This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 17, 2012 8:47 AM. The previous post in this blog was More attitude from O reporters. The next post in this blog is Give Washington tax auditors a taste of their own medicine. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Portland burnout

A comment came in to this blog late last night that deserves a post and discussion of its own. A reader writes:

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 government 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 embarrassment. 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

Comments (58)

That pretty much sums up my take on it, too. It's the smug sanctimoniousness that really wears at you after a while.

Me too. I might add that I arrived here a raging liberal and left a right-of-center Republican.

This should be reprinted on the front page of the O and Tribune, and should be read aloud on each local news program this week to encourage an honest discussion regarding livability in the city. Great essay DD.

Nail on the head.

I've slowly moved in as well since I was a kid; off to school for a few years, but always coming back and moving in closer.

I'm at the center of it all now and the stench is overwhelming.

Everyone in this city needs to read that comment and give it some good thought.

Thanks Jack.

Well stated. I moved away from an inner NE neighborhood 10 years ago to avoid the high property taxes and all the BS coming out of City Hall. Best decision I have made. I live close enough, yet out of the reach of the insane clowns that run the city.

They can mock the suburbs all they want. 10 years and Washington county will be bigger than Mult county.

You can already see how they have to give Earl more district. You can also see by the job growth and how Portland has to do all kind of giveaways to get employers and developers here.

I lost 25 years of Portland home ownership in a divorce a few years back, and at this point consider myself fortunate that the loons and losers that have seized this city of half million to build their colony can no longer hold me hostage.

It's like Antelope, Oregon all over again on a giant scale.

I was fortunate enough to not endure many years of this; I only lived in Portland for 5 years or so before packing my bags due to these same reasons. Now? I live in Vancouver, Washington... which is often mocked. But I sure as heck don't have to deal with 99% of what was mentioned in the comment!

Good riddance. The quicker people like you leave Portland, the quicker it'll be filled with people like me!

A nice summary of what is going on in almost all large U.S. cities. Our cities are lost, the sooner we realize that the better we all will be.

In August, I moved from SW Portland to southwest Michigan. My combined water/sewer bills are now about $26/month, and the city where I live doesn't shut down when it snows a little bit. Plus I can shoot the deer.

I don't miss the drunks fighting in the street outside my house at midnight, or the smack addicts taking baths in the public fountains downtown, or the dog$hi7 everywhere that so many of my Portland neighbors decided not to pick up, or the weekly police response to domestic violence at the flop shack apartments just down the block from our "luxury" condos in multnomah village.

I miss walkability and (semi) reliable public transit. Mock me if you will Jack, but I miss the street food too.

I could have seen us raising kids in Portland, but it's going to be a lot more fun to do it in a nice big house on a wooded lot that costs us less than the 1500-sq-foot 2-bed condo we were renting in PDX.

Mr. Grumpy, you hit it in one. My dad was working for Frito-Lay when it bought out Grandma's Cookies in the early Eighties, so he spent a lot of time commuting between Dallas and Beaverton. Considering that we moved a lot (such was the fate of the family of a packaging engineer), I was surprised that we didn't move to Portland, and asked about it. He just pointed to several copies of the Oregonian that chronicled the whole Antelope situation, and I shut up.

What's worse about the whole mess is that Portland suffers from what I call the "Northern Exposure Syndrome". Back in the early Nineties, when Northern Exposure was the big show on television, Alaska was flooded with all sorts of walking wounded who half-believed that the show was a documentary. The reality is that most places in Alaska can't afford to have the sleep-til-eleven crowd on hand, because the only way you survive the winter is if everyone chips in. One winter of nearly freezing and starving to death, and the typical arrested development case moved out.

Now they're flooding to Portland, and have been for over 15 years. The weather won't drive them out, the local government is dependent upon them, and they'll stay until everyone with a real job leaves and they move back home rather than have to clean up the mess. That's great for the "Look at meeeeeee!" contingent, but what happens to the folks who were in Portland in the first place, who stay because they truly love the place, and who end up spending the rest of their lives with a city that looks like Coachella the day after?

