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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 9, 2013 12:59 PM. The previous post in this blog was Why does Oregon even have an "energy department"?. The next post in this blog is The road goes on forever. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Portland "planning" at its finest

Mark your calendar for this event -- a nine-hour "charrette" on the bright future of Portland's Old Town and Chinatown:

This charrette will develop land use and urban design alternatives for Old Town/Chinatown to inform the larger West Quadrant planning process. The charrette will be a focused effort by BPS and other City staff and consultants to generate alternatives, drawings and diagrams that elaborate on the themes explored during the Community Planning Forum (on 3/8/13).

See that? The City Hall "planning" minions will be there. The consultants will be there. The architects and the construction boys will be there. Everybody there will be getting paid to attend, except you. And if you leave for even a minute during the nine-hour ordeal, on a weekday, decisions might be made without you.

Isn't public involvement wonderful?

Comments (15)

Crack down on the booze, open sales of drugs, and transients in every doorway, and everything else down there will take care of itself. Until you make the area a place people feel comfortable visiting (to say nothing of opening a business), all the planning in the world won't fix it.

Once more, yet another project focused on the downtown area west of the river. I sincerely hope they are respecting and listening to the opinions and needs of the Chinese community after the embarrassing sculpture fiasco.

Not to worry Jack! Everything has been pre-decided before any public presentation, so go ahead and take that smoke break.

For those of you who, like me, wonder WTF a charrette is:

char·rette [shuh-ret]
noun
a final, intensive effort to finish a project, especially an architectural design project, before a deadline.

Obviously, some public school graduate (PSU?) with an inferiority complex feels the need to spice up their communique. They should just call it what it is. Straight talk, if you will.

How about this:

"This 'multi-modal-cluster' will develop land use and urban design alternatives for Old Town/Chinatown to inform the larger West Quadrant planning process. The 'massive-circle-jerk' will be a focused effort by BPS and other City staff and consultants to generate alternatives, drawings and diagrams that elaborate on the themes explored during the Community Planning Forum (on 3/8/13)."

"This 'multi-modal-cluster' will develop land use and urban design alternatives for Old Town/Chinatown to inform the larger West Quadrant planning process. The 'massive-circle-jerk' will be a focused effort by BPS and other City staff and consultants to generate alternatives, drawings and diagrams that elaborate on the themes explored during the Community Planning Forum (on 3/8/13)."

This is almost perfect....let me fix it slightly....

"This 'multi-modal-cluster fcuk' will develop land use and urban design alternatives for Old Town/Chinatown to inform the larger West Quadrant planning process. The 'massive-circle-jerk' will be a focused effort by BPS and other City staff and consultants to generate alternatives, drawings and diagrams that elaborate on the themes explored during the Community Planning Forum (on 3/8/13)."

there...that's better....

Hasn't Old Town already been planned to death? I mean, MAX (the original line) was supposed to save it, and it didn't. Then the Chinese Gardens was supposed to save it, and it didn't. Then the PDC Headquarters was supposed to save it, and it didn't. Then extending the Transit Mall there was supposed to save it, and it didn't. Then building MAX on the Transit Mall was supposed to save it, and it didn't. Rebuilding Union Station was supposed to save it, and it didn't. Blocking off the streets on Saturday nights was supposed to save it, and it didn't......

Anyone see a pattern here?

Charrette? Sounds vibrant.

I agree with Erik H this area is the most planned in Portland sense I can remember. It has been a urban renewal district area sense I can remember and I believe the urban renewal area was extended past the first 20 years of planning.

City Planners and planning, seem to be the problem not the solution.

We may be saved from the Charrette, it reported SimCity crashed

http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/Horizons/2013/0308/SimCity-crumbles-under-online-issues

You hit on something so important..."Everybody will be paid to attend except for you." EXACTLY. We are expected to give our precious free time to attend these things to give "input" into what is basically a work meeting for these folks. The facade of meaningful contribution from the public at these types of events is really wearing thin.

