City Hall arrogance comes back to bite Portland

I see that Portland is in the New York Times again today, and not in a good way. We're a poster child in a front-page story about the disappearance of starter homes. And part of the story is how an out-of-control city bureaucracy is a significant part of the problem.

In Portland, Ore., a lot may cost $100,000. Permits add $40,000-$50,000. Removing a fir tree 36 inches in diameter costs another $16,000 in fees.

“You’ve basically regulated me out of anything remotely on the affordable side,” said Justin Wood, the owner of Fish Construction NW.

You could also mention the astronomical water and sewer bills, and the endless increases to property taxes "for the children" and now "for equity." A lot of the spiraling cost of living around here is going straight to local government.

Meanwhile, and I am not making this up, the city is talking about offering free doggie day care to any employer that will force its workers to show up downtown. Makes sense, actually. I would go downtown these days only if I could bring my high-strung Doberman.

But seriously, part of downtown's problems is how miserable City Hall has made it to drive a car down there. Lane after lane has been removed from the traffic flow in favor of the almighty bicyclists. Outrageous parking meter rates. Ruthless parking enforcement. Break-ins and car theft galore, and no one on the police force gives even a fraction of a damn.

Most people, and I'm talking like 90 percent, don't want to ride a bike to work. And most people don't want to stand at a Tri-Met bus stop after dark. Older people won't even stand there during the day, for fear they will be beaten to death by one of our free-range drug addicts. The oldies will go downtown only if they can come and go in their car, park relatively cheaply in a secure garage, and not have to walk too far to get to where they're going.

You bring that back, and downtown might have a shot. Otherwise, good luck with the doggie day care.


  1. Every bicycle is a car that isn’t on the road or taking up a parking space. Too many Americans are too far and lazy to to even fathom walking or biking as part of their commute. Not to mention the fact that every dummy thinks they need a pickup truck or an suv these days. If more highways and big parking lots is what you want, why not move to Houston?

    1. Got a better idea: You move to Amsterdam or Beijing.

    2. Bicycles are for recreation. And even then, how many bike rides can you take before the novelty wears off? Yeah, I used to love getting on my Schwinn Stingray and pedaling over to Frankie’s house. And then I grew up and got a car.

    3. I don’t know if you realize that car prices aren’t what they were in the 60s, you can’t buy things working for a summer at the farm or factory anymore.

  2. I would ride the bus if it were safe. But it hasn't been in several years. The Max train has been a crime magnet for more than a decade.

    1. Heck, it wasn’t even safe back in the 80’s and early 90’s when I had a car but still commuted by bus. What I eventually ended up doing was the half/half compromise. I would take my car and park over in NW Portland and then take a fareless square or Ctran bus in.

  3. Repeal Ballot Measure 110 or Potland is over.

  4. While I agree in some sense about the asinine fees to spend welcoming more lousy monied CA yuppies & developer weasels scammed on existing citizens that does nothing for green space or long term community, I find it rich coming from a divorced dad law professor?
    Strong Mr, Robinson vibes / some confidence issue, idk?
    I’m not saying that is, but if the shoe fits?

    As to name calling fat & lazy or whatever, it’s america and cars are what’s for dinner?
    It’s ridiculous to spend energy (be it gasoline, diesel, propane, wood pellets/gasified wood, mining lithium fire hazard batteries with giant diesel excavators etc). to move 3000lbs of steel (or 6k lbs for a large SUV &/or crew cab bro dozer w/4’ box).

    But personal automobile use is still only ~7% of carbon emissions worldwide.
    The resource suck in a general sense of everyone needing their own car and how we’re arranged in the USA or buying and shipping cheap crap world wide that breaks all the time is much more an issue, but regulating the end consumer products for local pollution and fashionable consumption of electric cars is more our speed as Americans since we can’t touch some of the bigger problems & players.

    As to Europe, they don’t pay for defense for a blue water navy for uninterrupted commerce flow , have denser population & their views or immigrants from Africa that they’re pillaged make USA attitudes toward immigrants particularly from our own back yard south of the border look downright accepting?

    A wounded E-bike fell in my lap 4-Ch33p, and I gotta say, even living in the west hills, I dig it? It’s not a fashion statement, yuppie accessory, or anything like that to me?
    Im a somewhat fat American (aren’t we all haha?) and can get home with my groceries, i to the grocery story when it isn’t busy or pick up, I take my bike in the store/not letting it outta my sight, has an air tag and is registered and I will shoot or cattle prod you for my own amusement if you try anything? I don’t wanna shoot anyone, but I will? Like my neighbor did with rock salt and shot gun to someone trying ti steal his cat converter?
    Almost as fast as the car, take it in the grocery store/don’t let it outta your sight, get recreation from your front door/don’t drive there, leave the car & then walk.

