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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Clackamas gets it, Beaverton doesn't

It's a tale of two 'burbs, and their susceptibility to being hoodwinked by the purveyors of "urban renewal" schlock. In Clackamas County, voters are on their way to assuring that future "urban renewal" shenanigans are put to a countywide vote, which is as it should be. A decoy ballot measure slapped up by the county commissioners is being outvoted.

Meanwhile, in the beautiful city of Beaverton, voters apparently are saying they're willing to mortgage their future and hand more mega-millions of future property tax revenue over to real estate developers for bad apartments. "Urban renewal" does much more harm than good, as folks out the Beaver way will some day figure out. Congratulations to the Clackistan folks, at least, for getting it right.

Comments (29)

I don't know... have you been to "downtown" Beaverton? That's what 30+ years of no UR has gotten us. I don't know very many people living in beautiful Beaverton who live in homes not built by a developer.

"downtown" Beaverton [is] what 30+ years of no UR has gotten...

Beaverton is Beaverton not because it has lacked urban renewal, but because the planners allowed a car-dependent culture to dominate the planning process. Take out TV Highway, Farmington, and Cedar Hills Blvd, and what's left isn't that bad a place to live or work.

Apartment bunkers and Subway shops aren't going to make it any more likable. And with Don Mazziotti running it, that's all you're going to get.

We'll also see how you like it with worse roads, fewer cops, and parking meters galore. That's where "urban renewal" will take you.

No parking meters in Beaverton, because there is no on-street parking. The parking spots were converted to travel lanes long ago, certainly on the B-H Highway/Farmington Road and Canyon Road/TV Highway.

Yea CC voters. So what diabolacle plan does the county commission have in their "toolbox" to get around the new measure? Why don't they just ask the taxpayers in an area to pony up the funds via bond measures or LIDs? Next step, getting rid of people like Ann Lininger who just don't get it.

No parking meters in Beaverton, because there is no on-street parking.

You've never seen parking meters in parking lots? Stand by -- The Don is working on it.

John Rettig Beaverton is Beaverton not because it has lacked urban renewal, but because the planners allowed a car-dependent culture to dominate the planning process.
JK: HUH?? Your other choice are horse-dependent (think horse sh*t all over the place) and walking-dependent (think NO customers for the non thriving businesses), transit-dependent (think lots of people with no money to spend=no customers for non thriving businesses).

John Rettig Take out TV Highway, Farmington, and Cedar Hills Blvd, and what's left isn't that bad a place to live or work.
JK: Too bad there is no way for most people to get in or out of there. (How many people do you really believe would walk or bike to those soon to be bankrupt businesses?)


I bet "the Don" is celebrating this am! His future is assured till his retirement, and is offshore bank account just got a boost too, though us mere mortals will never be able to prove that.

Beaverton parents with kids in public schools took a doublehit yesterday. Their levy failed AND now they'll be giving away school funding to a frozen Urban Renewal area until their grandkids are in school.

I spoke with a Beaverton PTA mom about the affect of UR on school funding a few weeks ago. She acknowledged that schools lose "a little" to urban renewal, but thought it was probably worth the tradeoff for "cool new improvements." I didn't ask if her tepid support of UR was based on the belief that Beaverton's local option would pass no matter what.

I'd just like to thank you, Jack, for explaining UR in a manner that I could comprehend. I probably wouldn't have even voted this time around because I wouldn't have understood these two competing measures. (And I don't give a damn about the Sheriff's levy.)

It is fascinating to me that so many people voted both for and against the Beaverton school levy and so few bothered to vote on the urban renewal measure.
This tells me that the majority of voters do not understand the effects of urban renewal and TIF at all, and the proponents of UR want to keep it that way.
Thanks for your efforts, Jack. Slowly people are beginning to understand. It is difficult to overcome such a wealthy and organized political machine as the UR scammers have.

...I spoke with a Beaverton PTA mom about the affect of UR on school funding a few weeks ago. She acknowledged that schools lose "a little" to urban renewal, but thought it was probably worth the tradeoff for "cool new improvements."...

