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Saturday, March 13, 2010

The plan-o-cratic mind

Commuting home last evening at rush hour, we were amazed at how little traffic there was on the freeway. At least the anemia affecting the economy is good for something, we thought.

Then we opened an e-mail message from a reader, which linked us to this page. It's part of the City of Portland's economic development plan, created by the Portland Development Commission.

It's good, we suppose, that the city is trying to do something about the decay of its economic base. But does anybody really think that this strategy is worth pursuing? It's so full of planner psychobabble and bureaucratic jargon -- it just doesn't seem to correspond at all with the way businesspeople think. "Cluster Organizing Framework"? "Allow for cluster leadership to emerge"? "Develop action plan with stakeholders"?

We hope this ends up creating some jobs other than at the PDC.

Comments (16)

God, they've been flogging this same tired crap for several years now - Just like every other mayor in every other job-poor city.

Sammy et al could always just ask employers why they don't want to come here and save a lot of people spending a lot of time on a lot of power point foils.

Then again, he'd probably would hear something he doens't like.

"A cluster strategy is especially critical for a market like Portland, where limited resources require selective investments in the groups of firms that demonstrate the most promise of growth."
- from the document cited.

Meaning growth of contributions to the campaigns of arrogant, self-centered and downright stupid pols who have never had a real job in their young lives, and who would starve if it came to that. This is nauseating & insulting. It's time for a property tax strike - they can't sell your house for years [ask the Mayor], and if each property owner escrows the payments in a savings account, we could cause a lot of pain to the Geniuses with very little downside. The folks who brought us [rather, shoved down our throats] the SoWat disaster and two Stadium stupidities can't be trusted to select the 'firms that demonstrate the most promise of growth.' A simple return to lawful municipal government is not too much to ask, and we have not seen it in years.

I think the interesting question is how the short term fee holidays work in spurring development. I think Oregon City is trying it, and some place else (Molalla?). Given that BDS has no revenue anyways why not give it a try?

Yeah, clustersomething alright.

Cities that cut bad and/or corrupt business deals do two things: 1) They attract more bad and corrupt deals. 2) They drive away good deals.

I get the impression that Portland, despite all of the positive press it has received in recent years, has developed a reputation for cutting both bad and corrupt deals that is at the root of its problems maintaining and attracting good businesses.

The only stakeholders that I want to hear about are the ones who are willing to drive a stake in the heart of the vampires like Adams who are sucking the life out of Portland.

I have a framework.

Take a big cluster of those bureaucrats who think those they call "stakeholders" have anything to offer and fire them.

The entire PDC for starters.

All one needs to do to see what useless white paper gibberish will come from this is just look at the Oregon Business Summit and what it produced.

Nothing so they canceled it this last December's yearly event.
Even they figured times were too tough to waste all that time and effort to generate nothing.

All the usual "stakeholders" were involved in those Summits.

Just this PDC word-fest document creates a new Cluster for Portland: Word Megalopolis.

"Portland's job growth efforts will focus in enhancing the competitiveness of business in four traded sector industry concentrations."

This sentence could easily read as:

"Portland's efforts will focus on four clusters."

But this sentence probably cost the taxpayers 1 hour of PDC billing, and another 3 hours to review it, modify it, re-review it, and approve it.

PDC seems to have not noticed that there is a port in this area and that it might be a cluster of some sort. But there is no sense in suggesting that the port and international trade be something the Portland use to develop jobs for this city.

PDC is a cluster of another sort, CF.

It seems to me that beggars can't be choosers. These planning types only want businesses that reflect their own view of what should be. I understand that one might not want to attract a nuclear waste storage facility or an adult book store next to a preschool, but shouldn't they be happy if any business, even a good old fashioned factory, should for some crazy reason consider setting down some roots here?

We need good jobs here. We can't really sit here and let individuals who never worked anywhere except for government pick and choose who wins and who loses based on some utopian vision. Maybe a little less planning, and a bit more reality would be nice.

Roy comments We need good jobs here.

Proposed water rates doubling will not help the matter. Will businesses think twice about locating here and how many will leave? Do these people "in charge" not think?

Leonard and his water bureau need to be stopped from moving forward with unnecessary expensive projects! Our compromised Mayor is doing nothing about it.

Mike W.: If the Port was controlled by anything other than a bunch on politically motivated and appointed idiots, you'd have a point. A corrupt "cluster" isn't going to bring real business development in the long term, just more subsidized leeches on the taxpayers.

Where is the PDX mistress, BIOTECH, on the cluster list, anyway? And the PDC may as well be naming Intel and Nike in their list... neither of which are actually IN Portland or in the area due to any government "engagement". Nor are they likely to encourage serious competitors to open facilities in the city, proper.

The other day the city had the west end of the Morrison Bridge choked down to one lane for all the east bound traffic for a final construction project on the new bike lane, which incidentally hasn’t opened yet. They also did a bunch of bridge lifts to balance the spans because of this project. This resulted in total gridlock all over downtown that day. They couldn’t have done this at night? I didn’t see too many bicyclists out that day as it was raining pretty hard. This city has a bunch of incompetent leaders who hire incompetent city employees who are way over their heads when it comes to any kind of project management. You wouldn’t have seen this happen in any first class city. You don’t shut down the whole friggin town for a bike lane construction project Does one really believe they can create jobs here? These people are delusional.

We are so on the right of the Portland economic bell curve....and I'm an optimist.

Modern urban planners use a lot of psycho-babble like what new town folk were putting forth decades back to promote new towns like Reston, Virginia and Columbia, Maryland (or what EPCOT was supposed to be). Looking back, what came out of the new town movement were exburbs that became ordinary suburbs once they were gobbled up by population growth and surrounded by suburban sprawl.

When it comes down to it, people need places to live and places to work and go to school and means for getting among the three and shopping somewhere along the way. Where people live and work and what education they need will depend a lot more on who they are, where they are in their lifecycle, and what opportunities (most unforseeable beyond five or ten years) are afforded by the economy than the cultural tastes of urban planners or the generation they are catering to (who will be in a different parts of their life cycle when the plans are implemented).

Deep dives into long-term planning are interesting, but for the most part are a waste because the planners don't have the foresight or insight to understand what world they are planning for ten or twenty years down the road. Sound and simple conceptual planning will do. Most money spent beyond that is consultant welfare.


It doesn't really get you excited like a new light-rail train, but it's the single most efficient investment you can make."

Unfortunately, "mayor" Sam is all about excitement. Driving around Jantzen Beach with his pants down is exciting. Trains and Trams are exciting. Other stuff; not so much.

Terrible PR job; using a picture of storm clouds and talking about things in terminology that reminds us of bombs and fiascos is hardly persuasive.

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