Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Liberal dystopia

With so many California immigrants residing in Oregon, I can only hope that they have left their progressive silliness in our neighbor state to the south along with their propensity to make choices for everyone else via government edict.  Oregon has always been the home of independent and free men and women who respected the rights of others to have different beliefs and opinions as long as they were left alone to make thei own choices about how to live.  That open spirit is what attracted so many people to our soggy state.

Living in California sounds like being tied up in a progressive, artificially moral straight jacket.  No matter how beautiful the landscape, or how wonderful the climate, it is not worth giving up my freedoms to live in such an iliberal state.  People have died for Americans to live free, and Californians are throwing all of that away.  Intolerance begets tyranny.

How do you use and r-use your plastic bags?  I line my wast baskets with them and use them for trash in my car.  What I don't use I recycle at the grocery store.

There’s no such thing as a free bag—at least not anymore in California. Voters in November approved, 53% to 47%, a law outright banning single-use, carry-out plastic bags. Grocery and convenience stores can offer paper or reusable bags, but the law requires them to charge at least 10 cents a pop. While pot is now legal in the Golden State, plastic bags are contraband. Welcome to the liberal dystopia.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Rents sluggish as apartment glut increases

Rents stabilize nationwide amidst apartment building boom
It is always a matter of time before housing conditions change - unless government interferes with the market.

Looks like the "need" for rent control is easing.  Actually, there is never a need for rent control because it is a political scam and doesn't work.  The popularity of rent control lies in the fact that so few people are taught basic rules of economics like supply and demand.  If one believes that government can manage a real estate market (or any other market), they are willingly delusional and close-minded about learning new facts.  How does the real state cycle work?

  1. Demand went up and created a shortage of housing units.
  2. Short supply drove up the price of all types of housing.
  3. For many reasons, the lag in new supply could not keep up with accelerating demand and housing prices pushed higher. 
  4. High housing prices finally created a positive economic environment for [expensive] new construction, and housing supply began to increase.
  5. Because of the cost of new construction, new housing units have been been in the luxury and high-end category.  Affordable units are still on n short supply.
  6. High-end housing units have reached a saturation point in many cities where rents are stabilized.  Concessions lower prices further.
  7. As high-end housing prices stabilize, so do the moderate and low-end units.  
  8. Supply reaches an equilibrium then over-supply before new construction stops or slows.  
  9. New supply will not return until rents are again on the rise and the market supports it. 

This is the real estate cycle - a continual chase for economic returns, and retreat from oversupply and low returns.  Perfect equilibrium in pricing (supply and demand) is fleeting and impossible to maintain.  Conditions today are at or nearing the peak of the cycle.  The last trough was 10 - 15 years ago when appartment owners struggled to be profitable.  When concessions (free rent) come back, we are at or near the trough where pricing is decreasing.  No government action is needed to cure the housing crisis - the market will respond.  Rent control only shuts off supply and makes things worse.

Q:  How will a changing rental housing market affect new construction in Lake Oswego?

Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2017 By Laura Kusisto
Luxury Apartment Boom Looks Set to Fizzle 
in 2017

Building glut outstrips demand, likely forcing landlords to slash rents

Landlords of upscale properties across the U.S. are bracing for rough conditions in 2017 that will likely force them to slash rents and offer deep concessions as a glut of supply brings a seven-year luxury-apartment boom to an end.
The turnaround follows a more-than-26% jump in U.S. apartment rents since early 2010, far outstripping inflation and income growth. But in 2016, rents rose a modest 3.8%, a significant drop from the recent high of 5.6% year-to-year growth in the third quarter of 2015, according to a report to be released Tuesday by MPF Research, a division of RealPage Inc. that tracks the U.S. apartment market.
Developers in New York are already offering up to three months of free rent on some projects. In Los Angeles, some landlords are offering six months of free parking, and some in Houston are waiving security deposits. Meanwhile, MPF Vice President Jay Parsons said he expects little or no rent growth in urban rental markets this year.
“This will be a very challenged leasing environment almost everywhere,” Mr. Parsons said.

