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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 13, 2010 5:34 AM. The previous post in this blog was Mother of invention. The next post in this blog is Fake New York meets the real thing. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Getting in on the ground floor

Here's something I hadn't noticed until an alert reader sent it along. Apparently some of the tax abatements dished out by the City of Portland for "transit-oriented development" and multi-family housing have been ruled partially invalid by the state attorney general, and Multnomah County has refused to honor the invalid parts. The state reportedly found that the city didn't have the power to abate the taxes on the commercial portions of the bureaucrats' beloved "mixed-use" projects -- the now-tired setup with boxy apartments upstairs and (mostly empty) storefronts below.

According to this document, 19 of the 24 landlords of such developments got dinged for additional property taxes this year, much to their chagrin. At last report, the city was down in Salem during the regularly scheduled "special" session, trying to get the legislators to overrule the Justice Department on the issue. Their poster child was the Safeway Tower down by Portland State. No word on how the lobbying effort went, but it's interesting that a city that's supposedly so strapped for cash is so eager to give it away.

Comments (18)

"it's interesting that a city that's supposedly so strapped for cash is so eager to give it away."

No problem - CoP is giving away Mult County's cash.

How long do you think Randy would stand for Mult County granting a water bill reduction to an owner that installed water-saving devices?

Do you suppose that if the Sam was to ask, Apple would create an erasePad that when held in the correct position the debt side of a spread sheet disappears?

Now dang it Mr. Bogdanski. I've never quite been able to figure where, and why, the stick is lodged concerning me but I've commented twice about this previously on this site. I've even emailed the document I'm going to link, again, to ya'll. When do I get my, "An alert reader...", nod? Hehe. Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) which have been partially subsidized by Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) are the source of any number of public rip-offs.

Now I'm going to reference Randall O'Toole's '07 policy analysis and I don't want to hear it. I read this analysis prior to having any knowledge of who this man is. Turns out he's part of something called the CATO Institute. I still don't know what that is but I am familiar with most people's skepticism of both. Regardless I challenge you, and your readers, to open your minds and give this short, entertaining, some-what wonky, analysis a read. Say what you will about O'Toole this is an amazingly comprehensive breakdown of the psuedo-crimes committed by the Church of Green and the conservative business interests that exploit said Church.

Please. It's only about an hour's read or so. O'Toole has a sharp wit and he's quite funny at times. It will provide you myriad avenues of exploring the depth, and extent, to which we've been sucker-punched by TODs. I host this doc so that folks don't have to 'expose' themselves to the CATO Institute if they're so inclined.

http://sites.google.com/site/policyanalysisotoole/

"Their poster child was the Safeway Tower down by Portland State."

No buildings downtown should get such abatements. These buildings are likely to include many of the TOD features anyway. No one is going to underbuild an expensive lot downtown.

Vance Longwell:

People shouldn't have "sharp wit" in a policy analysis paper. It should be factual, not personal. There's a line between having an opinion, and being unprofessional; and there's no need to bring up Goldschmidt's sexual misdeeds when talking about rail transit, or whatever.

Randall O'Toole makes a living from putting down public transit, planning, and smart growth. He's largely a free-market impostor, in my opinion.

http://marketurbanism.com/category/free-market-impostors/

I think the question is: what isn't subsidized in our transportation/land use system? It's not just mixed-use condos, to give you a hint.

I understand why the City of Portland is supporting this legislation. The summary says that the county is supporting it also. I don't understand why Multnomah County would support this legislation as it takes dollars away without giving the county any benefit in return.

Could it be the Saltzman-Cogen love fest?

Eh, excellent point WS, duly noted. If I may recant it's not all THAT much. It's a bit more than what may be construed as polemic so I suppose you're right. I have a bad habit of ignoring that kind of thing when I read stuff. I have the unfortunate problem of managing to disagree with everybody on everything so I have to 'filter' a lot of what I read anyway.

If I only read stuff written by people with whom I agree with about everything, I'd not have anything to read, yo.

ws: People shouldn't have "sharp wit" in a policy analysis paper.
JK: Would you prefer the dim wits at the PDC & smart growth groups?

ws: It should be factual, not personal.
JK: O’Toole has plenty of good facts. That you ignore them is a mark against you , not O’Toole

ws: there's no need to bring up Goldschmidt's sexual misdeeds when talking about rail transit, or whatever.
JK: There is every reason to bring up an elected official’s crimes:
1. They made him a potential target for blackmail.
2. Shows his disrespect for laws, while he wrote laws that others were forced to follow.
3. Shows his lack of ethics.
4. Shows he is not trustworthy - if he cheats on his wife, what will he do to mere taxpayers??
5. Is the only reason a lot of behind the scenes information about light rail & Portland back room deals came out. (Or did you miss this part of his report?)

ws: Randall O'Toole makes a living from putting down public transit, planning, and smart growth.
JK: He is exposing the waste, lies and fraud that is smart growth and mass transit. Or have you finally been able to come up with a social benefit of cramming people together in government subsidized housing and mass transit, (except to help the needy, which can be done better at lower cost.)

ws: I think the question is: what isn't subsidized in our transportation/land use system? It's not just mixed-use condos, to give you a hint.
JK: The big one is the 60 cents per passenger-mile to transit users (compared to possibly 1 cent per passenger-mile to car users. (80% of the total cost of Trimet is tax subsidies!)

