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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Just when it was getting good

Southeast Division Street has definitely come on as a happening neighborhood in recent years. And alas, it's predictable that the apartment bunker guys are all over it now. Not only will they wreck the look and feel of the place, but they'll also make it impossible to find a place to park, which isn't going to help businesses thrive and is going to give the existing residents heartburn. Then the City Hall vultures will move in with parking meters, and voila! The happening is over.

We've got to hand it to the City Hall and Metro "planning" types who foist this stuff on Portlanders. They've got the bulk of the population eating out of their hands. Comments like these are commonplace:

Glenn Lamb, another longtime resident in the Division Street area, said he also is concerned about traffic congestion issues as they relate to development. But he believes planning for greater density is important in the long term.

"If we don’t accommodate higher densities into our city I know it’s going to pop out into our farmland and forestland, which is some of the most productive in the world," he said.

It sounds smart, but when you think about it, it's false reasoning. The population inside the Portland city limits isn't growing quickly at all -- it's right at 1% a year, and has been for a decade or more. Faster population growth is occurring, but it's all in the suburbs. What's protecting farmland, if anything, is the urban growth boundary, which is set by law. Wrecking Division isn't going to save Yamhill County; it's just going to make some real estate sharpies a lot of money.

Comments (28)

Last year the City has come to our Neighborhood Association meetings to start to plant the seeds for "paid permits" to park on your neighborhood street in front of your house or apartment.

This is gonna get ugly.

Remember, the U.N. claimed that there would be 50 million “climate refugees” by 2010. I'm not seeing 'em. You?

The urban growth boundary expands every year or two, so it's not set in stone, from what I've seen. Seems reasonable to me that increasing inner city population density takes off some of the pressure to expand those boundaries again and again. Or?

The boundary expands regularly, by law. The pressure to pave over places like Tualatin is created by that law and by the market, and Portland "planning" has little effect.

People with real lives and families don't want the City of Portland as much as they used to. And so the people we're destroying neighborhood character for now are unemployable hipsters. Portland had something special 20 years ago, but Goldschmidt, Katz, Earl the Pearl, and the developer weasels have cashed it out.

The UGB is not expanded every year or so and when it is many constraints remain making any development impossible for many years.

The UGB long ago stopped being about saving genuine "farmland" and instead became the tool of central planners to block expansion into any land at all.

All of the worst development in the last 30 years is the same ugly density that in in anti-sprawl brochures.

It is the density that Metro mandates that makes sprawl ugly.

Expansion with lower density communities and affordable family friendly homes with yards is desired.

Endless acreage of marginal land is available with opportunities for new entire cities to be created without any noticeable impact at all.

Get off the highway corridors and there's an expanse of land for every imaginable while reasonable conservation and zoning are maintained.

Without any voter approval our central planners are needlessly overcrowding everything as they push to turn the entire Portland-Vancouver area, from Wilsonville to Battleground and Sandy to Forest grove, into the same Phoenix, Atlanta & LA they claim to be preventing. And it's a haphazard approach that fails miserably over and over again.

Fortunately citizens in Damascus, throughout Clackamas County and now the Southwest Corridor are saying no way.
They'll be rejecting the idea of light rail and thousands of housing units clustered along 99W with more failed Transit Oriented Development.

The 4 city signature drive for rail votes in Tigard, Tualatin, King City and Sherwood kicks off at a big gathering next Friday Evening.

FriDay April 27th
Sherwood Elks 6:30
Optional dinner from 5:30 to 7:30

Send email to

The urban growth boundary is never going away. Property rights zealots who think otherwise are wasting everyone's time. And they play right into the planners' hands -- "See, if you're against light rail and grotesque infill, you're against the entire concept of an urban growth boundary." There's an important distinction there. Extremism never wins.

Perhaps the model of the endlessly expanding development of single family homes on 50 X 100 (or whatever) lots can no longer be maintained. At 300+ million people in this country now, at some point we're going to have start growing up, rather than out. As they used to say, "They're not making any more land!"

