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Friday, June 4, 2010

Condo tower infill: It ain't working

Portland gets a fairly prominent mention in this article:

In Portland, like in Miami, the fact remains that suburbia has not been abandoned. Despite the high density over-building in the Pearl District and elsewhere in the core, detached housing has become even more popular in the region. According to data from the Bureau of the Census, the share of households living in detached housing in the Portland metropolitan area rose from 63.7% in 2000 to 64.5% in 2008 (Figure 2).
Go by streetcar -- through what this author calls "the slums of tomorrow."

Comments (58)

OK, I'll give you the flip side. Most suburbs have yards, so people have kids. The kids go to school and parents want a stable enivronment, so tend to stay. In addition, they invest in the yard and house remodeling and interface with the negihbors more over time. The neighborhood self-polices with people trying to maintain property values by keeping up a nice house.

In a condo, you get no kids, no real investment (outside of purchase price), people who may live next door for years you never meet. In addition, since it is easy to move out, the population is a lot more transitory. I just don't get a sense of permanence or investment in one's neighborhood.

But then again, who am I to argue with our genius planners idea of the wonderful future?

The whole stop-urban-sprawl-by-building-more-condos-in-Portland mode of thinking has been flawed from the very beginning since it's always assumed that given a choice, anyone in their right mind would rather live in a cramped, noisy, and expensive condo in the hippest, most creative, most progressive center of the universe than in a house with a yard and trees out in the suburbs.

The generation that grew up playing SimCity has now graduated with urban planning degrees and our lives are now their playtoys.

What? The opportunity to be extras in Sam-Ran's buddy picture isn't better than having a yard?
What about the obvious benefit?
From the moment you wake up in the morning to the moment you put your head on the pillow at night - you're not just living your life - you're part of someone's vision.
This is bigger than you.
You're not living in a condo without a yard. You're not even living in a city. You're living in a support system for a wonderful dream in Sam's mind.

In a condo, you get no kids, no real investment (outside of purchase price), people who may live next door for years you never meet.

They usually do meet at the annual Condo Associations' meeting, where they review the rule changes, elect officers, look over the state of the underfunded operations and reserve accounts that the developer skipped out on by declaring bankruptcy, and hire a structural consultant and law firm to deal with the issues caused by poor building practices. Isn't that neighborly enough for you?

The condos are just the urban mirrors of the empty suburban developments all around the country. Developers built (and banks gave out loans for) far too much overpriced crap of both kinds over the past decade. And anyone want to talk commercial real estate in suburbia? "Ghost mall" was a term of art back in the '90s, back when the economy was just an opossum in the street before it was run over by the car.

There's only a limited market in Portland for any type of housing in the $600K to $800K range (much less above that). You can still get a nice bungalow (with yard) near Laurelhurst Park, ten minutes or less to downtown, for quite a bit less than that.

I can't wait for $8/gallon gasoline.

This line from the linked article sums up the future of Portland's density experiment:

"Owners of new condominiums around the nation who paid pre-bust prices for their units may not be inclined to stay around if they are surrounded by less affluent renters who have been attracted by desperate building owners and lenders."

"I can't wait for $8/gallon gasoline."

Is that supposed to mean that Portland's density experiment will turn out to be a brilliant move when gas is $8/gallon? No offense, but that's the same short-sighted reasoning that got us into this mess.

First, $8 gas would trigger the mass production of alternative fuel cars, or ultra-fuel-efficient cars, or other efficient tech. In the future, cars will be "greener" than streetcars, the Max, busses, etc., so will be talking about ripping up that infrastructure in 40 years.

Second, even if there's lag time between $8 gas and a tech solution, people could easily work from home en masse. That technology already exists and is getting better every day. There's no reason for people to subject themselves to a commute, panhandlers, expensive crappy lunch, or being away from their families for 10 hours per day. $8 gas would push companies into creating more telecommuting programs.

Third, in a world of $5 coffee, even $16 gas will not change the driving habits of enough people to make a difference to plan around. So what if it were to cost $20 to get to and from work? I make my own cup of joe and pack my lunch, and voila, I have the same amount of money as I would have had if gas were $3.

JC: The generation that grew up playing SimCity has now graduated with urban planning degrees and our lives are now their playtoys.

We need to push back on those who have been "taught" how to control our lives.

Done with the redo of one area, the condo thing, so on to other areas to plan over us. How far out does this mentality stretch? Ever notice if one tries to get away from this, some "planned" image pops up the same from place to place.

I agree that Portland's condo market is way oversaturated, considering there are other dense housing typologies available for a vibrant city.

With that said, the author of this is a shill to sprawl/highway/suburban/oil industries:

Basically what he does is use statistics and twists it to fit his (paid) agenda. Now there's nothing wrong with getting paid to promote something, but he is very suspect.

