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Friday, February 24, 2012

"Urban Planning Overlord" is Gordon Howard

The author of the blog Urban Planning Overlord -- who has been insulting and attacking this blog, our readers, and especially us personally, on and off, for more than five years now -- is Gordon H. Howard, an attorney who lives in a 3,500-square-foot house in the Mountain Park section of Lake Oswego.

Howard, who is in his 50s, is currently a deputy legislative counsel for the State of Oregon in Salem. Prior to taking that job, he spent two years as a staff attorney for the City of West Linn, and before that, he spent nearly 10 years as a planner for the City of West Linn.

According to a reliable internet source, Howard was raised in central California. He went to college in San Diego, and got a master's degree in urban planning from UCLA in 1984. His master's thesis was about land prices in the Santa Monica Mountains. As best we can determine, he then took a job as a planner, probably in Simi Valley, California, outside L.A.

Howard moved to Lake Oswego and started telling Portland residents how to live in 1993, when he became a planner for Multnomah County. As far as we can tell, he has never actually lived in Multnomah County. In 1997, he changed employers, moving over to the West Linn planning division.

Whatever the merits of his views about urban living may be, Howard has an unhealthy fixation on us and on our blog. Maybe now that everyone knows who he is, he'll find something better to do with his time than lob relentless personal attacks at the people who disagree with him.

Comments (51)

Gordon - if that is your real name - You mentioned some of the commenters here in your blog, but you left me out. I've written here for years. I should be writing right now for a national TV audience, but I'm doing this.
My question is why? Where's the disrespect? Haven't I earned it?

I had wondered about the "Overlord" part, because that made me suspect that he was lord and master over a whole legion of Star Wars action figures, and that they lived and died on his whims. Apparently he does this with actual people, though, which makes me sad upon words. It means that by Jack's outing him, Gordie's underlings won't be able to stage their own "frag the lieutenant" moment and escape...yet.

I assume he takes mass transit from LO to Salem every day.

I'm ashamed to admit I looked forward to this unveiling for 48 hours.

Now I feel like I just watched Al Capone's vault being opened by Geraldo Rivera.

FOUR for ONE !!

A uncivil servant, a lawyer (sorry, Jack), A former Californian, AND a Lake Oswego resident. If count hypocrite, it would make it a five fer. Telling us that live inside Portland for 60 years what WE should be doing?

Not like I would ever generalize about an individual based on his being of a protected GROUP !

So how did you isolate this guy as the perp? You musty've gone way beyond scrutinizing IP addys. Or is this a Bojack® trade secret?

Condos and density for thee but not for me.

There needs to be a residency requirement for planners: they need to live in one of the projects they design, or at least reside within the jurisdiction for which they are planning.

I wonder how his sycophants will respond?

That's some impressive detective work there, Mr. B, and I assume all done by knowing where to look in the public record.

Thank you, Jack, for keeping this blog in line and outing those who can't express their political opinions or rants without making it personal.

Condos and density for thee but not for me.

Those are for the proles. The smart people get out while they UPO.

That's creepy, I graduated in the same class as he did. I knew he looked familiar when I clicked on the link.

unreal... a rich guy who drives from his lake oswego mansion to a cush government job in salem, paying cheap clackamas county property tax, telling everyone in portland to take public transit, live in tiny condos, etc.

His favorite books growing up were Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. (

Who'da thunk.

What does he wear when he's blogging?

That's really ironic that he went to UCLA, the program is one of the more progressive programs in Urban Planning. It's largely anti urban renewal/anti-rail, generally prefers investment in social services instead of handing out cash to developers. Hell even Jack quotes Brian Tailor (former chair of the department and transportation guru) often.
Ed Soja would be so disappointed in Gordon.

I think Jack had all the clues he needed here: He may try to pull some or all of his blog down, but some of its content is available on the Wayback Machine, and of course we have many of his comments, several of which were posted from government computers, preserved on our site.

That info and the Mountain Park connection probably constituted the easy part and the sleuthing for name/address matches was the harder part.


Another paunch pushed up against the public trough. Yuck!

I was going to greet him by name on his UPO blog, then I read this:

"This blog does not allow anonymous comments"

Make that a six-fer,@LTJD.

How special. One more elite wonk steering all the peasants away from his gated castle. Peasants with pitchforks, I'm hopin'.

Using his real name, this guy wrote nasty pieces in our local paper against those of us fighting against the streetcar, and anything else that didn't agree with his agenda. He was in the group that lied about the "only opposition came from Dunthorpe."

How's this from Oct. 7, 2010 for irony?

To the Editor:

After reviewing the many letters and comments in the past two issues regarding the merits and demerits of the proposed street railway from Lake Oswego to Portland, I am requesting that any future letter writers on this topic, especially those who are opposed to the street railway, disclose in their letter whether or not they are residents of Dunthorpe or have any property interests near the railway line.

That way, I can easily ignore letters from those whose opinions are tainted by self-interested elitism.

