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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ah, the irony

A thoughtful reader points out some of the delicious new weirdness that has surfaced recently in Portland. First, what do the green, sustainable Bus kids think of the fact that their hero, Erik "Opie" Sten, has moved his family of three into a 5,000-square-foot love shack replete with a swimming pool? That's more than 1,600 square feet per person. What ever happened to "smart" living, voluntary simplicity, and infill? And is there really a cul-de-sac at the end of their street? Horrors. Next thing you know, the boy will be attending Catlin Gabel.

Looks like they're going to go slow on breaking the news to everybody on the website.

Meanwhile, there's the PGE Park Tower condo-dweller profile in the Trib. This fellow says he'll split the scene if they yuppify the neighborhood too much. He doesn't want to live in the sterility of the Pearl; he recognizes that place as just a Bridgeport Village development turned on its side.

But the funny part: The guy works in the Couv! While we're building giant, soulless condo bunkers in Portland now, the jobs are all going to Clark County! People still drive their SUVs the same distance every day, just in the opposite direction. This is the New Urbanism, I guess. Maye somebody from Portland State can explain it to me.

Comments (23)

Sten in no more a hypocrite than his fellow councilmen. Like smell bad Leonard, what he does has no bearing on what we are to do. Sound familiar? I notice Sten's screw-ups, like the water dept. computers,behind in water main replacements, and overcharges on water bills are not even glossed over..they never happened on his watch, if you choose to read his profile in lies.

That is where all the teaching jobs have gone as well.

To Clark county and the berbs, along with families who want to raise their kids in the same way Sten is with grass and not a pavement.

As far as irony goes, note the report on family flight from Portland Schools was done by "Sustainable Portland"

I've noticed that many of the politicos around here who support increased urban density and a firm UGB live in big houses or on large parcels of land. Yes, it's the epitome of hypocrisy.

Once again, the "do as I say, not as I do" moniker is rampant in our local and national politics. It's not limited to only Repugnicans or Dummycrats -- it's systemic -- almost in every level of our government.

We centrists (which, I beleive, is the majority of voters) need to start voting third party and attempt to break this bulls*&t two-party system that's forced upon us.

I don't get it. Because someone is an advocate for low-income housing they are a hypocrite for not living in a hovel when they have 1.2M to spend on their crib?

Is Portland's job market really suffering? Judging by Craigslist and Oregonian classifieds it's pretty robust. The fact that someone would choose to live in downtown Portland when they work in the 'Couv seems like a pretty good endorsement of downtown livability does it not? He could avoid income tax with a move closer to work but he'd rather live in the middle of urban Portland, warts and all.

And as far as driving SUVs in the opposite direction... have you ever tried taking tri-met to Vancover? My wife and I ended three years of car free living due to the fact that she got a job there and we couldn't justify an hour long commute on public transportation vs a 10 min drive. (Granted she works swings so traffic is less of an issue)

Maybe if the MAX line went across the river... but that might require a bit of property taxes which to Washington residents is equal to boiling your baby. So instead they have to deal with a failing farmer's market and meth heads living in those nice new condos lining Esther Short because no hip city dwellers want to live in a 2nd rate downtown area where private vehicles or sporadic bus service are your only options.

I don't get it. Because someone is an advocate for low-income housing they are a hypocrite for not living in a hovel when they have 1.2M to spend on their crib?

Sure, you get it - it's in the title of the post - irony. Where (other than in your comment) does the word hypocrite or hypocrisy appear?

Your overreactions are telling.

I'd say Mr. B scores a direct hit...

...below the waterline.

...or should that be water main?

And the irony has nothing to do with Sten being an advocate for low income housing. It involves his advocacy of '"smart" living, voluntary simplicity, and infill' as well as so-called green and sustainable living.

Although I wouldn't jump to the specific conclusion the commenter (from the original article) does, he raises interesting details:

'"Consolodate" my ass. Since Sten just had lots of cash from appreciation and inheritance, why do county records show that he took out a $1,000,000 mortgage. That is in the neighborhood of $7,000 per month plus $900 per month (10,134 per year) for taxes and another $100+ for insurance and he is looking at $8000 per month for the new pad. With normal ratios the joint Sten household income is over $30,000 per month.

I can't help but wonder which light rail contractor is paying "consulting fees".'

At least Opie is not contributing overly to the population problem. There's but a single little Sten in that big new house. I'd count a blessing there.

And under "accomplishments" in his bio, I'd note foremost how he has never had to have a real job.

One further note on PGE park environs. I lived just up the street on SW King at Burnside in the mid-90's and loved it. I moved back in 2002/03 and found the same large building to be viciously, heavily infested with cockroaches. The manager of the Burnside convenience mart told me that in his estimation the surrounding neighborhoods had largely taken a similar turn. He based this, he said, on the roaches he found in virtually all can and bottle returns.

It's an imported problem that, once established, is difficult or impossible to turn back.

Sten is just another fool who has fallen for the smart growth planner’s lies. He is part of the cabal that is herding Oregonians into crappy little high density “homes” to satisfy the smart growth religion.

That he has chosen to live a lifestyle different than he forces others to live is makes him a hypocrite.

The really sad thing is that most of the Portland’s Planner’s mantra is false:

* High Density will reduce traffic congestion. It doesn't, it increases congestion.

