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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 21, 2012 10:44 AM. The previous post in this blog was For Sunday Parkways, a pedestrian route (sort of). The next post in this blog is E. coli! Run!. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Is Portland vibrant?

We're not entirely sure:

[W]hy is it any better to pander to the "creative class" than it is to pander to the traditional business class? Yes, one strategy uses "incentives" and tax cuts to get companies to move from one state to another, while the other advises us to emphasize music festivals and art galleries when we make our appeal to that exalted cohort. But neither approach imagines a future arising from something other than government abasing itself before the wealthy.

Comments (11)

It is a very good question. I think the answer is very simple though. Portland elected Sam and he is convinced that "cool" is better than "works". Cars work, buses work, cafes work, etc. No good reason to destroy all that was working just to build streetcars, light rail, food carts, bike paths, etc. It was all just a huge waste of money. Nothing more than Sam and his friends using taxpayer money to pursue what they thought was cool, iconic and sustainable.

Lately I've been thinking that we're mostly just arguing about where to put the deck chairs on the Titanic. The US consumer economy is over, because the 1% doesn't want to support a middle class anymore. Marx predicted it, and here we are!

The only hope for our kids is education, and we have a Superintendant and Board who didn't know they had a HS dropout problem until the Oregonian said so, and nobody bats an eye. Then we we have Sim City playing elected officials who view education $$ as begging to be turned over the real estate weasels for conversion into condo bunkers, which the developers getting these public subsidies really intend from the drawing board to be cheap rental apartments. It's not the ownership market that is tight!

If vibrant means bicycle lanes, beer, pot and urban chickens, then, sure we are. Too bad that is enough for so many people.

As long as the credit card holds up, this city is vibrant as Hell...

I'll give it another year at most.

"I'll give it another year at most."

Oh ye of little faith.

Portland's real problem is their pension obligations. Saxon was screaming about PERS what, how many years ago while running for Govenor? We knew PERS was killing Oregon for what, 8 to 10 years now? And, other than the modest changes that Gov Teddy pushed through in 2002 or 2003, nothing has been done to bring PERS into a realistic, sustainable and long-term viable status. The unions can continue to play "four corner offense" by stalling any real reforms, and running out the clock for at least another 3 or 4 years, maybe 6-8. And the Democrats are scared witless about what the unions did to Greg Macpherson, so nobody in Oregon will dare cross them again, even with reasonable PERS reforms. We are years away from losing it's hipster vibrancy.

dyspeptic The US consumer economy is over, because the 1% doesn't want to support a middle class anymore.
JK: The 1% never supported the middle class - they don't have enough money. The problem is government: Corruptly feeding massive amounts of money to crackpot ideas such as solar, wind light rail, smart growth, high speed rail, CRC and forcing the middle class to pay for it. And paying people not to work (different than helping the needy.)

Thanks
JK

nothing has been done to bring PERS into a realistic, sustainable and long-term viable status

Are you kidding? PERS is just the tip of the iceberg for Portland. On top of PERS, it has about a $3 billion pension liability to police and firefighters that is completely unfunded. As in 0%.

[W]hy is it any better to pander to the “creative class” than it is to pander to the traditional business class?
JK: It isn't!
Earlier, Bojack http://bojack.org/2012/06/creative_class_spiel_was_pure.html linked to a debunking of Florida’s “creative Class” BS (bold added):

” Krätke broke Florida’s Creative Class (which includes accountants, realtors, bankers and politicians) into five separate groups and found that only the “scientifically and technologically creative” workers had an impact on regional GDP.”

Plain simple common sense. To bad there is none of that at Metro, County or City Hall.

More from the article (bold added):

Perhaps one of the most damning studies was in some ways the simplest. In 2009 Michele Hoyman and Chris Faricy published a study using Florida’s own data from 1990 to 2004, in which they tried to find a link between the presence of the creative class workers and any kind of economic growth. “The results were pretty striking,” said Faricy, who now teaches political science at Washington State University. “The measurement of the creative class that Florida uses in his book does not correlate with any known measure of economic growth and development. Basically, we were able to show that the emperor has no clothes.” Their study also questioned whether the migration of the creative class was happening. “Florida said that creative class presence—bohemians, gays, artists—will draw what we used to call yuppies in,” says Hoyman. “We did not find that.”

In other words the creative class is just more self deluded bull shat from the planning class.

Thanks
JK

"Are you kidding? PERS is just the tip of the iceberg for Portland."

Yes, you are quite correct. I was using PERS as a shorthand for all government pension liability.

How they can continue to somehow keep that liability off the books still baffles me. The mentality that all is okay since there are still checks in the checkbook..... Unsustainable longterm, but short-term they can still ignore the problem.

It's disclosed in the financial statements, but buried way down. The banks know about it, but you have to wonder whether the Grandmas buying the "Aaa" Portland bonds do.

I think its funny how they think Detroit's decline is due to a loss of "vibrancy"...

In my view, the creative class suffers most when the city is debt swamping and putting our economy in a downward spiral every which way we look it seems. When people's pockets are picked over and over, no discretionary money left for the arts, music, theater, etc. So now Sam wants to make up some difference. The arts ought to take an overall look as to why they are hurting and see what is the result of Sam's and those who pull his strings plans. This in the same way as the schools, Sam wants the appearances of helping, but the overall shenanigans of pet projects, URA's, etc. has harmed the schools in the first place. People need to wake up and pay attention with the Curtain Open (perceptions of helping)and Curtain Closed(plans behind scenes harming)here.


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