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Sunday, October 21, 2012

In the great Randy Gragg tradition

Anna Griffin is back at the O, fresh from her scholarship at Harvard and ready to tell us hicks in Portland how to live. Today she inaugurates her re-entry by parroting back what the City of Portland "planners" are spewing -- only now with a thick air of superiority. She pronounces downtown as currently "healthy" and buys fully into the car-hater mentality. She makes it sound like the Blumenauering of the inner city is inevitable -- like some sort of force of nature.

She also repeats without a hint of question the claim that 132,000 households will be added to Portland over 20 years. That's a crap number. The city's population growth has consistently been 1.1% a year at most. That would add about 145,000 people over 20 years. Her math would translate that into an average household size of 1.1 people. Seems awfully low.

In the next 20 years efforts downtown will be away from construction and toward nudging the private sector to make sure all those new central city residents and workers have enough parks, schools, markets and family-friendly housing.

"Away from construction"? Wow. How quickly she has forgotten, if she ever figured out, who controls Portland.

One thing's for sure -- Griffin's Harvard experience is going to make her even more intolerable than she was as City Hall reporter:

If everything goes right, the expanded central city will be thick with the same kind of walkable, self-sufficient neighborhoods that ring it -- and with people going about their daily lives in the shadow of what pass for skyscrapers here.

We had lost track of how much damage this glib kind of writing -- classic Oregonian -- can do to a community. It appears we're going to be reminded quite regularly.

Comments (29)

Oh, I know what will happen when she learns who's really in charge:
"Who run Stumptown?"

Jack, thank you, I was hoping that you would pick up on those two articles by Ms. Griffin. I read them and wanted to puke. What is so frustrating is that she is so indoctrinated by her leftist political philosophy that she is really blind to what is going on. She should walk, bike or waddle around downtown and look at all the vacancies, the big hole in the ground, and the decrepit decay that is now downtown. Before these idiotic planners, Vera Katz and all the rest this city actually was vibrant and very diverse. Ms. Griffin is all that is wrong with this city. She exemplifies the uber liberal left idiotic thinking. She and her ilk are why I cancelled the Oregonian and moved to Clackamas County.

Too bad she wasn't hired by some paper while back east. After what you wrote, I am not up to it on this sunny afternoon to read it. I am so fed up with the hypocrisy here, and the blind followers. We have morphed from the City of Roses to the
City That Works to the
City That Works You Over to the
City of Sickness.
I remember too when the downtown area was vibrant and a great place to spend time.

This would be a great press release from City Hall, Metro, or some other government entity. Unfortunately, this is what passes for journalism at the (for now) daily in town.

Downtown *is* healthy, if you mean that there's plenty of black tar on the street, and junkies are getting well.

Downtown *is* healthy, if you mean that the Potemkin Village of Progressive tick-boxes are painted pretty colors. Vestas still has a sign up!

Downtown *is* healthy, if you squint, hop around on one foot, and try really hard to fake reality.

Pro tip: You cannot fake reality.

The only inevitability are property tax increases and new forms of "revenue" to pay for the planner's visions.

While the middle class families flee for the suburbs.

Remember, Anna Griffin is the reporter who completely blew the Sam Adams story. Her claim to fame is she took Sam Adam's bait hook, line, and sinker. I remember the big Adams profile she wrote just before the Breedlove story first came to light. She completely skipped over the fact that all of his staff were talking about Breedlove and the ensuing disaster. Also, she was a good friend of Amy Ruiz which was completely unethical.

She is an embarrassment to all good reporters. Maybe she's hoping that after time away for an educational sabbatical and a demotion from columnist to reporter again, she will redeem herself. Some editor at the O must really like her because she should have been fired.

Not a single word about jobs. Why don't we concentrate a bit on what 200,000 people will be doing before assuming they will show up? "Business climate" remains a dirty word in Portland.

WHEW! Thank God we have reinforcements coming in. We were running low on gullible and naive central planning advocates that know better than citizens how to run their own life.

Why don't we concentrate a bit on what 200,000 people will be doing before assuming they will show up?

This nails it on the head - Portland seems to gloat whenever some big company opens up a 25 person I.T. office in Portland...basically because it has 25 I.T. programmers that live in Portland, who don't want to move, so heck let's open up an office. But as soon as those companies realize they can hire folks in India for 1/10th the wages - the Portland office shuts down.