Thanks
JK

ws, " Randall O'Toole makes a living from putting down public transit...."; you could have easily have said "discussing" vs. "putting down". You could easily be accused of "putting down" O'Toole.

Secondly, all those paid by taxpayers in the planning world also can be accused of making "a living" advocating public transit. Do you fault them? At least O'Toole isn't doing the opposite on the taxpayers dime. Government shouldn't be in the advocacy business.

JK:"The big one is the 60 cents per passenger-mile to transit users (compared to possibly 1 cent per passenger-mile to car users. (80% of the total cost of Trimet is tax subsidies!)"

ws:Yeah, you're right...Those ever expanding highways going out into the urban fringe abyss that were generated by user-fees in urban areas and general tax dollars in urban areas are/were probably free.

Not to mention those large tracts of land that all of a sudden became valuable once the new highway went in probably paid 100% of the highway's cost?

Not!

lw:"Secondly, all those paid by taxpayers in the planning world also can be accused of making "a living" advocating public transit. Do you fault them? At least O'Toole isn't doing the opposite on the taxpayers dime. Government shouldn't be in the advocacy business."

ws:Not all planners are on public payrolls, btw.

Planners' opinions are all over the map, too. Planners created the modern day highway-suburbia typology, slamming down highways through cities Robert Moses style (a la I-5 in North Portland, Seattle, etc.).

Planners are definitely apart of the problem. They are wrong all the time. And they should admit so in order to advance their field.

O'Toole represents special interest moreso than a typical planner, imo, and his writing style will never lead to any merits beyond the think tanks he represents. Academic, peer reviewed journals are not in his future, believe me.

I like Kunstler for his curse-laced humor about the built environment, but at least he doesn't operate under the guise of an "economist" writing analytical public policy papers that are meant to appear highly scientific and accurate; but is really just appealing to his base whilst using personal attacks.

Personal attacks are great, but not in reputable papers, they aren't.

Of all the people I disagree with; I like O'Toole the most, if that makes you feel better.

ws, read the sentence, "all those[planners] paid by taxpayers...."; we know that not all planners are public employees. I quantified the subject. You write like you know it all, but without comprehension. Your remarks are all over the page. Thanks for posting on the public's dime.

ws: Yeah, you're right...Those ever expanding highways going out into the urban fringe abyss that were generated by user-fees in urban areas and general tax dollars in urban areas are/were probably free.
JK: Lets review. You presented a Federal chart of highway revenue and spending. It included ALL revenue, local, state & federal. It also has all expenses. O’Toole had analyzed that chart and concluded that yes, there was a highway subsidy of about 1.1 cent per passenger-mile. Peanuts compared to transit’s 60 cents per mile. Now you are trying to claim that highways out to the urban fringe are somehow different.

ws: Not to mention those large tracts of land that all of a sudden became valuable once the new highway went in probably paid 100% of the highway's cost?
JK: You have it backwards. Usually a developer buys land along an existing road and builds real homes for families (instead of the tiny “rat cages” that you expect people to live in in the inner city). These people pay property taxes and gas taxes and sales taxes (not OR, MT etc.) which supply the revenue to up grade the existing road. New roads to developments are usually paid by the developer and passed on to the home buyers.

ws: Not all planners are on public payrolls, btw.
JK: They are the only ones that can decree a person’s life savings, in property, is to be worthless. They are the ones that decree which neighborhood will be destroyed in the name of “walkability”, “transportation options” and other crackpot ideas.

ws: slamming down highways through cities Robert Moses style (a la I-5 in North Portland, Seattle, etc.).
JK: Actually the interstate highway system wanted to avoid cities and the cities screamed until they built them through the cities. Don’t blame Moses, blame the politicians who did not want their cities to wither away in isolation from the advancing world.

As to I5 through North Portland. That is where the existing interstate route was. That is why Interstate Ave is named Interstate Ave. It was also the shortest way to connect to the existing interstate bridge . You really need to study a bit.

ws: Planners are definitely apart of the problem. They are wrong all the time. And they should admit so in order to advance their field.
JK: You finally got this right. Just to refresh here is a partial list of things planners are wrong about.
Contrary to planners claims:
High density DOES NOT reduce traffic congestion.
High density DOES NOT reduce pollution.
High density DOES NOT reduce commute times.
High density DOES cost more.
Mass transit costs much more than cars per passenger-mile.
Land use controls increase housing costs.
Light rail kills people at a higher rate than cars.
Most people DO NOT want to live in high density.
Light rail does not cause development, the government incentives do.
For details see: http://www.portlandfacts.com/smart/smartgrowthlies.html

ws: O'Toole represents special interest moreso than a typical planner,
JK: O’Toole talks about the harm your planners are doing to real people through a combination of their stupidity and zealotry.


ws: but at least he doesn't operate under the guise of an "economist"
JK: You forgot to mention Randal’s degree in economics!