I don't enjoy attacking someone personally rather than attack their message, but it's okay to bend the rules in cases like this.

Cox is also against public bus transit, too.

Jack, et al.,

You say "Go By Streetcar" sarcastically.

Yet, it's ironic you don't seem to understand the disastrous economic and social forces allowing (if not encouragin) auto-oriented, low-density sprawl.

What do you suppose is "driving" the dangerous underwater drilling which led to the massive oil spill you posted about yesterday as "too tragic for words"?

Or how about a foreign policy costing taxpayers trillions of dollars and thousands of lives?

And you think urban renewal and streetcars are expensive...

There will always some market for urban condos, but it has been vastly overestimated. It can supplement demand for less dense housing, but it won't ever replace it.

But the planners say "in the future, people will want to live in dense urban neighborhoods." I've found these people are rarely talking about themselves. They don't want to live in this type of housing. But they're sure that countless others do. Just as they're sure that others want to live car-free even though they don't live car-free, etc.

Any 20-something who is smugly satisfied of their choice to live in some central city condo or apartment need only get married and/or have their first child to get cured of that real quick.


The exurban suburban drive-till-you-qualify market is done for as well.

Say what you want about Portland's real estate market, but it's doing a lot better than a lot of cities right now.

Pheonix and Las Vegas are prime examples of this dead typology. I would at least argue, that a condo tower is much more marketable (once prices go down) than the current ghost towns of encompassing the fringes of our American cities.

I have witnessed numerous subdivisions in Beaverton that have been stopped and are now vacant.

Footnote 3 in the article cited is the most telling. PDC had a "since removed" document posted on their website where they referred to subsidies as developer "gift certificates". If that's the case, it sounds like even they don't buy in to the "vision", but cravenly support it anyway.

ws: Phoenix and Las Vegas are still the fastest growing areas in the country. I would argue this is because both cities allow the market to build what people want.

@Rita...Why wait for $8/gal Gas?
Randy Leonard has been buying $7/gallon biodiesel for years now. Go by Socialism!


Yes, a single-family home is very preferable to many, however, the current McMansion sprawl home is vastly different from the nice homes in Portland (and elsewhere) that are barely 2,000 sf and built upon a small 2,500 - 5,000 sf lot. Let's not debase and conflate good architecture with faux-Mediterranean stucco crap.

Also, how do you know what people want until they pay for its associated costs? Vegas and Phoenix have benefited vastly from socialized Gubmint water projects. Hoover dam was expensive and paid for by the feds. A lot of cities do not like single-family construction because they are net losers in terms of taxes generated (which Vegas relies on gambling to fund a lot of their services).

You also assume people move there because of how it looks. Me thinks its more weather based and cheap housing.

Btw, NYC has gained more total population than Phoenix since the early 2000s and it has ZERO land to expand outward (and annex as well).

It is jobs that cause people to move to a city and Portland has had negative private job growth over the last 12 years while the rest of the northwest has grown. So if you build high $/SF housing in the city in large numbers via subsidies, it is no wonder the market is saturated with supply. On top of that, it is families that drive housing demand. Families (even a friend of mine who is a planner and has kids) generally do not like or cannot afford condos. So home prices in Portland are now a good deal and condos (like my own) will suck wind for a few years longer or until some private companies expand/move in here. It is simple economics.

And by the way, I live in the core area, I walk to work, but avoid the streetcar. My neighbor calls it "the halfway house on rails."

Can't we all just get along?

1. There is a large demand for urban condos. All of those condos built before the bust aren't exactly sitting empty.

2. Portland way overbuilt this type of housing, and the housing crash exposed that glut. It will be many, many years before that excess demand is absorbed.

3. Not everyone wants to live in a condo, and not everyone wants to live in a house with a yard. Not everyone wants to commute by bus/rail/bike, and not everyone wants to drive 45 minutes each way from their suburban subdivision. As far as I can tell, there is ample supply of both types of housing in a variety of locations at a variety of price points.

4. The truth is that most of us engage in all forms of transportation and live in many kinds of housing over our lives. I currently ride the bus, bike, walk, and drive. In my 20s I lived in apartments in urban settings. In my 30s with two kids, I now live in a single family home with a yard. When I retire, I hope to live in a condo in an urban setting.

Thank you Middle ground. A voice of reason.

Middle ground:Can't we all just get along?

We might get along better if shenanigans were at least kept to a minimum instead of "gifting" developers and others at the expense of so many and so much in our city.

I was all fired up to say something , but MiddleGround
got it right. The City is a multi-faceted thing , giving Choice to all. That being said the Greatest Environmental Disaster ever [except mabe Krakatoa...] is happening and we
must get the H*ll out of the
oil-dependant suburbs.

I lived in downtown Portland for 3 years from 2006 until 2009.