That may very well be the problem - have we been propagandized to want "cool new improvements" -
over education?
over debt?
over ?

As long as it looks cool?
Ah yes, those renderings make it look so cool - not to those of us who know those "dreamy colored" renderings are just that!!

PTA mom has been lied to. So she thinks it's free and avoids considering that distributing the UR pain over all of the state's schools to conceal it's effect is unethical.

Peter pan,
You're right, you don't know. I can also tell you think UR is free because your brother the tooth fairy pays for it.

The smarmy question "have you been to "downtown" Beaverton?" suggesting critics simply haven't been there is pathetic. Beaverton is exactly what 30+ years of the same lousy officials do. The many millions misspent on the Round, light rail transit station and other elements of lunacy is what prevented some better improvements. And now with UR the misspending will worsen with mixed use Round developers getting more borrowed public money with no way to pay for it but by robbing services. How comical this is that the school levy failed and UR that the school board endorsed passed.

Beaverton's UR plan passed because voters were told by everyone, including the newspapers, it would be free and no opposition stepped up. I'm surprised it didn't win by a larger margin.

Note: Both the Oregonian and Pamplin papers were provided proof with city documents that the whole free thing was a blatant lie and their editors refused to report the truth. This is despicable.

The criticism about partner developers is not aimed at all developers so your nonsense about every home being built by a developer is meaningless. Nearly every suburbia residential developer gets no public money at all.

But when planner's "smart growth" lunacy is used places like Villebois need $150 million for a glorified subdivision.


Your foolish anti car rhetoric is the excuse used by the planner cabal to pile up debt clogging up and cramming every locale with infill, mixed use utopia crap. But exactly how bad is Beaverton anyway? I go there all the time and it certainly isn't as bad as the UR machine painted as. A much smaller amount of money could make some modest and legitimate improvements.

Instead there will be all of the bioswales, over sized sidewalks, bike facilities, traffic calming obstructions and transit oriented development that will only devour many millions, cripple public services funding while resulting in a more dysfunctional chaos than exists now. The insane suggestion that taking out TV Highway, Farmington, and Cedar Hills Blvd is the way to go is Rex Burkholder madness.

I am shocked Clackamas voters so slammed the crooked cabal big time. 70% passing the citizens measure with more Democrats voting than Reblicans is huge and a complete rebuking of the hostile commissioners sleazy agenda.

With the other measure (also requiring voter approval) also passing the secondary message is the citizens are demanding the right to vote.

I suspect this will immediately generate a push to require voter approval for ANY county funding for Milwaukie Light Rail with the City of Milwaukie citizenry demanding a vote on their share.

I don't buy the argument that Beaverton is the way it is because of a lack of urban renewal, or because it's auto-centric.

The current road layout of downtown Beaverton is, in fact, an "urban renewal" after the abandonment of the Oregon Electric line which ran from the Lombard/Farmington/Beaverton-Hillsdale intersection to the NW, where MAX is now into Hillsboro. Previously B-H Hwy linked directly to Canyon Road/TV Highway and not with Farmington Road (which was previously Oregon Highway 208, but after the road alignment Highway 208 was retired and Highway 10 was continued west to Farmington and eventually to 219.)

So we have a major transportation hub with all sorts of roads coming together in one place. The ideal place for a city core, right? So where's the buildings? There is still lots of vacant, undeveloped land in the core. What is preventing it from being developed? An auto-centric culture? Really? Lack of URA funds? Really?

Look at the land to the north of Beaverton TC, where transit-oriented tax breaks should be available. It's STILL vacant. Why? Look at the Round at Beaverton. It's a disaster. The movie theater was demolished. The land around Millikan Way and Beaverton Creek and even the Sunset TC MAX stations are vacant. WHY?

YET: Beaverton Mall was successfully remade. (And it's a traffic nightmare but it's still popular.) Washington Square was successfully remodeled and expanded. Tanasbourne is still successful.

Maybe...maybe that downtown Beaverton has simply lost its luster? That new developers are simply unwilling to commit to it? That the area's businesses have moved on to bigger and better places?

