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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 17, 2011 10:20 AM. The previous post in this blog was My confession. The next post in this blog is Whew -- what's that smell?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

The City That Works -- Part-Time, in a Food Cart

"My ex-girlfriend decided she wanted to go to art school here and I wanted to leave Pennsylvania," he said....

"This seems to be a mecca for the misplaced half-cast rock-and-rollers," Gardiner says. "A lot of half-rican, halfie, half-black, half-white rockers out here and metal heads and punk rockers. I like that a lot. It seems to be that I chose the correct place to come if this is where we're all flocking to."

The whole thing is here. This is what the city's going broke turning itself into. Go by streetcar!

Comments (31)

We're flocked.

When the kids get hungry and un-retire, they probably aren't going to get a "living wage" job in this city:

http://news.opb.org/article/63468-standard-insurance-seeks-it-answers-india/

That was the last, largest private-sector employer in the downtown area. What will replace it?

Comments aside, consider the cost of paying workers enough to live in a high-tax, high-cost area.

The article regurgitates several myths about Portland:

Each year thousands of 20-somethings move to Portland.
Wrong; and there's no actual evidence for it. Even City Hall parrots this myth, despite a stunning lack of evidence for it. However, there *is* evidence that the average age of Portlanders is going *up*. And the population of Portland (the city) grew by around 2% between 2000 and 2010. That's roughly 10,000 people.

Strangely, "Oregon economist Kaylor still says this:
"In recessions, Portland tends to see population growth, even as we lose jobs," Kaylor says. "So one of the reasons we have that higher unemployment rate is because people do continue to move here even as jobs disappear."

Really? Even though the net rise in Portland's population was less than 10,000 people in a decade (in which the recession has occurred"?

but Portland is still about 80 percent white
Wrong again: in fact, Portland is just under 74% "white"--that is, Caucasian (which can include hispanic, depending on who's asking the question).

And, over 5% of Portlanders claim themselves as "mixed race".

But Gardiner, who is from New York, says there are other kinds of diversity he'd like to see more of in Portland. "Honestly, I miss the Italians and the Jews more out here than I miss the blacks," he says.

I'll let that statement speak for itself, implied racism and all. The cast of this article is inherently racist, in fact: it paints Portland as somehow inferior because a lot of "white" people live here. I invite readers to switch the nouns and imagine someone saying "there are not enough white people living in Cornelius", or "there aren't enough Black people living in Milwaukie". Or "there are too many Jews living here".

Folks, this is how these articles get created: a freelancer looked for a superficial, popular, saleable topic to "write' about. She cruised food carts and asked young people standing nearby, and did a drive by on two standard "economic" sound bite providers. That's it--that's the entire article. Joe Cortright was highly unlikely to just be "standing in the rain" nearby--he's famous for presenting himself as a quotable source of Portland statistics.

The article isn't an attempt to factually describe Portland. Amelia Templeton is from Portland, and is also a part-time actress. Google her.

A lazy journalist? Not in Portland!

But Gardiner, who is from New York, says there are other kinds of diversity he'd like to see more of in Portland. "Honestly, I miss the Italians and the Jews more out here than I miss the blacks," he says.

If the New Yorkers I know are a representative slice (and I doubt they are, but whatever), odds are good that what he's getting at is our relative lack of quality east-coast Italian restaurants and Jewish delis.

Comments aside, consider the cost of paying workers enough to live in a high-tax, high-cost area.

The young, healthy, single renters flocking here can swing it, since their needs and obligations are few. It's when they decide to buy a house and/or have kids and/or need health insurance that reality sets in. There are too few jobs in Portland that provide health insurance and pay well enough to support a family and a mortgage, and what little middle class remains is being squeezed out by the rising taxes and fees. Pretty soon our city will consist of only two classes: an upper class composed of wealthy landlords and affluent DINKS and a (much larger) underclass of under-employed renters who will be too busy sleeping in, playing in bands, and eating fried pies to rise up.

