Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Monday, August 31, 2015

Humans of NY and the world

This is a can't-miss video and website!  If you want a look into the human heart, here it is, raw and beautiful.  I could easily get lost here.  

The Humans of New York

For a video of the creator of the Facebook blog, explaining why he started it:  CLICK HERE

For the Humans of New York website:  CLICK HERE
  The site creator, Brandon Stanton, is currently traveling in Iran and took his camera and interviewing skills with him.  Here is a sample of his work from another part of the world.  Use the timeline bar on the top right of the main page to travel back in time for humans of New York, but don't miss these - a hand across the globe to shake by proxy.  Wish I was there.  

“We were married in the traditional way. Our two families knew each other, so a meeting was arranged. We’d never met. He came to my house with his mother, and we went to a room for two hours and talked. We talked about our expectations, our idea of love, and our plans for the future. I thought about it for two days, then I sent him a text message, saying: ‘Let’s do it.’ And he wrote back: ‘Alright, my dear.’”

The world - made by human hands

In the 1950s, if your parents wanted you to have all the advantages to do well in school, the family had a set of encyclopedias and a globe.  A set of encyclopedias was expensive, but it was like having the world at your fingertips - organized alphabetically.  If it wasn't in the World Book, it didn't exist.

By Linda Poon, August 27, 2015
A Look at the Painstaking, Intricate Art of  Globemaking

There are only a few dedicated artisanal globemakers left in the world—and there’s good reason for that.

To be an artisanal globemaker, you’ve got to be patient and stubborn.

Ask Peter Bellerby, one of the few people left who still makes globes by hand. Nowadays, globes are mostly made by machines, and Bellerby says he knows why. “It’s horrendously difficult. You have to retrain your body to work in a much slower and guarded way,” he says. “They’ve got to want to do it and not be beaten by the process.” It took him more than a year to learn the art.

Bellerby, 50, founded Bellerby & Co. Globemakers—one of the world’s only handcrafted globe making studios—in London in 2008 when he couldn’t find a quality globe for his father’s 80th birthday. They were either too cheaply made or too expensive and fragile. So he decided to make one himself. How hard could it be?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

CWA, Sec. 404, WOTUS

Clean Water Act, Section 404, "Waters of the United States"
The new rule became effective August 28, 2015... Or did it?  

It's a federal land grab, no doubt about it.  The legitimacy of the new Clean Water rule will surely go to the Supreme Court, but before it went into effect on August 28, a federal judge issued an injunction against it.  The EPA isn't having any of it and has declared that the injunction is just for the state's who were part of the lawsuit, and the rest of the Country would be covered by the new rule.  The EPA decides what the CWA covers, and the EPA decides what the judge meant.  A look behind the EPA's curtain of deceit should tell you that there is something going on here that has nothing to do with science-based environmentalism, so power plays should not be surprising. 

Central Planners make plans for us, and we aren't supposed to know the real reasons behind them. They want us to think they are doing things for our own good - not for theirs.

This post isn't about the CWA Rule, or the legal ruling per se.  This is about how Federal agencies, especially the EPA, have repeatedly, and knowingly, misrepresented the truth to the American people for political reasons.  In this case, it is to use regulatory means to federalize land that is the sovereignty of the states under the cover of the Clean Water Act of 1972.  

Does the end justify the means?  If the end is corrupt, can any means be justified?

The following excerpts are from memos within the USDACE (United States Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers) written in April and May of this year regarding the Final Draft of WOTUS.  There is serious concern about the lack of validity of the EPA's science, how the Corp's data is being misrepresented by the EPA, and the Corps' legal responsibility for the WOTUS. 
USC NOTE: Thanks to a prodigious LO researcher who has posted these docs on his website.  

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Keeping the "E" in SWEA

SouthWest Employment Area

At the most recent Stakehokder Advisor Committee meeting for the Southwest Emoloyment Area (SWEA) last Tuesday, a first draft of code amendments regarding land use tables for different zones was presented.  Besides my shock and anger over new, inappropriate uses for the NC zone, the SWEA advisory committee veered off course - or was led off course into discussions about what types of businesses should go into the land currently zoned Industrial.  The area is supposed to be devoted to EMPLOYMENT.  High quality jobs.  Most envisioned the area as a business park keeping light industrial as is.