For example, I am personally acquainted with Tom Maginnis, who was one of the three authors of an opinion opposing the street railway in last week’s Review. I know that he lives on the opposite side of town from the railway line, and thus I know that his opposition is based upon what he believes is best for this city, not upon self-interest. But it would be good for Tom and all other letter writers to make this fact known to all of your readers.

Gordon Howard

Lake Oswego

Gordon H. Howard, an attorney who lives in a 3,500-square-foot house in the Mountain Park section of Lake Oswego.

I am requesting that any future letter writers on this topic, especially those who are opposed to the street railway, disclose in their letter whether or not they are residents of Dunthorpe or have any property interests near the railway line.

It's nice to know that Mr. Howard is vehemently for the Streetcar, when he doesn't live near it.

May I suggest to him that if he needs to get to Portland, the 38 bus is a great option. The 44 bus ends at PCC Sylvania. And the 78 bus will get him to downtown Lake Oswego and to Tigard and Beaverton. I'm sure, that he is familiar with those and even uses them on a daily basis?

the 78 bus provides connectivity to the Tigard Transit Center, which in turn connects with WES, which will take him to Wilsonville where he can transfer to the SMART/Cherriots bus to Salem including stops in front of the Capitol Building. Is that how he commutes to work?

After all...I can walk 1/3rd of a mile to my nearest bus stop, ride the bus downtown, walk seven blocks to work, and do the reverse. Granted, I live in Tigard, off of 99W, in a detached, single-level, single family home, only 1300 square feet for my family of four. I'm sure that if he doesn't have grown children, he can live in just 600 square need for a car...use TriMet everywhere...heck, why does he live in L.O. if he works in Salem? Shouldn't his house and his work be in his "twenty minute neighborhood"? I hear there are some nice condos being built in Salem right off of Front Avenue and across the street from Riverfront Park. And I've heard that they have been very hard pressed to find buyers there is a railroad track across the street too.


How does this change anyone's life? It just feels like a school yard shoving match.


And yet you are compelled by the drama to comment!?!

With any luck it will change Mr. Howard's life - as it pertains to using public property and time to spew his bile.


I almost got sucked into feeling sorry for the guy in case he lost his job and his family would suffer for his foolishness. But then I also thought UPO must be very young (under 30) to exhibit such rash hubris and wild risk taking. The reality, that the real UPO, Gordon Howard, is just another lifelong government employee with no experience in the real world explains the arrogance and immaturity of those who have never had to grow up and feel the consequences for their actions. Hypocritical AND pitiful.

Well I guess I can discount the article in an upcoming Oregonian that says,

"Professional Urban Planner recommends express high speed rail from Mountain Park to Salem's State Office Building to cut CO2 emissions & global warming"

"It's for the drowning polar bears!"

"...the real UPO, Gordon Howard, is just another lifelong government employee with no experience in the real world ..."

That and a colossal ego and cowardly and dishonest personality obsessed for whatever reason in battling Jack Bogdanski.

Can't but wonder how his current employer and colleagues will take to all this. Hard to see how he comes out with any honor or distinction, especially in the desperate posts of the last few days. Even today's "Reckless Endangerment" might be seen as just a trifle ironic.

I suspect that nobody cares much. We denizens of the internet tend to take these things too seriously.

I don't know or care who Gordon Howard is, and I haven't been following this pissing match. I do find his letter to the L O Review editor pretty astounding. His view seems to be that the opinion of someone who is directly affected by a streetcar running through his back yard is somehow less important than the opinion of a busy-body like him. I guess we're supposed to just "shut the f*** up" when the government tries to do something that we think will hurt us.

I think he'll be fine, work-wise. He works in Salem; his employer's not going to know or care about his blogging unless it's detracting from his job performance. We also have to keep in mind that as much as we love Jack and this blog, it is a small and self-selecting group that visits or cares about what is discussed here.

I'm amused by all the helpful suggestions whereby Mr. Howard can commute to Salem by various methods of mass transit, including numerous transfers. Cracks me up.

As for the Tigard Transit Center, I believe one can also connect there with "car pooling" shuttle vans that go to and from Salem.

What say you, Gordon Howard? Do you walk the talk, or drive to Salem? Do you even car pool? I'm sure you have a Prius, right, so it's all good.

Maybe he gets one of those cool DAS cars to commute back and forth in....
On the public's nickle.

I read his blog a little. Funny, he's a bit like Jack, what with those libertarian tendencies he's not altogether comfortable with. A little self-loathing, perhaps.

At any rate, the man clearly has some "issues" beyond the usual blogger megalomania.

Good sleuthing Jack!

Now make a public information request as to when this LO bureaucrat was "on duty" for the past couple of years, compare that to the time stamps of the blog posts, read the agency's IT rules and i bet you may get to see some twisting in the wind.

Good hunting!

"Maybe now that everyone knows who he is, he'll find something better to do with his time than lob relentless personal attacks at the people who disagree with him."

Because relentless personal attacks never, ever happen on this blog.

"Forget it, Jake. It's Internet town."

"As little as possible."

Because relentless personal attacks never, ever happen on this blog.