Thanks
JK

JK:"As to I5 through North Portland. That is where the existing interstate route was"

ws:Sure as hell doesn't look like it:

http://www.portlandonline.com/TRANSPORTATION/index.cfm?c=36416&a=66097

Seattle's even worse. You can go half a mile without hitting a connecting street on either side.

lw:"Thanks for posting on the public's dime."

ws:I'm not a planner or a public employee, for the record.

lw:"You write like you know it all"

ws:Thanks.

JK:"You forgot to mention Randal’s degree in economics!"

ws:When did this happen? Last I checked he had no degree in such field, only three years spent @ UO of for a two-year masters degree.

As for the rest of your post, you win the war of attrition. I'm tired and can't quite keep up with re-posting the same old information on three different blogs with you.

I'm not saying he doesn't know anything about economics, I think he's well written and knowledgeable; but there usually is a set criteria for professional titles that usually involves a degree in a pertinent field.

ws:
JK:"As to I5 through North Portland. That is where the existing interstate route was"

ws:Sure as hell doesn't look like it:

http://www.portlandonline.com/TRANSPORTATION/index.cfm?c=36416&a=66097

JK: Look three blocks to the left of that new route and you will see a four lane road. That is Interstate Ave., as I said before and you ignored, it is the previous interstate route that neatly connected to the existing bridge across the Columbia.

Once again you show you lack of reading ability and lack of historical knowledge and your jumping to conclusions. You need to quit reading anti-car propaganda and focus on reality.

ws:
lw:"You write like you know it all"

ws:Thanks.
JK: You just need to get you knowledge up to your statements.

ws: As for the rest of your post, you win the war of attrition. I'm tired and can't quite keep up with re-posting the same old information on three different blogs with you.
JK: You wouldn’t have to do that if you showed any ability to learn from other peoples facts.

Thanks
JK

JK:"Look three blocks to the left of that new route and you will see a four lane road. That is Interstate Ave."

ws:You made it sound like I-5 went on top of an already existing route. It went right next to an existing route, is what you meant. I read and re-read what you wrote before I commented. Maybe be more clear, next time.

The issue is, an entire swath of homes and businesses were destroyed in doing so via eminent domain.

White man's highways through the black man's bedrooms, quite literally, in the case of I-5 and North Portland...and so many federal highways in the US that cut through cities.

JK:"You have it backwards. Usually a developer buys land along an existing road"

ws:That was the crux of my point, actually. Subsidized roads (even in terms of user fees generated inside urban areas) on urban fringes allow people to sell their land (that wouldn't be worth much otherwise) to development opportunities.

As in the case there isn't much in regards to US land uses and transportation systems that isn't subsidized.

ws: ws:You made it sound like I-5 went on top of an already existing route. It went right next to an existing route, is what you meant. I read and re-read what you wrote before I commented. Maybe be more clear, next time.
JK: Here is what I said:
As to I5 through North Portland. That is where the existing interstate route was. That is why Interstate Ave is named Interstate Ave. It was also the shortest way to connect to the existing interstate bridge .

ws: The issue is, an entire swath of homes and businesses were destroyed in doing so via eminent domain.
JK: Not really an issue. That is one of the FEW legitimate uses of eminent domain

ws: White man's highways through the black man's bedrooms, quite literally, in the case of I-5 and North Portland...and so many federal highways in the US that cut through cities.
JK: Knock of the racist crap. That is simply NOT TRUE and a lie frequently heard. It is NOT RACIST because:
1. It was the original route established decades before. (I suspect well before that neighborhood became minority because much changed with the Vanport flood.)
2. It was the ONLY logical path due to the location of the interstate bridge.
3. It was the only logical path to connect with I5 coming over the West hills next to the existing interstate route, Barbur.
4. It would have been built there, even if all residents has been white. (Which a lot were and still are in that area.)

ws:
JK:"You have it backwards. Usually a developer buys land along an existing road"

ws:That was the crux of my point, actually. Subsidized roads (even in terms of user fees generated inside urban areas) on urban fringes allow people to sell their land (that wouldn't be worth much otherwise) to development opportunities.
JK: Huh? Are you saying that we should separate the money collected for each mile of road ands use it ONLY on that mile? If you did that, you would have very few roads for all of those buses, you love so much, to drive on.

Or are you saying that we should NOT HAVE ANY roads outside of cities? Because any road provides access to a new development, just as it provided access to the farm that used to be there.

And what most car haters forget is:
1. Much of transit funding comes from taxes on road users.
2. Our road system is a major factor in our high standard of living. Something that mass transit can never replace. Not toy trains. Not freight trains.

You really need to wean yourself away from reading so much mis information from the smart growthers and transit lobby. They lie. O’Toole gets most stuff right. Too bad you don’t recognize this difference.

ws: As in the case there isn't much in regards to US land uses and transportation systems that isn't subsidized.
JK: Roads are NOT subsided to any significant amount. Transit is 80% subsidized. (Some day you will learn that it is the cost per unit or percentages that matter, not absolute numbers.)

Thanks
JK


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Anthony Holden - Big Deal
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Miles run year to date: 212
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In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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