Is Portland's soul dead yet?
No matter how lefty, progressive, and independent the Portland City Council members may appear, they share one common trait: They are owned by the real estate developer weasels and construction company strongmen.
Here's another episode (scroll down). There must be hundreds of thousands of little cuts like this on the books. And the end result is the death of a once-beautiful, distinctive, and culturally rich city.
Much to no one's surprise, the Portland City Council on June 2 voted 3 to 1 to set building height allowances of 200 feet in the New Chinatown Japantown Historic District in Northwest Portland.As you can read in an earlier blog post, preservation advocates urged a 125-foot maximum in the neighborhood where most buildings are generally not more than three or four stories. The 200-foot maximum would allow buildings of close to 20 stories.As a consequence of the building heights, owners of the small buildings essentially are encouraged to let them run down so they can be demolished. Kristen Minor, chair of the Portland Historical Landmarks Commission, had urged heights of no more than 100 to 125 feet. "It's disappointing there was no effort to compromise," said Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who cast the dissenting vote. Fritz was disappointed that the council wasn't influenced by Minor's testimony.A crush of new buildings likely is not going to occur quickly, given economic circumstances. But eventually it will come. If the historic district is to have any relevance in the years ahead, it may well be only in photographs and historic displays in tower lobbies.
It's so obvious that that legion of arrogant "urban planners" at City Hall are not your friends. And there are dozens more of them in the pipeline at Portland State, no doubt. Their job is to destroy what you came to Portland to enjoy. It's ridiculous. But there's a lot of money to be made in their brand of snake oil, and as we all know, real estate money trumps your dreams.