next 20 years, but only if effective, efficient actions are taken by local governments, according to recommendations released today by Metro’s chief operating officer Michael Jordan.

Jordan recommends that we use vacant, dilapidated and underutilized land within the current urban growth boundary before expanding onto farm and forest land; repair, maintain and get the most out of existing bridges, roads, sewers and water pipes, parks and other facilities before building new; and ensure there are enough good jobs for current and future residents.

I love the part about taking care of what we have before building new stuff. Too bad no one at Portland City Hall ever, ever does any such thing.

Holding the line on the existing urban growth boundary is likely to be a controversial proposition. There are landowners and developers drooling over parcels just on the other side of the line. I'm inclined to agree with Jordan, but that gives the city license to wreck my neighborhood with condo bunkers that aren't needed and waste its tax dollars running streetcars.

We need to start talking about trying to control population growth in our region, rather than saying it's inevitable and wrecking the place trying to make it easy. Bunker after bunker of unemployed people living in apartments is not what the people of the area came here for. Yes, let's take care of what we have before building new. We have a perfectly good bus system, for example.

Comments (18)

"We need to start talking about trying to control population growth in our region, rather than saying it's inevitable and wrecking the place trying to make it easy."

That should be easy. How 'bout the old "welcome to Oregon, now go home" or "California go home" lines. Native Oregonians unite - expel the foreigners!

Oh, sorry, Jack.

I'm from New Jersey. And my moving here was one of the best things that ever happened to Oregon. Before 1978, you people were marrying your cousins.

8c)

Easy there "Kanye!"

We have a perfectly good bus system, for example.

Indeed, and to tie back to one of your previous posts, using it can be made even easier and more satisfactory with this: http://pdxbus.teleportaloo.org/

Ah, yes -- that's a good iPhone app. When I saw the "teleportaloo" in the URL address, I thought Fireman Randy had invented a new solar powered on-board bus toilet.

As far as taking care of what we have, it still blows my mind that there are unpaved roads in the Portland metro area. Shouldn't we at least get the city caught up with 1920's technology before blowing more money on new light rail and soccer stadiums?

I thought Fireman Randy had invented a new solar powered on-board bus toilet.

The list of things Randy has "invented" only contains that which is usually flushed down such a device.

I won't mention the paperwork...

As a native I have to say.... Jack, evidently you've never seen my cousin.

"repair, maintain and get the most out of existing bridges, roads, sewers and water pipes, parks and other facilities before building new"

But we are - We're rebuilding PGE Park for the 2nd time in 8 years and we're on our 4th 20-year plan for the bus mall in the past 20 years.

Still waiting on the over/under on the Sellwood bridge collapsing.

Word to the wise. Whenever you drive over the Sellwood bridge, keep your sunroof open. Consider it, "keeping Portland Weird." And hope that you land right side up.

maintain and get the most out of existing bridges, roads, sewers and water pipes, parks and other facilities before building new

Okay, so that explains why Portland is planning on painting the existing invisible Milwaukie light-rail bridge with visibility paint. Fresh gravel for the unpaved roads in east side neighborhoods? Don't forget replacing archaic private-sector job markets with government jobs. The future is so bright it's blinding me.

Important things under the surface of this report. For instance, when they're talking about "investing" in our existing centers and corridors, they're talking about more urban renewal. The same urban renewal that locks up funding in one area for 20 or more years and doesn't let it out to the schools and cops, etc.

Also, the goal of adding density in centers and corridors is supposed to be balanced by protection of "existing single family" neighborhood. I think myself and many others have seen over the last few years that no such protection exists, and old homes can readily be replaced by two or three units, or even new bunkers.

Portlanders have to understand that when they talk about making the city more dense within the existing UGB, that isn't an abstraction that only applies to some poor neighborhood somewhere. They're talking about adding density in YOUR neighborhood. When they allow new apartment buildings with no parking, they allow it in YOUR neighborhood. When they make streets tougher for cars and easier for streetcars and the like, they're talking about the streets that YOU drive in your car.

