Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 16, 2012 4:46 PM. The previous post in this blog was Reader poll: Final Four -- who will win Super Bowl 46?. The next post in this blog is Your up-to-the-minute weather. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Monday, January 16, 2012

Plenty of money, just none for basics

Here's an interesting discussion of the real reasons that the City of Portland can't afford street maintenance any more. (Hint: It's not because revenues are declining.)

Comments (10)

Puh-leeze, Sammy cryihng poverty is falling on deaf ears. Seems we have enough to:

- Spend $65M on SW Moody
- $80M on a sustainability bldg
- Money for a no-car bridge
- Any streetcar line anywhere
- Bike lanes where-ever

In addition to all the Tram and PGE Park crap they've pissed away.

Vote NO on any revenue measure ever.

One day they'll realize paved roads without shootings helps keep kids in good schools and graduating.

This is even more outrageous when the City leaders continue to talk about performance-based management and then totally ignor it when it comes to providing basic services. Performance measures for streets pavement condition are readily available and widely applied; just apparently not by the City of Portland. It would be interesting to see how Portland stacks up on pavement condition compared to other cities in the Metro region. I would bet it is near the bottom.

Ahhh well another night at home trying to keep myself from launching into a profanity-laced, widow smashing RAGE over the hideously arrogant C-of-P and what a bunch of clueless scoundrels without a clue have done and are doing to the people. But betcha betcha betcha the new ones won't be any better than the old ones after election. A day after the election.

i like how the author of that linked article asserts that "Even worse, some of the bureau’s biggest spending commitments have nothing to do with maintaining or improving streets"

and then goes on to name.... 2 projects that directly improve streets (sellwood bridge and sidewalks).

I agree with George. We can throw out the streetcar stuff, but sidewalks and the Sellwood bridge?

We can throw out the streetcar stuff, but sidewalks and the Sellwood bridge?

In general, cities do NOT maintain sidewalks - it is the responsibility of the adjoining property owner (who in fact owns the land underneath the sidewalk).

And the Sellwood Bridge is owned, operated and maintained by Multnomah County - NOT the City. The County has even installed signs on either side of the bridge to remind you of this fact.

The City is engaging in competition with TriMet by operating the Streetcar when TriMet had various buses running through the same neighborhoods - yet TriMet didn't cancel the duplicative bus routes or re-route bus routes away from the Streetcar (which puts TriMet in a bind, since the City and TriMet signed some agreement that the transit agency now has to pay for part of the costs of the Streetcar, while accepting that it has a lower fare structure than its own system, and then continue to run its own buses - now far less popular compared to the free (or perceived to be free) Streetcar.)

And the city flat out refuses to force bicyclists to pay for the infrastructure they demand the city provides. Don't cry me the whole "bicyclists pay taxes too" B.S. argument - when a bicyclist pays gasoline tax, it's for their car and not their bike. I can't choose where my tax dollars go and neither can you. And PBOT nor ODOT receives property (or income) tax revenue for roads, so you can pay all the property tax dollars you want - if anything, I'm forced to pay property taxes that go towards bike paths that are maintained by Portland Parks & Rec but are used as transportation - not recreation - corridors.

I like the chart that shows how much the revenue is increasing. That one chart shows graphically that Sam (and all of his staff) are liars. They mislead by obmission. They produce carefully parsed PR statements that distort and hide the truth and then they proceed to waste tax money on stuff that they want.

I agree with others though. The next mayor is likely to be just the same. Another liar who hands out money to friends and family and drives Portland closer to bankruptcy. Apparently we can't get anyone who is fiscally responsible interested in the job.

It's the creative class at work. The person responsible for the press release just wandered in from a writer's workshop and forgot where he/she was. Truth is flexible and right and wrong are only in the eyes of a prosecutor. Wish there were real consequences for real lies.

I believe a good chunk of the sidewalk expense is for ripping out functional sidewalks to install curb cuts and those fancy yellow anti-skateboard plates on street corners, as they've been doing in Irvington & Grant Park for the last several years.

While they're great for wheelchairs and bicycles, I don't think they should be a higher priority than basic maintenance. Evidently the city does, though.

The Downtown Denizen's Tale

My Portland story isn't all that different from those of many others who have left, but I feel it's worth telling. Over the years, my political and philosophical values have been re-shaped by living in this city. I'm thankful.

My spouse and I have lived in the Portland Metro Area for most of our lives, including the last couple of decades. We have owned a home in the City of Portland for nearly that long. Now we are selling and leaving for good.

We were happy to move back to this area twenty years ago when the economy was relatively better here. Back then, the cost of living in Oregon was markedly lower than it is now, and there was less gov't overhead.

At first we rented in the suburbs. When the time came, we wanted to own in the City of Portland. I didn't think much about the political or financial implications at that time. It just seemed like fun.

We bought our first home on the East side, just after the last drug house left an otherwise nice neighborhood. We soon learned that we had squirrelly neighbors. Although generally quiet, bullets occasionally whizzed by.

One round broke the window of my car while it was parked out front. People sped by at all hours. Hmm. Even locals didn't respect the neighborhood. Families dumped their picnic trash right in the park's grass.

