Four play

Portland's new city charter is going to be a disaster no matter how the map of the four new wards is drawn. With ranked-choice voting on acid, and three city council members per district, somewhere between a third and half the council members seem likely to be nutjobs. Six districts with one or two members each, and the usual primaries and runoffs, would have been much better. But no.

Anyway, the poor souls who have to come up with the district map have narrowed it down to three alternatives, which they've named after trees for some reason. The big difference in the three maps seems to be which part of the east side is going to get lumped in with the west side. Because of population requirements, the west side will have only one district, and by necessity it will include some folks on the Idaho side of the brown Willamette.

So here we go. This one is "Cedar." (Click on each one for a bigger version.)

Here's "Alder":

Here's "Maple":

My first impression is that "Cedar" is the one. The other two have some monkey business going on along Sandy in Hollywood and east of there. Sandy as a straight boundary makes more sense.

"Alder" has all of the west side spillover going to Sellwood and the Morelands, which doesn't make a lot of sense. "Maple" connects Buckman and Kerns with the west side, which is also a little odd. I think Cedar, which connects downtown to everything south of the Banfield in a skinnier band along the river, may be the best solution.

But honestly? It's all Titanic deck chairs, as far as I'm concerned. I suspect there will be a major do-over of the whole charter exercise around 10 years from now, if the city still has a functioning government at that point. By then, if I'm lucky, I'll be ignoring the proceedings quite blissfully in a quiet, low-tax jurisdiction far from here.

But for now, if you're interested, you can read all the official yakety yak about the maps, and blow them up better, here

Have fun with it. Start thinking up names for the four districts. No trees. 


  1. If we keep holding press conferences, some people will think we’re trying to accomplish something.

  2. bojack writes:
    "I suspect there will be a major do-over of the whole charter exercise around 10 years from now"

    The City can reform its charter at any time. It doesn't have to wait for a census year or spin up a charter review commission to do that.

    "...if the city still has a functioning government at that point."


    "Start thinking up names for the four districts. No trees. "

    Howzabout "JoAnn", "Carmen", "Dan" & "Tevis"?

  3. "The City can reform its charter at any time." Yes, but it won't.

    1. "Yes, but it won't." Boy! Howdy! Ain't that the truth!

      If Portlanders think the City is dysfunctional now...just wait. It's about to turn a Keystone Kops and 3 Stooges perpetual film festival in 2024. I daresay that, because the Mayor has so little authority, NO ONE will want the job. What're they gonna do then?

      I moved to WashCo in 2021...after living downtown for 15 yrs. Portland voters did this to themselves. They deserve every consequence.

  4. Where can we retire that has the right balance of taxes, climate, moderate politics?

    1. Started worrying about that after the first riot.

    2. You can try WA-state, but they have gross receipts tax & no cap on property taxes?

      I feel like they’re where CA was a few decades ago w/big military industrial/tech money & when the party ends in WA, they, being totally hostile to *any* urban planning will probably fall faster & harder? All west coast states are expensive, anyway?
      Interest rates are high and the way things are going idk?

      2020 just before the riots might have been the ‘cash-out’ year….kicking myself in some ways for not having it together to move, but like Jack, don’t think it was in the cards and moving + realtor weasel fees aren’t cheap, either?

      That said, getting rid of the vast majority of the retirees and absentee landlords all together wouldn’t hurt my feelings?

      You can move to ID, but no real infrastructure investment or commerce nor moderate climate.

      Movie stars, billionaires & hipsters in MT w/high avg. age/aging population and demographic crisis, lots of ground to cover with decaying infrastructure & minimal rural medical care options already?

      I half wonder if Mingus mapps stuck a more sensible reform proposal to be on the ballot in may 2023 when no one turns out knowing this awful reform that probably just makes it even easier for the entrenched bureaucrats & powers that be to continue apace & have more short term revolving door of clowns and bobblehead commissioners would pass, he wouldn’t be blamed for it but could say ‘he had a better plan’ when he runs for mayor?
      That said, he’s turned out to be kinda more sensible snd level headed of the commissioners?

      This idiocy is really sowing the seeds for big companies and capital voting with its feet/pulling out & a reactionary backlash of who’s left…

      Not that I have a real strong or informed opinion on reform in general or ranked choice voting…the UK has more proportional representation & I see the deck chairs on the titanic as aptly analogous too…

    3. "Where can we retire that has the right balance of taxes, climate, moderate politics?" I've said it before, Albuquerque. Housing is affordable, politics are multicultural without being extreme, climate is great.

  5. Cedar presents us the opportunity to become a narco-state with that straight line down Sandy. You see, Sandy is known as the green mile because it's stacked cheek-to-jowl with weed shops. With Cedar, the north side of Sandy is in one district and the south side is in another. Some savvy operators with stacks of cash could get a total of 6 sock puppets on council - just one short of a majority. Heck, maybe Shemia will run.

  6. Since all the states that meet your criteria in the top 16 are run by (shudder) the Party That Dare Not Speak Its Name, New Mexico is the closest Democratic run state that meets some of your criteria. Although its absolute state tax burden is low, per capita it's 13th from the bottom, reflecting its impoverished economy. The climate is what it is, but it's not SoCal.

  7. If they could gerrymander these districts in a way that concentrated the majority of the city's most delusional voters into one of those districts, the City would be better for it. But I doubt there are any datasets that could reliably measure such nuttery quotients (even if there was a sub rosa will to use them).


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