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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rail project backlash gets mainstream attention

Here's a pretty decent summary of where the protests against the Mystery Train to Milwaukie (and other boondoggles) stand. Jim Redden of the Trib manages to report without slanting, unlike his rivals at Portland's monopoly daily newspaper.

Comments (12)

My favorite part is that he got the PBOT budget problem correct: "And the Portland Bureau of Transportation is facing a similar shortfall next year, in part because state gas tax revenues are not increasing as fast as expected."

Though I wouldn't call it a shortfall, I call it poor planning... They planned for something that didn't happen, and they likely knew wouldn't happen. They are pushing people to buy more efficient cars, as well as pushing them to drive less, so they should expect gas tax revenues to decrease not increase. Duh!

This is why we need a mileage tax, with a monitor on your car to tell the state how much you are driving. Unclean! Unclean!

I can report on the grass-roots efforts to derail the Milwaukie Light Rail project. The main selling point for the signature collectors seems to be the fear of hordes of hoodlums streaming into Milwaukie from Portland. They point to what happened in Gresham as a prelude of things to come.

Now, I'm new around here so I can't speak to what happened in Gresham. I didn't ask the signature collector (who happens to be a neighbor) about the hordes of hoodlums who take the 33 or 32 bus lines for easy access into Milwaukie and points South. I've been here three months, taken both of those lines numerous times in and out of Portland, and haven't noticed any hordes.

On the one hand, my GF and I would like to see the rail line raise the value of her property. OTOH, we are terrified of hordes of hoodlums. We remain uncommitted, pending further study. ;-)


Did the Green line to Clackmas Town Cente raise property values?

Of course not. So punt that farce.

It did however result n a big increase in crime there while the rest of the county crime dropped.

The other prior lines provided the excuse to pack in apartments, section 8 housing and condos in haphazard chaos that is nothing anyone should want for Milwaukie or McLoughlin.

They are duped if they think Light Rail will bring anything other than the madness everywhere else.

There is much that Redden slanted heavily.

Calling the 70% victory of the UR measure a "slim majority" is probably the worst.

All of the global warming gibberish is bad too.

PPD has known for years that anytime a new MAX station opens, property crime and vandalism go up. The Oregonian's MAX crime map clearly shows concentrations of crime around all of the major MAX stations. The Oregonian has also reported many times on the rampant drug trafficking problems on the MAX lines and related gang violence. The Gresham police chief was quoted a few years ago saying that over 80% of gang-related police calls to his department were within a quarter mile of a light-rail station (less than 10% of the city's land area). The Clackamas County sheriff reported a 33% increase in crime after the Green line opened (as overall crime in CC fell slightly).

Milwaukie residents have good reason to fear MAX being built through their neighborhoods. It might not equate to hoards of hoodlums, but they will get more crime.

tommyspoon: after the first line (which voters approved) was built between Portland and Gresham, crime in the burb increased so much that the mayor of Gresham started posting his own officers on the stations and trains.

We voted down Portland-Hillsboro; they built it anyway. Crime in the corridor increased. We voted down Portland-Vancouver. They built it anyway (though terminating at the Expo Center). Crime along the corridor increased.

Since we keep voting them down, they don't bother with votes any longer. The line from Gateway to Clackamas Town Center was built without a vote, and Clackamas County Sheriff reported a 32% increase in crime after the line opened - even as crime in the rest of the County declined.

One reason why you don't see much associated with buses is due to the fact that you have to present proof of payment to ride a bus - no such deal on light rail, so the gang-bangers just roam.

By the way, when your shiny new train goes live, kiss your 33 or 32 bus lines goodbye.

One reason why you don't see much associated with buses is due to the fact that you have to present proof of payment to ride a bus - no such deal on light rail, so the gang-bangers just roam.

OK, that makes some sense. I guess the solution is better fare collection for the MAX and light rail. (I know, I know, I'm just a cock-eyed optimist...)

Here's the 2010 Annual Crime Report from the Clackamas County Sheriff (released mid-2011), which includes some data for the 2006-2010 period:

Redden reported the LO Streetcar "seems unlikely" it that will be built. Either it is poor reporting, has no research, sensible analysis, or he knows something beyond what a recent Presentation to the SoWhat URAC stated.