So true and so sad. I was born right here in Portland in 1954 and lived on the east side all my life. When I graduated from Cleveland High in 1972 there were plenty of living wage jobs in the warehouse district and on the waterfront. I know, because I had one. At age 20 I was able to support a stay at home spouse and a small child. Portland used to be a proud, blue collar town with plenty of opportunity.

Somewhere along the line I got involved with founding and growing a small business and quit paying attention to what was going on around me. I woke up in 2002 and looked around and said "what happened to my town?". It was almost like the "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". So very, very sad.

Well written and well stated. I have read Downtown Denizen's comment several times now - it just keeps getting better with each read.

I've lived other places, but I lived in Portland much of my life, and back when Portland was unpretentious, and not run by city planners anxious to boast about their latest bit of social engineering at some taxpayer-funded conference, I considered inner Southeast Portland to be the nicest place on Earth to live.

It's still pretty nice, but I'm planning on buying a house, and there is no way I'm going to become a hostage of the political class in Portland and Multnomah County.

The problem is, I don't see any chance of political reform, before things get much worse. People are voting with their feet, so increasingly only the True Believers and the poor live in the City. I don't see what can change the views of the True Believers - maybe when they hit a pothole at night and wreck their fancy bicycle, because the roads aren't being maintained; or maybe when they notice that it is getting harder and harder to sell their expensive house because normal people don't want to accept all the increasing baggage that comes with living in Portland.

GenX progeny has lots to say about PDX. Hipsters are typically from somewhere else and move here for the vibe. When reasonable people get to the point of needing a real job or having kids they move away, usually back to where they came from. The experiment is over and real life begins, only somewhere else. People who do stick around move out of the Portland core for lower taxes, a more stable and safer environment and, hopefully, better schools. What you have left is the die-hard political hipsters.

My child came home for Christmas and couldn't wait to get back to the Midwest where almost no one has tattoos or piercings and folks are exceedingly polite. Like pre-hipster Portland. In fact, with no dumpster divers going through one's trash in the middle of the night looking for bottles and cans, states without bottle deposits start looking good!

There are some great houses and neighborhoods in Portland but I'd never consider moving there and I gave up a good business there in favor of one's in Clackamas and Washington Counties.

I dearly love Portland and believe it or not couldn't wait to leave Eugene to live there. I am back in Eugene now caring for an elderly parent and always thought I would someday go back to Portland to finish out my days. It's not going to happen now. Portland just is not a livable place any longer. Life there is a struggle.

I was a homeowner in portland for 10 years, and the one thing that really got under my skin was that Mult Co I tax. I began to realize that the city and the residents in general saw us homeowners as ATM machines. I moved for a job, and often miss portland, but if and when I do move back it will definitely be outside of multnomah county. I just dont see any good argument to live there.

Great post from Downtown Denizen. For what it's worth, we've had three couples from the Portland area visit us here in Reno area in the last two months; and they were amazed by the home prices of much newer homes and the much lower costs for utilities and taxes.
For example, we are paying about $800.00 more for property taxes on a home that is 21 years newer than our Portland home and is 1500 square feet larger than our Portland place. It's also in a gated community and better in almost every way from the place we sold in the summer of 2010.

I know some who are hanging in to save our good drinking water. If that too is taken from the community, no positive reason to stay. We are "pressed" to do more walking, to turn our city into the "walkable" neighborhoods theme. I like to walk, but there I find more and more, it simply doesn't feel safe. How healthy is that?

We had two opportunities to recall the head of our city, instead we have 349 days of Adams left.

If he truly was a Mayor of the people, he would've long ago gone to DC to ask for a Waiver or asked EPA to repeal the LT2 regulation being reviewed this year. Instead he repeatedly went along with PWB debt swamping. Instead he went to DC to set up building deals for developers. Instead he negotiated with GE for exactly what?
In my opinion he has been allowed to remain in place as long as he hands out perks. Do we have leaders left in our city? Those thought of as leaders should be ashamed of themselves for letting our city go down so low.
Tears, rage, and what has happened to the human beings in our city as a result of misfits running the place? How much do we pay to propagandize Portland as the "magical" place to move to? Look behind the curtain folks, it isn't going to end unless we get three votes in that council for the public interest...unless we petition to abolish Metro or reduce their control over our livability...make TriMet accountable...take care of basics, we have had enough pet projects to last for decades here.

