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Thursday, September 13, 2012

The dream of the '90s is alive

In the Trib, at least.

Portland’s ability to attract and retain young, college-educated residents during a period when the city lost jobs has the PSU researchers scratching their heads.

For more than 50 years, Jurjevich says, people in this country consistently have moved to places where they were more likely to get jobs. Not now, and not in Portland. Jurjevich calls it "a new frontier in migration patterns."

Those new migrants are coming to Portland and staying despite the fact that they are making 84 cents on the dollar compared to college grads in other U.S. cities. On average, a college-educated young Portlander makes about $8,000 less per year than a counterpart in Seattle doing comparable work.

The PSU report notes that young college-educated Portlanders have an unemployment rate 20 percent to 30 percent higher than the average for the nation’s 50 largest metro areas.

The educated young are coming to Portland, the PSU study suggests, for the cheaply obtained quality of life.

Which, of course, older working people are paying for. And not just their parents. But don't worry. Soon the colorful characters that the hipsters install in City Hall will nickel and dime even the "creatives" out of town.

Weird isn't working, kids.

Comments (34)

Brings back memories of the ant and the grasshopper.

I'm curious where the statement "older working people are paying for" comes from, and what it means.

Do younger people not rent, and thus pay property taxes indirectly? Do young people not work for corporations, and thus see Portland business taxes reflected in our wages? I was under the impression that the older workers have been around for a while, and could have fixed these issues through our democracy if they were so motivated. What am I missing?

Frank Ivancie coined the phrase "poor by choice" back when he was mayor. I'm just surprised how popular that life style has become.

We want to attract the productive class not simply the creative class. Apparently, if you're creative and want to be productive, you move to Seattle or San Francisco.

It's the abundance of strip clubs that draw them in.

Every other paragraph of that story just made me cringe.

'Portland is full of “lifestyle entrepreneurs,” Cortright says. The food cart industry is a prime example.'

Ay ay ay.

Also, the article refers to them as "young creatives" throughout without really figuring out if any of them are, you know, creative. But one guy did make a "badass map". God, this place is getting so ridiculous.

Another way of putting it is "which the older working people have paid for" - this is for the good infrastructure that has been put in place that has given this "quality of life" in the first place. Such as the established wonderful parks, established nice neighborhoods to plunk down into that were brought in by good planners we had years ago, the bridges, Pioneer Square, cast iron facades the city is known for, our theaters, our beautiful rose gardens, the public buildings paid for by the public, last but not least on my list is our wonderful sustainable water system, good water right out of the tap...
Anyway others can add to this list.

Our quality of life matters are behind the scenes being threatened. Do you think that these newcomers will stay if the coal trains come through, if the debt becomes so horrendous that bankruptcy hovers over us? Will they be able to afford the enormous taxes we are in for if all these requests for more tax funding, etc. are approved, the 56% jump in water rates in five years?

Another issue is and I could be wrong, but I sense a disdain from these newcomers towards those who happen to like our Portland and do not go along with some of these changes such as dense apartments without any parking spaces. I think that if I breezed into a new town, I would try to at least show some measure of respect towards what has been there in the first place that attracted me to the place instead of lock step coming in on an agenda to redo the place, with lobbying for bike advantages before roads being fixed, with their urban visions of eco districts, etc. to take over our city and way of living, which I guess includes single family homes with yards and cars. Some people do want more than a tiny vehicle to rent from time to time. The community gardens do help, as far as I know a long waiting list, but again a program that had been put in place that the newcomers can partake of.

I suppose some could characterize this as a generational difference, but in this case
it seems like more is driving this agenda than a generational matter.

Sorry, but the older folks of today (boomers) don't get to take credit for the infrastructure (except for the toy trains). It was their parents and grandparents (e.g., the silent generation) that get the credit. The Boomers get to take credit for massive debt increases left to their children and grandchildren.

