This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 16, 2010 12:06 PM. The previous post in this blog was Can you spare five bucks for charity?. The next post in this blog is Spirit of Portland. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pretzel logic at City Hall

This is silly. The City of Portland, which grinds local merchants into a fine powder before blowing them away, is preaching to its residents that they need to walk to the store.

Hey, geniuses: What store?

Comments (29)

Guess I'm lucky: Trader, Fred, Zupan, Co-op and even Holy Foods all walking distance. Not to mention Safeway.

I'd like to be able to walk to the store for a quart of milk, but I'm not willing to give my life to do it. The COP and Mult. County refuse to build sidewalks in my neighborhood, but are already exploring the possibility of carving a multi-million-dollar bike lane out of the hillside along upper Scholls Ferry Road. What a joke.

what! Bike lanes before sidewalks?

Pedestrians are a much larger constituancy, and greener, too.

"Did you know that almost 40 percent of all trips in the U.S. are less 1.5 miles?"

What does this mean? "Auto" trips are not specifically stated, so are they saying "trips" in general, like people who are already walking or biking?

Because if they are averring that 40% of all AUTO trips are less than 1.5 miles, I call major BS. Care to site a reference?

Or even "cite" a reference? (Yea, that spellcheck prevents loads of errors alright. Let's let the students use it.)

Even better is the cognitive dissonance of these two items:

Did you know that when you spend one dollar at a locally owned business, an average of 45 cents stays in the local economy? The same dollar spent at a business with an out-of-community headquarters only leaves about 14 cents in the local economy.*

and this:

In other words, the City (with Adams' vocal encouragement) blathers about "buying local", while Adams crows about making Portland "an international city" and giving endless tax breaks, loans, and other perks to international companies so that they'll locate here.

Try and imagine a City that complains that not enough people walk and buy local, while it flattens part of West Hayden Island for internationsl shipping of coal and cars and tries hard to get international firms to put an office here.

Don't worry--they'll justify it with the magic incantation: "jobs".

Yeah, local. Yet they just approved an $80 million SoWhat project and they are using a construction company from California. Hypocrites.

I question the whole premise of us paying someone to try to change our lifestyle like this. That's not what I pay government for. Stop using my money on it.

Besides who reads this except people like us to make fun of it. Who is this imaginary person who spends their time surfing the city website, stumbles onto this essay, and says "You know, I haven't thought of that! I'm totally going to walk now."

Guess I'm lucky: Trader, Fred, Zupan, Co-op and even Holy Foods all walking distance. Not to mention Safeway.

Also lucky that you can afford to shop at those places. (Although Trader Joes is probably the most economical place in that list.) At least out here in the 'burbs I have a Winco about a 1/2 mile away.
Unfortunately I only have two hands so bringing home a months worth of groceries for four people is problematic no matter how close the store is.

Yup, Snards. Made-up jobs producing made-up work for a made-up need. Welcome to the creative class.

If we are supposed to buy local why do they always choose out of state or out of country firms for their massive computer boondoggles?

I've had some long walks home from the New Seasons in Arbor Lodge with bags that felt like they weighed 100 pounds by the time I got to my door (only .7 miles each way). I've also eaten pavement trying to ride with a grocery bag over my shoulder. I'll admit that the majority of my trips to the store and library in my neighborhood are by car. I'm working on it. I definitely feel better when I walk or ride. Less money to big oil, the Saudis, Iranians, and Venezuelans.

From the City's twitter I guess we should ignore that over 84% of Portland's commerce and subsequent jobs are from businesses that the post doesn't call local. Forget all the Nike, Columbia, and the like employees dependent on all the other cities that are shamefully selling their goods outside of Portland to those shameful citizens not buying locally in their cities. The stupidity of how economics works by CoP's creative class is astounding.

Persons with disabilities and the elderly may not be so hot for this idea. When it's raining or cold like the weather has been lately may not get any rational residents excited about this idea, either.
Keeping Portland weird also keeps it intellectually impaired...