During the discussions, the talk went to "walkability", "mixed-use" that included housing with commercial (shops, restaurants, etc.) below.  I was envisioning the letters GC in my mind, figuring they would come back to the goal of EMPLOYMENT soon enough.  Not so much.

Below is a chart of how much floor area it takes per employee for several different classes of businesses.  Note that some businesses need more land (per employee) for parking than others, such as restaurants.  Data are compiled from the North American Industry Classification System.  It is clear which classifications would bring the highest employment numbers to the area.  But what would bring the highest land value, or employee wage?   These are NOT the same thing, and this is where the SAC is having difficulty staying focused.  Or perhaps the primary goal was to increase land value and employment is secondary.  I have my suspicions.

Note the high floor-to-employee ratio for mini-storage.  This use was added to the industrial area next to Boones Ferry Rd. as an overlay a couple of years ago because some land owners and realtors thought the area should include commercial uses. This should show that some stakeholders - some on the advisory committee - have self-interests that may not have the same goals as the committee's purpose - to increase quality employment.  (BTW - apartments have very high floor area-to-employee ratios since apartments are basically warehouses for people, but multifamily has a very high per SF property value which would be of interest to property owners and real estate brokers.

LAND USE: Recommended floor area per square feet per employee
Manufacturing                                                    500
Wholesale, Transportation, and Utilities.        1,000
Retail.                                                                  700
Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate.                  350
(FIRE) (not including mini-storage)
Services (not including food services).               400
Government/Education.                                      300
Food Services.                                                     200
Mini-Storage.                                                  20,000

EMPLOYEE WAGES:  U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor and Industries, 
Occupational Employment Statistics:  (some jobs average less than 40 hours per week)
Job Category                                     Median hourly wage
Manufacturing  (production of goods)
All employees.                                                   $25.11
Non-supervisory employees.                             $19.80
Sales - incl. scientific and technical.                 $35.28
Sales - not incl. scientific and technical.           $26.12
Truck driver.                                                      $18.73
Laborers.                                                            $17.73
All employees.                                                  $22.72
Cashier.                                                               $ 9.17
Retail sales.                                                        $10.23      
Customer service rep.                                        $11.82
Manager.                                                             $18.11
Finance, Insurance and Real Estate.
All employees.                                                   $25.40
Professional Services
All employees.                                                   $29.92
Professional - legal, accounting, etc.                 $32.72
Non-supervisory.                                                $24.60
All employees.                                                    $25.11
Food Service 
Waitress/Waitor.                                                   $8.98
Restaurant cook.                                                 $10.67
Food service supervisor/manager.                      $13.72      
Fast food cook.                                                     $8.90

The moon and the rain

Interesting graphics from NASA's Science Visualization Studio.

Get ready for it...

September 27, 2015  Total Lunar Exlipse: Shadow View
From 5:45 pm to 9:50 pm PDT:  See website for animated view 

On the evening of September 27, 2015 in the Americas (early morning on September 28 in Europe and most of Africa), the Moon enters the Earth’s shadow, creating a total lunar eclipse, the last of four visible in the Western Hemisphere in a span of 18 months. This animation shows the changing appearance of the Moon as it travels into and out of the Earth’s shadow, along with the times at various stages. Versions of the animation have been created for each of the four time zones of the contiguous United States, as well as one for Universal Time.

All of South America and most of North and Central America will see the entire eclipse, while those west of roughly 120°W will see it in progress at moonrise. You won’t need special equipment to see it. Just go outside and look up!

The penumbra is the part of the Earth’s shadow where the Sun is only partially covered by the Earth. The umbra is where the Sun is completely hidden. The Moon's appearance isn't affected much by the penumbra. The real action begins when the Moon starts to disappear as it enters the umbra at about 9:07 Eastern Daylight Time. An hour later, entirely within the umbra, the Moon is a ghostly copper color, and this lasts for over an hour before the Moon begins to emerge from the central shadow.