Beef is Nebraska’s single largest industry, with cattle farms and ranches utilizing 93 percent of the state’s total land area.

In Oregon, 2% of the land is developed. 53.1% is owned by the federal government. The state, Metro, counties, and municipalities and tribes account for another 30%.

Yeah, we're running outta land around here. Best forget about that detached house with a yard, and don't even think about a garden! It's for your own good, anyway - as Grizzard said, "don't bend over in the garden, granny; you know them taters got eyes".

"Despite all the hand wringing over sprawl and urbanization, only 66 million acres are considered developed lands. This amounts to 3 percent of the land area in the U.S., yet this small land base is home to 75 percent of the population. In general, urban lands are nearly useless for biodiversity preservation. Furthermore, urbanized lands, once converted, usually do not shift to another use."

My words? Nope. This guy.

And he is from Eugene. Go figure.

I'd jsut take comfort in the idea that all of these $2000/month 2 bed apartments are going to have limited takers. Then the builder will end up with a glut of expensive units on the market.

Seems reasonable to you Issak ?
Then the next condo bunker goes up next to where you live.
How about that ?

Do any of our elected representatives in local, state, or federal government - any at all - live in multi-unit residences like condos or apartments? I think they all live in detached single family houses.

Isaak: Perhaps the model of the endlessly expanding development of single family homes on 50 X 100 (or whatever) lots can no longer be maintained. At 300+ million people in this country now,
JK: Well, lets look beyond the greenie planner’s book of lies:
lets put those 300 million people in single family homes on 1/8 acre lots with two people/home. That is 300/8 = 37.5 million acres/2. At 540 acres/sq mile, that is 35,000 square miles.

WOW that’s a lot.

Or is it?

Lets see, take the square root and you get a square 186 miles on a side. The entire USA population, at two per house, would fit into Western Oregon from the coast to about the middle of the Cascades. Leaving the ENTIRE rest of the USA VACANT!

Yeah, we better start building up NOW! And get everyone into 500 sq ft condos. And bankrupt everyone with the high housing prices that result from density.

Please think before believing anything the greenies or planner’s say.


The question, Jim, is never what you might be able to do with the existing housing stock - after all, that's a grandfathered use.

The question is what you do with the incremental demand for housing.

And by the way, you well know that you don't fill up R5 zoning at 100% utilization - besides the street systems it demands directly, residential zoning designations also demand supporting infrastructure such as retail/commercial, industrial, institional, regional transportation, etc.

The amount of land used to produce all vegetables in the U.S. is less than 3 million acres.

Despite all the hand wringing over sprawl and urbanization, only 66 million acres are considered developed lands.

I'm afraid that I must disagree with the figures from the post Clay cites.

Given the state of our country today, it seems clear that perhaps 33 million acres - or perhaps more - is devoted to raising vegetables.

The urban growth boundary was taken away a long time ago by the planning zealots. What was intended to be a reasonable way to manage and limit expansion while providing a 20 year land supply for all uses (including single family homes on large lots) was turned into an instrument for imposing the very kinds infill and other smart growth fantasism this thread started out with.

It's Creepy, Rex and all of the other Urban Renewal, RailVolution, Transit Oriented Development, new urbanism density, light rail mafia friends who have hijacked the UGB and now look to require 15 to 20 units per acre for all future expansions. Those are the zealots.

The UGB process has been altered so much it's as corrupted as Urban Renewal.

I agree the UGB is never going anywhere.

But the use of it must revert back to a more flexible and accommodating tool in order to provide what people want. That's is what is obvious in Damascus where 66% rejected Metro's comp plan, where McLoughlin residents rejected the Park Avenue Station and McLoughlin Area Plan, where Lake Oswego residents are rejecting Foothills and other density goals and where the Southwest Corridor residents are going to be rejecting essentially everything the planning zealots are planning.