I'm afraid that too many Portlanders see our "growth management" as an abstraction. No, they're talking about YOUR neighborhood.

36% of the population growth from 2000-2008 was "natural". We're having kids (and unlike in many areas of the country, our older population doesn't migrate to better climates as they age).

The other 64% results from in-migration.

Not sure how we can "control" this however. Hose the economy, that would work. Make this a crappy place to live? Make sure our housing is over priced?

People want to move here because it's a nice place to live. Not sure why and how you'd want to change that.

Meanwhile, expect yet another branch of Portland's "creative class" to go under as we all move into the 21st Century:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/14/AR2009091403520.html?hpid=artslot

The demise of the bike courier will be a double whammy for Portland. Not only will this double unemployment downtown, but there goes the ticket revenue from the Portland Police busting the dolts who ride on sidewalks as if they were Cossacks going through a peasant's turnip patch. Oh, that's right: it's not like the police were ticketing them anyway. My mistake.

Snard hits the nail pretty squarely where it hurts there up-thread. Plus, some of the so-called, "dilapidated", property they're talking about are parks in poor neighborhoods, make that East where low income folks were driven to, out of the homes in the North; and most importantly, existing car parking.

Ya, "dilapidated", in some cases is going to mean the parking adjacent to a building you own, or lease, and evaporating it into a condo bunker.

Losing the PR campaign to force your seamless integration into the Church of Green has led to these people doing an end-run. Can't drive a car if there's no place to drive it.

Believe it.

One of the most important things to consider about Metro's new Vision, is that Metro represents four counties-Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington and Yamhill. The Vision poorly represents all four and mostly represents Portland proper, and then not a majority of Portland.

First, examine how the Vision came to be. It was propagated by a few planners with an agenda, then a few sparsely attended public sessions. Insider politicians and staff of Metro then stamped the "Jordan's Report". But it wasn't Michael Jordan's Report, it was the Metro Commissioner's Dream.

The Commissioners purposely did not put their stamp on it so that the Report could be sold as a carefully crafted study based on planner practices using substantiated data, and proven performances-which it isn't. Jordan is a tool of the politicians.

The Report is the founding basis for Metro to base all their future decisions that affects all four counties. Where is input from those outside the Portland core? Or the typical politicians that may have attended a few of the meetings but haven't represented their constituents with a different envisioned planning future?

If Metro is so sure of this Report, then for the first time have the people they represent to vote on the envisioned future. And, of course, in all four counties.

Will people in Sherwood, Lake Oswego, McMinnville, Wood Village, Cedar Mill want to have five to ten story buildings in there cores?

Will Alameda, Hillsdale, Sellwood, Multnomah want five story or more buildings with housing above, commercial below, with no parking for either, no additional parks, with increased heights and FAR extending three to four blocks into their existing, comfortable 5000 sq. ft. neighborhoods?

Their streets cannot be widened, but traffic (being realistic) will double and triple. Since "congestion" is not a measurement of only increased traffic counts, it will exponentially explode.

This is not the Portland that I grew up in nor want. It's not that I don't believe in progress. There are other models of urban living, suburban living that can accommodate growth versus putting an additional 1,000,000 more people into the present urban growth boundary.

There are many studies based on real circumstances that disproves that the density/congestion that Metro is propagating is really sustainable, energy efficient, and psychologically best for citizens.

But even if you agree with Metro's direction, shouldn't we be able to vote on our future? As a third generation Oregonian, this is not the future I dreamed, nor based on my professional knowledge.

Not too late to come just south of the boundary - here in beautiful Canby. We could use a few more Portland liberals out here. Great farms, multiple rivers, easy going.

If you want to vote in the vision maybe you should mail in a ballot every now and then. You see, you get to vote for Metro Councilors and for the Metro president. There's a large stack of seats coming open, at least two from term limits. In case you're wondering, in every recent Metro election the pro-tight UGB candidate has won.


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If You See Kay, Red 2011
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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
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Road Work

Miles run year to date: 212
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