You may assume that the urban renewal and TIF is to attract young families with children, but it has not played out that way.

On any given Saturday around 2pm, I would "go by streetcar" and I would whisper to a friend of mine, "Did they let the entire nursing home out?" We would chuckle amongst ourselves in a cramped streetcar packed 98% full of grey panthers.

Retiring Baby Boomers will buy the condos; couples with children will opt for Vancouver or one of the suburbs due to the better housing, more racially homogeneous schools, and a less of a chance of some transient living in and out of Dignity Village abducting and raping your child.

You want to attract young families to Portland? Put huge tax breaks on commercial property to attract business, use urban renewal to create industrial zones, close Dignity Village, and create a city program with the Portland Police Bureau to round up the homeless and send them a one way Greyhound ticket out of town.

couples with children will opt for Vancouver or one of the suburbs due to the better housing, more racially homogeneous schools..."

Most of your points are good, Ryan, but the suburban schools are more ethnically mixed than PPS.

And the idea of considering Portlands surrounding suburbs as "exurbs" seems specious to me, unless you are talking about Hillsboro, Canby, or Sandy. Without the signs telling you you've crossed into a different jurisdiction, you wouldn't know when you entered into Gresham, Beaverton, or Milwaukie. Having lived in Portland, Gresham and Milwaukie, its not really much different timewise to walk, bike ride, or auto trip to get to most services (with the exception of hipster restaurants that so necessary to fuel the creative class in Portland, wink, wink).

...and we must get the H*ll out of the
oil-dependant suburbs.

billb, petro fuel will go away, but it will be replaced with something else, likely electric in the near future. The answer isn't requiring everyone to live on top of each other.


My reference to "exurban" was mostly referring to development of the US as a whole, not so much describing Portland's development pattern.

I think you need to reassess your opinion of the walkability of typical suburban areas in Portland. I've actually lived in them my whole life and walking to the grocery store is about as arduous as a trek through the Tetons.


You're underestimating the power of fossil fuels. You can go 40 miles in one gallon of fuel -- which is astounding when you think about it.

Remember, we are a 20+ million barrel a day consuming country (to keep our economy going), with the world demanding and consuming just around 85 million barrels a day.

If you think we can replace that growing demand for energy (with China and India growing their respective energy demands exponentially) then I want to know specifically how you think that can be achieved?

Because if you truly did know how to bridge the gap from dinosaur bones to watts; then you're going to be a billionaire.

I agree completely with the poster(s) that said we need to provide a mix of housing types within a given city. I think there's something bad to say about Portland's "plan" of massive condos being the only type (or tinder box skinny homes).

But actually having lived in suburbia and seeing the absolute destruction of the social and environment sphere for the *worst* type of development imaginable; those condos that cast an extra hour of shadow on the single-family home are looking pretty good.

That's not to say I agree with grandiose planner-fiesta projects like SoWa, but in the scheme of development for the entire metro area, that area is looking pretty good and marketable for the future.

I know, let's turn over the empty condo towers to the department of corrections. They'd make better prisons than homes anyway.

JC: The answer isn't requiring everyone to live on top of each other.


"All of those condos built before the bust aren't exactly sitting empty."

Take a trip down to the SoWa, then go look at the new construction in the Pearl. Then look at the resale market for condos.

Don't assume Sam & Co. really believe in those developer visions and associated transportation crap -- they'd be promoting houses of sticks and super-slides if the wolf and pigs that run them told them to.

With apologies to real wolves and pigs -- and Uncle Wiggly.

Rita, Get me out of here! My $575 condo association fees for an almost new building and 850 sq/ft is killing me. Without the ridiculous fees I could buy a lot of your $8 gas. I'm just waiting for a major building problem soon where there will be a $65,000 "surcharge" on top of the $575 like my friend is experiencing. He got dinged $10,000 last year for attorney fees leading up to probable $100,000 surcharge. Then we just learned that the City will be imposing a Transportation Local Improvement District on our building. We're guessing another $3000 per year. They are also talking about a LID for a park, too. This all adds up to a lot of gas.

ws, you are a continuous stream of "but", "however", "not to say...", "with that said". Like you "I don't enjoy attacking some personally"...."but"...aren't you working an "agenda" or for someone too, to promote your "suspect" charge, like you accuse Wendall Cox?

I think Middle Ground's comment combined with clinamans says it all. Many are tired of Planners, and most everything up and down the chain, using other people's money to foist their perspective of how we should live. Then dictating it by zoning, codes and laws.

That's $575 per month for condo fees. I don't want to talk about property taxes, or the water/sewer bill.

Pardon me ws but you're the shill here not Cox. Cox is entirely objective, honest and uses authentic data. Unlike TriMet et al.

You're constantly shilling for TriMet Metro and the PDC. Misrepresenting all the way.