Property owners used to be able to apply to Metro for an expansion through their their local municipality or county. That way a developer or industry wanting to invest their own money to build housing or job creating development on a parcel it was possible.

Expansions have been dead zones awaiting costly master planning that applies the layers of labels and restrictions which the same advocates of the grotesque infill and Light rail insist must occur.

There are many disputes in the land use arena. I know of none of them which are generated by any zealots wanting no planning or zoning at all.

There is the original concept of an Urban Growth Boundary
and the current UGB weapon being used to destroy our whole region just like this project and division.

"The Portland Bureau of Transportation hopes to allay those fears with a $5.98 million streetscape project set to kick off in August on Southeast Division Street. Plans include increasing visibility of pedestrian crosswalks, converting pro-time lanes into permanent parking, and adding planters and bio-swales."

This is a typical response from a bicycle/streetcar centric PBOT. It is called putting the street on a diet. The true reality is that with more cars due to a higher density of living spaces, the concept will just create more problems including: more congestion, increasing emissions due to more idle times with stop and go driving, and pushing the traffic onto other streets again adding more congestion on those streets. Moreover, this is a likely a top down ego infested decision by Sammyboy to again waste transportation dollars aimed at reducing the motor vehicle capacity on an arterial street. This whole idea is yet case of destroying Portland's system of through streets.

This is timely.

And pretty good reporting.

"Regional planning policies probably intensified hard-hit Clackamas County's housing woes"

Somehow this all seems to link back to the boom and bust cycle of real estate in general. Very few ever think there will be a contraction for some strange reason. There is more than enough room in the current UGB to accomodate a 1% population growth rate as evidenced by the record foreclosure rate and the lack of turn over in the housing market. Prices in the housing market are declining, or are in a holding pattern, because consumer confidence in real estate is weak. So they create zones where it's pretty much impossible to own a car unless you have a detached home with a driveway, and the mantra is more density with fewer cars. They want to turn this place into Manhattan, but the problem is that Portland doesn't have a fraction of the tax base, or anything close to the economic engine of NYC, to support/fund a subway system or surface level street car stops every 10 blocks or so, no matter where you find yourself. So you're going to take the bus to that cool new restaurant at 30th and Division? I don't think so. Just like Jack says, why will you bang your head on your dashboard circling the block for a place to park for 20-30 minutes to patronize small businesses in these neighborhoods?

Have too many paper files to search for an O article so don't have exact quote, but many years ago Robert Kennedy Jr. said essentially that we need to keep our cities livable, because if we don't, people will move out and ruin the watersheds.
Well, it doesn't look like our planners paid attention to keeping our city livable. I wonder how many people have moved out and how many are planning to leave? Recently, I heard someone say to another who lives outside of Portland, that that person was a lucky one able to escape. I also wonder what will happen to the Pearl when the 10 year tax abatements end?

I have written about this before, words are one thing, but what I see doesn't match with what we were told. We were told we would save farmlands, and I would ask what about saving our farmland for growing food? I see much of that land that used to grow food for us being used for growing urban street trees for the smart growth plan. Our best fertile farmland within the UGB didn't count evidently and was covered up with developments. Good bye strawberry fields, now I can only remember the luscious taste of those strawberries. I see McMansions and estates outside the UGB while we inside are having to deal with more density and congestion. It is as if Portland is a sacrifice zone, anything goes inside the UGB as long as we save outside? outside where we don't live?? The UGB does expand and we just see the same step and repeat type of development, the kind of sprawl that people were told would not happen if we went along with the plan.

At any rate, I began neutral about the UGB, but no longer after what I have observed. It may have started with good intentions, but I believe greed took hold. The mantra though of faith in the UGB and benefits if we sacrifice has been so deeply imprinted upon our population, that people still believe in it, even though our quality of life continues to decline. Was it as a result of less land within the UGB that caused Johnswood Park in St. Johns to be sold to a developer for housing or was it just a good deal using public park land? That park sale by the way was when Charlie Hales was Parks Commissioner, now he says he did so well for parks?
Today, there are roving eyes on our school properties for developments?