The slowdown, he said, is being driven not by a pullback in demand but rather a flood of new apartments. Demand for urban properties jumped after the housing bust as young, high-earning professionals eschewed homeownership and flocked to big cities. Developers responded by focusing most of their efforts on high-end properties.

Rents in San Francisco, New York, Houston and San Jose, Calif., all declined about 1% year-to-year in 2016, according to MPF. Monthly rents now average $1,248 nationally.
The sluggishness is expected to spread across the U.S., hitting markets from Nashville, Tenn., and Dallas to Los Angeles and Atlanta.
The bad news for landlords is good news for tenants.
“This is going to be one of the best apartment markets that I’ve seen [for renters] since 2011,” said Ric Campo, chief executive of Camden Property Trust, one of the country’s largest apartment owners. “The consumer is going to have much broader choice at a lower price.”
In some of the country’s more expensive markets, the slowdown at the top end is showing signs of trickling down to more average-priced apartments. Benjamin Gable, a 31-year-old advertising copywriter, recently scored a $200-a-month discount on 1.5-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn’s trendy Greenpoint neighborhood.
Most real-estate analysts expect luxury construction to slow in coming years as markets work through supply gluts.
Landlords believe the market will revive over time, however. While they don’t expect it to return to the highflying days of 2015, they say the apartment market should settle into its usual position as a steadily growing but largely unexciting part of the real-estate market.
“I don’t see it getting white hot again,” said Mr. Tirrill.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017 Planning Commission Goals

The Planning Commission acts as the City of Lake Oswego's State-mandated Commission for Cotizen Involvement.  Be sure to let the Commission know how you think Citizen Involvement on land use issues can be improved.  Be specific about where you believe problems exist, and make suggestions to make citizen input on the future of our city more meaningful.
The following announcement is found on the Council Digest webpage - located in the Public Affairs Department section of the City website.  Perhaps the first suggestion should be better notification to citizens about opportunities to connect with City Boards and Commissions. ;)


The Lake Oswego Planning Commission (also serving as Commission for Citizen Involvement) is reviewing potential goals for 2017 and is seeking input from the community.  The Planning Commission’s roles and responsibilities, along with a list of its current projects and 2016 goals, can be found on the Planning Commission webpage, click here.
The Commission invites the community to provide feedback in one of the following ways:
  • E-mail your written comments to the Planning Commission at PlanningCommission@LakeOswego.city, no later than 4:00 p.m. on January 9.
  • Attend the Planning Commission’s January 9 meeting to share your comments. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chamber.
The City Council will review the proposed Planning Commission goals and may provide direction at their 2017 Goal Setting meeting in January.

Monday, January 2, 2017

12 days to comment on Council goals

2017 City Council Goals 

Is there something you would like your city council to work on in 2017?  Now is the time to comment.  Ask today (January 1, 2017), there are 12 days left to comment online through Open City Hall.  

I heard from other sources that there was an option to comment on Council goals, but had to go searching to find out how to do it.

The following announcement was found under the City Manger Department of the City website:
City of Lale Oswego Home Page >  Departments > City Manager Home > Programs > Open City Hall > City Council Goals for 2017.

One would think that the City Council didn't care about what citizens had to say at all. If so, they would have made sure this inadequate effort would have been given higher priority and visibility.  Even if they ignored everything citizens wrote, it still makes for good PR to look like one is interested in what citizens have to say.

If you have the time and feel like it would do some good, go ahead and give it your best.  While you're at it, see what is going on with our Stormwater Permit Renewal - another much beleaguered and politicized subject.

Open City Hall

What goals should your City Council set to accomplish in 2017?

12 days left before deadline

This topic has 33 visitors and 7 statements: 6 registered statements and 1 unregistered statement. That's 21 minutes of public comment @ 3 minutes per statement. The deadline for participation is 5:00 PM on January 13, 2017.
Go to the topic 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Deliberately adding to congestion

Deliberately malicious.  
Bureaucratic.  Arrogant.  Imperial.  Intolerable.  