Even that "*worst* type of development imaginable" you linked to is the product of our Metro central planning and density requirments.
All of the worst suburban development we've seen the last 25 years was due to Metro mandates.

It's not the older subdivisions that are needlessly overcrowded.
Yet Metro infill is ruining older neighborhoods too.
The whole region is a failed "grandiose planner-fiesta project". There's many examples like SoWa.
And Sowa is about to get much worse with Milwaukie Light Rail and OHSU/OUS expansion.

It's not nice to attack the messenger but in this case you're a complete jerk.
I suspect it is you who is paid to shill for the planning regime.

Middle ground?'s points are well taken, as long as the corollary is that we need to allow the market, not the planner types, to determine what types of housing are to be built and where.

Rita ... You'll see gas at under $2 a gallon long before it will reach $8. The current market simply doesn't--and won't--support that price. Here or in other countries, especially the developing nations. Look what happened at $4 in 2008. Grocery prices rose quickly, especially for staple goods, as did prices for goods containing and/or being transported by vehicles using petroleum. That's most goods.

The inflation increase smashed headlong into stagnant incomes. That was one of the factors that started the mortgage delinquency ball rolling, leading to the collapse in the financial markets.

Long before $8/gallon (a price that will only happen because speculators grab control of the oil market again), you'll see social, economic, and political upheaval that will scare a lot of people.

wsl ... Our political and business leaders should be promoting telecommuting as a means of relieving traffic congestion, as well as reducing the need for increased traffic capacity and road maintenance costs. You're right about the technology; the "need" for many people to go into an office is related more to management's need for control and ego gratification than it is completion of work product.

lw: I really do not enjoy making ad hominem remarks, but anything Wendell Cox and his demographia website spews out is incredibly biased and suspect at best. I wish not to argue his point this time, but he is routinely caught in a web of cherry picked data. It's not just me saying accusing him of this.

Ben: I agree that some of Metro's policies need to change. Metro only made those neighborhoods slightly more ugly through density regs because the damned developers don't care about creating anything worth caring about in the first place. You assume that if those homes were spread out a few more feet that *magically* there'd be a difference, but there would not be a difference. The components that went into those subdivisions are doomed to fail no matter how dense (or not dense) they are.

At the very least, Metro slowed the rate of ugliness from metastasizing throughout the region. They're a net positive in my book. Thank goodness because one would have to wonder what our metro area would look really look like without a UGB.

Anyways, people are too obsessed with density -- Metro and NIMBYs included. It's not the end-all-be-all.

Take note that some of Portland's nicest neighborhoods and homes that are very dense.

"it's ironic you don't seem to understand the disastrous economic and social forces allowing (if not encouragin) auto-oriented, low-density sprawl. "

You're right, Portland is such a better place for employers and schools and non-Pearl residents because of us dumping $.90 of every public develpment dollar downtown.

We keep pouring money downtown and the only people left are single-somethings and govt employees. When will you admit the great experiment is a flop?

Individuals with the means and young families not living in the urban core occurs outside of Portland.

I am back living in Chico, CA, which is the town I grew up in. In Chico, CA and college towns across the US, a lot of people choose not to live near the university/downtown area specifically because of the college kids and the noise and crime that occur where they live.

Some of my co-workers live in a pocket where the Chico State students live and they are constantly looking to live in places where it is quiet, a low turnover rate of neighbors, and low crime.

Peculiar to California and in the newspapers constantly are college kids getting their medical marijuana cards, renting a 4 bedroom dump of an apartment, using one of the rooms to grow their "medicine" in, and the ensuing home invasions where masked robbers kick in their doors, point shotguns and other assorted semi-automatic weaponry in their faces as they rob them of their "medicine." Stories like this are all too common in California because the sale of medical marijuana to dispensaries is a fairly substantial niche economy where growing good quality "medicine" can net you anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 per pound depending on the quality.

So yeah, those living and working in Chico, CA tend to move out of the low-rent student housing neighborhoods as quick as they can due to the crime associated with college students.


Exurbs where the suburbs have become mini-cities in of themselves? I have seen pockets of it in the "Silicon Forest" out near Beaverton, Hillsboro and Forest Grove, but you are right, they are suburbs of those working in Portland, OR for the majority of those living there.

Rita: I can't wait for $8/gallon gasoline.
JK: Why?
Do you want to see low income people struggle even more?
Do you want to see higher prices for most things?
Do you want to see more human misery as people have to choose between getting to work and feeding their children?

You also show a lack of knowledge, since many European countries already have gas in that range. Guess how much they drive?

78% of motorized passenger-miles in the EU15 countries is in private cars! see:

At $8/gal, we will just do what we did after the last big gas price hike & what the Europeans do - drive smaller (more dangerous) cars.