Whenever I'm in downtown Portland on the weekend, I find it dead - few cars, few pedestrians. The PSU students head home for the weekend; the downtown businesses that cater mostly to the lunchtime crowd shut down; the few condo dwellers seem to hole up in their condos, oblivious to anything outside. But go to the 'burbs and I see folks running and jogging and out in their front yards doing yard the store doing the weekly grocery trip. I see activity, I see life. Life that cannot possibly exist in downtown Portland.

I have nothing against those who like the downtown life - heck, I once thought I'd love to live in that kind of a place. Of course I was 15 years old and growing up in McMinnville - a town that was absolutely horrible for a teenager as there were exactly two things to do - do illicit mind-altering substances, or engage in sexual activities. But growing up there's more than just sitting around in a condo, drinking beer and smoking pot.

Erik & Snards:

Obviously you have not been paying attention to trends.

Of the new 200,000 Portland residents, 185,000 will be employed by the city, county, metro, state of Oregon, Metro or some school district or PDC. The remaining 15,000 will be part time, contract employees providing services to that other 185,000.

wow. Writing such as that almost makes me nostalgic for Reinhard's bloviating.

(TTR: Pretty please Goldie turn the gas back on?)

Anna, it seems you must have slept through some of the classes at Harvard with your opinions. My friends did.

You acknowledge that the density of Portland is less than Beaverton's (4375 people per square mile vs.4795)-10% less. But you never ask the obvious questions of why, when Portland has much higher density zoning, more infrastructure, all kinds of policies requiring such, etc. Could it be Beaverton is where people want to live/work, better transportation of all kinds, better schools/parks, less crime, better responsive government, etc.? These are the kinds of questions you should opine on, and ask your quoted Planners to answer.

CoP's Senior Planner Troy Doss makes an unproven statement that people want to be in the central city from cradle to grave.

Senior Planner Joe Zehnder says "we're talking about going from a place where we have housing to a place that is filled with actual neighborhoods". Zehnder must not have been around Portland back in the 70's, and before. where we had vibrant neighborhoods. And we still do despite the Planning zealots. Where is he coming from with this kind of statement? And he's one of the principal Planners for our next Central Plan.

It's time we have a Sit-In at PSU's Uber Planning school and re-educate the Planners and let CoP's Planners retire. And forget Anna.

Maybe she's hoping that after time away for an educational sabbatical and a demotion from columnist to reporter again, she will redeem herself. Some editor at the O must really like her because she should have been fired.

She's probably holding out for the next "communications director" (i.e. gov't press-release flack) position to come her way if she plays enough nerf ball will local government bureaucrats. As the paper news industry tanks, most reporters seem to be jumping ship for the only other work they can find.

It's time we have a Sit-In at PSU's Uber Planning school and re-educate the Planners and let CoP's Planners retire.

Do you know how many planners we have at city hall?
Remember when Charlie was Planning Commissioner? I thought to myself then that it must have been distressing to the good planners of our livable codes to see them derailed/changed. I also thought then that Charlie would only want those planners hired who would go along with his vision, and that is what we have been dealing with.
I rue the day if he gets back in our city chambers.
You most likely know that I am for a write-in for Scott Fernandez.
Did you see the latest Willamette Week, p. 14?
A great full page ad by Fernandez with the title:
"What will Portland Look Like In Four Years with Scott Fernandez as Mayor?"
and then a very informative list of his position on many issues.

Wow! So this is what you pay for getting a Harvard sheep skin?

What cloud is Anna on?

Anna must be from the 1 percent that likes taxes and is sure to give Cake to 99 percent who do pay taxes and don't like it.

The real question is: Where in the world will Anna be when the Oregonian Tanks? Which hopefully be soon.

Thanks for the warning Jack!

In Ashland last week, once again we saw how the homeless are ruining the place. But nothing could have prepared me for what I saw at the rest stop on I5 near Eugene. A well-nourished (overweight, ie), young mom of a well-nourished 2 year old, trying to keep the poor child entertained while she held up a begging sign right outside the ladies restroom. And her older companion (maybe her father, or husband) sat in their parked car talking on his cell phone. A third character, another older male, sat with a sign outside of the men's restroom.

All of society is heading in a dangerous direction at rapid speed and the press corps seems to have their minds sewn firmly to the lining of their colons.

I was in Beaverton today. Functional. No beggars anywhere. But it's too close. Methinks a boat, on an island, might do the trick.

The "requests for help" are located on the on-ramps and off-ramps of 217 in Beaverton, and along 26 further out.

Evidently the pickings must be pretty good, since the regulars return most every day.

