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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Car hatred finds its way to the Coast

Here's a tune that's familiar to Portlanders, being played these days in Astoria:

"When I look at the communities that are really going to thrive and survive, it’s going to be the communities that are walkable and interconnected," said Michele Reeves, a downtown revitalization expert hired as part of the Building Blocks program.

She focused a lot of the night on creating a city around changing societal trends, most notably the lessening popularity of car-centric towns....

Reeves, who owns Portland-based Civilis Consultants, spoke about how she’ll research the entire city of Astoria – downtown, Uppertown, Uniontown and all around – over the coming months and come up with recommendations that might lead to a more successful commercial core....

"Every single downtown has troubles with parking," she said. "What I say is create a parking problem."

Using northwest 23rd Avenue in Portland as an example, she said an area mired in traffic and a lack of parking can be one of the most successful commercial centers around, frustrating yet attracting shoppers with its busy nature. Increased foot traffic, she said, equals higher sales. She used Lake Oswego as an example of a struggling downtown – even in an affluent suburb – that invested in a lot of parking that ultimately has detracted from people walking around.

Look out, Astoria -- you're about to get Bluumenauered.

Comments (38)

The Portland "model" could be considered a success if the goal is to reduce public services and safety while simultaneously bloating local government payroll along with equally bloated increases in property taxes and utility revenues.

Big brother government is all, the only, and will take care of your every need and thought.

In that light, it's a "win-win".

After all, the nation is in decline.

Astoria is also home to a transit system that grew too quick - and then was involved in a major scandal that saw its Director fired and massive service cutbacks.

Of course, there's also the "successful" Astoria Old 300 Trolley - with its unpaid staff, a "free" right-of-way (donated by BNSF to the City), a donated trolley...and it operates on a haphazard schedule designed to cater to sightseeing tourists rather than the general public.

I once visited Astoria by car, and thought about parking and walking around. Couldn't find a parking space - so my money went elsewhere. If you don't want me to park - don't expect me to stay.

It sure gets tiring hearing this message over and over.
But that is how the gubmint works, say it often enough the dumb public starts believing it.

A sure sign that your government has too many employees with too little real work:

When they start telling the citizens all of the aspects of how they must live their lives.

I love how these planner types tell us we need to look towards the "future" while simultaneously pushing the functionally obsolete "central city" model like a crack dealer in a middle school.

Walmart, home depot, et al., started as small businesses.

Bigger question - who hired this eco-nazi zealot?

The social engineering experiment in Portland won't overcome the macro marketplace. It will only insure the growth of the burbs.

But its so easy to Bluumenauer the many Smart-Phone Zombies with their 30 second retention spans.

Dave A.-- One guess who hired Reeves -- Metro! At least when brought to our town by our lame duck mayor who is being booted out for exactly this kind of B.$.
He brought her in via a "partnership" with Metro, to tell our local small businesses what colors to paint their buildings (as if we were Mississippi Ave.) and how to create a "street scape" in front of their business.

We have a very walkable, busy downtown, thank you very much. The additional parking has brought more people down to our shops, restaurants and farmers' market. She's got it backward. You drive there and park, then you walk around.

"What I say is create a parking problem." She's the fad du jour with the regional planners. And now the central planning plague is spreading to our charming Oregon coast. How sad.

Will there be no place left to escape?
Tentacles are far reaching.
28 years since 1984.
Nineteen Eighty-Four is a novel by George Orwell published in 1949.

I wonder how much more business the Pearl district would get if there was more parking? I, for one, never ever go there, even though there are shops I would enjoy, simply because of the parking issue.

And I'm also wondering why towns along the coast would want to discourage cars. How else do they expect tourists to get there? Because most families are not going to hop on their bikes and ride to the coast for a long weekend.

Read this story to my wife, her comments were; "She obviously doesn't live in Astoria. Rather than no parking, they need a ton of parking. Because when I go there, I need to park as close as possible to the place that I want to visit so I can leap out of the car and into the business trying to beat the wind, rain and salt water mist attempting to assault me."

Michelle's comment about how people get to Astoria seems enough to sink the whole line of anti-car thinking for Astoria, where you can drive and park easily most of the time.
Speaking as an uncreative grandpa not fond of braving the elements, the trolley is a big attraction -- out of the cold and rain, fun and different for the tykes, not too expensive. And when we go to the trolley, we also go to the toy store, the bargain shops and usually a couple of other places. And we eat. So the trolley does bring in some business.
But the NW 23rd example does ring true. Apparently once visitors get there and finally find a parking space, they tend to stay rather than give up their spot.
Just like Hoboken.

Nobody goes there, it's too hard to find parking.

I do hope that Steve Duin will, the next time he says here is no planner driven agenda to kill vehicle traffic, will read and noe he comments by Michelle Reeves.