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.

I think one reason why the garbage issue took on such importance - both by supporters of the new policy and detractors - was that both sides understood that this was the model of how the CoP intends to interact with its residents in the future. The government philosopher-kings intend to ever more minutely regulate the behavior of Portland's residents, while the residents don't have a whole lot of say in the matter.

I thought the most interesting thing about the garbage debate was the letters and opeds in the Oregonian by residents supporting the new policy. The supporters usually made prefunctory defenses of the policy, but what they were most interested in doing was demanding that opponents "stop whining" and stop criticizing the new policy.

In the New Portland, it is not enough to follow the dictates of the rulers of the CoP - it is illegitimate to question or criticize them.

Random, it's worse than that. Most of the garbage debate, as with far too many things on the CoP agenda, sounded like a good idea to people who didn't want to think about it all that hard. Yes, it sounds like a reasonable idea. So does cloning mammoths and releasing them into the wild. The biggest proponents of the garbage issue were also people who weren't going to be impacted all that much, so anyone complaining about having it shoved down their throats or suggesting viable or sane alternatives gets shouted down.

It's like Antelope, Oregon all over again on a giant scale.

Truer words were never typed.

I live 1.5 blocks from the Washington County line - a situation which I have come to deeply regret. I plan to peddle the house and move not only outside of CoPo and Multnomah County, but outside of the clutches of Metro.

Thirty to 40 years ago, Portland was a nice place to live. It isn't, anymore.

And what you see on the IFC's "Portlandia" isn't comedy - it's a documentary.

"It's like Antelope, Oregon all over again on a giant scale."

Good point, as Portland made a turn after Ma Anand Sheila bussed in and dumped all of their imported voters into the city and the local bleeding hearts welcomed the throngs with free food and housing.

Ah, diversity!

If we witness fascism creeping into our politics,
do we sit and do nothing?

A great and accurate post!
Moved about 15 years ago. Did not like the unfunded Police & Fire Pension monster and the start of rising utilities.
Still own a rental in Portland. Property Taxes @ $22 per thousand. On my home $16 per thousand. Nuff said.

I can see both sides of this debate - run or resist. Singapore has a very stable and modern environment with low crime rates, but you have to conform to very strict laws if you want to live there- something most of us would find a deal breaker.

If you choose to live just outside the city, but still need the city for work and a social life, then that seems somewhat parasitical.

If you choose to stay, then with freedom comes responsibility- something most folks pay lip service to and then wonder why everything is fff'd up. Maybe the answer is to be more responsible and do something about it.

Good observation.

You hit a nerve.
It does seem like we have little foot soldiers on the ready to put down those who don't agree with policy, and next will be more monitoring, we have every right to object to this kind of behavior modification and treatment.

Best line from above:

"Portlandia" isn't comedy - it's a documentary.

Maybe the answer is to be more responsible and do something about it.

Good luck defeating the Portland electoral Iron Triangle of government employees, hipsters, and True Believers.

What are the chances that someone advocating reasonable policies could get elected in Portland, given the current electorate? This is why people vote with their feet.

Even the worst hangers-on will leave the party when the food and drinks are gone. The PDX voting block has been indulged and needs to be cut off. The party is over, now it's time to clean up the mess.

I woke up in 2002 and looked around and said "what happened to my town?"

Who had been making policies for the ten years prior to 2002?

1992 - Vera Katz elected Mayor
1992 - Charlie Hales elected Commissioner
1992 - Sam Adams became Chief of Staff/Katz

Maybe Portland's overall homeownership rate of 54% has something to do with it: too many renters signing off on every tax and bond measure and bread-and-circus spending plan coming out of City Hall thinking (mistakenly) they don't pay for any of it. Meanwhile, the homeowners are distracted, divided, and too busy working for a living to pay their mortgages to get involved and stand up for themselves.