* High Density will reduce cost. It actually increases costs.

* High Density will give us affordable housing. High density increases housing costs.

* High Density will let you walk to the store to get a quart of milk. So what?

* Mass transit saves energy. It dosen't.

* Mass transit reduces pollution.

* Mass transit saves money. It is much more expansive than driving.

* If we become more like Europe, people will drive less. Europe drives almost as much as we do.

* Automobiles are massive subsidised. (They aren't, transit is.)

* Light rail causes development.
No the tax abatements and special treatments cause development.

* Light rail is safer than cars. Light rail kills at over twice the rate of cars.

* A single light rail line can carry as many people as a ten lane freeway. Actually it carries as many people as about 1/4-1/3 lane or freeway.


On the Portland Public Schools enrollment topic -- we'll be releasing a really interesting enrollment forecast from Portland State University next week. Portland Public Schools still gets close to 84 percent of the kids in the district into our public schools, but as the Progress Board reported in 2005, there just aren't nearly as many kids in the city.

More and more households just don't have school-age kids, as our close-in neighborhoods are most appealing to richer households without kids, and as gentrification expands farther from downtown. The steepest enrollment declines took place during the recession, from 2002 to 2004, as renters with children found more affordable housing outside of the PPS district. Big trends that the City Council -- and particularly Commissioner Sten -- have been concerned with and taking action on (note the Schools, Families, Housing Initiative). What kind of city do we want, and is there a place for families? What's our vision?

I have full confidence that Young Master Sten will be heading off to a public kindergarten in a couple years. . . . perhaps to Bridlemile Elementary, his new neighborhood school.

And I'll try to make sure to put out the link to the PSU enrollment forecast when it's posted.

Sarah Carlin Ames
PPS Communications

What kind of city do we want, and is there a place for families?

You're about 10 years late with those questions. The city has spent all of our money, and then some, subsidizing condo towers. There are zero dollars left to help middle-class families stay here. It can't be done. We are $600 million in debt on "urban renewal," with more to come for streetcars and hotels. It's too late to do anything to keep kids around here (other than poor kids and kids with serious problems). Neil and Vera and Homer and Sam made their little deal, and that was the end of Portland as a thriving family town.

Young Master Sten? Young Master Sten going to public school and mixing with the regular kids? With that title? In all caps? If we continue in the direction we're going, and your choice of words is very telling, by the time YMS is ready to go to school, it will be unthinkable that he go to public school, at least without his manservant.

Sten isn't being a hypocrite. I heard he was buying "smart" living offsets. Problem solved.

Young Master Sten?

Is that kind of like Young Master Anakin Skywalker, the Jedi trainee?

Good riddance to Sten, I say. Now I won't have to give him and his wife dirty looks as they walk by my house with their Young Master in the stroller.

And I won't have to (literally) bite my tongue to keep myself from giving him a piece of my mind about his stewardship and (mis)handling of the immense responsibility he's been handed by the voters of this city.

Where was Sten in the Council hearings concerning affordable and family housing for the Pearl and SoWhat Urban Renewal Areas, that is needed to benefit schools? Those issues where asked to be answered by many neighborhood assns. and League of Women Voters. I remember stone faces from all the Council including Sten's. We were told we weren't looking at the "whole picture"-"there will be the trickle down effects that will benefit the whole city, families, schools.....". Jack is right, it is probably too late. Seattle experienced this same fate, now it's our turn.


I hope you find some success, but I'm deeply skeptical. I just don't see families as being on the development agenda of this council. A group of us tried to get family issues a prominent place in the Mayor's "Vision" project and got nowhere. Look at the educational statement in that project, "Portland is a World Class Educational City." Sorry, but that is just hogwash. If that's what the official city position is, we are in deep trouble.

I live in one of the wealthier parts of the city, and through our elementary and middle school PTA, we fund 2 extra positions in our schools, yet:

My daughter has not one class in Cleveland HS with under 40 kids. Two of her classes have children sitting on the floors and one window seats.

My son's IB history, a curriculum designed for 25, has 42.

My son's second grade class has 28 kids.

Meanwhile, three houses have turned over on our street in the last two years, and in each case families with children have moved out and childless couple or a single person has moved in.

I am very wary about projecting from my own experience, but if this is going on in Eastmoreland, I cringe to think what's going on in the rest of the city.

Paul, did you notice that State education spending is up by a BILLION dollars. Most went to enrich the teachers, administrators, specialists, coordinators, etc. that are already there rather than increase programs or reduce class sizes. Portland is closing schools but they are not selling the land and adding to the tax base while generating funds to improve the reamaining schools, it is all a big scam with your kids taking it in the shorts.

Why anyone with a choice would subject their kids to this (PPS) is beyond me.

Do you have kids in the schools?

****You're about 10 years late with those questions. The city has spent all of our money, and then some, subsidizing condo towers.*****

Jack you're wrong. We are about 15 years too late. We may have been able to do something about this in the early 90's but by 1997 the die was already cast. We decided years ago we wantd a City Center where people wanted to live and we got it big time.

And JK. If you think your going to stop the MAX train now your smoking something funny. And across America Congressmen with visions of pork in their eyes are looking at Portland and licking their chops. Fuhgetaboutit freeways are out and trains are in.

Greg C

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