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Monday, August 23, 2010

A view from outer space

This story makes no sense to me. Is it news? Does it even have a point? From the headline through the rambling prose, I don't get it.

If there is a point, I guess it's this: Fireman Randy and Mayor Creepy have raised the price of their product to the breaking point, and spent a sliver of the bigger pie on marketing to try to convince the customers that they should pay more for the same old threadbare thing.

Comments (18)

All I got was more corporate welfare. We the taxpayers are paying for marketing for downtown businesses because goodness knows that private enterprise should not have to market itself. Especially not when SamRand will give it someone else's money to do the job.

I found the predictable remarks from many who simply dislike going downtown and the small number of probably paid City Hall hacks defending downtown quite entertaining. Nothing like making parking more expensive and scarce to attract new business is there Sam? Given the growing amount of vacant storefronts and office space down there; one would think they would cut parking fees and bring back free sunday parking - but don't expect common sense from the idiots at City Hall.

More corporate welfare and the theft from the three other purposes for which those dollars were previously promised. Mildred Schwab would have reminded us what those were.

I think the economic chickens of ending fareless square have come home to roost on downtown restaurants and retail, just as everybody with two working brain cells predicted they would. So, now they think they can advertise their way out of the impact of their own stupidity and are grabbing public dollars to do it with. More Portland kleptocracy at work.

Just seems like they re-mold downtown into their image and spend truck loads of development money there - And no one wants to visit.

So now we spend more money convincing people to come to a place with street urchins and no parking to buy something they could more conveniently get at WashSq or ClackTC.

Sam is really living in a bizarro world, but then again when you are a sociopath, that probably makes sense. Especially when you start believing your own PowerPoints.

Too little too late. We wrote off downtown a long time ago.

If you plan and encourage density, build light rail and Streetcars and Trams to it, but can't seem to get enough people to use it, what do you do? Easy--you move the Light rail and Streetcar and Tram to serve other areas.

Oh. Whoops.

I had to stop reading when she used the word "kerfuffle." Never use the word "kerfuffle." If that is not taught in "jounalism school," it needs to be.

Further proof that City Hall lives in a make-believe world of studies, consultants, and other soothsayers and completely cut off from reality and those they're supposed to serve. "Let them eat ashcakes!"

Reminds me of the big ideas Albert Speer and Der Fuhrer had for Berlin that were supposed to be implemented after the war's happy ending that never came...

I swear, the majority of OregonLive commenters are weird, wild people.

Want to get people downtown??

Got a plan that won't cost us a dime except to get there after 7:00pm of course and it will be well worth whatever it costs at this point to get down there for the biggest celebration ever of:

Sam Leonard and Randy Adams resigning!!

You wont' have seen so many people downtown cheering as since the Blazers won that 1976-77 World Championship!!

Let me see if I have this straight.

Washington Square, a PRIVATE, for profit company, has to pay to build its mall, build its parking lots, build its street system, improve certain side streets, have its own security force, pay taxes (without the benefit of a URA) including income, property, TriMet and so on...and the downtowners claim "subsidized urban auto-central sprawl" when it is the businesses within that choose to pay a higher rent to locate at a mall, in order to benefit from the group advertising that a mall provides. The only real public investment is a handful of Tigard Police Officers, which, by the way, the mall is entitled to as they pay property taxes (like any other property owner) for that protection.

Downtown Portland, a PUBLIC neighborhood of the City of Portland, has extensive public holdings including public streets, public parking lots, public on-street parking, public transit (including the Free Rail Zone) - and yet just wants more, more, MORE taxpayer money. Yet that is O.K.

Back in the late 80s, PDC was whining and wondering why Nike chose to build its campus in an unincorporated area and not downtown. Hmmmm.... employees have free parking, some public transportation (and Nike runs its own shuttles from MAX to its work locations), a private security force that helps employees with jumping batteries and lock outs, are trained on readily available defibrulators plus the WashCo sheriffs dept (who are part of property taxes) for hard security, there is no graffiti, no piss on the pavement, no panhandlers, no constantly torn up street system, and not pet projects. I hope other businesses think twice about being in Portland proper as long as the PDC swindle is in full swing.

So raise taxes throughout the city, make it difficult to get around (bike lanes, bus lanes, crisscross trains, parking meters, etc.), drive away businesses by overtaxing them and not protecting their interests ... then spend MORE taxpayer dollars trying to beg people to ignore what I just described! Where did these guys learn his craft and why are the lemmings keeping them in charge?

Who is downtown for, anyway? The Pearl isn't for me--I can't afford it, my neighbors can't afford it, most of my side of town can't afford it. And we don't want to go all the way downtown so we can shop at a mall or large deparrtment store, where prices are higher than other places.

And we don't want to spend two hours of our day trying to make public transit connections to do it. And carrying purchases on bicycles doesn't work so well.

And we don't want to...oh, why go on? The only question that matters--who is downtown for---has already been answered. It's for a minority of people. A crossroads for getting elsewhere, a place where young kids, transients, and people with money to burn go.

The desperate attempts of the city to "guide" visitors with ludicrous signs like "Cultural District" (really? culture ends on this block, and something else happens across the street?), or "Chinatown" (last I checked, there's so little that's Chinese about it that it might be better called "Transient town"), or whatever clever signs you see ("This way to the Pearl District!").

C'mon, people--wise up. Downtown is a freakin' theme park, carefully designed by people who think the ultimate city is "international" and "local" and a host of other schizophrenic, cognitively dissonant things. People like Mayor Tweet are part of that crowd, so confused about what a city really is that they read (and rebroadcast) every inane list that Portland appears on (except the bad ones--never the bad ones, like child hunger, or elderly living in poverty).

Portland, alas, has an identity crisis and a self-esteem problem. It can't decide what it wants to be, so it wants to be everyplace else.

Then again, there are a large number of Japanese tourists downtown. Really. I run into them all the time at Chef Naoko. Must be the direct Northwest flight to Tokyo.

So if they put parking meters out here in Gateway, will they then pay for ads to encourage people to come shop in this area?

I work downtown and have since 1993. I bike to work 90% of the time. In that short few years the proliferation of the light rail tracks, "transit malls" and removal of free parking has turned mere transportation into and out of downtown into a nightmare. On days I have to drive I am astonished that anyone endures that experience every day. Even with free Sunday meters I couldn't see a resurgence of downtown interest. If the fubared streets with their strange transit-mall-induced "turn here, can't turn here, this lane, not that lane" didn't turn you off the endless parade of drunk or high or aggressively panhandling people who populate the core would make me stay away.
why any of these design choices makes any sense escapes me.
And the transit system is so poorly scheduled that to get to or from downtown at any time other than morning or evening rush hour is absurd. I've found it easier and quicker to walk 20+ blocks than wait for the bus/ max connections to make the trip.
Why couldn't we have taken the money spent on trains and street cars and fixed basic infrastructure like the crumbling east side roads or the Sellwood bridge?
Guess I'm not smart enough to see the logic in the grand plans City Hall has worked out.

Sorry BROOKS but there's as much crumbling infrastructure in outer SW as the East side and our tax bills tend to be higher... so frankly I want some of the deferred maintenance that's been going on for decades to be addressed over here as well.

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