Huck, that's admirable. Do you think your decision to walk to the store in the first place was influenced by a posting on a City website? Or did a local environmental group pressure you into it? Maybe you neighborhood association is assigning "demerits to drivers?" I'm assuming you've been aware for a number of years that you have two legs. And certainly like you, most folks are aware of the many benefits of walking. So where is the need for this kind of nonsense?

There was a fellow student back in high school who used to tell the other students how to do things they were already in the process of doing. If you were unlocking your locker, he'd tell you how to turn the dial. If you were near the end of a math problem, he's tell you how to start solving it. If you were packing a book bag, he'd tell you what order to put things in. We used to say to him, "Breathe... 2... 3... 4...," joking that if he didn't remind us to breathe, we might all die.

See, this is the aggravating part. First of all, the city should not be recommending (let alone pushing) any kind of lifestyle. It's not their job. But they, along with much of the "creative class," really don't know how to do their job, or they feel the need to "create," without having any real need to fulfill. They look at something that everybody does anyway, and think they are special because they recognize it, and can make it into an issue. Walking was never a big issue because everybody knows how, and those who can/want to walk already do! But it makes them feel good to state the obvious. This is what bugs me, and I assume, a lot of us.

We've been shown how often this is the way City Hall tries to run ideas in Portland. It's like throwing pasta on the wall to see if it'll stick. Throw enough lame-brain ideas out there, and something's gotta work someday! Law of averages alone, right? But if I conducted my business in this way - offering people what they already have or telling them to do what they already do - I'd be sleeping on the streets. Lots of us are very tired of this mentality and of OUR TAX MONEY going to waste on frivolous, wasteful, self-aggrandizing projects and ideas. But this is the way the culture of Portland has de-volved. Narcissistic, selfish, self-absorbed, prideful, and on and on.

But after this lengthy response, let me ask you again. Did the City of Portland's website really influence you to walk more?

Just another way the City of Portland is becoming a bad place to live and/or do business in. Walking to the store is great if you have a decent store near you that offers decent prices, but that isn't in my neighborhood. I also don't think it would be very fun trying to walk with a couple weeks worth of groceries home while also having my 2 year old and 2 month old with me.

Mayor Creepy and his gang of dolts don't have a clue!

When I lived WITHIN Portland city limits at the southern end of Capitol Highway, I couldn't even walk on the treet due to a large drainage ditch on either side of the road, fast vehicles, a narrow street with blind corners...I hated walking to my bus stop (where coming home I had to sprint across Barbur Boulevard with no crosswalk anywhere near by).

Today, I live in that godawful suburb known as Tigard. I have multiple businesses I can easily walk to, of all sorts (banks, medical, restaurants, variety) all with direct, improved sidewalk access, and I have three different traffic signals to help me get across Pacific Highway (one being a pedestrian signal only).

I can take my son to parks AND to school by walking - things I couldn't do in Portland. I can ride my bike with nice, quiet streets and bike paths - couldn't do that in Portland.

I am so, so surprised - the City of Portland encourages shopping??? Don't they know that this is what will cause the end of the world - the overconsumption of anything left on this planet. Fine, eat your groceries - but do you really need a new scarf? A duct-tape wallet? Another item of clothing? Walking or bike riding to buy stuff is such a small percentage of the carbon/environmental cost of stuff.

Truly, what store? Plaid Pantry?

That whole bunch of nitwits at City Hall are the ones who need to take a walk.

Bonus points to the ones who do it Olympic style.

Did you know that when you spend one dollar at a locally owned business, an average of 45 cents stays in the local economy? The same dollar spent at a business with an out-of-community headquarters only leaves about 14 cents in the local economy.*

Yup, I pay $2.00 for a quart of milk at the walkable store and $1 stays locally.
Or I pay $1.00 at the Winco and 14 cents stays locally.

Lets all double our food costs by shopping locally.

While we’re at it be sure to buy your Chinese made, American branded appliances locally instead of evil places like Walmart because Walmart carries too much Chinese made stuff (most with American brands.)

PDX - no, the government has not convinced me to do anything. That said, I'm not the one they're talking to - you are, I guess, but also, hopefully, people who are more receptive to the concept. But you're right, people probably don't browse around looking for those types of messages, so it's probably a bit of a waste.