So, no surprise. A lot of young unexperienced, property less folks voting to tax those with property and for government sponsored pipe dreams. Once they vote to hike the cost of living, maybe they find somewhere else to trend to. Left behind is the uneconomical pipedreams and high rise condos Joe Cortright seems to forever talk up (wonder if there's any financial interest there).

Oh yeah. We need to pay up for being too white. Cut public funding for NPR; we already know the government line, and don't need NPR's repeating it.

OK, so we can attract this type. Maybe we can attract employers that want this type?

Sam needs to hire another staffer to come up with the PowerPoints for this.

I always chuckle at people moving to freaking Oregon and being surprised that it's mostly white. Other than native americans, who else would be here? You moved to OREGON for crissakes.

One thing I seem to see a lot in our population which features more non-natives to natives, is a lack of understanding of Oregon's historical context, and lack of interest in learning anything about it. It's sad.

It's the City that Jerks.

I enlarged the photo of the gentleman cooking in the food cart....Lordy, where are the county food police? The cooking area looks in need of some serious degreasing/sanitizing. Hopefully there is a fire extinguisher in there.

The author seems to imply that young people come here for the food cart "cuisine". I have yet to dine at a food cart and return for seconds. Portland does have some good restaurants but they tend to be indoors, licensed and inspected from time to time.

other white meat, you did a good summary of the failings in the article. And Snards comment is right on for those of us that know the history. It is interesting that Templeton cherry picked one firm staying in Portland, but failed to easily research those that have left, or look at the business/employee increase charts for the bay area versus the Portland area.

Templeton just picked a title for her "research" (walk down a street) then found the quotes to back it up. Fine journalism.

And we all ride a bike, ride the Streetcar, get 100% clean energy from Bonneville Dam, never dare eat at a fast food restaurant or drink Coke/Pepsi, drink lots of beer, live in a condo, work 25 hours a week, get all the health insurance and bennies we need, use only Apple Macbooks, and have solar panels on our homes.

Uh huh...

Often, I like these hipster whatevers.They are up for fun and can be pretty active.

However, they have a puritan's zeal for things they think they know, their educations are weak (Chomsky, Zinn, HS Thompson, Bukowski), and their understanding of history is bizarre.

And, they too often substitute euphemism and sociologist speak and terms for plain or inventive/fresh speech.

I learned the term "oriental" was hate speech the hard way. Thanks Eddy Said.
I make a point to drop it in where appropriate.

The repeated assertion that Portland's unemployment rate is higher than the national average because young people keep coming here is complete hogwash and only adds fuel to City Hall's argument that high unemployment isn't a result of bad (or no) economic development strategy.

The repeated assertion that Portland's unemployment rate is higher than the national average because young people keep coming here is complete hogwash and only adds fuel to City Hall's argument that high unemployment isn't a result of bad (or no) economic development strategy.

Exactly so. And the middle class is the group joining the ranks of the unemployed at the fastest rate. When the bottom *really* falls out of the real estate market here, they'll be doubly screwed, and deep underwater on their mortgage. In the next 10-15 years, look for foreclosure and collapse to become the norm, not the exception.

Want to see the true value of Portland real estate... watch the prices that these foreclosure auction properties in Portland go for today and tomorrow. It's rather sobering to see the prices.

http://www.williamsauction.com/popup/flyer.aspx?id=318760

Oh, wonder of wonders?

Joe Cortright "economist" of Impresa
is conveniently standing at the food cart to be interviewed by the NPR reporter.

Can you say set up?

A typical NPR crock.

I don't get the ranting about food carts and bands and such. When did entrepreneurship become a sin? One of the points that NPR article touches on a little, which should be emphasized more, is that if you are planning on moving to Portland, consider creating your own job.

I appreciate the curmudgeonly commentary I can always find here, but really, if we can't find someone to come to Portland and open an aircraft carrier factory, then people creating small businesses and local jobs where all of that economic activity will then keep churning back into the local economy is good.