I had dinner with some of our Chinese friends at one of the last three Chinese NW Portland restaurants still hanging in, in what we fondly remember as Portland's China Town.

We discussed how it's all moved out to SE 82nd. What caused it?- Planning and what ensued. The four years of Planning and slow construction in building several streets of limited access, hideous sculptures in the middle of the street, humungous planters taking up parking spaces, crime, drugs, prostitution, and no parking after 10PM on some of the streets so that the drunks/druggies can walk anywhere. And little police activity.

The China Town businesses couldn't survive the years of Planning and Construction. Now, with more Planning the few remaining won't survive the upzoning, densification, higher property taxes, and all the LIDs, surcharges, SDC charges, Urban Renewal costs, etc. coming their way. We seem to destroy the good parts of what we had, then Plan some more thinking we can bring it back. Then we just keep repeating the Planning story.

We also talked about other China Towns in other cities like Seattle, Denver, even LA that are intact, in the older parts of the historical parts of their cities. They have kept the historical sense of these Districts, and not forced out to a strip mall along a busy thoroughfare like 82nd.

Planning is a major industry in this town. More than the citizens of the Chinese community laments what has been lost in our once vibrant China Town. We all do that know the history. Time to move the Chinese gate.

We seem to destroy the good parts of what we had, then Plan some more thinking we can bring it back. Then we just keep repeating the Planning story.

So true.

What a shame that in the "City of Planning" that our historic Chinatown and businesses cannot remain in their Chinatown location.

The LIDS alone have to be a financial killer for many businesses.

Remember when Adams wanted to do a "halo" LID in SW. Don't think that happened, but these decision makers have all kinds of cute tricks to try. Like pushing in our faces to "share" the costs. I think maybe "share" is another word that could be added to the vibrant list.
My point is to stop the mantra to the 99% people about "sharing",
how about asking the 1% about some "sharing?"
how about asking the 1% about some "equity?"
We are asked to "share" "subsidize" in yet another frequently used buzzword, public/partnership.
Is there anyone who has stats on just how much we the public when all added up have "shared" with the private?

"charrette"
or "sharrette?"

"We also talked about other China Towns in other cities like Seattle, Denver, even LA that are intact, in the older parts of the historical parts of their cities. They have kept the historical sense of these Districts, and not forced out to a strip mall along a busy thoroughfare like 82nd."

There is no older intact urban Chinatown in Denver(there's some scattered Chinese and Asian businesses on Alameda on the west side). Los Angeles has a small Chinatown near downtown, but most Chinese people live in the suburban San Gabriel Valley to the east--which is where the real "Chinatowns" of the area are. Seattle's International District basically survives because of the large Uwijamaya grocery/mall, but also because just to the east/southeast is Beacon Hill where a lot of Asian people actually live.

Most urban Chinatowns are basically shells of the original neighborhood for tourists(except for NY and San Francisco), because middle-class Chinese have no interest in living in the cramped tenements that the original Chinese immigrants lived in. Most cities have a more vibrant Chinese area in the outer neighrbohoods these days--even Vancouver, BC's downtown Chinatown is nothing compared to the suburb of Richmond. It's sad what's happened to Portland's Chinatown(which was originally Japantown and what happened to them is even sadder), but while we need to clean up that area from the homeless and druggies that we dump in that region--that still isn't going to bring back a real Chinese neighborhood. I live just to the west of 82nd, and what the Chinese/Vietnamese/Korean business owners have brought to the street is great for the area. I was at Fubonn yesterday shopping and the parking lot was completely packed--you couldn't locate a place like that in downtown Portland and have a parking lot to fit that amount of traffic--it wouldn't make sense in terms of space or cost. Why cater to tourists downtown, when Asian people actually live on the East side.

Isn't public involvement wonderful?

A bit like entering a "mind torture" chamber if one objects to the "plan!"


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