Starbuck... Occupy

I dunno. Is it more unsafe to walk or use public transportation in Portland than in other cities? I have been doing both almost my entire life (I’m 56), in many different parts of the city, and I have never had a single problem. Do we have more criminals and homeless in Portland? Seems to me that crime and homelessness are a chronic urban problem, all across this country. Property values are too high? If you compare us to Oklahoma City or Dallas or even Reno, then I suppose so, but most Portlanders wouldn’t want to live in those cities. Compare us to Seattle or San Francisco or the “better” parts of L.A., then we don’t look so outrageous. Don’t like the city’s push for recycling, biking, plastic bag bans? These are merely attempts, right or wrong, to address some of the largest worldwide issues of our day: Oil dependence, waste and pollution. Are taxes too high, and is our tax money squandered? That’s a debate that that’s raging in Europe, and Washington DC, and in every locality in the country. There, I said it.

Isaak, you're probably right in stating that urban areas all have their share of urban problems. But I think a lot of us who are frustrated here would argue that a great many of the city's gimmicky and feelgood policies exacerbate this pre-existing condition. Therein lies the rub.

Someone call the waaammbulance.

"Maybe the answer is to be more responsible and do something about it."

How right you are Mister Woods. We have a local election coming up. We have one candidate declared for Leonard's seat that I would just as soon not have in office. I will probably vote for Amanda as the lesser of two evils and have heard others express this sentiment. I did send money to one of the three candidates for mayor and know she will be better; but how much better? Portland is so over run with people who do not have a grasp on what services a city should provide and what qualities a leader should embrace. If we fail to have strong leaders come forward AND they fail to be elected what choice does one have......

As a born-and-raised Portlander this post hits close to home. I saw what was happening too, but chose to ignore the decline until the costs became too high, both professionally and personally.

At the end of 2006 the non-profit I founded moved to unincorporated Washington County, just three blocks outside the Portland city limits.

In 2009 I finally moved to Washington County myself, and made the tough decision to sell the Northeast Portland home my grandfather built in 1922. It had been in the family ever since and I had lived in it off and on most of my life.

I still tell people that I live in Portland even though I don't; but more and more it feels wrong to say that.

"You can't go home again" may be true in more senses than one, but being an optimist I won't give up on the eventual possibility. I just had to give up on the hope that it would happen any time soon.

We live in Washington County, about 100 yards from the Portland city limits/Multco border. Every day I wake up and thank God I don't live in the city of Portland, and pray that Beaverton won't get infected by the lethal illness that is killing Portland.

Steve, it's not that "You can't go home again" my problem is that Portland no longer "Feels" like home, or what I want "Home" to be for me and my family. I grew up in inner NE Portland, around Gang, racial, and drug violence of the late 60's and early 70's which by today's standards seems tame. We live out near the Grotto now, and showing my son (12) to ride the bus home from school the other day made me decide it would be safer to call for a ride, and wait for one of us to come get him. I was taking the Bus by myself at 10, and took it back and forth to to HS through the 70's, but it just isn't a viable alternative anymore. The "Quality of Life" for me and my family has measurably declined.

I was born and raised in Portland. I bought a house near 50th & hawthorne in '80. I saw the way things were headed, sold my place in '91 & headed for the snowy hills of Clackistan. I've never regretted the decision. For all the reasons stated above, when my wife retires we're selling everything and heading for rural Wyoming.

