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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What recession? Let's build more apartments with tax dollars.

Looks as though the next "urban renewal" tussle will be over the Blue Heron paper mill in Oregon City. Mixed use! Hotel! Entertainment complex! Access to the falls -- it's for the children!

It will probably wind up being condos with a Walgreen's and a Chipotle.

In other linchpin news, here's a deal that's got to make you chuckle. Multnomah County couldn't decide whether to give away money to Melvin Mark or to Mark Edlen and the Goodmans. Melvin Mark won.

The west end of the Morrison Bridge is going to be an outdoor market, no doubt with lots of bulky, ugly, money-making "built environment" around it. Given that downtown has become a most unattractive place to shop, and that food markets in the downtown core have failed even in good economic times, one wonders what these guys are smoking. It's a beautiful idea, but will it work? The taxpayers are going to find out.

Comments (29)

Fill it with food carts and they will come.

Imagine having a view of the Willamette Falls 24/7/365. I don't think the Manhattanites will bite on that without a Trolly Car link to the Pearl.

"Given that downtown has become a most unattractive place to shop.."

My fishing buddy just came back into town after a 12 year absence from the area. He came out to try and catch a few springers with his 3 old buddies yesterday. During conversation he politely asked, "what the heck happened to downtown Portland? It was like a zoo when I went down there yesterday. Tracks, trolleys, and bike lanes everywhere. I could hardly get out of there fast enough". None of us looked up to respond. I think we were kind of embarassed about something we let happen.

That's an interesting reaction. Usually it's "What's up with all the bums?"

The loons running the city and County want to extend downtown chaos to most areas of the city. If you don't want to become like a mouse in a maze searching for some cheese, get out of Portland and Multnomah county as soon as you can. Here's an example of lunancy. Last night I debated Ruth Atkins, Portland School board member, about the cons and merits of the School District's megasized construction bond and tax. I said at one point, in response to an audience member's comment, I feared with city and county leaders getting involved in the school construction plan; the number of schools planned for rebuilding will be reduced inorder to build "monuments to sustainability" instead of more practical education facilites. Board member Atkins said she thinks sustainability is good practice and actually cuts costs. And then she proceeds to talk about replacing roofs with solar roofs. Solar roofs raise the cost of construction sharply over conventional roof replacement. Its one of those deals where our local leaders like to spend lots of capital inorder to save some peanut like sums on maintenance.

Portland leaders want to spend big like Seattle but Seattle is a place of sharply higher incomes than Portland. They can afford to spend big whereas Portland resorts to taxing those remaining even more to spend big.

Am I the only one who thinks Willamette Falls is ugly? There's a cement dam or something across the whole thing. Might have been more impressive circa 1890. I can just picture the sales brochures... Bay Ocean City all over again.

What else should be done with the Blue Heron site? The place is a dump, as is the majority of downtown OC.

For those of us ancient enough to remember the original paper mills on both sides of the river and the water so polluted that the river stank all the time along with those cone shaped sawdust burners spewing smoke all the time....this is really amusing!
I also remember a couple of floods that nearly took out those mills and the old Oregon City West Linn bridge too. There is a reason old John Mcgloughlin built his house on high ground away! from the river bank.
But this idiocy will probably happen and OC and WL will probably have to have a trolley too.
Maybe there will be a casio too. The Tualatin Indians can claim the area as sacred ground.

Anyone else remember the story of Bayocean City and the scam that it was?

Mr Grumpy,

I do know the history of Bayocean City. A story that many Oregonians may have not heard of or know much about. The "Queen of Oregon Resorts" is some real Oregon history.

There is a great book out there somewhere about the whole mess that I read long ago, but cannot remember the author's name.

An "outdoor market." I'm sure the saturday market, and Pioneer Place, and all the vacant buildings, and the farmer's market will be thrilled to hear about the competition.

There is a very strange belief in this city that there is a bottomless demand for new commerce, and all we need to do is provide the space for it. By that logic, why don't we build an NFL stadium, and a team will come fill it! All you need to do is build the real estat,e right?

Portland Native? You’re obviously not! McLaughlin’s house was hauled up the hill via horse and tackle! Go ride the elevator and learn some history! Your point, notwithstanding.

The book I read 20 or so years ago, with a lot of pictures, was BayOcean: "The Oregon Town That Fell into the Sea" by Bert Webber. My neighbors, who had a home at Cape Mears right at the southend of the Tillamook spit, has the book. We walked the area often with them pointing out the location of several significant parts. One is still alive and has some good stories.

Snards:...There is a very strange belief in this city that there is a bottomless demand for new commerce, and all we need to do is provide the space for it...

It is possible that "those with the belief that build and they will come" mentality know that the game is coming to a grinding halt, but wish to extract what they can while they can. Sort of like towards the end of the Gold Rush Days, only a different scene in 2011.

May be too cynical, as living here in Portland has taken its toll. Who knows, maybe there is a sane place outside of here?

Oops! My Bad.
Thanks for the correction Bad Brad.
The McLoughlin house was on the Oregon City side of the river as were the graves of the McLoughlins. All were moved to the present location in about 1902. There are those who say that since the graves were moved the house is now haunted.
I will stick by my assertion of some tribal claim however as the Tualitan Indians did use the falls as a fishing site. Casino anyone?

Hey, be happy, they found someone new besides Gerding or Homer to throw money away on on. UNLESS Homer gets the CC Hotel as payback.

What else should be done with the Blue Heron site? The place is a dump, as is the majority of downtown OC.

Anything they want, as long as no taxpayer money is used.

Good luck with that. My money says taxpayer money has already been committed some way or another. It probably doesn't 'pencil out' any other way.

Portland Native, before the Blue Heron site became a dump along with the river, before the mass "takings", these lands were occupied by indigenous people. As for the "Casino anyone?" You've got it, just look around at this 'casino' economy, which looks to me to be sputtering before some form of collapse.

Jack - I found the model for the upcoming Outdoor Market... it even includes the streetcar!

From link above:"How close to a train track can you set up a vegetable market?"

Very close if they continue doing extreme infill here!
Of course, this only happens in "some" neighborhoods.
But then again, when the tax abatement favors end in the Pearl, could be the scene there.

Interesting link Max.

I had no idea 29 units were going in there. What a shame, that was a nice neighborhood there between Division and Lincoln.

"The place is a dump, as is the majority of downtown OC."

Wait a second, they just put a ton of money on gentrifying OC with that riverwall.

Speaking of Linchpins, Ohio Governor John Kasich took away money from Cincinnati's streetcar plans, but the Mayor is still forging ahead without the $53M, and cutting the size to a useless loop only servicing the central business district and about 500 vacant buildings in Over-the-Rhine, and cutting the number of rolling stock.

The Cincinnati Streetcar! Now even more useless, and with less destinations and longer headways!

Sounds like the Bengals.

Bayocean City

Unintended consequences of messing with mother nature.

My point about Bayocean City was that it was heavily marketed to people on the East Coast. When they arrived cross-country to move into their dream home in the lusciously advertised "Beautiful Pacific NW", they found themselves in a community with poor infrastructure, poor access, a poor economy, and a long way from Portland. The development was pitched to the unwary and was an economic failure long before mother nature wiped it off the map and out of people's memory.

Grumpy: $120,000 for 364 square feet.

I'm sure Homer's re-evaluating his approach. And no streetcar, no aerial tram!


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