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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Straight outta Bluehour

Hold on to what's left of your wallets, Portland taxpayers. The real estate venture known as Portland State University is talking big -- lots of new apartment towers for a projected sudden wave of new students. They'll knock down their parking garages, because all of the students will soon be arriving by streetcar. And hey, let's cap I-405 and build over it!

Sound familiar?

This is the latest maneuver from the same West Hills developer-construction Mafia that brought you the SoWhat district and will soon have you paying for the "sustainability center." The university doesn't have the money for any of it, really. I'll bet it's all supposed to be done with "urban renewal" -- property taxes that will be diverted from the ever-dwindling basic services that government provides around here.

There's a recession bordering on a depression in progress, and now's the time for the city's taxpayers to invest eight or nine figures in housing at Portland State?

Comments (22)

They've been promulgating this horseshit since about 1999. They were already supposed to have 35,000 by 2010 (as predicted in 1999). The issue is that they don't have enough classroom space now for the students that are enrolled. The issue of living space arises because PSU is recruiting heavily east of the Cascades and the mommies and daddies of children over there don't want their kiddies to have to live in Kenton or Value Village and have to ride the bus to school. As for parking, PSU charges the moon for it and when faculty get bizarre teaching schedules -- it happens a lot -- they don't want to stay on campus all day and night. So they drive and leave and come back. They just gouge for parking. When I left PSU in 2005, parking had risen to about $160 per month. I'm sure it is over $200 per month now. The reason students don't drive is that they can't afford the parking. As long as the Chancellor's office is controlled by two former PSU people, growth and expansion will be the agenda. They began in when they were still at PSU and the incorrect predictions started with them. PSU will never hit 50,000 students without taking out almost half the businesses currently along the park blocks, probably as far down as Nordstrom.

PSU has been off it's chain since '04. They treat the city-park, The South Park blocks, as though it were their own, private property, replete with their very own, on the school payroll, jack-booted thugs handing home-made, unconstitutional, exclusion orders. Every square inch of the campus is littered with anti-male, anti-white male propaganda, and group ads. Add to this, the majority of buildings near the south end of the campus, where I 'live', all have notices of public hearings attached to them.

All for arguably one of the single worst urban colleges in America. They don't even have a law program. Lastly, and nothing personal against 'ol Wim, they imported a screwball from the Netherlands to run the joint. Nothing like a sharp stick in the eye for anybody in Portland looking to have a job. Oh, but they have a transportation studies program where you can learn to drag us all back to the 19th century.

This is what is so screwed up. They are mistaking quantity for quality.

Instead of ompoving the learning experience, let's just gun the revenues - Kinda like Toyota did.

There is already talk of scaling down the so-called Sustainability Center in hopes of lowering the rents they will have to charge to break even.

Regardless, the city is betting that several publicly bankrolled nonprofits (and I'm sure some city bureau) will fill the space at above-market rates.

Here's an I5/405 2005 Master Plan:

and of course the 405-covering hoo-ha via Vera was in 1998-1999. Here's the PDF for the proposed "Capping Project":

I cringe to think how much money went into these proposals and presentations and yet very little has happened as a result.

Oops, the last link mentions the capping project and the wonderful anticipated new streetcar but they're only a part of the South Park Blocks project which is the thrust of the entire PDF. Sorry, but it's still interesting reading in light of subsequent events.

If anything, the school is in desperate need of more classroom space. I'm currently a student down there. During winter term I took a class that was shoved into the second floor of the Unitus bank building several blocks off campus. My pre-law course was located in a dilapidated, old building on Sixth across from Starbucks. If PSU is planning to clear out the parking garages it should be for academic halls. The streetcar can haul students up from the South Waterfront district. Break out some tax dollars and turn those unwanted condos into dorm rooms.

They treat the city-park, The South Park blocks, as though it were their own, private property, replete with their very own, on the school payroll, jack-booted thugs handing home-made, unconstitutional, exclusion orders. Every square inch of the campus is littered with anti-male, anti-white male propaganda, and group ads.

Uh, really?

I work on the PSU campus (not for PSU but for a tenant company) and I very, very rarely ever see PSU's Public Safety officers; when I do they are hardly "thugs"; in fact I usually only see them walking by doing their rounds; and I have never seen an anti-male or anti-white mail poster, ad, or anything of the sort.

Maybe your part of the campus is a high-crime area or something, who knows. On my side of the campus, not much happens.