There are decent arguments to be made for the over taxation and wasting of city monies. But this laundry list of endless complaints is absurd and hardly poetry. Are you serious in printing this drivel?
"Neighbors judgemental and dismissive, cigarette butts on the lawn"-what a whiner. AND LEAF FEES-rake you own damn leaves and don't expect the rest of us to pay for it-I have to take mine to leaf depots (here in the great suburbia)-it's work or it costs money to take them anywhere. And yeah-I was never rich enough to live in a neighborhood that had leaf removal-those are all the streets with the $500k houses on up like the lawyer that writes this blog. It makes me angry at those that sweep their leaves in the street and then bitch that it's not free to remove them.
Downtown is not a crime ridden hell hole. Hey all of you-you can have RENO and Wyoming and Michigan. I'll take smelly dirty rotten Portland over those places any day of the year. And we know every thing is perfect in suburbia-even the dogs don't crap on the lawns-they wouldn't DARE.

Downtown Denizen:

Right behind you, pal.

I was born & raised in Portland. My 93 year old Dad was as well... in 1918.

But I too have had it and am moving to rural Nevada as soon as I can get a decent price for my home of 32 years.

I can no longer stand the same irritants you point out. I have no desire to fund all those that want me to pull the wagon THEY want to ride in. And that includes the occupiers, the police, fire and all civil servants. My only contact with any of them is when I owe THEM money.

The last straw for me was sitting still in rush hour (more properly called rush 3 1/2 hours) trying to get from my West side home to my parents' East side 1957 home also inside Portland. THAT would be the home they bought 55 years ago because the "MOUNT HOOD FREEWAY" was going to claim their old house at 74th & Powell in a year or two.

I'm outta here...

Last one out, turn off the lights.

(I mean the last one PAYING for the lights)

A nice summary of what is going on in almost all large U.S. cities. Our cities are lost, the sooner we realize that the better we all will be.

Recent decisions by the US Supreme Court have a) given royal decree-like powers to local political leaders, and b) slipped political leaders of all stripes right into the pockets of the largest and most powerful multinational corporations, e.g, big banks and investment firms.

The Portland area, as well as many other cities around the country, still have a high market value to be milked.

You don't have to be a genius in economics to see where and why things keep happening the way they do.

Hmm, well, you can't please everyone!
As this post shows.

Most are pleased, as far as I experience in day to day life.

Some people don't like city living, that's fine! Must you let your politics spoil what is otherwise a isolated, personal problem?

Have fun in Vancouver or where ever. Hope that works for you! Meanwhile, many of us will be here fighting for lasting change in a place we love amongst the usual urban suspects (planners, bureaucrats, anti-socials...etc) - it's all part of the fun!

P.S. Good luck getting into the city from your tract development in 15 years! As the world gets more connected, more people will be moving to Cities. Yes, Portland included!

"But this laundry list of endless complaints is absurd and hardly poetry. Are you serious in printing this drivel?"

Portlanders get what Portlanders want their Portlandia to be. Or they leave because it is no longer what they want.

That is why Mayor Adams still has 349 days and 4 hours left in office. And Randy was re-elected so many times. And Steve "Hook" Novick will be elected as Randy-Mini-Me-Too.

Thanks for posting it, Jack. And thanks for the thoughtful comments. A few replies:

Travelin' Sam Adams wrote:
Good riddance. The quicker people like you leave Portland, the quicker it'll be filled with people like me!

My guess is that you're parodying, but even so -- I'm glad that there are people who still want to be in the city -- perhaps they will succeed where I failed. My votes, opinions, and actions made precious little difference, but then I didn't expect them to. And thanks again for buying my house.

Starbuck wrote:
If we witness fascism creeping into our politics, do we sit and do nothing?

This question is central to the problem. How far should I go for my city? It's a big part of my life, but it's still just one city. For my part, I'm tired of trying to work from within the system, and being ignored, mocked, or even hated. As I posted, "I give up". My efforts bounced off of the consensus bubble.

Eric wrote:
Meanwhile, the homeowners are distracted, divided, and too busy working for a living to pay their mortgages to get involved and stand up for themselves.

I won't make excuses for my choice, but this speaks to some of my motivations. I want to get on with life, and not have to constantly think about the city, political games, and all of the posturing. Now I have that opportunity, and I'm excited about it.

Jason wrote:
Someone call the waaammbulance.