That said, the government absolutely should be in the business of telling people what the costs of lifestyle choices are. The government pushed us into cars, just as we demanded from them that they do so. The government IS US! That same government, who we collectively elected, is noticing that dense populations are cheaper to service.

They're also noticing that the health care costs of sedentary living and consuming junk food. And the dollar/political/environmental destabilizing effects of importing oil and burning coal. And the trade deficits and weak job base resulting from from corporate offshoring and mindless consumption of crap. All these are making it difficult to provide government services at current levels of taxation. They're trying to encourage mitigation, not wholesale abandonment of the American lifestyle.

Conservatives may very well be right about a lot of the modern progressive/liberal social reaction to the policies of the last 150 years, but the point is that whining and screaming about how wasteful and inappropriate all the attempts at social engineering are is failing to convince people who've experienced the problems at issue. These people tend to vote Dem/liberal because they want to see people who acknowledge a problem and make an attempt to communicate and deal with it (which is exactly what the link above is, to bring this long post back to the point). It's fluff to you, but it's marketing in a world obsessed with marketing - reaching out to their "customer" and telling them "I feel your pain."

The conservative dilemma is that their arguments are going to have to get more complex in acknowledging the problems experienced by those who've been subjected to environmental degradation, to the inability to afford college, health care, and housing, and face to face with the impacts on the globe of American foreign policy. The general philosophy of limited government just doesn't address the concerns of the majority of the traveled, the college educated, and those who've been affected negatively by gentrification or globalization (and please, spare me the exceptions to the above generalization, I did say majority, not "every"). That's why they're losing the young,the urban, and minorities. And if you haven't checked demographics lately, it's a progressively urban, young, brown, and disaffected global population.

Darn it, Huck. I have to get ready and then leave for a Christmas concert my daughter is singing in. Otherwise I'd love to spend the night conversing with you.

Particularly regarding your questionably pejorative comment that the government is talking to me(?), someone "unreceptive to the concept." This is the attitude I was referring to in my post when I stated:

"But this is the way the culture of Portland has de-volved. Narcissistic, selfish, self-absorbed, prideful, and on and on."

I neglected to include presumptuous, I suppose. Because I'm not sure why you presume I am in need of the government telling me what to eat, where to buy it, how to get there, and how to clean myself after I dispose of it, post-digestion, so to speak.

Unfortunately, I really do need to go... To the concert, that is.

PDX - I get why you'd think I was presuming, but I really wasn't. My post was just way too long and I didn't want to qualify everything.

I edited out of my comment a section acknowledging there is an inherent contradiction to what I was saying: that you're the target of the message, but really, you're not. That I'm not the intended target, but really I am. Libs/Dems are trying to fluff those who already believe, but keep up the charade that they're trying to convince somebody, anybody, who doesn't.

But, while I think where we agree is that is wasteful, I do stand by my argument that it IS the govt's job to persuade behavior modification where it affects services provided. I think we share, equally, the burden of persuasion when it comes to convincing people or our respective views. While I'm outnumbered here, it seems Portland has gone all in on most of my perspective for quite some time now.

It's like throwing pasta on the wall to see if it'll stick.

No, it's throwing pasta on the wall to turn it into garbage.


Didn't I just read something about that somewhere?

...it seems Portland has gone all in on most of my perspective for quite some time now.

Which is precisely why businesses large and small, the people dependent upon them for jobs, working class families with children, and the others most adversely impacted by this zeitgeist have been leaving Portland in droves for many years.

It's a great place to be independently wealthy, or have a non-taxable income stream from a trust fund or the black market economy though.

The interesting thing...I certainly noticed this over the course of my decade there...is that for every disillusioned and broke aging hipster who left, a fresh face or two arrived. An unending stream of ideologues and their parents' money. As others have noted, it would be most illustrative to see some statistics on this "turnover" rate.

This is interesting:
"Small Business Survival Index" by the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council


"Did you know that almost 40 percent of all trips in the U.S. are less 1.5 miles?"

Yeah, but 80% of accidents happen within 1 mile of home, so I'd travel farther to counter that effect.

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