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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 3, 2011 4:47 PM. The previous post in this blog was More tax giveaways for apartment bunkers. The next post in this blog is You're not anonymous on the internet. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Next Portland dingbat idea on its way from Texas?

A reader in the Lone Star State writes:

The city of Austin is just as financially screwed-up as Portland (and with it being the state capital, it's directly affected by our $30 billion deficit and the draconian cuts being put to the state to pay for George W. Bush's and current Governor Rick Perry's games), and the city is too busy worrying about renaming its Solid Waste Services department. Even better, someone decided to let the general public vote:

link

This gave me flashbacks to 25 years ago, when the State of Wisconsin decided that all other problems in the universe had been solved, and it was time to vote for various "official state" insanity. Official state dog (the water spaniel), the official state fossil (the trilobite), etcetera. The state finally went too far by opening up a write-in vote for a replacement for the old "America's Dairyland" license plate logo: The whole plan was dropped when the winner, by a six-to-one margin, was "Eat Cheese And Die."

Not to say that Sam and Randy won't jump all over this. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the ballot box was stuffed with votes for naming the next bioswale for Sam. Considering that most of Portland's hipster trends first saw life in Austin, it's just a matter of time.

Comments (12)

What ticks me off was that the big vote winner was removed today. Its acronym was "GOATSE".

Goatse is an Internet meme that goes way back.

Incidentally, Austin did have their "Keep Austin Weird" bumper stickers way way way before Portland.

Actually, I was quite fond of the water spaniel and the trilobyte. And I hope Austin keeps its lead as the highest number of bullet holes per car.

I heard it that the winner was "Come and freeze in the land of cheese."

With runner up "Come and smell our dairy air.". Gotta love those cheese heads. Go Pack!

Actually it would be a good thing if the City actually listened to the public.

The City of Portland has already played musical chairs and renamed agencies and so on...it does it on a regular basis. I'm pretty sure there's even a permanent budget entry for "government reorganization" just to keep a few jobs that would otherwise not exist.

Remember the "Bureau of Planning and Sustainability"?

Remember the "Bureau of Planning and Sustainability"?

At least this reorganization did serve to remove a few FTEs from the former Bureau of Sustainable Development and Bureau of Planning, I believe. Ultimately, I would expect a grand reunification with BDS. It's a mistake to divorce current and long-range planning, although it probably suited the political machine to do so at the time.

I fondly remember the days when I could go to a different city around the region and ask "Where's the Planning Department?", "Oh, just down to the left at the end of the hall".

Now when you ask you MUST have the proper four to eight word name in proper sequence like "Department of Sustainable Planning and Public Works". If you ask wrong you are rudely corrected or they give you the "What?", like they don't know what you're really looking for.

lw,
Do you know, whatever happened to the Solar Access Standards?

Would suit me fine to go back to just the Planning Department. One who used to do the good planning that put Portland on the map so to speak for good planning. Now it is change this name or that code for whatever purposes. Title 34 rewrite and Code Language Improvement Projects, I gave up trying to keep track of it, since they don't adhere to the regulations anyway, constantly allowing adjustments, etc.

Would suit me fine to go back to just the Planning Department. One who used to do the good planning that put Portland on the map so to speak for good planning. Now it is change this name or that code for whatever purposes. Title 34 rewrite and Code Language Improvement Projects, I gave up trying to keep track of it, since they don't adhere to the regulations anyway, constantly allowing adjustments, etc.

33.805 is an important section of Portland's development code. Planners aren't failing to adhere to regulations when they "allow" adjustments. The staff discretion authorized by this language prevents a whole host of uses from being impossible in Portland where sets of regulations converge.

As for code rewrites or improvements, these typically originate at the political level, and managers are held responsible for their implementation.

LURid, the whole notion of zoning size with the deviations allowed would, if applied to an engineering problem, result in chaos. No computer could run, maybe one out of a thousand cars might just fire up.

The problem is tolerance. If I get a number, like R5 indicating 5000'^2, I would expect a tolerance on that value, 1%, 5%, 10%? But no, it's a moving target by a great degree, and there is hardly any reasonably good reason to allow the current process to run.

It is broken, it invites corruption, it is finally chaotic.

I asked for that tolerance value at a hearing one day. Everyone looked at me like I was some sort of nut or utterly stupid.

So much for orderly process.

LURid,
Ok then. Can you provide an update on the Solar Access Standards?

I recognize that adjustments are allowed, I believe the use of them has been stretched.

A building height restriction can be changed if some other area can be enhanced at the street level, etc. How does this work for the rest of the neighborhood who do not want higher than a 30 story by code but the developer gets to do a 34 story building by using mitigation, adjustments, or whatever the “proper” term is these days?

Just because you can use “adjustments” doesn’t mean you should.

I am not trying to "put down" the individual planners, quite frankly, I think would be difficult to work under some of these political types who want to plow through with whatever to suit development. Just recently, though, I found very troubling this matter of doing a design review instead of a required CU (Conditional Use) regarding the immigration building in SoWhat. I believe that CU was also talked about being put aside on recreational properties in neighborhoods and using a good neighbor agreement instead. Do not know what happened there?

What do you call it when only two lots are allowed by code and then a developer asks for three and gets three instead despite the neighborhood's objection? I might add the property owner was from California, apparently no concern of the loss of livability in Portland. Even a 10% tolerance would not have allowed three lots, at that time.

My perception is that the changes have been enormous, what was it, 400 pages for the Title 34 rewrite? Who can keep up with these? Like I said, the attitude from the city not really respecting the citizens/livability and using regulations to dance around and/or using sheer politics has brought me to the point of not placing much faith in the system.

Again, I would appreciate knowing the status of the Solar Access Standards. Thank you.


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