Doug Obletz of Shiels Obletz Johnsen (Streetcar Planners/Construction Managers) and Paul Smith of PBOT stated that LO Streetcar is merely "suspended" numerous times. And when asked how some of the political fallout on mass transit dollars might affect the Streetcar they both reiterated that is shouldn't be a problem, it's only "suspended". Of course their jobs depend on this optimism, and they have do the "sales job".

And then they talked about how LIDs would be used to help pay for Portland's portion and said they could raise $6 Million by doing so. But when asked how they came up with the $6 Million in Local Improvement District dollars and what the boundary of such a district would encompass, they had no idea that they could share-"we'll get back to you".

Isn't it obvious a LID boundary had to be established to come up with the $6 Million tax consequence. Watch out all those nice bungalow and condo owners in South Portland, you could be ending up with an additional $350 dollar tax bill per year forever, or a long time, for the streetcar.

All these LID's apply to LO too, especially in the downtown area and First Addition.

Sad that the region's only real attempt to deal with climate change is to choose the one totally irrelevant part of the problem and focus like mad on it.

The bottom line is that the only thing that matters for climate at this point is whether we switch away from coal and avoid the alt-almost-fuels like tar sands and whatnot. Every drop of real oil and every therm of natural gas that can be extracted and used at a profit will be extracted and used, if not by us then by China and India etc. The relevant time scale for total CO2 emissions is centuries and the lag time in emissions to be felt as climate forcing is decades. So it's totally irrelevant whether we burn the remaining trillion or so barrels of oil in the next twenty years or the next fifty. The only thing climate realists should be focusing on is persuading people to move away from coal and not to pick up the even more destructive alternatives to oil.

In other words, you can make whatever arguments you like about cars and transportation alternatives and their value, but leave out the bit about cutting back on driving as a response to climate change, because it's simply BS, and destructive bs to boot, because it leads to nonsense like the biofuels scams and the other green wave scams.

The right seems determined to gamble with the future and to force us all to join them in the planetary game of Russian Roulette; we'd have a much better chance of reaching the people who can be reached with reason if we stopped trying to club them over the head about automobile co2 emissions. Yes, autos burn fossil fuels and yes fossils fuel emissions are endangering the earth's ability to maintain a heat balance in the narrow range of temperatures in which we evolved. But, given the way the world is divided up, rich and poor, we're not going to burn one less or one more barrel of oil in the relevant time frame by hectoring people about driving. And, in fact, the only thing we do by badgering people about driving is make them more determined than ever to close their eyes and pretend that we're not throwing dice with the futures of billions of people in the balance. If the people who understand the problem were wise instead of just clever, they'd quit worrying about cars entirely and focus solely on what actually matters to our real chances, keeping coal and alt-fuels off the menu.

...On the one hand, my GF and I would like to see the rail line raise the value of her property...

I doubt very much that would happen, unless a large lot or acreage that zoning would allow the land to be divided for high density. For some that would be raising value
if money making on subdividing is the criteria for value.

If you mean raise the value of properties in a neighborhood and quality of livability is what matters, then consider what can happen depending where the property is. With the smart growth theme, envision that many huge trees in the neighborhood would be cut down to make room for developments. Then when three, four or more story housing projects come in, the adjacent properties lose privacy, sunlight for solar or gardens and their views such as a sunrise/sunset are blocked by a towering building,not a good addition of value for single family homes next to these developments. Parking problems, congestion, overcrowding in schools, not enough public safety officers, and generally the existing neighborhood livability and value goes down.

Take a tour on the MAX line out to Gresham and what you see along the way whether that is what you want for your area. Check out what happens to the surrounding areas.
Maybe Milwaukie would be treated better?

Lee just wrote about the LIDS. Local Improvement District Tax. Again depending where the property is located, you could be in the area of where a LID tax would be put on your property to "pay" for this rail.

" ?.. and focus solely on what actually matters to our real chances, keeping coal and alt-fuels off the menu."

Is population growth not an issue anymore, or was that just a response to so many births in the baby boom? Of course, we can't control the increasing number of global consumers, so for every car or lump of coal we remove, aren't we going to see it come back in the form of acid rain anyway? Developing clean fuel and educating women may be the way to go.


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