    I’m under no fantasy or impression that it’s a ‘replacement for a car,’ but for 4-5 months of more agreeable summer weather (or drier winter days if you can suit your quickly with the right gear idk?), it’s not bad & they’ll likely get better? Certainly materially, with half the cost of any EV being the battery, if you’ve got range anxiety and are risk-averse like me, maybe try one out at the right entry price?

    As to those dangerous pedestrian/bicyclist hazard water catchment bins in the parking strip and a bunch of gimmicks snd painted lines on the road that mostly don’t connect together well or necessarily work, no idea?
    I’m glad they’re tryin’ stuff but Soviet bunkers with draconian HOA & right of way rules, luxury decadent capitalist prices made out of OSB sponge / post war prywood ‘was wood’ shit board is pretty dystopian?
    No parking, no good lines of sight, no privacy, bo street trees/green spaces.

    Uniformity has a price, mono-crops or street trees snd lawns suck too as do manicured yards.
    Just get rid of all stadiums, professional sports, supermarkets snd uniform trees in a line and have clumps or them that are wind/draught/fire resistant & hardy with no heat islands, mossy slow growing lawns, low standards for manicure as long as the sidewalk or pathways work, get rid of fashionable consumption and spectacle? Problem solved? Haha…

  5. I guess all I’m sayin d00d is that you’re smart, have a healthy skepticism of authority, ability to read (albeit maybe obscure in the tax law) primary source documents.

    Maybe the incentive is to get clicks, maybe it’s therapeutic to post as some sort of way to ‘complain to the manager’ / appeal to existing authorities, idk?

    I certainly don’t want all teaching to be thru 3 corporations (Apple, alphabet, & meta of late?), but on the grounds Of fashionable consumption (information counts!), relaying articles as secondary or tertiary source in shock jock divorced dad dated comedy actor style , are you kinda part of the problem or solution here?

    If what you’re saying is our bureaucrats are absurdly arrogant, on the take and/or work for the corporations whether they or we wanna admit it or consciously know it, duh?

    ‘Buy cheap crap all the time and watch your kids jobs, quality of livelihood disappear..’

  6. As to police reform, measure 110 or ‘this one weird trick’ to go back/look backward for inspiration to good or better times, good luck with that?

    Not/can’t be spending a lot of energy blaming our face card corporate captured local politicians, but govt. can shift the curve & mostly can only follow/can’t really lead, so I’m not looking to them for inspiration & thus can’t be disappointed or apologize for them, either?

    Beavertron has more rules at the county level, county seat waaaay at the west end of the county in that creepy little place known as Hillsboro with no industry out there/what used to be Ag. Land, only 4 ways thru / around the west hills. Bunch of consolidated giant tech companies no longer under local ownership producing anything cutting edge of value locally, really? At all, buuut it ain’t what it used to be…
    Too much time alone in the suburbs, lotta divorce and unhappiness out there.

    Clack county / LO but have to live next to all the other nouveau riche yuppie scum?
    Or Oregon shitty but then you gotta go thru a bunch of other shit places to get there (west linn full of a bunch of angry peoooe wishing they they could justify/afford LO plus every dickhead cop there left LO or got pushed out because they were s loose cannon/liability by the smart money in LO), felony flats, Milwaukie, or felony flats/Gresham with s happy valley address and its own sdhool(s) sorta like LO?

    You can run (to the suburbs?), but you can’t hide!
    Pick your poisons? Concentration of commerce, access to medicine/hospitals/specialists especially as you age etc.
    So while I’d prefer a smaller town or backwater semi-depressed (compared to rest of west coast major cities ‘big town’ like Portland used to be, what can you do?
    The NJ/ Californication (good weather and commerce/industry snd possibly grandfathered in property tax wise/prop 13/Reagan era tax revolt/something had to be done?) is nearly complete?
    ‘What’s it worth to ya / what’s your next best alternative?’
    Or as they say in goodfellas ‘F-U, pay me!’

    1. Bicyclists have an attitude that is beyond wishful thinking, and that borders on delusional. I initially replied to the first poster, and said that biking is for recreation only. I have probably logged more miles on my bike than the original commenter, and used to regularly do 50 or more miles in a day. For recreation only though, and for me 50 miles was a short ride!

