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It is time to restore Sanity & Livability to Portland
Portland likes to call itself the country's most livable city. However, they don't tell the whole story of what happens when city hall tries to micro manage every aspect of city life. Here are some of the things you won't see in national magazine articles extolling the virtues of Portland.
Infamous Portland - things they don't tell you
Portland has the highest unemployment rate in the country.(Spring 2002)
Portland has the worst increase in traffic congestion in the county. (Spring 2002)
Portland has the 8th worst traffic congestion in the country. (Spring 2002)
Portland has the shortest school year in the country. (Fall 2002)
Portland was considering reducing police and fire services to save money. (Spring 2002)
The common denominator? - Portland's smart growth is sucking the life out of Portland, as business flee the excessive regulations and expenses inherent in imposing smart growth upon the city. You see, smart growth is more expensive than ordinary growth and cannot exist without strict government rules to stop ordinary growth and subsidies to encourage growth to happen.
Things they lie about
Lie: Portland removed a freeway and built a waterfront park. Why it is a lie: They don't mention that it happened after they built a wider, better freeway on the other side of the river (I5), a new freeway away from the river on the same side (I405). The truth they should have said: Portland moved a freeway across the river which freed up the downtown riverfront.
Lie: Portland replaced a central city parking lot with "Pioneer Square". Why it is a lie: They don't mention the multi-story parking garage they built as a higher capacity replacement before closing that parking lot. The truth they should have said: Portland increased downtown parking by replacing a surface lot with a multistory parking garage a few blocks and then built "Pioneer Square" where the surface lot used to be.
Lie: The Pearl District, Riverfront and Brewery blocks have all sprung up recently as a result of Portland's "smart growth" or "new urbanism". The truth they should have said: Portland gives massive subsidies to encourage developers to build high density. For instance, the Pearl District received $150 million in infrastructure to encourage building. Those new buildings also pay property tax on ONLY the raw land for 10 years. Riverfront and Brewery blocks are also receiving tax subsidies. This is part of the reason that Portland is considering cutting back on police, fire and has the shortest school year in the country. You see, "new urbanism" does not make financial sense without government subsidies.
Deceptive: Portland decided to build light rail instead of a new freeway. True, but that is main reason we have the worst increase in traffic congestion in the country.
The Real Portland
Free ride for developers of high density
Political Clout For Sale?
Randy Leonard Watch
What is livability anyway?
Real People Oriented Livability
Portland's City Planner Oriented Livability
|Jobs that a family can live on.||Small shops under apartments pay minimum wage|
|Freedom of movement||Roads Gridlocked|
|Living space||High density development everywhere. Crowded streets. small parks|
|Back yard for the kids to play where you can keep an eye on them||Kids play in the street because there is no other choice|
|Efficient use of time||Waiting behind a bus at a bubble curb bus stop|
|Low cost shopping at large efficient stores ("box stores")||Paying too much at the little store under the big apartments|
|Wide variety of readily available merchandise||Little stores can only afford limited selection of things that everyone needs|
|Adaquete funding for Schools, Police and Fire protection||Gives property tax breaks, regulatory relief and subsidised land costs to developers, so revenue suffers.|
|Equal treatment of small & big business||Small Pizza shop pays $36,000 system impact fee to move across the street. Portland proposed to pay $200 million to install streets, sewers etc. on private land to encourage development of North Macadam.|
|Speedy, efficient transportation||Transportation choices ( code word for: light rail replaces busses on major lines. Also to reduce road capacity to force people onto transit.) Also choice are not increased because they discontinue bus service where they install light rail. ther is no increas in choice - people are merely moved from bus to rail.|
|Safe transportation||Light rail has three times the death rate of busses. Cars are in between.|
|City Government fully funds the schools, police and fire. Water rates are reasonable.||Little money for basic city services. City council prides itself on new
programs like green buildings, "sustainability", redeveloping vast regions
of the city while forgiving taxes on hundreds of million in high density
development. Built $30 million prominode. Million dollar horse barn. Streetcar.
One city commissioner wastes $10-$40 million by turning on a faulty computer system against advise of the experts. He is re-elected.
If you think Portland is Screwed Up - check out the mischief of Metro, our regional government
PDC mentions subsidies for people making up to 150% of median family income!
See PDF page 21" · 121 150% MFI: "Longer-term PDC subsidy may be necessary to produce units affordable at 81 - 150% MFI."
Why are we subsidizing low income people to live on the highest value land in the state (downtown Portland) when they could live subsidy free just a short MAX (light rail) ride away?
High density is not economically viable in Portland. Therefore we give subsidies to achieve high density.
Portland is considering spending $200 million to provide infrastructure (water, sewer & streets) to an industrial area so that it can be developed to high density, after rejecting the current owner's development plan, which would require NO SUBSIDIES, because it was not dense enough. .Most of the giant apartments will be tax free for 10 years. At the same time, Portland billed a small pizza shop owner a $35,000 infrastructure fee to move across the street.