The view in these animations is geocentric. Because of parallax, the Moon's position against the background stars will look a bit different for observers at different locations on the surface of the Earth. The Moon is in the southwestern part of the constellation Pisces.

Global Terrestrial Water Storage Anomoly 
The gravity variations studied by GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) can be used to determine ground water storage on land masses. By comparing current data to an average over time, scientists can generate an anomaly map to see where ground water storage has been depleted or increased.

GRACE Terrestrial Water Storage Anomaly colorbar. Rust colored areas show areas where ground water has decreased, and areas in blue are where ground water levels have increased. Note the significant decreases in ground water storage across most of California and all the way up the North American coast into Alaska.

Rainfall Accumulations Across the United States (1/1/2015 to 7/16/2015)
Use link to see animated image change over time.

The accumulated precipitation product visualized here begins on January 1, 2015 and runs through July 16, 2015. This visualization shows the heavy rainfall throughout Northern Texas and across Oklahoma as well as the drought in Southern California

Atmospheric River Reaching California
See website for animated look at flow of atmospheric water flow. 

This project illustrates an atmospheric river that developed between 9th and 12th of Dec. 2014, streching across Hawaii to California based on water vapor data and IMERG precipitation data. The animations show the IMERG precipitation data over the white, cloud-like water vapor.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fire in the 'hood

Lake Oswego Fire Department was on its toes during the wee hours, extinguishing a 1-acre brush fire at East Waluga Park.  Obviously, neighbors were happy with the result - no property or people were hurt.

If you are not already on the Code Red emergency alert system, DO IT NOW.  Information is on the LOFD website.

What if the fire was bigger?

Cutting down all the trees isn't the answer, but thinning and pruning are.  Crowded and choked trees are less healthy, dead limbs and snags are tinder.  Keep the landscape well-watered and green during the summer.  Alternatively, you could have more (permeable) hardscape.

The best thing to do is make your home fire safe, inside and out.  Create a defensible zone.  Consult Arborists and Fire officials.  Do it before a fire comes down your street.

From koin.com:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wildfire season

Wildfires: NIMBY!
(I hope)

What should people living in an urban forest with 50% tree canopy do to prevent wildfires from destroying property and lives?  

Northwest wildfires can be tracked from this website: Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

All information associated with Mortjwest region wildfires including daily briefing, specific fire conditions, 7-day outlook, maps, etc.  Includes links for information on National wildfires also

Large Fire Map for August 19, 2015 AM.
7-day Outlook as of Wednesday, August 19, 2015 

Monday, August 17, 2015


"Post-development" thought

I have heard some extreme ideas associated with the environmental and sustainable movements, but I had never heard about DEGROWTH and DEGROWTHERS.  The movement is anti-sustainable development, because anything with the word develooment in it smacks of economic growth and consumption, the very things degrowthers hate.

In order to get a better idea what this movement is all about, I suggest visiting these 3 websites, all devoted to the cause.  I couldn't have made this up.  It's the Communist Manifesto dressed up in eco-theology for today's counter culture.  Let's all hate capitalism!  And the industrial revolution!  The 70s are calling, they want their causes back.  All the degrowthers need is a yurt and 20 acres to cool their jets.

Demonstration at the fourth International Conference on Degrowth in Germany on 9/26/2014, http://leipzig.degrowth.org

Common Dreams  
Breaking News and Views for the Progressive Community
Down With Sustainable Development! Long Live Convivial Degrowth!
By Justin Hyatt, November 22, 2014

Development is indeed a dirty word in degrowth circles. From the vantage point of economic realism, development is inextricably connected to economic growth. However, degrowthers carry the deeply-held belief that economic growth simply does not deliver what it promises: increased human welfare.

Perhaps Francois Schneider, another of the degrowth pioneers, put it best when he defined degrowth as: “equitable downscaling of production and consumption that will reduce societies’ throughput of energy and raw materials.”