You know, I really wonder about how much money is being spent on encouraging this perception of Portland, and why. It's easy to blame the amount of skewed coverage on Riddell's Law ("Any sufficiently developed incompetence is indistinguishable from conspiracy"), but I keep seeing it being applied to Brooklyn, Minneapolis, and Austin as well. All of the coverage goes for the same idea: move to the new hipster hangout, and don't worry about a job. You'll be making artisanal chocolate or Etsy clothing before you know it.

A few years back, I'd be typically cynical and figure that someone was making some cash off some boomers' 401(k) account in their attempts to subsidize their children's artistic lifestyles. Considering how this concept keeps spreading, now I have to ask "Cui bono?"

And we all ride a bike, ride the Streetcar, get 100% clean energy from Bonneville Dam,

Oregon doesn't consider hydropower to be a "renewable" energy source.

It's easy to blame the amount of skewed coverage on Riddell's Law

I'd go with that explanation. People like Adams, for example, are often so wrapped in self-worship that they are convinced that they are two steps from sainthood in their intentions.

The real problem, the root problem, is that public servants and decision makers manipulate this segment of the population--which is, after all, nothing more than the lastest crop of young, naive people--to their own ends. This article is told from the perspective of one of those young people, who have bought the marketing brochure hook, line, and sinker, only to arrive and find that the real economic power lies in insidious deals with the powerful elite.

In other words, the stark, bruising, bitter reality of "Etsy" livelihoods has to be learned by young brochure readers over and over, every generation. This generation seems more lost, more infantile, more bound to their childhood than most. Reality is going to be more painful for them than some previous generations.

Vera Katz was so excited, calling these youth the "creative class," directing PDC to put together a strategy to attract these 20-somethings to bring their start-up capital, bikes, cutting edge ideas and themselves to Portland where they would be welcomed with open arms, affordable housing and support. She even addressed it in her State of the City speech.

I wonder what her best boy, heir to the mayoral throne and youth-lover will say about this grand idea, job creation and futile trips to Spain in his "State if the Cuty " address tomorrow. Spin, Sammy, spin!

Yes, the "creative class" hangover has struck many cities in the US. No word yet if Richard Florida has been asked to refund his speaking fees. However, he's already two theories beyond the "creative class" road show.

And we all ride a bike, ride the Streetcar, get 100% clean energy from Bonneville Dam,

Oregon doesn't consider hydropower to be a "renewable" energy source.

Nor does Portland get much power from Bonneville - it all goes to Washington. But don't tell the Portland greenies that.

PJB, there certainly are a lot of Portland condos on the auction block.
From another era, Tom Paxton gave us lyrics (updating "Ghost Riders in the Sky") that might, with revision, find application in this moment of financial crisis:

...
I saw their sad expressions and I heard their mournful cry
Condos for sale, Condos to buy, Oh Yuppies in the sky
Condos for sale, Condos to buy, Oh Yuppies in the sky

Each one was wearing running shoes upon the ghostly deck
And each one had a cotton sweater wrapped around his neck
They all held out their credit cards and tried in vain to buy
But all the stores were shuttered to the yuppies in the sky
Condos for sale, Condos to buy, Oh Yuppies in the sky
Condos for sale, Condos to buy, Oh Yuppies in the sky
...

Youth has always been easily motivated and manipulated by ideology, a fact well known to establishments for millennia.

Let us not forget about the Creative Building that Katz and Sam spent over $12 Million of our taxpayer money to refurbish. No creatives came that couldn't even pay the subsidized rent. Tt failed, and now it's a real creative building with PDC having to occupy it to hid the mistake at our expense.

Gosh, with the 10 years of debt service added that would be the $20 Million needed for the Sellwood Bridge.

Youth has always been easily motivated and manipulated by ideology, a fact well known to establishments for millennia.

It is the malady of our age that the young are so busy teaching us that they have no time left to learn.

I don't think the problem is a misunderstanding of what youth is; I think the problem is how culture and those seeking advantages of power make such a show of worshipping it. In reality, they are manipulating youth for their own ends, as those with tenuous grips on power and reality are prone to do.

Now, think of the connection between that thought and why someone like Adams worshipped a young, underage man enough to pursue him, then hide it, then deny it, then claim the role of victim, then shrug it off.


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