I get a kick out of you

Portland City Hall can provide some much-needed laughs if you know what to look for. For example, I was pretty amused the other day to see city commissioner Carmen "Chainsaw" Rubio caught between two of the main threads of bad policy down there. 

On the one side you have the misguided notion that the crises on the city's streets – which flow mostly from  drug addiction and gun-packing gang members – are all because there aren't enough cheap apartments in town. Build more units, "Housing First," and the problems will disappear.

Even if you buy that, on the other side, you have in Portland the most arrogant set of bureaucrats ever assembled, eager to gouge, hassle, and ultimately frustrate the city's residents. They make life miserable every day for anyone who wants to go anywhere, especially in a car, or build anything, including cr-apartments. It's all in the name of the almighty "urban planning" that has brought us to the current breaking point as a city.

And so here comes the train wreck. All of a sudden Rubio, whose ties to the developer set she doesn't like to talk about, finds she can't get "Housing First" off the ground because of the endless red tape. And so lately she's speechifying that she's going to lead the charge to streamline the permitting process.

Ha! Ha! Good one, Commissioner Rubio. The politicians have been talking that line for decades, all the way back to Vera Katz and Admiral Randy and probably even before I started paying attention. It's pure hot air. The legion of know-it-all twenty-somethings warming seats in the various bureaus will never let it happen. Their motto is more like "Hosing First." 

And that's with the politicians running the bureaus! Wait 'til you see the pencil-pushers' arrogance quotient skyrocket in a couple of years, when the elected officials are converted into a policymaking book club under the insane new city charter.

Anyway, speaking of chuckles, Rubio's doomed crusade was being discussed in a news story in the Weed about a low-income housing developer who's through with Portland, having been jerked around by City Hall too many times. The story includes the Quotation of the Year So Far, to be sure:

The three-story building at 7704 SE Mitchell St. has a mix of studio and one-bedroom apartments, all of which must be sold or rented to lower-income tenants because Gregory got breaks from city fees in return for that promise. The units are spacious, and the kitchens have butcher-block counters.

Too bad Gregory, 40, will never build another complex like it.

“I would rather kick myself in the balls 100 times than do this again,” he says. 


  1. Don't know if you saw the article about Portland losing 18,200 residents over two years. Seems like that should free up 7,000 or so housing units. Housing first problem solved.

  2. What? No projects for Walsh? Heresy!

  3. Randy Leonard actually got the bureau of buildings to work, reasonably efficiently, and streamlined the process. Unfortunately, once he left office, the planning and building departments reverted to their lives of leisure.

  4. I'm amused with the above photo of the Portland Building and Portlandia statue 100% visible. A winter photo....no leaves on the trees to blot out the Portlandia view. I'm beating a dead horse, but I persist: move Portlandia to a site where it can be seen. To hell with the sculptor's wishes that it be effectively invisible where it is. Put it on a tall pedestal at Pioneer Courthouse Square....protected with razor wire....for all to see and enjoy. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!


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