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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dear Portland neighbors

You are screwed. Don't you know, the cr-apartment weasels always win? And as for that blatant deception that was pulled on you, we'll all be pointing fingers at each other here at City Hall, so that no one will be accountable. Go by streetcar!

Yours in sustainability,
Char-Lie Hales

Comments (24)

G'bye, Portland. It's been nice knowing you. You'll let all of the good folks out when they leave and make sure the hipsters don't follow them, won't you?

Bye, Bojack! Getting ready to go cold turkey like what with your blog taking a sabbatical.

May we blog, again!

With or with out the Fishy amendment, residential neighborhoods will be negatively impacted by developers gaming the system. With 70 percent of the renters having a car, none of the proposals the council is considering provide off-street parking for even 50 percent of those cars.

We are SO outta here!
Portlandia...the city that screws itself!

Will the last smart person out please close the crypt.

Pooooor apartment developer! It just wouldn't be fair to expect him to give up any of his anticipated profits by providing a sensible service for his potential rental clientele.

So, suppose he gets nothing but pedestrians and bicycle riders to rent. In a dream world. That completely ignores the future, where a different sort of clientele might be renting. An aging or disabled clientele who might want to be able to park somewhere near to where they live without fear of their vehicle getting clouted or upsetting business patrons or neighbors nearby.

And how many bicycle-riding renters can there possibly be? It seems like all of these new apartment buildings are supposedly catering to that audience. It's simply a fraud and an excuse to avoid using space that might accommodate an income-generating apartment or retail space.

If that's the plan, I wish these people would simply be honest about it. They know that they can't ask more for their apartments if they provide parking because they would not be able to compete with the market rate. And they know that if they threaten to back out, the city will panic and throw money at them, give them what they want, because they fear a loss of temporary construction jobs and are anxious about the loss of thousands of creatives who might not move here if the crapartments aren't waiting to house them . . . when they aren't (as the developer who desires to throw up 185 sf apartments on NW 23rd says) hanging out in coffee houses or working because - face it - a 185 sf apartment with no parking is hardly a "home" although you get to pay just as much for it.

Nowhere is it writ in stone that developers should be able to maximize their profit at the expense of others.

This is probably a deal struck by the jokers at City Hall to avoid a MASSIVE lawsuit by the developer. The City approved his permit incorrectly (no entry on Division) and he went ahead and started building. The city screws up yet again - incorrectly doesn't follow their own rules - and the neighbors and tax payers have to eat it. Nothing new.

Also - the crowded parking will allow the city to whine "we have to sell permits to nearby homeowners as the equitable way to control parking and protect livability" - meanwhile they will get more money to flush down the toilet. Question is - where to move to...?

I just picked up the April 4th issue of the Portland Tribune and was confronted with an odious editorial by Rex Burkholder titled, "Housing without parking helps city thrive." It's on page A6 at the bottom. Sorry for no link, but I wasn't able to get the Trib website to come up.

Herein, my response:

"Advocates of off-street parking have own interests in mind?" And Mr. Burkholder does not? Just like the neighborhood residents, he thinks that he knows best and is not shy about telling us why the opposition is selfish and wrong.

Rex Burkholder thinks that encouraging the construction of more and more apartments without any accommodation for parking is, "about the smartest thing the city can do to keep Portland thriving, livable and equitable." The big question is: Is it realistic? And the answer – at least at this time – is, "No, it isn't."

Mr. Burkholder writes off his fellow homeowners as, "a bunch of angry, self-styled 'neighborhood preservationists' who are really just about keeping the free lunch they've enjoyed courtesy of you and me."

Mr. Burkholder has lived here 30 years? Whoopee. I've lived here twice that long. The length of time we've lived here is beside the point. If, as he says, the "east and west sides of Portland" have "hundreds of single-family homes, as well as apartment buildings without off-street parking" then where, pray tell, are these people parking their cars at the moment? Probably on the street. The same street where they will compete with the residents of the new no off-street parking apartments that are springing up like kudzu in Portland with the blessing of the City Council.

Just because a home does not come with a garage or apartments don't provide off-street parking does not magically mean that the residents do not own cars. In fact, recent surveys suggest that 70% of them do. Whether they drive frequently or not, the physical reality of the car that must be parked is there.

Just because an apartment is built within walking distance of mass transit does not mean that residents of the new apartments will abandon their cars to use mass transit and their own two feet exclusively.

"Requiring parking anywhere in any city makes little sense," says Rex. Really? Then let's get rid of large parking lots at malls, movie theaters, hospitals and shopping centers. Think of the "wasted space" that Rex laments that would be saved! Let people make several trips to bring their groceries home on the bus. Why should these people be able to take advantage of, "the free lunch they’ve enjoyed courtesy of you and me"?

"It leads to higher housing prices." I don’t see that it has in the past. "Higher prices" are relative. If it leads to the specter of higher prices now, it is because developers are no longer willing to absorb the cost and want to utilize every space inch for rentable space. Realistically speaking, a developer who tries to charge too much over the market rate will find himself priced out of the market.

"It increases pressure to convert farmland to sprawl." In the inner city? These apartments are being built in urban areas, not in the middle of farmland. And they are still far more affordable as a living option than the purchase of a single family home in the hinterlands . . . an option that has become less popular over time.

"It means fewer customers for local businesses." How? When more tenants will be parking on the street in spaces where customers might want to park to frequent a business?

Transit, bikes and car-sharing are all good things, but a majority of people are not following this model at the moment and trends do not demonstrate that an immediate sea change in transportation is in progress or that it can be forced.