Am I a whiner? Just a guess, but I think I've paid more property taxes, city fees, county income taxes, etc. than many of those who disagree along these lines. I voted regularly, showed up for jury duty, and used practically no city services. As I said before, I can accept your opinion. Enjoy the city as it is.

Suburban mom wrote:
There are decent arguments to be made for the over taxation and wasting of city monies. But this laundry list of endless complaints is absurd and hardly poetry. Are you serious in printing this drivel?

Call it whining if you like, but it all happened. If that's absurd, then the city might be absurd. I made it clear that I didn't simply give up at the first obstacle. I stuck it through, and bought my home again in Portland even after my better judgment told me to get out ten years ago.

rake you own damn leaves and don't expect the rest of us to pay for it

Please read my post -- there are no street trees on my block. My neighbors and I were all gleefully charged (for the second year running) to pick up a bare street. I take care of my own yard, and I don't need the city to tell me when to pick up my debris, or how tall my grass should be. Conversely, I can't tell them when to pave the damaged street, or whether they should maybe get around to cleaning years’ worth of graffiti off of their street signs.

Can you get the city to do what you need done? Are you really satisfied with the run-down conditions? I hope not.

And we know everything is perfect in suburbia-even the dogs don't crap on the lawns-they wouldn't DARE.

Again, please read the post. I made it clear that I don't expect (nor will I get) perfection in the new town. What I want is choice -- to be able to deal privately with my neighbor, rather than have an ever more aggressive government class adjudicate every canine bolus, and otherwise tell us both exactly how to live. It's a modest Oregon neighborhood, quiet and unassuming -- no sidewalks, but footpaths. It's the furthest thing from Laurelhurst, really.

Suburban mom, you seem upset by these ideas. Please know that the class war is phony! This is what I meant about the suffering of Portland residents who -- like me -- go along with the program year after year, and don't realize how bitter and reactive one becomes. That's a big reason why I'm moving on. I don't want to be at odds with my neighbors. I don't want to go to the identity wars every day. I hope things get better for you in Portland.

Mizzle wrote:
Some people don't like city living, that's fine! Must you let your politics spoil what is otherwise a isolated, personal problem?

As I wrote, I do like city living. The problems here eventually become intractable, IMHO. My politics aren't spoiling anything -- I'm heading out quietly, and I don't expect that most of my neighbors will know or care why we left. That's fine by me, and I wish them well, even if I feel that they are misguided. If it's a "personal problem" to want to live on one's own terms, then I freely admit to having a problem. =-)

Meanwhile, many of us will be here fighting for lasting change

I'm glad that you're still here fighting. I once fought, grew tired of it, and gave up. My life isn't only about fighting City Hall. I won't apologize, neither will I ask other Portlanders to change their ways. It's your choice, and you seem to have considered it carefully -- I wish you only success. If you think of them at all, what do you wish for people who live in the surrounding communities? They make Portland work, as much as Portland enhances their towns.

As the world gets more connected, more people will be moving to Cities. Yes, Portland included!

Yes, and there will be "peak oil" and unicorns pooping rainbows. So let's wreck what we have to get ready for that day. It's coming -- really!

Please Jack close out this thread and give us something positive to read tomorrow while I'm snowbound in Portland.

D-town D-zen posts a well written comment on why he gave up the fight to Keep Portland Livable, and gets slammed by a few small-minded hipsters, but mostly gets agreement from many like-minded people.

So he follows up with another well written response.

I especially like this part: "I won't apologize, neither will I ask other Portlanders to change their ways. It's your choice, and you seem to have considered it carefully -- I wish you only success."

I too wish Portlanders much success, whoever it is that stays around, that is.

Downtown Denizen,
Thank you for your writing last night and responding today.
Much of what you say resonates with me.
Of course those of us contemplating having to leave our once beloved city,
know that no place will be perfect as you say,
but the freeing aspect of not being under the "choke hold agenda" here may well be worth a move.
Best Wishes to you in your new place.