Why does the City of Beaverton need to artificially alter free market principles, use tax dollars to entice developers who otherwise won't develop?

Too bad Beaverton doesn't get it like Clackamas Co. The measure was largely a means for Beaverton to save face since The Round is now into it's third bankruptcy and there are lawsuits flying everywhere over The Round. Taxpayers are sorely in debt over this issue, and will be put on the hook for more since they passed more UR.

Ben - I wasn't making an argument in favor of urban renewal, you're putting those words into my mouth. Truth told, we probably aren't that far apart in our opposition to UR. I was simply stating causation.

And my words "Take out TV Highway, Farmington, and Cedar Hills Blvd...." was a thought experiment setting up the rest of my sentence - "and what's left isn't that bad a place to live or work". Unfortunately, you took this out-of-context and literally, and it wasn't intended that way.

The decisions were made 40-50 years ago to allow Aloha, Hillsboro, Cornelius, and Forest Grove to grow into bedroom communities for Portland, and we're now stuck with this mess all coming to a focal point in Beaverton, as Erik H. pointed out. It might be partially undone if there were adequate funding, but the fundamental mess of too much sprawl and too many commuters on regional arterials coming in from regions to the west, won't go away.


Well excuse me but I was toppled by the notion of taking out "TV Highway, Farmington, and Cedar Hills Blvd." and the idea that would produce a better place. I understood you didn't mean it litteraly.

But IMO the exercise is simply so far from reality that it is meaningless. Nearly Metro visioning in it's fantasy making.

I am very familiar with Beaverton over the last 30 years and it, like other bedroom communities, evolved slowly with many earlier problems having been remedied and others arriving.

However today's Beaverton is screwed up is primarily because of the more recent planners. Not the ones 40-50 years ago. Bob Drake et al ruined portions of it with misspent tax dollars while The Crossing is quite thriving, is car oriented and took no tax revenue. It is a bustling place.

Most of Beaverton is actually quite fine and easily reachable from adjacent neighborhoods. I venture there all the time. As with most UR planned areas the embellishments of problems needing UR are immense.

Contrast that with the crammed up places around the region where the planners have already worked their magic.

Your casting it as too much sprawl is just nonsensical. You do know the planner's alternative to that boogie man is the Round and other ridiculous failures? That alternative is neither preferable or a substitute for truly accommodating growth. So your weaving the Metro fallacies into your mental experiment is more of the same failure.

How can there ever be adequate funding for anything with the Metro/TriMet madness wasting billions?

Worse yet this Beaverton UR plan is more madness and not the remedies needed. Naturally there is inadequate road capacity throughout the area. But that is by design, by the planners, by Metro and by TriMet.

Not because of sprawl or planners of 50 years ago. Those are excuses to continue the crazy status quo that pretends to be smart growth.

...Not because of sprawl or planners of 50 years ago. Those are excuses to continue the crazy status quo that pretends to be smart growth.

The mantra threat of "you don't want sprawl do you?" played so well to implement the smart growth plan. "You don't want to become like CA" was an easy sell to Portlanders.
It became like a movement not to be stopped or questioned until...
...most likely too late!!

If one objected to the negative aspects of UGB and the density plan, then one would be labeled as pro sprawl and other conversations/options were not discussed, especially in the arena of those promoting smart growth.

In my opinion and analysis, some people made a ton of money on this plan and many people lost the quality of life in our neighborhoods and city.


Sprawl is real, and I would challenge you to look at the traffic counts on TV highway in the Forest Grove to Beaverton corridor - a lot of traffic in Beaverton is not locally generated but comes from areas 5-10 miles west, ending up at 217. That's sprawl.

Developments like the Round are not the only option to dealing with sprawl - but that's the way you've cast this argument. The reasons that it's such a failure and public money sink are many, and given the stupid way it was executed, it probably would have met the same fate anywhere.

But yes, it is necessary to develop to higher densities than what has traditionally existed in the suburban fringes, if we are to meet density goals within the UGB. The goals would not be so aggressive if more reason had been applied in the past, but since that isn't going to be undone, we deal with what we can deal with.