This stuff is almost unbelievable; How could reasonable people plan to make their city a mess?  When you try to drive in the city or find a place to park and it becomes all too real.  Limiting cars and parking is a mammoth experiment built on theories that could explode at any time.  The bad planning is trickling down to suburbs and small towns.  We are ALL guinea pigs of the Central Planners.  They just don't get what people want - they give us what they think we should have instead.  Who says they are right?  I have some experts that could blow their Smart Growth theories out of the water.  

Instead of fixing the problem, government officials are deliberately adding to it 
in hopes we’ll all walk, ride the bus or take the train.

Sun-Sentinel, October 28, 2016. By Susannah Bryan, Emily Miller, John Maines
South Florida's plan for traffic: 'We're going to make them suffer'
Instead of fixing the problem, government officials are deliberately adding to it in hopes we’ll all walk, ride the bus or take the train.

Got gridlock? South Florida does -- and it's by design

Faced with ever-increasing traffic jams, South Florida's public officials have come up with a plan: Make it worse.

Instead of fixing the problem, government officials are deliberately adding to it in hopes we'll all walk, ride the bus or take the train.

"Until you make it so painful that people want to come out of their cars, they're not going to come out of their cars," Anne Castro, chair of the Broward County Planning Council, said during a meeting last year. "We're going to make them suffer first, and then we're going to figure out ways to move them after that because they're going to scream at us to help them move."

It's a gamble. Will people ride bicycles or walk to work in South Florida's heat, rain and lightning storms? Or ride buses that often run late and make for long, inconvenient rides?

"It's a big experiment," said Robert Poole, a Plantation resident and an engineer with the Reason Foundation, a public policy research group in Washington, D.C. "We won't know for another 10 years if it's going to work.

"If it doesn't work, we're going to have some big white elephants on our hands — and even worse congestion."

What South Florida planners want is to create bustling urban neighborhoods, with apartments, condos, offices, restaurants and shops.

"A robust, healthy downtown is a sign of a healthy, vibrant economic community," he explained. "[Cities] don't want to say no to development because of traffic congestion."

"They are building the projects first and then

they'll figure out traffic later," she (Castro) said in an interview. "And I don't even want to get into what happens if there's a disaster. People won't be able to get out. We're kind of building a monster."

Alan Pisarski, a Virginia-based transportation consultant and a nationally recognized expert on commuting, said planners are not taking into account how people want to live.

"I don't know what they're teaching in the planning schools," he said. "The young folks coming out of the colleges saying, 'Cars are bad. We need to get people out of their cars.' It's a little bit hard to comprehend."

There's another reason behind the mad dash to approve high-rise after high-rise: money.
"They want development for the property taxes and to increase property values," Blattner said of both city and county officials. "But the consequence is gridlock."

"The theory was that by creating a greater downtown density it would encourage more lifestyle amenities to develop and people would not be using their cars," City Commissioner Dean Trantalis said. "They'd take the elevator down and go shopping, to dinner or to work without getting in their car."

Wilton Manors resident Greg Zatorsky says he's baffled by government planners who think they can force people out of their cars.

"I think once all this is done, tons of businesses will go out of business and no one will come here because of the congestion," he said. "You cannot force people, in sweltering weather with dangerous storms that pass pretty much daily, to ride their bike or take the bus to work. This whole idea of trying to force people to do that is insane."

"I have stores one-third of a mile from my house," said Poole, the Plantation-based director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. "And do you think I'm walking to those? I think that's very na├»ve.

"It's important to have mixed-use projects, but if you think that most people will be able to find a good job within walking distance of where they live, it's foolish. It's nonsense — and very destructive to this local economy."

Mike Long, a Lighthouse Point commissioner and vice chair of the Broward County Planning Council, isn't optimistic that people will give up their cars.

"I don't see people walking a mile to work or taking a bus," he said. "Everyone's going to ride a bike? Their helmets are going to be melting. And if we get the King Tides, the roads are going to be closed."

The way Long sees it, anyone who thinks we're all going to work and live in the same spot and ditch our cars is dreaming.

