This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 11, 2002 2:35 PM. The previous post in this blog was The CCA. The next post in this blog is More on the Burnside plan. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Another done deal

The Portland City Council has voted to make Burnside Street -- the busy thoroughfare that serves as the "equator" of Portland -- into a one-way street, going eastbound only, for about 30 blocks on both sides of the river in the heart of town. Westbound traffic would get re-routed onto Couch Street (which in Portland is pronounced "cooch"). Supposedly this will make Burnside more pedestrian-friendly and spur development along Couch.


There are all sorts of questions raised by this latest brainstorm by the geniuses at our City Hall. For example, how would turning Burnside into a four-lane-wide one-way street slow traffic down? If anything, aren't drivers going to be encouraged to speed up? Plus, Burnside is already clogged much of the day. How is the much narrower Couch Street going to handle all that new traffic?

Apparently we're going to narrow Burnside and widen the sidewalks. That's right, narrow the busiest street in the city. And maybe we'll give some of the old sidewalk space back to the landowners on either side of Burnside. Oh yes, we haven't spent enough public money making developers rich indirectly, by running taxpayer trams to their little enclaves. Heck, let's just give away some real estate outright. Blue collar folks in their cars be damned, it's real estate owners that we need to make happier.

And even if it makes sense, how can we afford this? Here's my daily litany again: schools falling apart, police stations closed at night and on weekends, no working mental health system, homeless teeming onto inner east side neighborhoods. And yet we have the millions for this, so that we can "support development"?

Ah, the almighty "development." I guess the usual real estate suspects must have some property along Couch that they need to cash in on.

But the biggest question of them all is: How does our city government make such important decisions without any meaningful attention from the local media until the very eve of the meeting at which the vote is going to be taken? I'm a pretty thorough reader of the local fishwrap, and I watch the local news most nights, but I never heard a word about this doozy of an idea until last night. The vote was taken today, and I'm sure the decision in fact was made weeks ago.

It's all part of the fun in the "City That Works." Works for whom is what you've gotta wonder.

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