My commute was by car at first, but then I started busing downtown. Long bus rides, but I was still willing. Bus problems slowly ramped up. One fight at Lloyd Center had me trapped in the back, with nowhere to go.

The Multnomah County income tax was a real thorn in my side, but still I did not leave the city or county. Even when we were ready to move away from the first house, I chose to stay in Portland proper. Why?

We moved to a closer-in (and arguably nicer) neighborhood. We hoped to improve our lot, and it was exciting. The new neighborhood was even more walkable, convenient to downtown, and otherwise full of activity.

I replaced 7-gallon toilets with low-flush. There was no rebate or incentive; I paid for it because I felt like saving water. I would have made more upgrades, but the cost of living soaked up money that I would have used for improvements.

We donated our second car, and I committed to the bus. Then Frequent Service became rather infrequent. Even at that, scheduled runs frequently went missing. This route is frequently at crush capacity at 9AM.

TriMet removed the trashcan at my stop, and now there's a drift of garbage around the shelter, which is vandalized frequently. Meanwhile, sketchy guys ride by slowly on stolen bikes, peering up my driveway. They don't seem worried about arrest.

We were never allowed to plant street trees (parking strip was too narrow), but we were aggressively billed for leaf pickup. CoP built lovely bioswales all over the neighborhood, reducing street parking. The road surfaces are always in need of repair.

There's still one of those WiFi cans hanging from a light post. I never was able to connect, although it's only 100 feet away. The main street into our neighborhood is closed for many months, and many narrow stretches are effectively one lane.

Remember, this is a "nicer" neighborhood. We are paying IMHO high property taxes (over $1/sqft) on a very modest lot. Taking out the trash has now become a trial. The slop bucket is terribly messy, and the price is far too high for half the service.

The neighbors have turned out to be mostly shrill, judgmental, and dismissive -- they are reflexively political on every issue. In Portland, taxpayers and homeowners are held in contempt -- even by taxpayers and homeowners. I never understood that.

Plastic bag bans. Mandatory ethanol in the gas (terrible for my mileage, causing me to burn more). Cigarette butts in my grass. Solicitors nagging me all the time (the sign is useless). Normal city life? Sure. The shiny happy Portland image? Heck no.

The Portland and Multnomah governments are an embarassment. The thought of them representing me is a joke. I give up. We're buying in a smaller community, in another county. Feel free to conduct your social experiment without us.

For now I still work in the city, but my goal is to remedy that as well. I used to love just being downtown, but no longer. I enjoyed walking through downtown, PSU, Riverplace, and using MAX to visit the Zoo area. It just seemed safer.

Now I wouldn't ride MAX at all, and it's neither safe nor enjoyable to walk many places in downtown during the nice months. People have been assaulted in the secured office building where I worked. Folks will move in if you don't constantly patrol.

Lasting image: A smug junkie taking a big dump in the rose bushes in the Park Blocks, right in front of the Art Museum. This was mid-day in summer -- tourists, grandparents, children, &c. everywhere. The police can't do a thing about it.

Drifters also use the Eastside Esplanade as their bathroom. Another place I used to go frequently, but never go anymore. Occupiers can move in and crap wherever, but if I step off the curb a second early, it would be a big fine -- because I can pay.

I'm not moving into a new McMansion -- it's a remodeled older home, with many energy-efficient upgrades. The lot is several times the size, but the property taxes are much less than what I pay in Portland.

I quite like recycling, reducing, &c. -- I just don't like having the whole green lifestyle crammed down my throat by government. We're reaching the state where that which is not forbidden is mandatory. Has this ever worked anywhere? Of course not, but please don't point that out.

As you can see, I tried it their way -- over and over -- and they wore me down. I want to have choices, to be left alone. I wouldn't move back to either Portland or to California -- both are going to encounter disaster before they can recover.

Then there's the matter of billions in unfunded retirement funds, and all of those quietly-obtained bonds to pay off. My new municipality isn't perfect, but they learn from their mistakes. They are too small to waste on that scale.

Yes, there is still Metro, TriMet, etc. in my area. I still pay for precious toy trains through state and federal taxes. No, the little town isn't perfect, and I don't expect to have zero problems -- but at least I have a fighting chance.

Now I'll be happy to get a second car (used). I've got plenty of room to park it, and I'll enjoy much more freedom. I'll still ride TriMet, but not for every trip. Sure, my commute is longer -- but I'm willing to make that tradeoff.

If I could do that in Portland, I might -- but that's implausible... unless you're already wealthy, of course. For regular middle-class folks, it's "flight" (retreat) to the suburbs. Boring? Perhaps. Defeat? I don't feel that way.

I'm originally from a rougher city, and I harbor no illusions that Portland is tough turf -- now, or in the Eighties. It's the juxtaposition of the crunchy Portlandia image versus the sick reality that bothers me. It was never true.

The city's apologists are free to deride me. They'll scoff, they'll pigeon-hole... but they suffer, and don't seem to realize it. Their system practically demands that people fulfill all of the stereotypes they project. I'd rather not participate any longer.

You may see my tale as a litany of complaints, without a solution. I've offered solutions, but they aren't welcome here. Until the self-satisfied celebration of self-destruction finally consumes itself, we choose to step out of harm's way.

Goodbye Portland... I already missed you years ago. -Downtown Denizen


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
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: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
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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