We may be held up as this city plan to emulate, but in my opinion by the time all is done, people will no part of our "experiment."
It already has people from around the Portland area saying they want no part of what our city has turned into.

“I began neutral about the UGB, but no longer after what I have observed. It may have started with good intentions, but I believe greed took hold. “
JK: That is the usual pattern.
That is why government power needs to be severely limited.
There is always some greedy person looking to payoff some elected whore to make big bucks.


Got a kick out of a propaganda piece that I happened upon on the tube the other night. The fellow was extolling the virtues of the urban rats (residents) talking about how even though there was a lot of 'hard surfaces' in such an area, that they were 'saving' in the guise that so many people lived in such a small area. He then talked about how if the same number of folks lived in SFH, how much land it would take up and how much 'hard surface', etc. I had to laugh, so I have my basic 50X100 lot with my SFH, however I also sport three 35 foot tall pine trees, one 40 foot tall oak tree with limbs that extend over 10 feet from the tree and two crepe myrtel trees that are both over 30 feet tall. I have various bushes, shrubs, flowers and grass. My guess is that my vegetation MORE than outweigh my 'carbon footprint' and makes me ALOT more 'green' than the urban rats (and I'm a lot happier too).

While the planners are making Portland into a mini-Manhatan, they are trying to make suburbia into 20-minute walkable neighborhoods. There is absolutely No respect for what the public wants. Portland's treasured neighborhoods are looking more like a museum rather than places to raise a family. Young people will live in bunkers only so long. What then? Have the planners forgotten to plan for what choices real people make and what comes next? Oops.

JK: Well, lets look beyond the greenie planner’s book of lies:
lets put those 300 million people in single family homes on 1/8 acre lots with two people/home. That is 300/8 = 37.5 million acres/2. At 540 acres/sq mile, that is 35,000 square miles.

TOJ: JK, I get your point and I agree with it wholeheartedly.

Your math, however, is in error. A square mile is 640 acres, not 540. Thus the total number of square miles needed to house the entire U.S. population as you illustrate would be 29,297. Actually a fraction less than that, but I rounded up so the assembled populace would have room to build themselves a Sustainability Center.

In any case, the total is less than one-third the geographical area of the state of Oregon.

...There is absolutely No respect for what the public wants...

In my opinion, the insiders are making a good living on this agenda, at the expense of the rest of the public. The whole plan is disgusting especially the drive to change the "behavioral" aspects of how we all should live under the guise of that we should have choices is laughable. Except it isn't funny, it is tragic the way our city has gone into this downward spiral. Take a good look at this election....and see who is supporting which candidates, those "familiar" names of supporters should clue people in as to which candidates will most likely continue with the agenda.

John Rettig: The question, Jim, is never what you might be able to do with the existing housing stock - after all, that's a grandfathered use.

The question is what you do with the incremental demand for housing.
JK: Is this, in some way, relevant to my comment? The fact remains that ALL of the USA population would fit in a sub set of Oregon. END of argument that we are running out of land.

Heck, we could even do (gasp!) 100 x 100 lots and still put everyone in Oregon and leave the rest of the USA empty (just like some deep green zealots want!)


The Other Jimbo: A square mile is 640 acres, not 540.
JK: OOPS! Thanks for the correction. That’l teach me to not look up conversion factors late at night!


Yes, Jim, it's relevant. The point is exactly what I noted: Grandfathered usage is what it is, meaning it doesn't fit into the space you calculated. Or the one calculated if you accounted for the other items I noted, and did your math correct with the correct conversion per TOJ's post. Yes, it would still all fit into Oregon, at ~63 million acres.

But your conclusion drawn from this (that we are not running out of land) is simply not supported by your data.

And I doubt this is the end of your argument.


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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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