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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Grampy's prize

I see that lame duck Portland Mayor Tom Potter's "vision" project has won some sort of award from an outfit named the American Planning Association. It figures.

What started out as a reasonable-sounding attempt to sound out Portlanders on the city's future soon went daffy, with questionnaires being translated into a bevy of foreign languages. Then, when the responses came back, many of them highly negative of the city's penchant for worthless toys, they were handed over to the army of paid municipal planner types, who immediately threw most of them away and substituted a truckload of bureaucratic pap:

Shaped by the Willamette and Columbia rivers, Portland connects people and nature to create an international model of equity and sustainability.

We are a city of communities. Our distinct neighborhoods and vibrant downtown are safe, energizing civic and cultural spaces.

Our diverse population, innovative businesses and forward-thinking leaders work together to ensure livability for all.

There's some serious smell wafting off that one. This was a clear case of abusing a public involvement process to make it look as though the bureaucrats' pipedreams are actually what the people want. Not only does the Portland brand of government have to tell everyone how to live, but it also feels compelled to make it look as if that is what the public asked for.

In the end, the "vision" thing turned out to have nothing to do with what residents wrote in the blanks on those questionnaires, and everything to do with justifying more useless and controlling bureaucracy. For that reason, an award from the American Planning Association couldn't be more appropriate.

Comments (11)

This isn't too surprising.

Planners make up about 80% of the city's payroll and Portlanders make up about 95% of APA's membership.

"City Commissioner Randy Leonard, who repeatedly has questioned the value of the visioning process, said he is intrigued by the tensions that have emerged."

Randy's probably shocked he's not the one creting the tension.

Go by street car! and get your butt stuck on the Portland Loo!

Furthermore - Once again leadership totally out of touch with the common man -At least it's not only Bush.

Jobs are bottom priority and building bright and shiny things to benefit the select few are at the top of the list. I really don't see Sammy changing anything. Everybody in govt goes on their own Quixotic quest for their little pet projects while jobs leave, potholes deepen and schools worsen.

Hillsboro is big into this "get input from the public" for their vision plans/statements. So a few years ago I filled out one of their surveys and told them: "Please don't plan my future for me. I'm capable of pursuing happiness without your help."

Jack, well said.

Thank you for this blog, Jack. Many of these issues would get no public airing without it. The clarity of your opinions and your ability to make the complex appear straightforward are why I keep coming back. Agree or disagree with him, we always know where Bojack stands and why.

On an unrelated note, it's too bad that Christopher Cox was such an unmitigated disaster: the last two years would have been a good time for a strong SEC Chairman.

Now can I have a cookie?

Not all that surprising. After several years of involvement I became tired of the lies and manipulation of the "Borg" (planners) and gave up. They will lie, then lie, then lie, then sell themselves as consultants. There has been no integrity for so long that most Portlanders
have accepted the lies.

I see that lame duck Portland Mayor Tom Potter's "vision" project has won some sort of award...

Quick, somebody wake Potter and give him the news.

"VisionPDX is a city-supported initiative to create a vision for a better community, provide a new opportunity for all Portlanders to share their ideas through extensive and creative public engagement,"

the chief means of "sharing ideas" was staff hitting local events with a clipboard, waylaying random people and asking them "what's your vision for Portland in the next few decades?"

the results were utterly predictable--people want safety, prosperity, and a sense of belonging. the same things they've wanted for thousands of years.

the real reason for the "vision" effort was publicity.

and seriously, folks--any person of voting age already knows what the general priorities of local government should be:

keep us safe,
help us prosper, and
support our efforts at creating and participating in that fragile thing called community.

if nothing else, the "visionpdx" thing is a joke for this: communities have been saying loudly, forcefully and clearly for decades what they want. the "data" is already there, has always been there.

I predict the next 2-3 years will be a disaster for Adams. pet projects, petulance and arrogance can only get you so far.

I worked on one of these for the neighborhood association a few years ago. When the results came back from the city I felt like we were doing a paint by numbers routine were the city told us what the numbers were after we applied the paint.

Know that Mastercard ad? Well the word for any Vision Project is Useless!


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