I was so disappointed to see her byline in the paper again. You can tell it's going to be an incredibly lazy series when you see the "Beaverton is denser than Portland!" line. While true it's also useless bit of information that shows the writer is either innumerate, lazy, or parroting back mendacious arguments on density.

(Eg, Portland city limits includes huge swaths of forest park and industrial lands, whereas Beaverton's city limits essentially only include residential and a few shopping malls.)

Anna was the author of a piece where she advised Adams on how to proceed, politically speaking, entitled "embrace your inner jerk". She also left a note for Bob Ball requesting he apologize to Adams for that "vicious smear campaign", (you know, the one where Ball was playing on people's fears around all those stereotypes of gay men preying on boys, etc. Remember that vicious smear campaign?)

With all the writing talent in Portland, how on earth does such a middling writer, with such a history of rank partisanship and cronyism, get a platform at the major newspaper? Must be part of the death rattle.

"Cradle to grave is the new goal," said Troy Doss. That's exactly what I thought when we moved to Portland in the 60s. I'm so outta here by next summer, anyone what to buy a 4bd, 2 bath house 2 blocks from a bike boulevard and 4 blocks from a max stop?

Downtown healthy? Wow. I saw just how healthy it was when we retrieved our car from the 3rd and Morrison Smart Park at 10 PM on a Saturday night not long ago. It was lots of fun trying to pay the robot while being beseiged by gutter punks and pit bills. At that point we said "never again".

By the way.... back in 2005 I was chatting with Griffin when she manned the O's city hall office. She told me she came to Portland because she was disturbed by the "sprawl" in her native North Carolina.

You know who else emigrated here because of "sprawl"? Choo Choo Charlie Hales, that's who.

Ha ha! You guys have it good! Where I live in Lake O, it is a food and parks desert! I'm dying out here! Luckily the planning dept. is putting Food Access in the Comp Plan update this time so maybe we won't starve. You would have thought we would have taken these dire conditions into account when we bought our house. Now we have to be saved by the planners .... I mean nannies.... I really mean government. Darn! I can never keep them all straight.

To quote Truman Capote, "That's not writing, that's typing."

Choo choo Charlie Hales goes for "smart growth" density, he himself does not live in it. I wonder how many of these people who promote it actually live in high density.

I think we need to examine all things these days with a preface of "smart."
Huge trees are in the way of "smart growth", we get little urban trees in our city to replace the big ones, is that why Charlie is with the Friends of Trees? Years ago that group would not step out to save huge trees.

Don't forget Hales when he was Parks Commissioner had red x's painted on 75 big firs and cedars in Pier Park ready to be chopped and luckily the people in St. Johns rose up big time, even some within the planning bureau in those days were against this, so the trees were saved. Also, in St. Johns, Johnswood Park was sold for a housing development project. Now, he comes and wants back in our city chambers and claims he is for parks.
He was referred to in those days as Chainsaw Charlie. Maybe the newcomers in town need to know a bit of his history before casting their vote for him.

Downtown is healthy only as long as it continues to be heavily subsidized by taxpayers to keep it healthy. Just ask Homer and the other fat cat developers feeding at the public trough; or just look at all the public funds being dumped into propping up the Portland Streetcar and TriMet – both of which do not come even close to claiming financial self-sustainability. The suggestion of doubling the number of central city trips while reducing driving by 40 percent also seems technologically backwards. The energy consumption and emissions per passenger mile on transit – including in Portland - are greater than the energy consumption and emissions per passenger mile for the next generation of technically advanced cars now coming off the automotive assembly lines. Without better roadway infrastructure, be it a traffic jam or transit jam, either way it will affect air quality.
Similarly, the taxpayer funded subsidies per passenger mile on transit are also greater than for driving. Add the demands of full-of-themselves bicyclists into the equation that expect other taxpayers to pay for the specialized infrastructure they utilize while thay arrogantly ignore traffic laws; and the outcome only adds to transportation funding deficits while compromising the safety of everyone.
Just as it was 40 years ago with the Goldschmidt planning of the 1970’s, the conclusion this round of planning will make the central city self-sufficient is also the political spin on a falsehood.

None of the planners or politicians who advocate increased density would ever actually practice what they preach, and Troy Doss is no exception. He lives in a modest old house in the Alameda neighborhood in NE Portland.

That seems to be the case.
Different standards for some.
Different exceptions to the law for some.
How much longer can this "club" prevail before people will "get it" and say enough is enough!
Wonder what the "club" thought with the 43,000 signatures collected within 30 days?
This is either "class or club" warfare, whatever you want to call it and evident right here in river city.


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