The only people I attack are politicians -- a most deserving breed.

But thanks, Nick, for the political hack viewpoint. "Journalist," my a*s.

Oh -- That Nick Christensen

What an amusing ride!

Jack did a pretty good bit of digging, though it does seem to get easier by the month. Still, I appreciate the work; it was a good job.

It's the commentary, though - as is so often the case, that provides the greatest mirth. Nick from Metro, getting his panties in a twist, is just great stuff. Nick, of course, is a "journalist". The byline on his propaganda always notes that his scrawls aren't vetted by the folks who pay him to write them.

Yessir, he's an independent, free-thinking guy who just happens to get paid by the organization that he writes about.

He's not a prostitute. Really, no. Metro doesn't pay his benefits. On the other hand, how many prostitutes have Cadillac health-care and retirement plans?

Yet they still work the streets, and Nick keeps writing puff-pieces for Metro.

Bobjob:You are complete scum Jack Bog
JK: Please show us evidence of this claim. Or is this just another planner lie?

BTW, if you are a planner you could learn a lot by looking at actual data instead of the fantasies and lies they taught you in planner school.
You can start here:


Again, I'm late to the party; but good on you, Jack.

I thought the Sustainability/CO2 Pledge requires that you live within 2 miles of your workplace or you have to relocate?

3,500 square foot house...100 mile roundtrip DAILY commute, visiting relatives in SoCal via 737...This dudes Carbonic Shadow must be HUUUUUUUUGGGGGGE!

"I thought the Sustainability/CO2 Pledge requires that you live within 2 miles of your workplace or you have to relocate?"

Sustainability is for the little people.

Here's a lovely invite for the planning class.

This year the mission at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit is: Thinking Even Bigger.
2011 showed conference attendees the cumulative energy and power of bringing together people with a passion for biking, walking and transit. This year, OATS will expand its subject areas and will offer the chance to learn and share ideas on a broad array of active transportation topics. Areas of emphasis include Economic Benefits; Advocacy; Planning, Technology and Tools; Funding; and Equity and Social Justice.
Join transportation partners in Salem for two days of education, inspiration and recreation, with a prominent keynote speaker, a dynamic blend of new presenters and perennial favorites, common-interest general sessions and three separate sets of breakout sessions.
Learn about the latest trends and strategies, share your best ideas with people of equal passion, and walk away energized to continue improving the world of active transportation.

For more information and to register:

GH is a neighbor??; oh, how creepy!!! Great work, Jack; could you help us out with a couple of LO Review bloggers???
There are one or two that could be mind blowers!!

I bet the Oregon Active Transportation Summit will be having a few workshops brainstorming how to combat all the recently passed transportation Measures in Clackamas Co. , the new citizen initiatives, and the probable soon to be coming citizen initiatives in other Metro jurisdictions.

And Howard will be a talked about issue too, besides an attendee.

The sad part is that most of the attendees will be on the taxpayer dime and they'll be blogging on the taxpayer $100's of thousands.

The rest of us are catching on, even some that work in the Planner World. It is time to blow the whistle and at least call a recess to discuss whether Planners are really representing the other 93%. It is time for the senior bureaucrats, who are the Planner bosses, to tell the Planners to start this discussion, change some agendas to reflect the 93%. And it is way beyond time for the citizens who are the bosses to the Pols, who are the bosses to bureaucrats to better reflect their viewpoints-like voting "No" sometimes, or voting out the status quo.

Bring back the guillotine for planners!
Figuratively of course, just cut them off the public payrolls.

Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.
- Frank Zappa

I wonder if Howard is a friend of Mike Burton and how Burton's troubles are progressing.

Ex-PSU Official Mike Burton Under Criminal Investigation

Planners United For Justice

UPO Gordon H Howard is not the first to stimulate contempt for the planning profession. I certainly hope there are some decent, fair-minded individuals in the planning field; but local performance suggests that the P in acronyms such as UPO stands for Profiteer, for whom there need be no limitation upon scorn.

Ben: Here's a lovely invite for the planning class. ... power of bringing together people with a passion for biking, walking and transit.
JK: Transit uses more energy, costs more and is slower than driving a small car. Why do they idolize transit? Are these people just plain stupid? Is there any societal value to mass transit except welfare (and relieving some congestion in the core of downtown as it increases congestion on other streets with buses blocking traffic and toy trains taking up whole lanes?)

Walking is also slower than driving and probably uses more energy than a small car when you count the energy input to the food on an equal basis to auto fuel. Have these people ever looked at the numbers? Are they even capable of looking at numbers?

Ben: Areas of emphasis include Economic Benefits; Advocacy; Planning, Technology and Tools; Funding; and Equity and Social Justice.
JK: Missing: basic education in data, math and logic.


Ben, maybe Howard will join ex METRO Executive Officer, State Legislator and PSU Guru Mike Burton who is now going under an Ethics Investigation as well as the Criminal. I don't know if Howard could reach the Criminal Investigation level. I wonder who might file an ethics complaint.

It's strange that it is taking so long for Burton's investigations, or is it?


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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