"The concept of live, work and play is interesting if you can go out in the middle of nowhere and build a town," Long said. "But that's not the way South Florida was developed. We have to be realistic with what we're doing, because we have to live with it."

6 Favorite things

Things I can live without, but...

I love gadgets, but these days I have to be selective and make sure each item has a practical function before I buy it.  I also like the down-sized versions of products that make travel and life easier.  Here are a few things I think others might like too.  Have fun traveling and at home in the New Year!

1. Keychain Charger 
Goes with small USB battery, but can be used with any USB power source, anytime, anywhere.   There are several styles on Amazon that look intriguing, but I can definitely recommend this one by Avantree (Apple and Android versions).  My whole family got these for Christmas.

2. USB Battery

Portable batteries are everywhere, but I like these for their compact size, speed, energy, quality and price.  These are still available on the Costco website:  2-pack for $19.99.

3. ThinOPTICS Reading Glasses
For my husband who always borrows my glasses, and for me to wear under sunglasses.  These are ingenious!  Read about the engineering of the product from the company website.  Very cool!

4. Lithium Jump Starter and 
Power Pack
Read the reviews on The Costco website.  We have not had to jump a car yet, but it looks like a great piece of safety equipment and charges USB devices too. At Costco stores and online.  $59.99

5. Pacsafe Travel Bags
I don't worry about valuables when I travel.  Unless one is mugged, most problems for tourists are from pickpockets, bag snatchers and thieves.  This brand makes backpacks, totes, wallets, travel bags, purses and more, with multiple anti-theft features: Stainless steel mesh fabric, steel wires in straps, locking zippers and straps, RFID pocket...  Available at REI, AAA Store, Portland Luggage, Container Store, others, and online from manufacturer and Amazon.  Check the pacsafe website for all of the options - there are a lot more than you will find in any store.

trtl pillow
It looks strange. It works!  Lightweight, washable, thin to pack.  I love this thing! Unisex.  Amazon $29.99

Eagle cam: Nature in action

Live Eagle Cam

First chick (egg #2) hatched this morning, 7:15 EST.   Harriet (mama eagle) still has one more egg to go.  Go get the kids and join people from all over the country watching the nest on the live cam.

The Southwest Florida Eagle Camera (SWEC) is sponsored by Dick Pritchett, a Florida Real Eastate broker.  The Q and A chat on the side answers viewers' questions about this and other bald eagles.

The second egg will hatch soon, but it will be interesting to watch the hatchlings grow.  The camera will stay on the nest until the birds have fledged.


Government as Sugardaddy

We can't have it all.
But a person can dream.

We all want and need parks and natural spaces - there is no disagreement there.  We all know the opportunities for acquiring park land are dwindling as every buildable square inch of the city is built, and rebuilt on. What can and should be done to save some special land for current and future residents?

Unfortunately, the City of Lake Oswego cannot do it all.  Yes Virginia, there is a budget.

Every time citizens want to save a chunk of land like a Hallinan Woods extension, or a historic site like the Carmon House, they look to government to do the work and pay the freight.  Sure, parks and historic sites benefit the general population, but such could be said about dozens of requests for public funding every year.

The part that no one talks about when presenting their projects to the city are the ongoing costs of maintenance and city staff administration and management.  Volunteers are easy to find in the beginning, but after a time, citizens take their public spaces for granted and are satisfied to let others take care of a property.

The ongoing expenses of owning and maintaining public lands was one of the reasons the City Council gave when it rejected an offer of a FREE, forested stream corridor in Glenmorrie at the end of Poplar Way.  The property contains a historic stone bridge that connects to Marylhurst property.  Council members cited insufficient parking on residential streets, a location that would make the park more of a neighborhood park than a benefit to the city as a whole, ongoing maintenance costs (mostly ivy removal and trail upkeep), and the requirement that the city hold the land in perpetuity.  Only Jeff Gudman and Jon Gustafson voted to accept the property, the rest of the council said no - Charles Collins was not present.