I have cycled to Astoria a couple times by bicycle recently. It is about a hundred miles from my home in Portland and I have no problems getting there in a single day. It's really a nice place to visit by bicycle, especially through Vernonia, but it could be much better. Given the eventual collapse of local fishing industries and the need to use their forests as a carbon-sink as a result of massive coal exports to China causing massive emissions of mercury and CO2 that will flow back to our coast, we should probably be looking at ways to protect the Clatsop area state and national forests while moving away from fisheries jobs to tourism and high-wage tech-sector jobs.

I look forward to Michele Reeves's analysis. Perhaps she will suggest they could build some parking garages to enable them to increase density in the rest of the town while still accommodating disabled persons (most often the elderly, but it seems many "car-driving" obese middle-agers are increasingly those in need of these otherwise useless temporary car storage facilities thanks to our unhealthy FOX-watching population) who need to get there by Yukon or Recreational Vehicle. Once you get people out of their cars and walking around downtown, people will shop the local businesses and also end up much more healthy. Maybe the mentally disabled non-tech-sector workers can serve as an underclass of service workers once their houses in Lake Oswego completely lose their value and they are forced onto the streets -- maybe some will be able to stay in Lake O. thanks to federal government bailouts of the banking and auto industry? Hard to say what will happen since moral hazard was eliminated from those sectors.

As far as people concerned about the rain, I shrug at that. We all live in a temperate rain forest and have plenty of wet weather clothing or are otherwise quite acclimated. I see no reason to subsidize people who aren't used to the local climate with expensive paved surfaces that waste downtown space. Should we turn Astoria into an expensive, air-conditioned, and hermetically-sealed theme-park for California natives who want to import their cars and live in Lake Oswego while taking weekend excursions to the coast? If I were Astorian, I wouldn't vote for that.

Instead, focus should be on self-sufficiency. Tourism itself isn't really self-sufficient, either, so a focus on local livability for permanent residents while accommodating seasonal temporary workers displaced from Lake O.'s economic collapse would probably be best. Telecommuting tech workers as satellite offices from Portland and Beaverton manufacturing and industry could keep that town going quite well. Maybe some industry processing and recycling raw materials arriving at the port for use in high technology and building bicycle materials would be useful in a future sustainable world. Distance from the airport is of course a problem for any high tech worker not able to full time telecommute, but perhaps teleconferencing technologies will continue to make that less important.

The world in 20 years is going to be much more different then than the difference between now and 1992. I'm glad somebody is thinking ahead, like Michele.

Seth has now officially jumped the shark with the predicate that ANY person will make a 100 mile bike trip from Portland to Astoria and then turn around and ride back (200 mile RT, really?), let alone a family with kids out for a day at the beach. What a bunch of cr*p! Since everything that follows flows from the notion that everyone should or will ride bikes everywhere and that some sort of high-wage high tech jobs will "save" Astoria (and the rest of "Cacadia"), its all pipe dreams without even a tendril of a root in objective reality. In 20 years, if Seth has his way and no cars can make it to Astoria, the place will be a ghost town.

Astoria actually hired that dumb idiot to come tell them how to ruin their city? That is too bad. I feel sorry for them.

When they pry my cold cold hands from the wheel.(with apologies to the author)

Just curious, do you think every town should have the stamp of smart growth put upon them? In my view, there should be choices.
Isn't the Portland area large enough for the planners and followers attempting to force people into living/behavioral changes?
I am willing to look at the future and changes, I don't see the cookie cutter approach as a positive change.

"..we should probably be looking at ways to protect the Clatsop area state and national forests while moving away from fisheries jobs to tourism and high-wage tech-sector jobs."

Seth, I think Intel already decided to expand their facility in Washington County. They have a real nice aiport there close by which Intel likes to use.

When you bike to Astoria (I have done that too-one way thoug) do you go shopping at Costco or Fred Meyer?

Seth, could you pass the bong? Thanks, man.

Seth, nice tongue in cheek piece.


My 7th grade English teacher would say,
"Seth, please step up to the blackboard and diagram YOUR sentence":
"Perhaps she will suggest they could build some parking garages to enable them to increase density in the rest of the town while still accommodating disabled persons (most often the elderly, but it seems many "car-driving" obese middle-agers are increasingly those in need of these otherwise useless temporary car storage facilities thanks to our unhealthy FOX-watching population) who need to get there by Yukon or Recreational Vehicle."

Please begin.

You mean they don't teach that anymore?

Walking around neighborhoods in Astoria?

Has anyone noticed that most of the city is a big, steep hill?

I don't think the average, much less fit, person walks much of anywhere, like to the grocery store.

Have you noticed that most of the stores the residents actually use are over in (flat) Warrenton? Fred Meyer, Home Depot, Costco and such?