      I speak from considerable experience, and not out of some misplaced hatred for bicyclists. Bicycling in the city is dangerous for starters. Cars and bikes don’t blend well in close quarters. I don’t know how many times I had to squeeze past two bikes riding side by side on a busy street, when a quiet side street was a block away. Mix in the lack of police and drunk/drugged drivers, and that is a recipe for disaster.

      Even if Portland could somehow create fixed bike “Superhighways”, you can bet that a majority of bicyclists would still ride on city streets where bikes end up vying for space with motor vehicles.

    2. I don’t ride for yuppie recreation or in spandex 50 miles a day because I got some point to prove or under any delusion that ‘professional athlete (cyclist?)’ is a viable career path for me.

      I ride for a variety of reasons;
      -cheapskate (.04c of electricity on the e-bike or free.99 with solar panels), minimal rebuildable battery to buy/charge/share with electric yard tool batteries I already own.
      -Cops, needing a drivers license (CDL notwithstanding), license plates, insurance, auto upkeep, fuel, registration costs, traffic cameras/entrapment are all things I can limit my exposure to/dollars I’m flushing down the toilet feeding automobile ownership for 4 months of the year or useless legalistic bureaucratic tyrannical bullshit I can do without! That can be a chunk of change ($2k+ a summer to put in the pocket).

      -I don’t want to buy a new car/keep the miles off the car slamming the door, running the starter/engaging it repeatedly on the ring gear, flopping into the driver seat in-n-out, spinning up all that inertia of tires/twerking/Janking on the rubber bushings/shocks /etc, parking dangerous places, …I’d still be driving my Bosch fuel injected 1971 fuel efficient midsize space & fuel efficient station wagon/ it was still going fine / reliably, just ‘other reasons’ after I pulled it out of a field in 2005 & drove it some time). , but my ‘new’ car is an ‘89/what’s for dinner. 90% of all engine wear happens on cold start in the first few minutes, most of the worst kinds of emissions are cold or improper running or idling, 80+% of wrecks happen 3mi from someone’s house, drunk hours and 3-6pm after work when people are impatient / fatigued / are already home in their minds when sitting in the car texting or doing their grocery store rounds etc I wish to avoid.
      -I wish to see the world observantly like a pedestrian and talk to neighbors if the occasion is right without shouting or attempting to talk to someone from a car (low or dangerous socially unacceptable form of conversation).
      -I wish to observe anything out of the ordinary and keep a finger on the pulse of ‘seedy activities’ & trends locally.
      -I can pick up some cans and pay for my ‘fuel’ / keep the bums outta my neighborhood / dress the part myself!
      -I don’t have parking privileges anymore always/take the bike or a folding electric bike/it goes where I go.

      There are lots of early adopter costs & teething problems, no one single type of bike is optimal for everything or can truly replace a car or truck when you really need one & it’s the right tool for the job (distances, big bulky stuff, multiple passengers, nasty rain, not in such health or capacity to ride).
      They’re not for everyone, but conceptually, they can make a lot of sense?

      I largely share the skepticism of the post & do see a lot of total slap Dick bicyclists that can’t hold a line or ride defensively.
      As to attitude, entitlement & that sort of thing, I try to presume good faith/can’t see inside peoples heads and motive is difficult to probe for/hard to know what motivates myself or anyone, but can only observe behavior anecdotal or try to record it & interpret it same as anyone else?

      A city has many problems that we didn’t have out in the country, but I’m pretty sure no one wants to go back to medieval peasant feudal living, either? And suburban decadence isn’t sustainable, either?

      I don’t see painting stripes being some amazing fix to think everyone should/can magically just bike, but spending a summer not feeding all the aforementioned ‘car stuff’ was illuminating snd riding a bike for uh…Eastern European ending days Of communism reasons: not because you’re trying to get 50mi/day in or whatever but because you can’t afford or justify a car!

    3. I was far from a “Yuppie” when I was heavily into biking. I was in my late 20’s and bought my bike on layaway. Biking is impractical for serious transportation any way you look at it. Even back then I was under no illusions that it was more than just a hobby.

  7. Small house across the street with a very large tree in the backyard has been taken down with the tree due for removal. Then they are planning on putting up 17 units with no parking! Absolutely no concern for animal habitat or neighborhood impact.

    As for getting folks downtown, we have to keep taking back territory from the street scum. The City leaders are a bunch of weenies so much of the work will have to be we the people.

    As for expecting everyone to ride a bike to commute, that is dumb and dumber. I used to do that way back in the day before biking was even a thing, but I was also in my early 20s. Public transportation is key and again we need to take back that space. It wont be easy but what is the alternative? Letting the city continue to slide into the pits of Hell?


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