The goal in all of this, according to the authors of the new book, is not simply to have a society that 
can manage with less, but to have different arrangements and a different quality.
Nowadays, surplus time and energy is often re-invested in new production or used in an individualistic manner.
 D├ępense signifies the collective consumption of ‘surplus’ in a society.

Demaria and others also hope that one specific effect of the Leipzig conference, as well as the brand new volume on degrowth, will be to re-politicise environmentalism.

The Guardian
Sustainable development is failing but there are alternatives to capiltalism 
All over the world, environmental justice movements are challenging growth-oriented development and neoliberal capitalism.
By Ashish Kothare, Federico Demaria and Alberto Acosta. July 2, 2015

In the face of worsening ecological and economic crises and continuing social deprivation, the last two decades have seen two broad trends emerge among those seeking sustainability, equality and justice. 

Degrowth in action

 Understood as a critical concept not restricted to moralistic appeals to individual consumer behavior, but also envisioning political and economic structures, sufficiency defines both a floor and a ceiling to appropriate material standards of living. By recognizing not only what is “too much” but also what is “too little,” it contains an important claim to (global) social justice. Ascesis iconsidered just as undesirable as waste and excess. Such orientation towards a sufficient material standard of living leaves enough room for other aspects of human well-being.

And one more that is more general - from Aistralia:
SHIFT Magazine
The globe change-makers magazine

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Community character: Liberals vs Conservatives

Urban or suburban  

How different are we?  
How polarized have we become?  
How do we resolve our differences?

Lake Oswego, being a small town with a large city on one side, and rural areas on the other, appeals to both ends of the political spectrum, and is ground zero for a libeal-conservative divide.

There are ways to temper political ideals and issues that will satisfy, somewhat, both ends of the political spectrum - but only if we understand and openly discuss what we agree and disagree on.

A critical part of living with people with whom we do not agree, is to recognize the minority view, and not allow a majority to dominate.  This is especially true when making decisions about the fundamental ways our community is structured and governed.

This Pew Research Center report studies the differences between the liberal and conservative mind on several key areas.  Here are a couple of clips dealing with personal life.

Political Polarization in the American Public

It is an enduring stereotype – conservatives prefer suburban McMansions while liberals like urban enclaves – but one that is grounded in reality. Given the choice, three-quarters (75%) of consistent conservatives say they would opt to live in a community where “the houses are larger and farther apart, but schools, stores and restaurants are several miles away,” and just 22% say they’d choose to live where “the houses are smaller and closer to each other, but schools, stores and restaurants are within walking distance.” The preferences of consistent liberals are almost the exact inverse, with 77% preferring the smaller house closer to amenities, and just 21% opting for more square footage farther away.

Yet their differences are striking: liberals would rather live in cities, while conservatives prefer rural areas and small towns; liberals are more likely to say racial and ethnic diversity 
is important in a community; conservatives emphasize shared religious faith. And while 73% of consistent liberals say it’s important to them to live near art museums and theaters, just 23% of consistent conservatives agree – one of their lowest priorities of eight community characteristics tested.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Freedom in Oregon

Oregon is a blue state, but how blue is it?  

In this biennial study, Freedom in the 50 States,  the authors seek to find out which states offer their citizens more or less freedom in a variety of areas.  How does geography factor into how much our personal liberties are being diminished?   Where does Oregon stand in comparison to other states?  How much have we changed over the last decade?

The map below gives you a quick, overall view of the most restrictive states where the citizens are burdened with more regulatory demands, and those that allow their citizens more freedom to make choices about how they want to live.  You can personalize the map and see rankings of each state according to a variety of different factors and read more on government regulatory and fiscal matters.

This is also a wake-up call to look to our neighbors to the south and promise ourselves NOT TO BE LIKE CALIFORNIA!  Hold your state (and federal) representatives accountable for preserving (or regaining) our freedom from government.  Let's give bureaucrats a holiday from regulating us.

USC NOTE:  this study was published in 2013 using data from 2011.  A lot has changed in Oregon (and elsewhere) in the years since then, especially in the last legislative cycle.  Remember this when you look at these figures.  BTW, note that Oregon had the distinction of dropping its freedom score 16 points from 2009 to 2011, the worst in the nation.  What will it be when the next study comes out?