Some of these young creative types are moving here because they think or hear that Portland is cool. The missing link is in the data-
many of these folks are living on food stamps, trust funds, dolled out amounts of money from parents - $12,000 per person (so double to a married couple for example) per year via a parent's IRA or 401K that is not counted as income.

If you really pick apart what is going on in this town you would see that a huge proportion of this population gets social service benefits, family money and/or trust fund money and do very little overall that benefits the city or state as a whole in terms of numerous taxes paid to fund basic services or education.

And, because fees, services and taxes are going up so dramatically here, PDX will no longer be an attractive cheap place to live and only elites will be able to stay here. Pathetic.

Well "m", I have to tell you I am a little tired of the bashing of the boomers that you younguns partake of on this site.

We boomers were the first generation to question the government. We turned out in force to protest an unjust war. We were the generation that brought in womens' rights. We were the generation that started the movement of gay tolerance.

We were also the generation that woke up to the dangers to our environment. As the Vietnam war wound down, we turned to environmental activism. The result was increased awareness of the closed system of our planetary ecosystem and the creation of the EPA.

When I was a little kid in Portland (circa 1964) you couldn't go in the Willamette river. You can now. When I was a kid (in 1964) you couldn't question the government. You can now.

No, we didn't build the infrastructure. That was done first by FDR during the depression and then by Eisenhower during the creation of the interstate highway system in the fifties. We didn't need to rebuild the infrastructure; it was only forty years old when we inherited it.

Some of us, like Charlie Hales, went astray and took advantage of crony capitalism to line their pockets at the expense of the taxpayers. But most of us, myself and Jack Bog included, went to work, gave value to society, created jobs, educated kids, paid our taxes and made the world that you now enjoy.

Don't hang the national debt on the boomers. That started way before us. I don't think Johnson, the creator of Medicare and the great society, the biggest entitlement program since Social Security was a boomer.

By the way. If you are knocking boomers, consider this. Bill Clinton was a boomer, same as me. During his administration we had a balanced budget.

There are good boomers and bad boomers, just like there are good Gen X'ers and bad Gen X'ers. Stop stereotyping.

Who said anything about boomers?
Point being made was that others paid for the infrastructure.
I do think some boomers still think of themselves as middle aged though.
I remember when designs were being discussed for Pioneer Square, and was involved with a group called Save Our Livable Downtown that stopped a huge shopping center lobster trap type of architecture from cutting out the heart of our city. Some fought hard throughout the years to save those parks earlier generations put in our trust.
Many have worked to keep our livable city intact, not just come in to be enjoying what has been done or preserved by others. Preservation of what those early generations did is important work as well.

How about in place of the word boomers - that we place the word career politicians and those who benefit from them and their unwise decisions to take credit for massive debt increases left to their children and grandchildren.

And another boomer achievement...the Civil Rights Act, and the enforcement of same. Lyndon Johnson may have pushed it through congress in 1963, but if not for the boomers, we would not have come as far as we have today toward racial equality. And we still have a ways to go IMO.
As to the so called "creatives", I don't have any statistics to support the idea the majority are living on some type of dole.
If that is the case, the city is in worse shape than we can imagine. The stagnation caused by such a life style is bound to damage the economy here for a very long time if that is true. And building more cr-apartments with no parking will not help.

Being poor isn't all that creative really. Choosing to be poor even less so.

Dave Lister: The topic at hand is infrastructure not social issues but thanks for the history lesson from a Boomer perspective and for acknowledging that you aren't responsible for the infrastructure.

Hurray for broad generalities.

The youngin's are sponging off the system. Lazy good for nothings!

The boomer's tanked the economy. Terrible old lunatics!

Women can't drive! Black people can't swim! White people love credit cards! No hablo ingles!

Boil it down and hide the complexity!