I agree with you that very little of the traffic system will likely get fixed, given the funding situation. And Jack of course just exposed one more mishap with Portland pledging future gas tax revenues for bond service - this is probably more the norm going forward.


Too much Cooladde.

The Round is preposterous and far from isolated. Your tremendous lack of awareness of how the whole TOD, density goals approach has panned out is equaled only by your silly sprawl chanting.

Oblivious to the worst expansions over the past couple decades all being the product of the "goals". Everywhere there is a sea of roofs, concrete and asphant is the density goals at work.

But they call it smart growth.

It isn't necessary to "develop the suburbs to higher densities" at all. Especially in the haphazard way TriMet and Metro have implemented their chaos.

The density goals within the UGB are ludicrous, unneeded, unwanted and a failed approach by every authentic measurement.
And they are getting worse with coming mandates of 15-20 units per acre.

The goals have become more aggressive to avoid acknowledging the failure and chaos over the past 25 years.

Very little of the traffic system will likely get fixed because of people like you who support the deliberate hijacking of funding that would accomplish it. It's no accident or lack of funding that has traffic the problem it is.

It's the deliberate avoidance and denial of projects that would accommodate traffic growth. Usually perpetrated with the convenient farce of "Induced Demand" that preaches that any added capacity will only worsen traffic.

Beyond Jack's example of pledging gas tax funds for bond service, Metro's JPACT has adopted new fed gas tax flex funds guidelines requiring Environmental Justice and Active Transportation qualifiers for project funding approval.

Your kitchen table of considerations is cluttered with Charette nonsense while missing every real world assessment of what has been happening around here.


I'm about to give up trying to get you to read what I actually wrote and not take off on some diatribe the first time you spot some phrase that is not to your liking.

I said, "if we are to meet density goals within the UGB...", and somehow you read into that that I'm drinking cooladde[sic] and in favor of the "deliberate hijacking of [traffic improvement] funding"? What a stretch.

But yes - let's have unlimited outlay for projects that accommodate traffic growth and act like there is no such thing as induced demand - that experiment worked out so well in just about every other big city in the US that tried it out. Have you ever gone to Los Angelos, Houston, Phoenix, Orlando, Atlanta, etc. and opened your eyes?

I read you and had you pegged from the beginning.

And when I baited you with the farce "induced demand" you can back with the RailVolution/PSU urban planning cult chants.

As is always the case you et al offer up the strawman of the extreme opposite of unlimited outlay in the total opposite direction adding references to Atlanta and Houston.

Of course you are hopelessly entrenched in the camp that rarely if ever consumes the abundant & honest analysis of our policy outcomes around here.
You bring no specific examples to focus on and refer to a rejection of your tired gibberish as a diatribe.

The Rex Burkholder loons at all of the agencies of mass dysfunction, TriMet, Metro, PDC and PSU, have long done everything possible to obstruct and prohibit any and all reasonable and rational accomodations for growth and it is only getting worse.

Nope you and yours are stuck in the Metro/TriMet brochure mindset that never regognizes any of the neglect or long term repeated failure at all.

"Density goals"= total madness and totally wrong.

...I said, "if we are to meet density goals within the UGB...",...

Who set these goals...
and must others just accept the goal and results, is it written in cement now?

Is the position of the followers that we must "meet goals" period, even if others have objections and eyes or reason see otherwise?

Problem I see is that some neighborhoods have taken the brunt of this plan and had the density shoved into their area, so I guess the density works fine for those whose neighborhoods haven't been wrecked by the plan.

It isn't just the neighborhoods, in my view the inside the UGB is being used as a sacrifice zone.

Congestion throughout our city should be a good sign that something is wrong here, and the fact that we are covering up the best fertile land within our UGB, I will continue to carry on about that aspect as growing food and orchards, etc may become more critical as time marches on.

We are portrayed as green?
Why are we destroying huge trees to make room for density?

I agree with Ben when he states
....are hopelessly entrenched in the camp that rarely if ever consumes the abundant & honest analysis of our policy outcomes around here.