I like the idea of not just scaling down the sustainability center - scrap it altogether and build a high-rise student housing building. And I would not buy up those SoWhat Condos - PSU (that means taxpayers!) would end up overpaying for it. College kids don't need fancy stuff, they need about 300 square feet; a bed, a desk, a closet, a bathroom, and a refrigerator and microwave. Thanks to the proliferation of wireless internet and cell phones, we don't even need to wire the new dorms for high speed internet or phone service anymore.

What does this have to do with Bluehour?

B, you have a great idea for repurposing those condos! I love that thought.

The university shoved out a vibrant Jewish and Italian immigrant community to exist in the first place, so why shouldn't we expect them to shove more places out of joint in order to expand? This is one place where Portland's low profile buildings are working against her. Build up, and you can have massive expansion of classroom space. If you build it, they will come.

PSU gave awards to the usual suspects for being "Urban Pioneers".

When I heard that Homer et al were being awarded, I knew that PSU was a gone player.

Time to do away with the four year school as we know it. With the drop out rate at state schools as high as it is all students whether 17 or 70 should first get an associates degree at the community college level and then go on to the university for two years to get a BA or BS.

BcL; finally found the right thread. ;)


Geez. God forbid that a university not have a law school. You're kidding, right?

Also, should the university really limit their search for a University president to Portland in order to hire locally? Because Portland is a hotbed of world-class academic administrators, right?

re: Blue hour...
It's because Homer and his homies hang out there.

Excellent idea of redeveloping parking garages with student housing on or above sub-grade parking. Providing housing will give the area of downtown an even stronger neighborhood vitality by providing a 24hr income base for neighborhood business.

Capping sections of the 405 should and will happen in the future. it is OK to correct a major failure. Just as the I-5 will be relocated away form the east waterfront and partially buried several blocks to the East..

Thanks, NW, I'd never read that document.

Executive summary: A pile of weasel-words that would be rejected even by Wikipedia's lax standards. F'rinstance: "The Freeway Loop hinders high-quality urban

It is nothing more than a memorandum of understanding by the so-called Portland Development Mafia on what needs to be plundered next. Read the list of names on the first few pages. Understand the premise is that there is too much traffic on I-5 as an interstate conduit. Notice that I-205's function to bypass interstate traffic -- as opposed to local circulation on the loop -- is ignored.

As with Xeno's Paradox, the outcome is defined by how your frame the problem.

Old Zeb makes a good point. The freeway loop, and the multiple points of access it provides to people who work and shop downtown, is what made it possible to close Harbor Drive and to have a pedestrian-friendly downtown with only two wide streets (Broadway and Burnside) bisecting it.

Isaac, you're being very fair to call Burnside a "wide street". There isn't a street inside the 405-I-5 loop that is a wide, traffic moving street except Front which many times has construction, restricted points, events, and bikers going right down the middle even though there is a bike lane on the side.

With all the light rail, trolley lines, bus lanes, no right or left turns, one way systems, closed off streets, super blocks, street lanes now closed off to only bikes, bike lanes everywhere and curb extensions, vehicle traffic movement totally suffers. And all this is intentional and to the determent of commerce of our city.


I don't disagree that there's getting too many things running on the local streets downtown which make it conflicting -- but you have to realize that Portland has the most streets and intersections per area than basically any North American city.

Curb extensions are for pedestrian and automobile safety. I don't want to be a driver and not be able to see the pedestrian behind a parked car. That's the main point of them, in addition to reducing the crossing distance between intersections for pedestrians (and ultimately less time in danger).

The biggest mobility issue isn't anything you mentioned, it actually has more to do with Portland's very small 200 foot block sizes which creates more intersections.

I'm not sure what you mean by "superblocks" in Portland no less. Manhattan has superblocks and they are 250 x 900 feet, or so.

More intersections = more conflict points. Portland has a lot of intersections.

More basic math:

Intersections = more places with stops.

Too add on to my point, Portland should look in to making bigger blocks for new development. They did so with South Waterfront, at least.

ws, the blocks south and east of PSU in the South Auditorium URA are superblocks. There are also a few scattered elsewhere downtown area where streets are closed off or pavement has become bricked with bollards that strongly suggest peds only; like the east and west side of the new park next to the Fox Tower.

There are no statistics for Portland's downtown street curb extensions reducing the amount of pedestrian/car accidents. The curb extensions have actually created more congestion because left or right turns are prohibited, creating more backup. This has created more aggressive driving because drivers now want to at least be able to move their vehicles more than one of two spaces forward than waiting through two or three light changes.

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