Dear PSU researchers,

Here's a hint. In Portland there's no stigma attached to being underemployed and ambitionless. In fact, here in Portland, it's kind of trendy to be directionless well into your 30s. Anywhere else these folks would be looked down upon, here they're celebrated and catered to. We just keep buying them shiny new toy trains and telling them how special they are. And, just like their mommies and daddies, we're going to go broke helping them maintain the lifestyle's they're accustomed to.


What the heck do you want? History is history. You said we couldn't claim credit for the infrastructure and I agreed. You said we were responsible for the national debt and I disagreed.

Why don't you grow a pair and post under your real name, "m", like I do? Is anonymity (and cowardice) the hallmark of your generation?

There is no "Generation This" or "Generation That."

People are always being born, always dying without any generational parameters. Those who blame any of society's ills or claim any of society's benefits to a particular "generation" are only fooling themselves.

Quantization is the norm at this time with digitization, but it is not reality. Reality is continuous, not quantum based.

So things like infrastructures and civil rights and diversity and other social issues are not bound fast to one generation or the next. The are all part of the Human Becoming.

Just do something, and make something for yourself and the people who come after you.

I wish there was a "Like" button. I'd use it for Jo and PDXLifer's comments.

But...dude, Portland is so cooool.

Dave Lister: I am not sure why you have to resort to trying to make this personal but I won't be going there. I agree your generation is responsible for many great social causes (I never said they weren't) but again that wasn't the issue at hand. But to say that "history is history" is an oversimplification. And there is also quite a bit of boomer bashing on this site from members of your own generation, not just the "younguns". There is also quite a bit of "youngun" bashing by the older folks.

These type of sites can be great for civil discourse (this one in particular in my opinion for PDX - the mainstream media keeps getting worse) but they are also prone to generalizations and stereotyping by just about every poster on here including myself sometimes. I agree with clinamen that it is better to focus on the career politicians. Mr. Adams (technically a boomer but actually much more of a Gen Xer) and Mr. Leonard (a boomer) have teamed up rather nicely to significantly increase the debt for our fair city and the kids of the future.

Let's not forget the other three who have managed to team up with Sam/Rand. They have put no reins really on the spending and debt swamping. Once in awhile they take turns with a mea culpa. Elections are coming up for those three, one this November that I am disappointed in.
In my opinion, they should not be allowed to sit anymore in those important positions and making decisions for our community. I very much question their intelligence and integrity after what I have witnessed for some time and that has been confirmed for my tastes anyway recently. It is so obvious that something is wrong with this council. This last issue of deciding their vote before even the pretense of a public hearing illustrates plainly for all to see what they are about. Sadly I don't see much better coming down the pike and in some cases even worse.

"And another boomer achievement...the Civil Rights Act, and the enforcement of same."

The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964. The very oldest of the Baby Boomer Generation(born in 1946) would've been 18, yet at that time(prior to 1970 when the limit was changed) they wouldn't have been able to even vote. So there were no Baby Boomer politicians old enough to be serving during the Civil Rights Act which was mainly the result of the Greatest Generation and Silent Generation politicians of the post-World War II Era. Baby Boomers didn't even really have that much political influence until the 1980s.

And reading articles like the Tribune story quoted by Jack, you'd assume that there's absolutely no one between the ages of 18-35 in Portland holding down a serious 9-5 job in this town.

I'm not going to doubt that there's plenty of young folks in Portland which fall into the article's stereotypes. Yet at the same time, I'm in my early 30s. I've been living here for 10 years, after going moving here after going to college in Oregon and all of all my friends and people I know--mostly all in our 20s and 30s, all of us are working full-time in some profession. Maybe we're just anomalies in this town somehow these days, but everyone I know has worked hard to make a living and move up, maybe doing glamorous work like managing a produce company or a grocery store or working in landscape architecture or being a fishing guide. Or driving to a junior high school in the suburbs to teach science or going to law school and working and the federal public defenders office. Or working as engineers at Nike and Intel--or coming back from deployment from Afghanistan as a Marine and working your ass off to find any job you can take. Yeah, we got the short end of the stick as far as the economy of our twenties and early thirties that we graduated into, but we've all just struggled long enough in finding our niche to at least try to attempt to make enough to buy a overpriced piece of real estate and maybe start a family.