And if that price lasts, we will start to see more supplies of new sources like more shale and coal to oil. And less usage. Simple basic economics.


What do you suppose is "driving" the dangerous underwater drilling which led to the massive oil spill you posted about yesterday as "too tragic for words"?

That's easy: government and environmeddlists who refuse to permit extraction on land or, in fact, closer than five miles offshore.

While the spew is tragic, the same sort of event occurring closer in and not a mile deep could have been much more easily contained. Moreover, BP's present course of action - cutting the pipe and capping it, was their initial plan, but was rejected by government officials. Only after alternatives failed did government give the okay.

As for condos: they're so popular that developers in South Waterfront are now trying to rent them out, having failed to find buyers. Meanwhile, over in the "vibrant" Pearl District: remember all those spiffy new stores, like Eddie Bauer, that were part of the trendy "mixed-use development" model? They sure didn't last long.

According to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor, Portland has lost another 23,000 jobs. That's what happens when you deliberately create an anti-business environment. What the Twins and their bevies of "planners" fail to grasp is the fundamental fact that people will not live and work in an urban environment - bicycling, walking or going by streetcar - if there are no jobs to walk, ride, or bike to.

"According to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor, Portland has lost another 23,000 jobs. That's what happens when you deliberately create an anti-business environment. What the Twins and their bevies of "planners" fail to grasp is the fundamental fact that people will not live and work in an urban environment - bicycling, walking or going by streetcar - if there are no jobs to walk, ride, or bike to."

...Exactly. I don't think all of this streetcar / bike infrastructure would be such a big deal if the city council would encourage the private business climate and job creation in lock-step...but they're doing the opposite and businesses are leaving Porltand, making all of these efforts pointless.

Do you want to see low income people struggle even more?

That's really the sad thing about this kind of rabid "environmentalism" or "new urbanism" or whatever you want to call it; the most vicious of these car-haters apparently couldn't care less about low-income people. I think Portland has had ample experience with the negative side-effects of it's anti-car, density mania type planning on low-income and impoverished families. At least they've been driven out by the resulting gentrification (e.g. inner NE) so they can be more easily ignored now.

Games you play.

Wendell Cox analyses and data is unbiased, objective and 100% accurate. He need not cherry pick..

The polar opposite of the TriMet/Metro/PDC perpetual campaign. Their web consists of blatant misrepresentation and hefty misappropriation.

What you and other call cherry picking is simply more deceit. Most often your side's claims consist of charges that Cox didn't include or consider the distortions and lies from the agencies he criticizes.

Nice stunt. Just because you believe and peddle the BS from these lying agencies doesn't mean it should be included in exposing their work for what it is.

Milwaukie Light Rail is most severe current misappropriation and TriMet's version of it is entirely ginned up deceit.

Metro et al and it's central planning has been a huge detriment to the region. There are so many examples it's nuts to argue with the likes of you.

Literally everywhere Metro has tried their TOD, mixed use, higher density pipe dream there's been tremendous failure.

You're among those who deliberately avoid it no matter how extensive and repeated the failure becomes while hiding behind the planner's rhetoric and doling out the parroted jargon instead.

Far from your suggestive tripe that SoWa is the only misstep in sight there are many like it, across the region.

Your Metro version of what has been going on is blatant deceit.

But if you simply compare the pre Metro Charbonneau built with no subsidy to the current $100 million tax subsidized Villebois a few miles away you should get some of the picture.

But you won't. I know you planing loyalists well. Your ignorance and obfuscation is immovable.

You try and present yourself as iy

All you have are the ad hominem remarks claiming Cox is "incredibly biased and suspect at best".

But you are horribly wrong.

It is Cox and other like John Charles at Cascade Policy Institute providing what our local agencies cover up and distort.

You and yours are forever helping them do so.

Metro policies need to have sweeping changes or go away entirely. Your weak suggestion that the detriment is only "slightly more ugly through density regs" is more distorting that ignores the entire combination of Blaming the "damned developers" is laughable.

Your ignorance and dishonesty shines there.

It hasn't been developers who sited rows of residential front doors just steps from major roads and highways without any buffer.

So it's not just about spreading them. It is you who is shallow here not the critics.

You don't know what you are talking about and misrepresent.

You have no idea what makes a nice subdivision and your idea that Metro "slowed the rate of ugliness from metastasizing throughout the region" is a huge whopper.

It is Metro who has delivered all of the worst. Where is the "net positive" you're referring to? Is it merely conceptually speaking?

k. Thank goodness because one would have to wonder what our metro area would look really look like without a UGB.

You're obsessed with Metro and the UGB no matter how dysfunctional it is.

Again it's all conceptual with you planning zombies. The region is as ugly as any non UGB region in the country. Cascade Station, planned to be the "ped/bike/transit friendly mini city" is now the very typical, auto oriented big box strip mall one can find anywhere.