I believe many are hopelessly entrenched and will not open to conversation, mostly "shut down" by those who follow the mantra...

I would hope John would be open to the conversation of what we can do now to evaluate and set new ideas, move back on those density goals,looking at the problems of the plan, etc.

Would you agree John that we need to open the conversation pro and con and make honest analysis?

Conversation is and has always been open.

Name calling, personal attacks, and twisting my words around, no.


You're clinging to the indefensible nonsense peddled by Metro and the rest of the plannning regime.

Like all the rest, you are incappable of conversation because your whole trip is the theoretical approach which ignores the many failures of implementation.

Your brochure mentality allows the concocted outcomes and false attributions to fit the misguided and horribly wrong agenda that has wasted billions and created all of the worst chaos around.

You can't even recognize the falure of MAX & TOD in Beaverton's poster child Round.
You're too busy fantasizing about removing roads and how utopian the region would be if only Metro's madness had started 30 years earlier.

TriMet, Metro and JPACT have been a disaster and are getting worse.

I'm capable of conversation, Ben.

It would appear from your latest post that you aren't.

Unless it's someone who agrees with you 100%.


You may as well be Rex Burkholder with the Metro zealot's firewall blocking all of the undermining and contradicting information from permeating the agenda.

Your entire pitch is laced with the worn out "sprawl" and "density goals" jargon used to ignore the actual outcomes.

That's why you are incapable of conversation.

Your swerve off into the blame the roads and planners of 50 years ago is exhibit A.

Yet the entire substance of how the MAX, Round and TOD "objectives" have failed doesn't pierce your firewall for discussion.

Take your pick of failures to avoid. In your mind you think chanting the rhetoric of the new urbanism, smart growth, RailVolution theories is the same as discussing the issues.

In reality you can't have an honest discussion of any element of the planning reality. And as is always the case with all others like you, when confronted with the truth you claim you're being personally attacked and move into chant mode.

I've seen that so many times it's easily recognized early on. That's why I had you pegged from the beginning.

At the risk of being castrated by my fellow U/R opponents, there's more to know about U/R in Bvtn. Oh, and I am thrilled by the results in ClackCo. First, the Bvtn "process" was, as it should be in all communities - everyone gets to vote. That is the beginning of where the Bvtn process was different from the vast majority of U/R plans. Next, the process was inclusive of all property tax-funded local governments - the larger of which (TVF&R and THPRD) fully understand TIF and how it effects future collections and service demands. Then, to the Plan itself. It prohibits the use of TIF in ways that do not encourage private investment thereby increasing assessed value - no city halls, libraries, fire stations, ball fields, police headquarters, performing arts centers, clock towers or light rail. Rather, the focus is on boring things like road improvements, underground utilities, etc. It also provides for expanded governance on the U/R Board. Unlike virtually all U/R agencies that are comprised wholly of the City Council or County Commissioners, Bvtn's agency board has three additional positions, one held by a special district manager. Growth projections in Bvtn's Plan are the lowest I've seen. Unlike one local city which recently suggested they could achieve 17% annualized growth over the life of their 500% increase in debt, Bvtn's plan is around 4% for a maximum of 30 years. Oh yeah, that thirty years - it really is a limitation, unlike other plans (ClackCo) that go on in perpetuity. At the 20-year mark Bvtn has to assess the performance of its Plan and if it has not been performing as projected, they cannot issue more debt, e.g., the division of taxes cannot go beyond 30 years. There's more but I'll stop there. The important thing about Bvtn is that when the ClackCo Commissioners and their staff claim that they lost their best tool for economic development; that their use of TIF has ended, we can point to Bvtn and say that while they'll definitely have to do it differently, if it's an inclusive process, void of ridiculous projects that voters wouldn't otherwise support in a GOB, and if it has definite, enforceable time constraints, then maybe the voters will say yes. My views re U/R have not changed. I will continue to oppose it in most communities because most will not take Bvtn's lead and I look forward to when we have our chance to get back to Salem to encourage even more changes to the U/R statute, as we did in '09.

Alec: The Don is going to take you to the cleaners, big time, my friend.


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The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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