But, it's obvious that when the next article about the youth of Portland is written it's just going to be whatever recent transplants at a SE Portland coffee shop the reporter can find. I mean, we're all too busy working(and often commuting to the outer suburbs for a job and even raising children) to be available for an interview--might as well just interview the kid from the East Coast with a degree from Brown who's been here five months about what how cool he thinks Portland is.

yes2. Jo's comment I like, brash and profound. probably wasted since millennials don't partake of 'profound,' (not old enough), as Jo recognizes and then explains (the joke), they only listen while speakers "hide the complexity." PDXLifer's comment I strongly dislike and I strongly like.
Strongly disagree: "generational parameter" quality variation can't be measured; character virtues or vices in individuals across an age-group of an era are not attributable to the era intrinsically
Observable parameter: 'human generation' defined as 14 yrs, ( +/- individuality 1yr per standard deviation). Observe: age 13-15 onset of puberty in 67% of humankind, earliest (re)productive genitalia.
Debateable proposal: correlation (type) [reference]
1900-14 ('Domestic') [ bit.ly/TetBn ]
1914-28 ('Greatest') [ bit.ly/cyikU9 ]
1928-42 ('Analytic') [ bit.ly/W6xln ]
1942-56 ('Musical' ) [ bit.ly/9Ac0I1 ]
1956-70 ('Medical' ) [ bit.ly/WxFEH ]
1970-84 ('Venturous')[ bit.ly/v3JIL ]
1984-98 ('Ambitious')[ bit.ly/9idklT ]
1998-2012 ('Humane') [ bit.ly/cFN5N ]
2012-24 ('Creative') [ bit.ly/WXj8a ]

Correlation dates approximate, +/- 6 mo. Character types abbreviated. References conventional.

Dispute: "Reality is continuous, (unquantified)," as 'reality' is a function of time then dispute whether Time is a 'ribbon' of uniform consistency or Time is a 'string of pearls' of varying density. Continuous or discrete? Inert or qualitative?
I say Time transferance (emission, radiance) is both, a wave and a particle, indeterminate and entangled, like light photons; as well, Time is the exponential (square) of photon velocity (speed of light).
Harmonic oscillations of Time effect 'moments' by expansions and contractions; Time dilates and compresses.

Strongly agree: Things "are all part of the Human Becoming. Just do something, and make something ...."

In this post, whether the dream(s) of the '90s is alive, (I agree), or expired, (I don't think so), conditioned thus: as abstraction or symbol and so: everlasting. Dreams are youth's only provenance; 'dream' is 'foresight.' Maturing years include both foresight and hindsight, therefor a dream is always alive however transformed in the Time function.

Of course there is generational disparity. Also unity in communion.

(P.S. 1914-28 'Greatest' gen.; 1928-42 'Silent' gen.; 1942-56 'boomers'; 1956-70 'X' gen.; 1970-84 'Y' gen.' 1984-98 'millennials' ... 1998-2012 'fundamentalists.')

I got where you are coming from and am glad to hear that many you know are doing OK.
I think that being busy making a go of it may be a reason some people are too overwhelmed to keep up with political maneuvers here.
Questions to ask are why the real estate is overpriced and why the taxes are increasing, why the water rates are skyrocketing? Why so many urban renewal areas? What has happened to our schools and education? What has happened to our neighborhoods?
Why is council spending and debt swamping us? Why are businesses who want to locate here reluctant and can't find available parcels of land?
I know some of us got intertwined somehow in city issues that we became active, how that has affected myself and others I know is another story and it is getting late.
Take care.

"The educated young are coming to Portland, the PSU study suggests, for the cheaply obtained quality of life."

Seattle 53% college graduates.

San Francisco 50% college graduates.

Portland 39% college graduates.