Cascade Policy Institute
Oregon Transportation Institute
Black Farmers Deprived of their land's value: http://www.insightmag.com/main.cfm/include/detail/storyid/262280.html
Minnesota Taxpayers League http://www.taxpayersleague.org/pdf/TransBrochure.pdf
California Freeway relieves congestion http://www.fixtraffic.org/
High Density requires subsidies:
Urban Centers: An Evaluation of the Density of Development (see
PDF page 8: SUMMARY OF EXPLANATIONS)
Council backs plan to recreate Macadam Oregonian 11/14/02
It's time Waterfront Park joined downtown Oregonian 11/17/02
High Cost of Transit's False Promises
"Portland today works for retailers primarily because we have reliable, predictable and supportive short-term municipal parking garages" (full article: http://www.PortlandTribune.com/viewcurr.cgi?id=15436) The writers co-chair the Downtown Retail Council -- they are not isolated academics deciding how other people should live, nor are they politicians playing to special interests.
"Light Rail: A 19th century solution to a non-existent 21st century problem"
When the country is short of its quota of ignorance, we usually turn to politicos who have essentially zero technical knowledge - but a LOT of enthusiasm for unproven and impractical solutions to problems.
"sprawl is cause by affluence and population growth, and which of these, exactly, do we propose to prohibit?", Greg Easterbrook of The New Republic
Oregon Steals from Farmers
In some states, environmental groups are buying development rights from farmers in order prevent future development. This is a marketable item worth money. In Oregon, the state just stole that right from everyone who lives outside of the UGB.
Links taken from fixtraffic.org:
Groups Advocating for Roads, Freeways, and Mobility
710 Freeway Coalition (Los Angeles County)
RoadsWorkBest (Orange County)
Aristotle on Urban Transportation Issues (Orange County; by Jack Mallinckrodt, Director of Drivers for Highway Safety)
F.A.I.R. Transit (Orange County)
Transportation California (State)
California Commuters Alliance (State)
American Highway User's Alliance (National)
National Motorists Association (National)
Association of British Drivers (Great Britain)
Other Educational / Think-Tank Organizations Addressing Transportation Issues
Texas Transportation Institute--Urban Mobility Study
New Study Released--Greater Los Angeles is once again the most gridlocked region in the nation. This thanks to our failure to build enough highway infrastructure to keep up with population growth.
Wendell Cox Consultancy--The Public Purpose
Common-sense organization dedicated to dispelling the myths about "smart" growth and transit-oriented policies. Also join an open debate forum on these issues at Yahoo Groups.
Reason Public Policy Institute
An organization with a host of good ideas and solutions for many of today's problems--including how to build our way out of congestion. Yes, it can be done!
The Thoreau Institute
An advocacy group seeking solutions to environmental issues without big-government regulation or strong centralized control. Also advocates for the American Dream of mobility and home ownership.
If six billion people have both more food and more forest than their three billion parents did; if the prices of copper, wheat and natural gas are going down, not up;if there are 20 times more carcinogens in three cups of organic coffee than in daily dietary exposure to the worst pesticide both before and after the DDT ban; if renewable resources such as whales are more easily exhausted than non-renewables such as coal; if lower infant mortality leads to falling populations, not rising ones, then perhaps we need to think differently about what sustainability means. Perhaps the most sustainable thing we can do is develop new technology, increase trade and spread affluence. (from: http://www.sepp.org/NewSEPP/Profits_Of_Doom.htm)
The most arresting statistic that Lomborg produces is this. It is well known that meeting the Kyoto treaty on carbon-dioxide reduction will delay global warming by six years at most by 2100. Yet the annual cost of that treaty, in each year of the century, would be the same as the cost - once - of installing clean drinking water and sanitation for every human being on the planet. Priorities, anyone? (from: http://www.sepp.org/NewSEPP/Profits_Of_Doom.htm)
'The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed - and hence clamorous to be led to safety - by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." H.L. Mencken
Be sure to browse: http://www.sepp.org/NewSEPP/newsepp.html http://www.sepp.org/GWbooklet/withfigures.html
Bumper sticker (about 150k): I'm Allergic
to Katz also see: saveprtland.com
to order commerically made stickers
Bumper sticker (about 150k): Vera made the trains run
Bumper sticker (about 150k): Katz: Give us Living Space
Bumper sticker (about 150k): Metro: Give us Living Space
Print on legal size paper. Waterproof with clear acrylic spray. Spray back white.
One very highly subsidized "good' that very definitely is not overconsumed is new rail transit, especially light rail. Even free streetcars don't get people out of their cars. Car go more places. They are almost always faster than transit. The driver controls who he sits in close proximity to. He doesn't have to wait in unpleasant weather for his car. His car not only transports him but can efficiently make a status-enhancing statement about its owner, like fine clothes. Indeed destinations that are difficult of auto access cannot compete with competitive destinations that offer easy auto access. This is a major factor in the decline of the OPAC (that's Obsolete Pre-Automotive City, if you're new to this list). "J F Scott" <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org
City planners (if we _must_ have them at all, and I'd rather we didn't) need to get it through their heads that people WILL behave this way, and it's their duty to deal with it by providing the needed parking on every street.. From: email@example.com, John David Galt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
9/13/2002 , Readers name their council picks
9/10/2002 , Readers' Letters
8/16/2002 , Council hopefuls make their cases
8/13/2002 , Council hopefuls reveal what makes them tick
8/16/2002 , Liz Callison
5/17/2002 , Readers' Letters
5/10/2002 , Eriks mother did what?
3/26/2002 , A slim hope - Tram foes pin argument on park in Terwilliger Parkway
3/26/2002 , Rival puts Sten in hot seat over water billing fiasco
3/19/2002 , PDX Update