I think the Council made a big mistake.  They are right to question every commitment regarding long term costs, and I wish they would do more of it.  The Poplar Way property offered by Cap Hedges, was - is - special.  This was a once-in-a-lifetime deal that won't come back.  After this, I can't imagine the City springing for any other park land or taking on another capital improvement project that isn't purely functional.  Perhaps this is correct, but many of us will be watching - what did the Council sacrifice for what they may choose to spend money on in the future.  

Pocket parks and neighborhood parks people can walk to are the big thing these days.  Palisades   neighborhood has nothing, Blue Heron likewise.  Evergreen uses city property behind City Hall, but it is not a park and they cannot count on the open space being open to use.

What about Hallinan Woods extension?

We can't have it all.  We can't afford what is being given for free.

Staff Report from City Council Meeting, December 6, 2016

Hedges Property and its History
The Hedges property on Poplar Way is a natural setting of woods, streams and critters - an amazingly quiet and bucolic retreat that embraces the visitor and feels soothingly isolated from the homes to its north and the Sisters’ campus to the south. With thoughtful improvement, the property could become an intimate retreat -- a nature sanctuary where folks can go to stroll in the woods, inspect the historic stone bridge, or just sit quietly in the shade of trees by the babbling streams to enjoy family and friends or simply read a book or meditate.

What is truly amazing is that such a spot remains on a long-abandoned portion of historic Poplar Way just minutes from downtown Lake Oswego. Glenmorrie’s neighborhood’s first road, Poplar Way was built by wealthy entrepreneur Parker Farnsworth Morey in the1880’s to serve the country estate and land development he named Glenmorrie. Morey, the founding president of the United States Electric Lighting Company of Portland (later re-named Portland General Electric), built Poplar Way to connect his manor house to Morey’s Landing (now a tiny beach on the Willamette River visible below River Road). Morey’s Landing was a regular stop for paddle wheelers transporting people and provisions from Portland to settlements below the falls.

According to Morey’s nephew, the late Herbert Edward Yates*, Chinese laborers from Lake Oswego’s Oregon Iron Company were hired to build the road and bridge. The base material for the road consisted of gravel and slag left by the iconic Iron Furnace in Rogers Park. The stone bridge crossing Gans Creek was built of Columbia River basalt, as was the retaining wall still visible girding the knoll at the southeast corner of the bridge. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Voters with power!

But not in Lake Oswego

In most cities this would not happen.  City councils do not like to give up their power to create urban renewal districts.  Is it just the trouble of a vote?  The loss of complete control?  Or a distrust of the ability of citizens to come to the "right" decision?

Creation of, expansion, or spending on urban renewal in Lake Oswego's urban renewal districts can be decided by a vote of the residents - a real vote, not just an advisory one - if the City Council made a change in the City Charter.  Why hasn't this happened?

Why do citizens have to take power away from government and reclaim it for themselves?  Shouldn't this be the norm?

Tigard City Council approves urban renewal plan for Triangle

Tigard Times, December 14, 2016. By Mark Miller

The council's actions Tuesday paved the way for a May election on whether to create an urban renewal district for the Tigard Triangle and expand an existing area downtown.

Tigard took a major step Tuesday toward holding votes in May that would bring almost 586 more acres of land in the city into urban renewal areas. 
The Tigard City Council voted to accept an urban renewal plan for the Tigard Triangle — an area bounded by Highway 99W to the north, Highway 217 to the west and Interstate 5 to the east — as well as a "substantial amendment" to its one existing urban renewal plan, which covers the city center. 
The Tigard Triangle Urban Renewal Area would be nearly 548 acres in size, dwarfing the City Center Urban Renewal Area. The amendment that received the council's nod Tuesday would expand the existing urban renewal area by about 37.7 acres. 
In Tigard, voters must approve urban renewal plans and substantial amendments, defined as an expansion by more than 1 percent of the total area of an urban renewal district, before they take effect. The soonest that vote could happen is in May.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Portland, I knew you when you were in Oregon

"Don't Calif_____ Oregon"

What the - are we doing to ourselves in the United States of America?  Are we becoming a nation of Californian sheeples, or European socialists?  Can't we think and act on our own?