Portland ain't all that. The STEM majors go to Seattle, the gender studies majors go to Portland.

Mostly believe in a live and let live society. Until what someone is doing affects others negatively. I don't suggest changing anyone's employment or lack of it - unless they are healthy and on public assistance, then they ought to go pick up trash or paint graffiti before collecting a check.

But the folks who make a conscious decision to live a low-income lifestyle will be putting us all at risk sooner or later. When an emergency or old age interrupts their meager earnings, where will they turn for support? US. As in you and me. Our gov. safety net systems assume everyone is at least trying to earn a middle class wage and is putting something away for emergencies and retirement. In a larger, societal sense, these adults with a relaxed, creative lifestyle are more like young adults living in their parents' basement. They can only feel comfortable doing so as long as WE are their backstops in a crisis. By earning less and not saving now, they are compromising their ability to accumulate wealth for their later years. Their poor choices now will affect their entire lives, even when they wake up and realize they are no longer young and would now like to change.

There is something eerily similar about all this that feels like the beginning of the mortgage crisis when people who weren't earning enough or had nothing extra in the bank were suddenly buying homes. I'll have to think about this.

"Or working as engineers at Nike and Intel"

Which means they probably don't live in Portland.

This is a popular sleight-of-hand - take the credit for Washington County's economic success (helped along by rather normal suburban county governance), and then pretend that the bike lanes, "sustainability centers", condo bunkers, infrequent trash removal, and all the other aspects of Portlandia are somehow responsible for Washington County's success.

The CoP bureaucracy loves to talk about the economic successes of the "Portland region", and loves to pretend that they are responsible for that, instead of focusing solely on the rather miserable economic results for the city that they actually have jurisdiction over.

Yeah - there are a lot of smart engineers at Intel. Building "car-free" apartment bunkers in inner East Portland probably isn't doing a whole lot to attract them.

What Random said.

I especially enjoyed listen to Sam Adams explaining how DOJ's "recommendations" will make the PPB the nation's "Best Local Police Force"...

It's like Jeffy Smith having his driver's licence taken away, and then calling a press conference to talk about how this will make him a better driver.

Portland is all Looking Glass politics these days: white is black, up is down, good is bad, crazy is sane.

The educated young are coming to Portland, the PSU study suggests, for the cheaply obtained quality of life."

This statement stopped me dead. What "cheaply obtained quality of life?"

I've lived in Portland for almost 60 years and what I see are escalating costs for nearly everything (defined by the powers that be as the "market rate", a result of "maximizing the asset"), more crowding and traffic and a disturbing trend toward generic landscaping and cheap architecture (with a few exceptions). There's also less available in the way of community services and even less support of necessary and aging infrastructure. Don Quixote-like pursuit of trendy windmills seems to be the focus of our current City Council.

The "quality of life" in Portland today was not "cheaply obtained." We're all paying for it in more ways than I can count. And while a resourceless, drifting newcomer might be able to live less expensively in a rented house with 12 other people and hitting the food bank, most people can't sustain that kind of lifestyle indefinitely. And, increasingly, not in Portland.


I've no doubt there are lots of people like you, however, as Pragmatic Portlander stated:

"Here's a hint. In Portland there's no stigma attached to being underemployed and ambitionless. In fact, here in Portland, it's kind of trendy to be directionless well into your 30s."

So, so true. Have seen many friends, acquaintances, people I've talked to, and myself, as embarrassed as I am to say it, fall into a rut here for this very reason.
As relaxed and livable as Portland is, there's a real lack of buzz and energy here, and mediocrity and living for the moment is celebrated. There's something to be said for that, but...

Combine this with people moving here for a "lifestyle" as opposed to a job and the article makes sense. As a friend said, "after all, if you're going to be poor, Portland's a pretty good place to do it."

Until life, responsibility, and a desire for a career kick in that is.

You know, it's funny. They would have written the same story even if Portland had a functioning economy.

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