There's always a lot of empty storefronts in Astoria. Even the cruise ships stopping there haven't made things much better.

nonny mouse wrote: I do hope that Steve Duin will, the next time he says here is no planner driven agenda to kill vehicle traffic, will read and noe he comments by Michelle Reeves.

Just today, Steve has a lovely open-minded op-ed in today's Oregonian about how all the critics of the Sellwood Bridge design are just wrong, and are "rednecks". Nice!

Who cares if our great leaders spend "just $15 million" to make the bridge extra super multi-modal, instead of building some traffic lanes.

I'll just bet that Steve rides a bike or takes TriMeth from his Lake Oswego abode to the downtown offices every day, right?

And I'll bet he takes OR-43 and not the interstate (thus putting him in behind the frequent construction delays), right?

Too right.

"Maybe some industry processing and recycling raw materials arriving at the port for use in high technology and building bicycle materials would be useful in a future sustainable world."

Seth, get rid of the bong.

That load reminds me of the O journalist who described a future ride on the coming westside commuter rail.

"Imagine riding your bike to the commuter rail, stopping off for shopping at Washington Square, then getting back on to head off to work, on the return ride meeting with friends on a stop, then getting back on with your bike again to go home."

Or something close to that. It was so foolish I called her to ask where such a fantasy came from. She got mad about my asking but admitted she just made it up.

Michele is not providing anything useful for either Astoria or the "world in 20 years"
She couldn't even get Lake Oswego right.

She isn't thinking ahead. She is just making things up that sounds like she is.

You need a BS detector, badly.

I hear careers in downtown revitalization expertise are on the rise. Almost makes me want to quit my private sector job and blow another 100k on a urban planning degree from the Portland Patronage Center.

When city and state governments finally run out of money in this piss-poor economy, the "downtown revitalization experts" will have a heck of a time finding a real job.

Seth obviously is partaking in Washington states new recreational marijuana ..

Astoria is a tourist town. It relies on tourist dollars to survive. Tourists arrive their by car. If there is no place to park, tourists will just go on to the next town where there is parking. Creating a walkable central city in places like Astoria is all well and good as long as there is plenty of parking within about three blocks of your primary destination. Create a parking problem such and you have the problem. Rationing won’t work. Should Reeves follow her car-hater ambitions, she will be lining her own pocketbook at the expense and detriment of Astoria.


The replies to Seth's comment funny!

Read it earlier and thought it simply amazing that he was somehow able to cycle from Portland to Astoria one-handed as he smugly patted himself on the back the entire way for being such an advanced, enlightened citizen, so unlike the rest of the "unhealthy FOX-watching population."

Impressive, Seth! Impressive!

We must all learn to be more like Seth!

I cannot believe this planner can compare NW Portland to Astoria. So different, might as well be different countries. And like many on this blog, I go to Astoria, usually to camp at Fort Stevens, with a dog. Until she (the dog) learns to pedal her own bike . . . we'll be driving and hauling our gear.

Seth: Those jobs you speak of...where people can just telecommute to Portland or Beaverton?

Guess what: they can telecommute from Mumbai, India, and be paid $1.50 an hour to do the same work.

You tell me: Who is going to locate those jobs in Astoria, a city that has frequent telephone and power outages when the wind blows?

I'm glad you are fit enough to ride 100 miles in a day. The average person is not. I can do 30-40 on a GOOD day and that's assuming I don't have any hills to deal with - and there's quite a big one up from the Lewis & Clark Bridge that's even a snow zone (chains required in winter months). Unless you are proposing abandoning the water-level railroad and turning it into a 100 mile bike route...oh, you probably are, and of course using gas tax dollars to pay for it.

Damn it you naysayers need to quit confusing Steve Duin with the FACTS, by gum!

Ryan, the Planners calling themselves "downtown revitalization experts" back in the 70's and 80's sure weren't successful in helping towns across America.

Remember when Eugene's Willamette St. was closed off to vehicles with a mall. It killed Eugene, even after a few architects from UofO's architectural school strongly questioned the mall concept. Architect/Planner Otto Poticha questioned how vehicle removal takes away the life of a city. He was right.

Now we get another generation, like Reeves, exposing it again. Dead wrong. Time for the older generation to dismiss the those who don't even study even recent history. PSU should be ashamed.

Is any group starting to consider putting planning issues on the ballot? I anticipate that the Comprehensive Plan is going to be loathsome, with the car-haters
in control.

By carefully planning to put the Comprehensive Plan on the 2014 ballot now, we could hopefully pressure the city council to actually listen to typical homeowners. However you feel about Fluoride, it's kinda fun to see the people
take control.

I will help any legit group with money and time to get those 20k signatures.

I want to go there.
I go there.
no place to park?
I leave there.
no parking- no money changes hands.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
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Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
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Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
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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
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Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
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Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
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Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
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Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
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Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
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Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
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Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
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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
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Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
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Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
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David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
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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
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In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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