Your attempt to reduce the Metro criticism to nothing more than some irrational opposition to density, is a tired ploy of planning bureaucrats and their blind faithful.

That's just more of the continuous obfuscation.

Meanwhile, more of the same is devouring massive amounts of public resources under false pretenses and misinformation.
It's undermining basic services at every level and pushing even TriMet itself to the brink of collapse.

You are part of the problem.

We went to a party at the Pacifica at the "RiverscRape" condos last night. a million bucks buys you an 1800 sq ft box with a view of the unfinished town homes below and the noise from the Freemont Bridge. You also get to look at the river and the rail yards across. The interior is replete with unfinished cement ceilings and exposed electric conduit for electrical outlets and light fixtures.
There are lots of units still available, but street care there!
The spousal unit and I concluded it is not for us; we will stay in our detached house with our cars, until we are ready for the nursing nome, and the DMV takes away our driving licenses. Which in Oregon may be out for the old blind people kiddies!


You need your head checked if you think this current oil spill is the government's fault. Oil companies drill where the oil is. Are you saying that if we let them drill closer by or on land more that they wouldn't want to drill further out, too? I'm sure you and Sarah Palin would be arguing for drilling further out assuming this accident occurred closer to the shore or on land. You can spin this all you want, I just want to know how you can function in society believing in such crap?

I would also argue the shore impact would be far worse if that rig were closer to the shore. Maybe it would have been shut off quicker -- but the impact would have been far more severe on the Gulf's shore where most of the aquatic life is concentrated.

couples with children will opt for Vancouver or one of the suburbs due to the better housing, more racially homogeneous schools, and a less of a chance of some transient living in and out of Dignity Village abducting and raping your child.

Clark County's unemployment rate is significantly higher than that of any of the Oregon counties in the metro area. It consistently has a higher rate of rape and auto theft than Portland. It has an 82% non-Hispanic white population as opposed to 76% in Portland, so I'm not sure there's a huge advantage on the white power front. And as anyone who's ever had contact with child abuse agencies knows, abduction by strangers is the least likely venue for abuse; the vast majority of sex crimes against children are committed by family members or someone known to the family.

And "better housing"? Seriously?


Have you not heard of "Coastal Zone Management Act"? How about the California Coastal Protection Act?

quoting the above link, "85 percent of federally controlled offshore areas has been restricted, including the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, portions of the areas off the shores of Alaska, and the eastern Gulf of Mexico."

ws: Oil companies drill where the oil is.
JK: Not really. They drill where it is cheapest per unit of oil expected. Which would you expect to be the cheapest: 1) drill near the current North Slope oil wells and use the existing pipeline or 2) drill in a mile of water far out to sea? Note that they are forbidden to drill in 1) (and a myriad of other places) because of pressure from the greens.

ws: Are you saying that if we let them drill closer by or on land more that they wouldn't want to drill further out, too?
JK: Mostly, yes.


JK and Mister Tee:

1) The best oil reserves are hundreds of feet off of the coast line for the Gulf. You assume that nearby coastlines have better access and more production.

Yes going deep costs money, but when you're hitting huge reserves, it seems much more cost effective than getting scraps in comparison to easier to extract locations:

Map of top reserves (note hundreds of miles away from the coastline)

@ Mister Tee, Per the Heritage link:

"The central and western Gulf of Mexico is the only offshore area where drilling is allowed..."

Gee look at the top 100 reserves map and note there is no banning of oil extraction in the central Gulf of Mexico. Not to mention the reserves appear to be in areas that would probably need deep drilling.

2) Regardless of whatever crackpot-talk radio-right wing-wacko theories you have, at some point in time oil companies would want to drill in deep locations. It is inevitable that they would go deep. They have the technology -- yes it's expensive -- but they probably get good returns on the vast reserves (that are miles off the shoreline).

Government didn't make oil companies go towards deep drilling, oil companies went there because there on their own volition because that's where they get good returns.

Anyways, US returns on drilling is nothing in comparison to the world's oil reserves. Drop in the bucket and globally priced.

edit: not hundreds of feet but hundreds of miles.

ws: You assume that nearby coastlines have better access and more production.
JK: No assumption. My case was the many areas are off limits. In the absence of actually drilling in the off limit areas, we have no idea of the reserves, only guesses.

ws: Yes going deep costs money, but when you're hitting huge reserves, it seems much more cost effective than getting scraps in comparison to easier to extract locations:

JK: You make my point! This is the second paragraph in your refrence:
newly released test results from a well
Note the line “from the well” – that is how the estimate the reserves - from wells. In many areas wells are forbidden, so we don’t know how much is there.

ws: Map of top reserves (note hundreds of miles away from the coastline)
JK: So what? My claim was that much potential is off limits. You inventory of proven reserve says nothing about off limit lands since it is forbidden to drill the necessary wells to test the capacity of the off limits area.