Freedom in the 50 States - 2013
Mercatus Center, George Mason University 

Now in its third edition, Freedom in the 50 States presents a completely revised and updated ranking of the American states based on how their policies promote freedom in the fiscal, regulatory, and personal realms. 

This edition employs an enhanced methodology that makes it an even more comprehensive index than in past editions. Improving on their previous attempts to measure freedom, authors William P. Ruger and Jason Sorens use far more variables in this edition, including new variables related to economic freedom. In fact, more than 200 policy variables and their sources are now available to the public on this website. Scholars, policy makers, and concerned citizens can re-weigh every policy and create customized indices of freedom or download the data for their own analyses.

Oregon remains the second-freest Pacific state, but it earned the dubious distinction of having the greatest loss of freedom in the country over the last two years. The state saw increases to its debt level, spending, taxes, and health insurance mandates.

More or less regulation?

While doing some background research on tree codes in ours and other cites, I have also been looking into the consequences of governemnt regulations have on people.  Do regulations work for their intended purpose, or do they produce a result that is quite different, and maybe the opposite from their intended goal?

 Here is just one of the articles I have read so far that sets the stage for understanding all codes in Lake Oswego, not just tree codes.  This article talks about federal regulations, but the same dynamics are at work at the state and local levels.

Over-regulated America
The Economist,  February 18, 2012  By

The home of laissez-fairer is being suffocated by excessive and badly written regulation

AMERICANS love to laugh at ridiculous regulations. A Florida law requires vending-machine labels to urge the public to file a report if the label is not there. The Federal Railroad Administration insists that all trains must be painted with an “F” at the front, so you can tell which end is which. Bureaucratic busybodies in Bethesda, Maryland, have shut down children's lemonade stands because the enterprising young moppets did not have trading licences. The list goes hilariously on.

But red tape in America is no laughing matter. The problem is not the rules that are self-evidently absurd. It is the ones that sound reasonable on their own but impose a huge burden collectively. America is meant to be the home of laissez-faire. Unlike Europeans, whose lives have long been circumscribed by meddling governments and diktats from Brussels, Americans are supposed to be free to choose, for better or for worse. Yet for some time America has been straying from this ideal.

Two forces make American laws too complex. One is hubris. Many lawmakers seem to believe that they can lay down rules to govern every eventuality. Examples range from the merely annoying (eg, a proposed code for nurseries in Colorado that specifies how many crayons each box must contain) to the delusional (eg, the conceit of Dodd-Frank that you can anticipate and ban every nasty trick financiers will dream up in the future). Far from preventing abuses, complexity creates loopholes that the shrewd can abuse with impunity.

The other force that makes American laws complex is lobbying. The government's drive to micromanage so many activities creates a huge incentive for interest groups to push for special favours. When a bill is hundreds of pages long, it is not hard for congressmen to slip in clauses that benefit their chums and campaign donors. The health-care bill included tons of favours for the pushy. Congress's last, failed attempt to regulate greenhouse gases was even worse.

More important, rules need to be much simpler. When regulators try to write an all-purpose instruction manual, the truly important dos and don'ts are lost in an ocean of verbiage. Far better to lay down broad goals and prescribe only what is strictly necessary to achieve them. Legislators should pass simple rules, and leave regulators to enforce them.

Would this hand too much power to unelected bureaucrats? Not if they are made more accountable. Unreasonable judgments should be subject to swift appeal. Regulators who make bad decisions should be easily sackable. None of this will resolve the inevitable difficulties of regulating a complex modern society. But it would mitigate a real danger: that regulation may crush the life out of 
America's economy.  (That should be "Americans".)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Central Planners rehash failed plans

60 years later, Central Planning comes to America as utopian vision

New Urbanism is a retread of the Soviet utopian ideal of egalitarian, mass-produced housing for the masses.  Even though the Soviet experiment became a dystopian failure, the dream of a controlled society re-emerges in new places, always with the idea that the next wave of planners will do it better.  It's a totalitarian attitude that has had great appeal over centuries.  Hubris, arrogance, blindness to the truth, and indifference to the wants and needs of others, allow elites to act as if they know best how to control others and dictate how they should live.  The housing "solution" in the USSR, as in the US today, was caused by previous government policy failures. (Lysenkoism, urban growth boundaries, urban renewal.)

