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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sold down the river

How many tens of millions of dollars have Portland taxpayers spent on the infernal South Waterfront ("SoWhat") district? And what will the final cost to the city's taxpayers be when all the infrastructure is complete -- something like a half-billion?

With that in mind, I'd say that this scene along the Willamette River down there shows the incredible arrogance of the developers:

Photo by Laurel Greenwood

I guess this is the "progressive" Portland brought to you by our beloved city commissioners. It used to be a place where real people lived. That's over now. What a shame.

Comments (24)

This is interesting...as I seem to remember some stipulation in state law that declares all Oregon beaches (oceanic AND riparian) are public property and subject to public access.

I'm sure the land-use wonks might know something about this.

Talk amongst yourselves...

The salmon will really be happy with that asphalt to cool and filter the water.

I dunno.

Unfortunately, these days, reminding people to act in a civilized manner seems to be a reasonable approach. The developers aren't excluding anyone from using the area - just asking them to use it without abusing it.

Wishful thinking doesn't alter the facts. I'd think it more likely than not that areas like this may be misused; and posting CYA signs like this is probably a good idea, liability-wise, for the developers.

I'll bet their lawyers made them do it.

I suppose carrying a F&#k the Tram sign would be considered inappropriate behavior.

I'll bet their lawyers made them do it.

The sign's first two lines -- the big, bold most offensive ones -- aren't about limiting their liability, that's for sure. That's Homer Williams peeing on his territory to mark it.

...and please respect the land and others using the greenway area.

being told by Homer Williams to "respect the land" is just a little too much.

on second thought--it makes me gag.

The riverbank, above the high water mark, was private property. I can see two possibilities. (1) the city may have been afraid of liability under Dolan v. South Carolina if it required Mr. Williams to dedicate the riverfront to the public in exchange for getting development permits, and (2) no one at the city thought of requiring Mr. Williams to dedicate the riverfront in exchange for getting the sweetheart deal on the land.

I can understand the city being fearful enough not to ask (possibility 1), but they were asleep at the switch, in a big way, if the thought of working the dedication into the land deal itself never occurred to anyone at the city.

please respect the land

They'll turn up the Inferno an extra degree for that one. More like "respect my ability to steal."


Do you mean Dolan v. City of Tigard (http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/93-518.ZS.html)?


That's Homer Williams peeing on his territory to mark it.

My dog, Homz, has an amazing bladder. Looks like we need to go for a walk.

Actually, I've seen that sign...and asked somebody what the heck it meant. I can't even remember the answer, as innocuous as it was.

That river --and its banks-- belong to the citizens of the City of Portland.

That's right, buddy, and if you can't conform your behavior, just pack it up, hit the bricks, pal, you're not welcome here!

Oh yeah, thanks for the cash!

I like that vague definition of the kind of behavior that might get you the boot. It's not hard to imagine private security thugs on bicycles with large happy-face buttons on their uniforms patrolling the riverfront.

Just what does inappropriate mean in this context, anyway ?

Where's the one in Spanish?



Good one Jack, good one!

Actually forgot how much she is missed.

In the SoWhat planning in the early 90's, the controversy about exceeding the height/density of 65 ft. and increasing FAR above 2:1, there was a so-called "compromise" by the planners and Katz and Co. Even though the feds required a 200 ft setback along the Willamette, and the CoP was calling for atleast a 100 ft to 150 ft setback, the developers were crying foul. But the planners/Katz gave us a 50 ft to 100 ft greenway setback in exchange for 250 ft to 325 ft buildings with increased density FAR of 12:1.

What a fair trade.

Plus the taxpayers will be making greenway improvements to the tune of $40 Million (based on a 5 year old estimate), and the price is going up and it isn't even funded.

So, taxpayers will pay for the greenway, assume the negatives of the height/density along our greenway (talk about shadows), be inundated with massive traffic failures because their are few traffic solutions to the SoWhat island and no funding for any of the traffic proposals; and finally you'll get the opportunity to be denied use of the greenway you paid for if you exhibit "inappropriate behavior". How nice!


Actually my brain faded in two directions: I meant the combination of Lucas v. South Carolina and Dolan v. City of Tigard.

Just what does inappropriate mean in this context, anyway ?

It means whatever the private security guards that will probably be hired to patrol this area think it means - plain and simple. And we won't have to wonder who will be telling them what to think.

I've commented about this before on this blog, but am unable to locate it. A few years back, Lakota Development on NW Skyline had a similar situation with Forest's Park Firelane 3 access - their private security company tried to exclude everyone from using the public easement across Lakota to get to the park via FL 3, and of course for a while they got away with it - they were the law in those parts, and most people believed what they were told. They tried this with the wrong person one day, who notified Friends of Forest Park, who appealed the issue to the city. Justice eventually prevailed.

John, your earlier comment is here.

"That river --and its banks-- belong to the citizens of the City of Portland"

Isn't that what they said about CoP GOvernment? Ha-ha.

Concur that the sign is probably illegal in that all Oregon navigable waterways are owned in public trust up to the traditional high water mark.

That river --and its banks-- belong to the citizens of the City of Portland.

Among others, and with qualifications

Maybe we could us a Clintonian definition of "inappropriate?"

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