I also note the absence of the Baken formation in Montana, which many think has vast oil in the class of the Middle East oil. As is the land just to the East of the current North Slope fields, which is off limits due to lies from the green movement. (Just compare google earth pix of the area with the green’s scare pictures)



Have you not heard of "Coastal Zone Management Act"?

Yeah, but I don't know that it has much to do with regulating how many white people live in Vancouver.


First, let me note that I agree with much of what Ben had to say.

It may well be that I need to have my head checked; obviously, however, I'm hardly alone as it appears evident that you could use a checkup as well. Perhaps we can schedule a visit together, and ask the shrink for a dual discount.

Secondly, I believe that I mentioned that it is the government and environmeddlists who dictate where drilling may be carried out. As China, Mexico, and others have demonstrated, it's far easier (and far less expensive) to drill near-shore (or even on land) than to drill miles out to sea and a mile down.

Moreover, I doubt that you actually know very much about containment and cleanup operations in the event of a near-shore spill, so you really are in no position to state unequivocally, as you did, that the impact would have been far more severe on the Gulf's shore where most of the aquatic life is concentrated.

Unlike you, I know a number of people who have been involved in containment and cleanup operations, and I have rather a good grasp of what is actually involved. I note as well that - once again - governmental inaction at the federal level has resulted not only in increased spillage, but in failure to take significant steps to protect the the estuaries and marshlands of which you speak so authoritatively.

Moving on: Regardless of whatever crackpot-talk radio-right wing-wacko theories you have, at some point in time oil companies would want to drill in deep locations. It is inevitable that they would go deep. They have the technology -- yes it's expensive -- but they probably get good returns on the vast reserves (that are miles off the shoreline).

Government didn't make oil companies go towards deep drilling, oil companies went there because there on their own volition because that's where they get good returns.

First, in regard to your statements, I congratulate your ability to recognize that you don't actually know what you're talking about - "they probably get good returns..." - clearly demonstrates that you're simply talking through your hat, making guesses in the absence of any knowledge.

It's unfortunate, though hardly surprising, that you stoop to characterizing anybody who disagrees with your perspective as subject to "crackpot talk radio right-wing" yadda,yadda,yadda. If you're reduced to such stereotyping, you clearly lack the intellectual capacity to engage in rational dialogue.

Your second statement is fundamentally wrong, as Mr. Karlock and I have both attempted to make clear. Not that it matters, as it appears that your response will involve placing an index finger in each ear and yelling Nyaa nyaa nyaa, I can't hear you.


What do you propose to keep oil companies out of deep water drilling? Regulation? You're not proposing the "r" word, are you?

Eventually, oil companies will go deep to get oil. That's the crux of my point, regardless if you think on-land or near-shore oil development were available to relieve any need for deep oil at this time. They are oil companies, they are in the business of extracting oil -- they go where the oil is and there are monumental amounts of oil in the central Gulf Coast. There's no refuting that.

I agree, I used "probably" and "I think" as I could not cite any sources. Lazy, yes, but they are good SWAGs. It's very fair to criticize me on those statements, but keep in mind you have offered zero evidence to suggest that oil companies were forced there in the first place and zero evidence that _assuming_ if we allowed more drilling on land or closer to shores that there would not be any deep water drilling going on concurrently. I am not privy to the economics of drilling, but if oil companies are currently drilling in deep waters under alleged "aggressive" regulatory environment, it's safe to assume they'd be drilling there under a more lax environment.

Regarding containment and spills of near-shore oil accidents, the Exxon Valdez is an excellent case study. It occurred near the shore line and I would argue as it stands today, its ecological impact is far worse (especially considering the biodiversity of the Prince William Sound). In terms of total volume, Exxon wasn't huge in the annals of largest spills ever, but it's proximity to a sensitive shoreline exacerbated the spill.

My apologies for any abrasive e-behavior I may have displayed in saying you need to get your head checked, but I find it absolutely reprehensible that the "drill baby drill" crowd is now worried that we are drilling in deep seas. Gee, I don't recall anyone bringing up off-shore drilling in deep seas ever until now, how convenient.

As far as I'm concerned that slogan doesn't have restrictions as to where oil is drilled (obviously not considering Palin wants to drill in a wildlife refuge, so I am perplexed).

It's just really insulting for people to argue it's the Gubmint's fault w/o casting any culpability on the actual perpetrators of this crime: BP.

Did I mention how insulting that line of reasoning is?


Regulations are what pushed deep-water drilling, not the other way around. If we follow your line of reasoning, which is to say that oil companies only go after the easy profit, then we must conclude that there is little incentive for them to go to extreme measures required in deep-sea drilling.