Even if you like an idea and think it would be good for everyone to do something, RESIST THE URGE TO MAKE IT INTO A LAW OR REGULATION!  We are drowning in rules made up by control-freaks and do-gooders - We are losing our freedoms!

Use carrots, not sticks!  

You can tell that most bureaucrats and politicians haven't been teachers.  If a teacher tried to run a classroom using only rules and consequences, he or she would soon have a rebellion on their hands. In real life the power of the police state and fines  (very bad consequences) gets people to conform- obey, follow, be powerless, weak and afraid.  Is this the type of government we want for ourselves?  Not me.  I still have an independent mind and will continue to use it to think critically about what's happening to me and how I want to live.

RE: Article Below
Q:  What kind of participation would you get if the home energy audit program was voluntary?
A:  If the public thought it was a useful tool when selling or buying a home, they could either offer or demand an energy audit.  If it isn't useful, then why have it? (What ever happened to the CIM and CAM - the dumb education reform bill that people hated and ultimately didn't find useful?)
Q:  Once a lot of homes have energy scores, how long will it be before all homes must have energy scores?  And then be required to incrementally improve the scores of face penalties?
A:  My guess is 3-5 years for the first part.  If you want to control  something, first you have to measure it.
Q:  What comes after that?
A:  Now that the camel has his nose under the tent, there are no confines.  Limit miles driven on one's auto and tax the amount higher than that? Disallow single-occupancy cars inside the city core?  Require all roofs to be white, solar or green?  If you can think it, the Central Planners can do it -uunless someone stops this nonsense.

Tyrannical governments can't take the chance that people might not behave the way they want, so certain behaviors are forced on the public through extreme laws and the power of the police state.  Totalitarian regimes can't abide noncompliance.  What would happen to their power structure and elitism if people had too many choices?

Portland Tribune, December 9, 2016. By Steve Law

Portland closer to requiring Home Energy Scores, energy audits, for home listings    

in 2018, those who sell homes in Portland likely will have to commission a home energy audit to determine a Home Energy Score, providing those to prospective home buyers.

About 35 percent of Portland's housing stock was built before 1940, and those homes will find it hard to compete with newer, energy-efficient homes on the basis of Home Energy Scores, Leo said. Home buyers might walk away from such homes, or lenders might decline granting loans needed by the would-be buyers, she said. "A low score can result in a loan being denied and the transaction falling apart." 
About 600 letters opposed to the Home Energy Score were sent to the city by Realtors. The trade group set up a website, nocostlymandates.com, and a digital media campaign directing people to that website. In addition, the Realtors recently mailed more than 30,000 tear-off postcards to Portland households with registered voters, Leo said.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The same old gang decides the region's future

The Southwest Corridor Light Rail 
While you sleep, Metro plans. 

Where busses suffice for mass transit - a lot more busses for many more people - light rail is needed to encourage developers to build housing and more hideous TODs - Transit Oreinted Development.  Light rail (and streetcars) are not built to ease traffic congestion, nor are they the best transit option in most cases.  They are desired by Central Planners because they encourage the type of  dense development they want to see: Ultra Compact Form, Smart Growth, New Urbanism.  Metro is the Soviet Bunker Funder.

Developers are not satisfied with light rail - they want, and sometimes need - public subsidies in order to build the mixed use development wants.  It doesn't make sense, but that's how Central Planning work: Build what people should have, not what people want, as decided by the Regional Overseers.  Efficient transit - relieving regional congestion - is secondary to the grand plan of creating a wheel of connecting TODs, formerly called neighborhoods and suburban communities.

Does PCC need transit enhancements? 
Should the community college be in the business of affordable housing?

Below is an example of how transit and affordable housing for PCC students are being pushed as  benefits of the SW Corridor light rail plan.  The problems with this are:  1) PCC campuses are well-served by transit now; 2) the only way to get affordable housing where you want it is to mandate it through regulatory action and/or subsidize it ("affordable" housing is not a by-product of transit); and 3) PCC's mission is education, not housing or social work.