Really well written, and in all honesty, very sad. This captures a lot of my feelings as well. Love the layout of my place by Grant Park, but I am sick of getting financially bludgeoned/having my behavior "modified" by the local powers that be. My guess is I sell my house in the next year or two (thankfully I'm not underwater) and may join the resistance in Clackistan - it's nice to see some citizens finally taking a stand against out of control spending, even though I wish it was a little closer to home

I moved to Cincinnati 1.5 years ago for a promotion within the company that I worked at for 6 years in Portland.

I now work in an office in Blue Ash, Ohio; which has it's own municipal income tax. My per-month tax withholding is 1/3 of what Oregon's is, and any sales tax I pay is nowhere near the tax total that you incur living in Portland. Property tax is cheaper. Vehicle registration is about the same. Garbage and recycling is built into the property tax, so that's one less bill per month. No slop buckets. You can get plastic shopping bags if you want, and people always have some at the ready for their dog waste. Energy is a bit more expensive, but water and sewer rates are far cheaper. Housing is at least 30% less - if I sold the 1500sf house that I still own in inner Southeast, I could buy a palace in an incredible neighborhood here, or get an equal house for $90k less and have it paid off in 10 years.

We even have some damn fine parks around here - The Mt. Airy Forest is a massive wooded 1500 acre park on the west side of Cincinnati that is very reminiscent of Forest Park.

I miss lots of things about Oregon, but I don't miss any of the politics, the bad government, the crushing taxes, the completely misguided social engineering initiatives, the nanny state, the car-hating policies, the inept law enforcement, the constant backlog of maintenance and shrinking budgets for necessary public services, or any of the self-righteous pretentious do-gooders that completely miss the point 90% of the time.

It's true that you get the government you deserve. Unfortunately, Portland has attracted a constituency that is either incredibly susceptible to the influence of the condo-bunker building streetcar set; or the Goldschmidt set has managed to frighten away the rest of us that kept it in check until recently. My biggest fear is that places like Cincinnati are drinking the Portland Kool-aid™ and are starting to buy-in on the Blumenauerism. They want to build a streetcar that goes from nowhere anyone wants to be, to nowhere anyone wants to go; all the while spewing the same lies and propaganda about increased property value through mixed-use development and "livable" "walkable" neighborhoods during photo ops with Ray LaHood handing over federal dollars we can't afford for projects we don't need.

It's like waking up from a nightmare, only to fall back asleep to a rerun.

This letter and all of the comments need to be nailed to the door of Portland City Hall, as well as to the doors of the homes of Sam, Randy, et al.
I too am glad I left PDX in '99. Can't imagine the horror that now exists there. So, so sad, what has befallen a once great city.

Hans Christian Andersen. 1837

"Many years ago there was an Emperor so exceedingly fond of new clothes that he spent all his money on being well dressed"......
At one time this was required reading in Portland Public Schools. I wonder why that changed?

And for every one of these good folks that tell us the story of their departure after being fed up and "giving up", there are hundreds more who just quietly pack their things and move across the river or anywhere but here. I am sick to death of not being able to park ANYWHERE downtown (oh, except the city subsidized parking structures) and of being charged, fined, fee'd, ticketed, tagged and more for every step I take in the city of my birth. I'm also tired of the PERS retirees I know who, to a person, either have or are planning to leave the city (and the state) because of...wait for it...the TAXES! So, of course they won't stick around to support the program(s)which are paying them

I work in OldTown/ChinaTown and half of the people do not live in Portland proper. When I ask them why, the same answers that Downtown Denizen give are usually the reasons. Some of them have even previously lived in Portland.

My wife and I had the good smarts not to even try when we bought a house 7 years ago. Portland will become a wasteland of hipsters, homeless, eco-nazis, and the politicans that elect them in about 10 years.

Washington county will be the only sane county left in the metro area, but we need to make sure to oust the car hating commissioners Dick Schouten and Greg Malinowski. While cars aren't the only answer to transportation needs, we don't need another Sam the Tram in Washington county telling us that building bike lanes and 10 more miles of MAX is the only solution to all our transportation problems.


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