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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Free Kool-Aid

"The world’s best and brightest on urban issues" are coming to town to tell us how to live.

Comments (12)

Even the titles are screwed up:

You either imagine something or you don't plus they can't even decide if they want to talk about quality or equality?

This drives me nutz because we never talk in substantive issues ever (like what the heck does sustainability mean?) Instead, we kind of use these things as a foil for the same old developer welfare checks.

What: no Richard Florida or Faith Popcorn to tell everyone what the mayor wants to hear?

Be sure to ask what these plans are going to cost. (That kind of question destroyed one smart growth presentation:)



Same ol' crap delivered in a multicultural brochure ... white + money = "livable"

Perhaps scholarships are available for the unemployed young people with whom Ms Nancy Rommelmann chatted for her column, "Is Portland the new Neverland?" in the daily of record Saturday:

"'Young people intuitively understand that the old model is broken and they are in the forefront of inventing the new institutional model of the future,' says Charles Heying, an associate professor of urban studies and planning at PSU. 'But to make this omelet, many eggs are getting broken.'"

The banner shows me it's a bunch of 13 year olds. The mindset from which I have come to expect, daily in Portland.


Huh? Says who? Portland was great long before a need to "plan" the future. In fact, think of the neighborhoods that could have matured into the classic cultural centers they were already becoming - only to be erased by "Urban Renewal." Yes, the once vibrant, southwest Portland district. It was great until it was planned away...

I moved here exactly four years ago, and one question that I've asked my friends repeatedly is this:

How is it that a city that is such a political cesspool today was able to evolve into such a great city over the past several decades?

What my friends have told me is that the key to Portland's positive development was the rise of neighborhood groups, starting in the mid-70s; which happens to be something that was happening all across the country as post-60s hippies were finding common ground with 70's yuppies.

What my friends then explained is that, unfortunately, the neighborhood groups here in Portland were eventually co-opted by the powers that be, who learned how to pander to those original neighborhood interests, in order to continue controlling things from behind the scenes.

So, Bojack, does that sound just about right?

The banner shows me it's a bunch of 13 year olds

When I was 13, in the summer of '85, I wanted more than anything, a great big, loud, top of the line boom-box and a bunch of tapes to put in it. A bit dated technologically, perhaps, but the kind of stuff your typical 13 year olds will always want. Some of these kids will doubtless be given the gadgets and geegaws they want free of charge, too...and I genuinely feel sorry for them.

My old man was from the old school. That summer, I was sent out with his best friend Les on a construction crew in the brutal Texas sun, toting scrap and pounding nails. I got my boombox and a bunch of other stuff, too...$5 an hour was a pretty good wage for a 13 year old back then. Also picked up a bunch of new muscles, learned how good an ice cold beer can be after hours and hours of bust-ass work, learned some new swear words and dirty jokes...you know. Pretty cliched, sure, but part of growing up where I'm from.

I honestly wonder how many folks in Portland's massively bloated, largely parasitic local government had such experiences at that age. Sometimes I wonder if any of them will ever earn an honest dollar outside of government employment even *once* in their lives.

There's a reason they call 'em watermelons.

Peter: here's my take for readers to chew on or spit out...

One of the purposes of government is to tell people what they can and can't do.

One of the purposes of big business is make lots of money.

Urban planning, or at least the way it's done around here, marries the two into a close partnership creating enormous opportunity for graft and corruption ("public-private partnership", PDC, etc.).

Most newcomers to the area are from much, much larger metropolitan areas and bring with them an intense paranoia of their comparitively idyllic new home turning into what they just escaped from. These are usually the people who most adamantly demand 'urban planning', which keeps fueling the machine.

Over the past decade or so, local leaders have pretty much stopped listening to neighborhood associations and treat them, and the general population, as irrelevant because they are.

Welcome to Portland, the Smart City.


Don't bother. Your "part" means nothing to Sam. I wouldn't trust any so-called public input exercise with that man in office. Waste of time.

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