The Barbur Blvd. Transit Center is close to PCC Sylvania and is a local hub for busses to the region. Discounted Trimet passes are available to PCC students. AND, what most people don't know is that PCC runs shuttle busses between all its campuses and PSU downtown making it super easy for students to get to at least one of the campuses and then ride for free across the region to another with very few stops.  If student can get to Portland State University (how hard is that?), getting to a PCC campus is a breeze!

So what are these PCC Board of Directors/Staffers talking about?  Are they supporting students, or a particular vision of regional Smart Growth development?  Is this about needed transportation for students, or a more flashy transit option for the prestige of the school?  Community colleges are not responsibile for housing students.

From The Southwest Corridor Steering Committee Meeting of November 17, 2016

6.0 Public Comment 
Ms. Kathleen McMullen, PCC, applauded the efforts of staff and partners for campus transit improvements and emphasized the importance of having affordable, accessible, and reliable transit connection for students and staff to be able to connect to the college campus. 

Ms. Sylvia Kelley, PCC, emphasized that many PCC students face numerous challenges including lack of reliable and affordable transportation to and from college campus. She expressed support and excitement for the FTA TOD grant received by Metro and how it may be used in terms of the community equity. 

Ms. Denise Frisbee, PCC, commented on the launching of the PCC master plan and getting involved with the local communities. She pointed out that some of the community’s concerns  included housing affordability and availability, need for improvement of campus access points, need for improvement of bicycle and pedestrian access, and high transportation costs. In conclusion, Ms. Frisbee thanked the committee for considerations and stated that she is looking forward to working together. 

From the PCC Website:

In addition, to help meet the demand for public transit, PCC has increased the number of TriMet premier subsidized passes to 1,200 a term for use by students, who might not be able to use the free shuttles.

The PCC shuttle was established in 1993 to help meet the growing need for alternative transportation at the college and to meet its mission of being more green. Today, with parking spaces at a premium, the shuttle service has grown dramatically with the Sylvania-to-Downtown route (orange line) being the most popular. The Parking and Transportation Office also is expanding the shuttle fleet and has converted all of the current buses to run on BioDiesel fuel.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Free is not a good price

There's no such thing as a free lunch, but if ever there was... Monday was the time to bite.

An offer of donated land in the Glenmorrie area
along Stonebridge Creek came before the
City Council.  The land is at the end of Poplar Lane - out of the way for most people, parking for only a couple of cars, and work to maintain the forest and control ivy in perpetuity.   On the plus side, it is a beautiful place, there might be a possibility to connect to Old River Rd., and on the future it may look like a good deal.

On one hand, I am very pleased to see that the City Council considered the cost of long term maintenance before approving a purchase or project.  This type of calculus should occur for every new or repaired facility the city owns, but it is not yet (hint) a requirement for capital improvement projects.

Even "free" upgrades to streets and sidewalks in the downtown urban renewal area should have long-term price tags on them.  When there is TIF money to build a new Sundeleaf Park, future maintenance and repairs come out of the oversubscribed General Fund.  When SDC money pays for new park amenities like in Iron Mt. Park, it will be the General Fund that pays to patch roofs and rebuild damaged pathways.  What we buy and build and how we build things makes a difference in the long run and should be part of the design, planning and budgeting process.

And yet... The land donation in question is - was - an offer hard to refuse and too hard to agree to.  In the interest of saving money in the long term for land the city would own forever, the Council, in a 4 to 2 vote, said no.  No:  Studebaker, O'Neill, Manz, Buck.   Yes:  Gudman, Gustafson.  Collins was absent.

On the other hand, I am disappointed.  It sounds like a beautiful place.   Perhaps the Sisters of the Holy Names will take a look and see things differently.

So, is city broadband done now?

Re:  Lake Oswego Municipal Broadband

What is happening now? 

The November advisory vote of the people said no - we don't want the City Council to go ahead with setting up a municipal broadband system.  I am pretty sure that means any broadband system, not just the one under discussion.  The vote was nonbinding, so the City Council has the final say.  So what have they done?