Your own statements argue against that concept.

They wouldn't be out there, drilling so far down, if they were not forced so far offshore by regulation. Surely, you must understand that a rapacious oil industry, raping the planet for profit, would look for easier sources. Less expense. greater profit.

They weren't out there by choice, they were there by governmental regulation.

You are quite correct in noting that the Valdez incident was a relatively small spill that occurred close to shoreline. Most of the folks I know were involved in the cleanup operations which followed. Much was learned from the Valdez incident, and over the ensuing years, close-shore responses have been so effective (absent governmental intervention) that you don't hear about them.

I don't carry a grudge, so there is no need for you to apologize for comments related to my mental capacity. You said something, I returned. Enough. I don't agree with "drill,baby,drill" if applied recklessly, so I disagree with the enviro/government push to move drilling far out to sea and a mile or more down. We have resources that can be more readily, more safely, and less expensively tapped - and while I completely favor alternative energy sources, the fact of the matter is that we need reliable sources of oil and natural gas until such time as alternative technologies can mature.

I don't know how old you are, but I remember all the debate about how the Alaska pipeline was going to decimate caribou populations. Oh, yes, the environmeddlists spoke with great certainty. Do you know what happened?

Populations increased. Do you know why?

It's unfortunate that you feel insulted because I note that the federal government interfered with BP's efforts to stem the flow after the blowout, but it happens to be a fact. Their latest effort, which has apparently been partially successful, is what BP wanted to do in the first place. Your feelings, however, don't alter the facts.


How about some hard evidence that BP was forced to drill deep because of regulation? I have searched and searched and found nothing great, other than Palin's tweets.

"For BP Amoco's soft-spoken CEO, Sir John Browne, deep water offers the prospect of the largest untapped reserves and the lowest-cost means of extraction. It could keep the company safely afloat even if oil prices, currently $30 a barrel, fall by half. "

'Cause Oil companies go where the oil is -- and there is no easy oil left. You make it sound like Jed can just shoot a hole in the ground and oil spurts up.


You also have not addressed how we keep oil companies out of deep locations.

Tell you what, we start letting oil companies "drill baby drill" everywhere to appease the Palinites (except for deep waters we'll keep off limits), and then we'll do a test and see how long it takes for oil companies to spend millions upon millions lobbying Congress to change the laws so they can drill deeper because that's where vast reserves are still left.

Reiterating for the nth time:

ANWR and other drilling would not stop the feasibility and economics of deep water drilling. Oil companies would still want to drill in deep locations! They do it now and would do it under no regulation.


Still cherry-picking from available data, I see. Drilling a deepwater well costs $50 million or more, compared with only $1 million onshore. At the sea floor, ice plugs can form in pipelines exposed to the near-freezing temperatures, forcing the owner to rent a drilling rig for $200,000 a day to fix the problem. Mistakes can be brutally expensive. Poorly engineered wells can get clogged with sand, requiring intervention at $5 million a pop. In 1998 contractors on Texaco's Petronius project accidentally dropped a 3,600-tonne deck module into the Gulf of Mexico. Today the $70 million platform still languishes under 500 meters of water, too deep to be recovered.

Darn, you conveniently omitted that part.

What I said is that companies would drill in safer locations if not for governmental and environmeddlist interference.

I also noted that BP's first response to the blowout was nixed by governmental interference, and only after a number of alternatives were attempted and failed did the government give the go-ahead for BP to go forward with their initial plan.

I noted as well that the feds dragged their feet in regard to estuary and marshland protection; compounding the environmental issues.

Yet over and over, you fail to address the salient aspects of the issue; resorting instead to lame characterizations such as "Palinites", "crackpot right wing whackos", and so on.

It seems to be all you've got.

Reiterating for the nth time: oil companies, like any other company, will go for easy over risky every time. They aren't in business to take unnecessary risks. They want to return value to investor dollars, and you really lose out when spending millions on deep-water rigs - especially when you can site rigs close to shore and do angle drilling to reach the same reserves, as China and Mexico presently do.

Absent federal interference, the initial blowout would likely not have occurred because BP would have been doing a lateral drill near-shore rather than in deep water conditions. Absent federal interference, BP would have proceeded with its initial deep-water plan to cut and cap the pipe.

Absent federal interference, sand berms would have been placed to minimize oil damage to estuaries and marshlands.

It seems clear that the problem lies not with Big Oil, but rather, with Big Government.


There is no easy to get oil anymore. The age of accidentally shooting a hole in the ground and oil spurting out is over. Your characterization of such "easy oil" conditions in the US is false.

Absent federal regulation, BP would still be drilling deep in the Gulf.

PS, I didn't omit anything. I have admitted going deep is expensive, but is rewarding when you're hitting massives reserves with high quality crude.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
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
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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