No Light Rail in Vancouver!

Home Grand Jury Findings Rail Supporters Europe Rail Neighborhood The Plan Cars The Bridge Publications No Tolls!
Light rail costs too much, does too little

Portland Gets Residents’ Feedback on Vision

Mar 13


When former Portland police chief Tom Potter became the city’s mayor in 2005, he immediately announced “VisionPDX,” an effort to “create a vision for Portland for the next 20 years.” Since the previous mayor, who grew up in Brooklyn NY, seemed determined to impose her Brooklynesque vision on Portland with or without their consent, many Portlanders jumped at the opportunity to submit comments to Potter’s visioning program.

In all, the city received 13,000 responses to its questionaires about a vision for Portland, and they don’t offer much comfort to those who praise Portland’s goal of becoming a compact city. Unfortunately, VisionPDX hasn’t yet posted either the answers to the questionaires or its analysis of them on its web page.

But news reports indicate that the analysis finds that “many Portlanders are deeply worried the city is moving backward” and in particular that it “is becoming unaffordable.”

“A lot of people are concerned that the city is catering to the interests of big money over the common interests of people,” says the report. “They feel that PDC is driven by the developers’ interests, not the community’s.” PDC is the Portland Development Commission, Portland’s urban-renewal agency.

With regard to the high-density developments popping up all over Portland, “the ratio of negative to positive comments was very high.”

The report also notes that many people specifically stated that they think the aerial tram, the South Waterfront development, and the Pearl were a complete waste of money. It adds that “to Pearlize” seems to have become a verb in Portland, as in “the planners are going to spend another $66 million of taxpayer money Pearlizing the central eastside district.”

Portlanders clearly see that the city is subsidizing high-priced condos that make developers rich while doing little or nothing for the average family that can only afford a home in the $100,000 to $200,000 range.

So far, VisionPDX have spent $1.2 million to find this out. I would think they could have learned as much by simply looking at the election returns or talking to any ten people on the street. Of course, the fact that voluntary responses to a questionaire do not produce a statistically valid sample gives politicians an out to ignore the results.

Coming to a city near you? (Click on the picture to see a larger version.)

No doubt some will blame many of the negative comments on people such as blogger Jack Bogdanski, who recently posted the above faux movie poster on his blog. I wish I had his sense of humor!


Trackback  •  Posted in News commentary, Regional planning  

Reprinted from The Antiplanner