The issue was brought up at the December 6 City Council Meeting when Councilor Jeff Gudman asked about voting on the broadband proposal.  The matter ended with Mayor Studebaker commenting, "I think it was the end of it as far as that proposal goes."

It would have been nice to get a formal vote to end the affair and not just have it dribble away.  I suppose it all comes out the same in the end, but it should be made clear that the City will not get involved in providing services that are currently being handled by the private market.  

Monday, December 5, 2016

Portlanders experience decline in livability

Portlanders' ratings of city livability fall to new low 

Portland Tribune, November 30, 2016. By OPH and KOIN Channel 6

Auditor's survey of 3,000 Portlanders found that 63 percent said they feel the city is livable, the lowest rating since 1998.

The auditor's office surveyed 3,000 Portlanders by mail this summer. Sixty-three percent of respondents said they feel that Portland is livable. That's the lowest rating the city has received since the auditor began asking the question in 1998. It's down from 74 percent last year.

Livability wasn't the only measure of Portlanders' satisfaction that declined this year. Residents are increasingly concerned about housing affordability, land-use planning, traffic, the city's delivery of services and other issues.

Read the report at tinyurl.com/jtu6tou.
OPB and KOIN 6 News are Portland Tribune news partners.
Comment by Dave Lister:
Well, when you let bums camp anywhere they want, allow people to shoot dope in doorways, allow rioters to run around kicking out windows, build infill apartment bunkers without any parking and quit taking care of the parks, the streets and the infrastructure what would you expect?

Housing policy blunders

Controversial Inclusionary Housing proposal heading to City Council

The proposal, which became possible after the 2016 Oregon Legislature lifted the statewide ban on Inclusionary Housing, would require residential developers to include affordable units in multi-family projects with more than 20 units. It includes incentives intended to offset the revenue that would be lost by the lower-priced units.

   Some developers say the proposal reduces the profitability of their projects too much, however, making it too difficult to obtain financing and potentially curtailing much future construction. Developers have submitted permit requests for up to 14,000 new units ahead of the council's potential vote on the proposal, a far higher number than usual in attempts to be "grandfathered" into the pre-Inclusionary Housing rules.

   "We've never seen this kind of rush to permit. I was shokced. It speaks to the inability to guess where the market will go," David Rosen, a national expert on Inclusionary Housing hired by the city to advise on the proposal, said at the Tuesday work session.

Two developers told the Business Tribune in early November that the proposal will increase housing costs for most new renters," however. 
Vanessa Sturgeon, CEO of TMT Development, said the inclusionary zoning would make Portland more like San Francisco's model — "ultimately worse in affordability." 
And Vic Remmers, owner of VWR Development and Everett Custom Homes, said he won't be able to develop at all in the city under the inclusionary housing proposal. 
Even the Planning and Sustainability Commission that previous reviewed and recommended the proposal is concerned the incentives may not be strong enough.
Several multifamily developers have speeded up their new multifamily projects to avoid new restrictions on profits, increased housing costs, funding problems, and possibly creating a place that is less attractive to some renters or buyers.  The code would be unfair to developers and renters when applied to only some parts of the city.  Inclusionary zoning and rent control regulations inhibit new multiramily construction thereby worsening the problem of housing shortages and high prices. IZ is a bad idea. 

   "This is an art, not a science. The best way we can figure out if it's going to work is to go ahead and do it. There's been a lot of brainpower invested in this trying to get it right, and it now falls on us to take the plunge. I feel we have a reasonably crafted policy here. We can micromanage it forever in hopes of getting a perfect policy, but we're not going to get a perfect policy until we have a policy on the ground and a chance to recalibrate it as market conditions reveal themselves," Saltzman said at the work session.

Wrong!  There is plenty of science (economists' peer-reviewed research) that proves IZ and rent control do not work, and that they have the opposite effect than that intended.  Arrogant politicians and bureaucrats think they can outsmart and manipulate markets by writing and re-writing regulations - bending economic and human behavior to be heir will.  Where others have failed, they can do better.  They can't!  You can't make something happen just because you want it to, no matter what regulation is imposed.