"It leads to worse air quality." You could argue that customers circling the block trying to find parking when it is taken up by tenants will add to emissions and accidents as well. And no off-street parking accommodation doesn't make cars go away. They just park somewhere else. And wherever they park, they have to drive there to do it.

I highly doubt that Tom McCall would be arguing for irresponsibility on the part of greedy developers which is what it comes down to. I also think it unlikely that Mr. Burkholder was ever personally acquainted with Tom McCall and so should not presume to know his mind. And this is coming from someone who has not owned or driven a car for over 10 years, has bicycled for decades and uses mass transit. For many years I was involved in bicycle advocacy before it became trendy.

Sure, I'd like to see less traffic, exhaust, accidents and clutter but I am also a realist. And the difference between what weld like and what we must settle for is the difference between living in our own little bubble or taking the time for respectful discourse among those who may disagree , as we make plans for our City.

Rex Burkholder is an ass!

And in another 10 or 20 years those crap-apartments will be declared insolvent eyesores, and torn down down for the next crop of development weasels.

The link to Rex's screed is here:

He also mentions an "upcoming" meeting that was held at 2 pm today and urges people to "fight for Oregon's future" because Tom McCall won't be there. But by the time I read the article - in today's edition - it was far too late to participate. Don't the Trib folks proofread this stuff before it goes to press?

I posted here because I don't see anyplace on the page with Rex's article where anybody can post comments about his opinion piece publicly. Only a link to send a letter to the editor.

Portland Native: add Bob Stacy to the Rex comment. All of our agencies are mostly infected with this mindset. Time for a change, and maybe these kinds of issues will make it happen.

Livability is not a demo or repub choice, it should be evaluated on an individual basis. And citizens should ask the critical questions about livability of candidates and insist on clear answers and not platitudes.

I attended the city council meeting.

My opinion of Nick Fish changed: he sure
backed the neighborhoods.

Loser: Guy from Seattle with well-worn copy of Shoup parking book. Boorrrrring. And then
each commissioner in turn shot him down with
facts contradicting his parking facts.

Miss Congeniality: Gal that helps develop apartments for the disabled.

Most talented: Gal that did her own parking study near giant Overton lump.

Best acting: Aaron Brown, pretending to represent his generation, unable to explain why no young prospective renters there.

Runner Up: Nice older gentleman from Tokyo patiently explaining why car free works there and not here.

Flair: Alan Fields.

Surprise: Home builders supporting parking minimums, sympathizing with neighbors.

Best Dressed: Joe Zehnder (Doc Martins),
Susan Anderson (pulling off a pant suit).
Amanda Fritz- fashion forward in Spring Green.

Best job not looking smug: Sackoff attorney Mr. Ramis.

Worst Job Not Looking Smug: Guy from Seattle tied with Susan Anderson.

Mamacita, thanks for the blow-by-blow. What? No award for the self-styled savior of Portland, King Rex?

If you look at the address on Google Maps Street view - 2450 S.E. 37th Ave - it looks like the new development is actually where a parking lot was. So this isn't Net Zero parking. It's Net Negative parking.

NW Portlander,

Rex B. wan looking. Chris Smith had more flair in blue polar fleece.

Novick- debonair in an odd way. His aloofness is more charismatic than Burkholder's.


Rex Burkholder refers to those homeowners as " ...a bunch of angry, self-styled “neighborhood preservationists” who are really just about keeping the free lunch they’ve enjoyed courtesy of you and me."

Wow! Who is the angry one here?
In my opinion:
This may be more a mirror of himself. Could not the words be changed a bit to read as Rex and his ilk being "a bunch of angry, self-styled neighborhood destroyers?" There seems to be a battle we have going on here with some like Rex who have no respect or thoughtfulness for the livability of others, only care about their lockstep narrow minded views and throwing barbs at others and apparently wanting to take over established neighborhoods and way of life. He brings up a free lunch, who other than the bikers around here have enjoyed their perks courtesy of others?

Tim Ramis has been practicing not looking smug for years....I knew him when....

Where does this Rex guy live? Does he own a car or ride the bus?

People who style themselves "progressives" are all about diversity until you disagree with them. Same old, same old, just a different armband, one you can't see.

Sometimes I think Portland has its own brand, as some local ones don't seem
like the progressives I read about in the national blog, Firedoglake.

Today's "news" is just a report of a typical superficial Portland political palliative:

Portland City Council set to approve apartment building parking minimums

Of course, there is no meaningful substantive change proposed by City Council members for the typical 4-story crapartment buildings that have been springing up around town.

The math is very basic -- even without integrating the numeric "trading" that would be permitted and which would go on as if there was no practical and meaningful change.* The over-50 ratio of 3-1 is just slightly meaningful, but those monstrosities will take full advantage of the trading scheme and other loopholes and development provisions not highlighted in this article.

And brace yourselves for the so-called "tweaks to the city code" that They announced are currently in process....

To add insult to injury:

Portland's Street Seats program expands to allow more restaurants to place seating platforms in parking spaces

And get this:

Some of the seats are for passersby who are not customers -- a space to sit down and take in the passing scene. On a recent afternoon, Renae Douglas and Jeremy Bell were sitting on the platform enjoying pizza and a beer.

Did they feel vulnerable sitting in the traffic lane? Not at all.

Why sit there rather than inside?

"The people-watching," says Bell. He visits from the Camas area and always sits on the platform facing the sidewalk. "Everybody goes by here," he says. "It's great, especially for us country people coming to the big city for the day."


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