Soviet-era housing construction and post-WWII social-communist ideals are strikingly similar to New Urbanism's Central Planning theories.  It is inevitable then that the outcomes of today's micro-planned cities and suburbs will have the same result as their Soviet predecessors - dense, banal, dispiriting cities forced upon a populace that lost the power to control their own lives.

Smart Growth "Transportation-Oreiented Developments" (TODS) comparisons to Soviet mikrorayons are surreal.  Built near Metro stations, with employment pre-planned at nearby factories, suburban towns were built, all with the same, monotonous style apartments and town plans.

Today, public assistance for private developers to
build high rises in public open spaces allows developers to reap financial rewards while existing residents live with the impacts.  This sounds like urban renewal and urban infill to me.

This is a look into our future.  The Central Planners would vehemently deny Smart Growth and New Urbanism have anything to do with Stalin (and Kruschev) housing plans.  But when you see blocks of monotonous, boxy apartments popping up in Portland and surrounding towns, the loss of local, suburban control,Bthe configuration of town centers, and disregard for how people want to live, there can be no doubt about what is happening.  There isn't much left to do but to wait.  Check out the web articles below.

From The Calvert 22 Foundation:
Radical suburbs
Owen Hatherley on the secret history of Moscow's mass housing experiment
The Calvert Journal

The sense of quiet torpor here is fitting given that Russians call their suburbs “sleeping districts” – not much more than cubicles to come home to at the end of a day’s work. Yet Novye Cheryomushki is certainly one of the more attractive places to sleep, and live, with low-rise buildings, lots of social facilities, and a metro station nearby. It is also the common ancestor of every mikrorayon (micro-district) in Moscow; the forefather of nearly every suburb in the capital and far beyond.

K7’s reward was to be replicated in the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, all across the Soviet Union. Thus began the largest experiment in industrialised housing in history, where homes would become mass-produced commodities like cars, fridges and TVs. Industrialised housing made up 75% of all Soviet housing stock by 1991 – this is where the overwhelming majority of Muscovites live; not in the Tsarist-Stalinist oligarchgrad within the inner city, nor the hipster enclaves of Chistye Prudy or Gorky Park. 

Initially, each mikrorayon was planned with all of this included, all to equally standard designs. An instant prefabricated community on this scale had not been attempted anywhere in the world, and visitors flocked to see it. Shostakovich composed an operetta titled after the district, satirising Muscovites’ desperate desire to move there; it was adapted into a colour film in 1963. Built in the year of Sputnik, it seemed to suggest the Soviet way of doing things — an egalitarian, centrally planned, mass-production economy — was getting results.

Searching for the secret meaning of the suburbs of eastern Europe
The Calvert Journal

The Soviet concept of the dormitory suburb was a progressive and future-oriented ideal. Those idealistic images seem to endure in the mind even though they’re wholly divorced from reality nowadays. We live among the ruins of a vast empire. Utopia has proved itself a dystopia several times and to some extent we’re all traumatised by the disappearance of the future-oriented idea of socialist progress, even those who never wanted anything to do with it. It’s why our native land is the way it is today.

The key to my interest in the city and its edgelands is the idea of alienation. It is something socialism was trying to overcome but paradoxically ended up embodying in its architecture. This remains a crucial feature of today’s post-Soviet environment where a loss of ideological meaning has turned the urban environment into a meaningless setting, deepening the isolation of its inhabitants.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Kessi to start demo soon

This breaking news is from the Facebook page of Betty Jung about Lake Oswego.    https://www.facebook.com/groups/lakeoswego.oregon/

BREAKING NEWS: Glass Butterfly has agreed to leave downtown Lake Oswego's Wizer Block a month early and abatement work is now expected to begin on the property "Sept. 1st-ish," according to developer Patrick Kessi.
Kessi, operations director Seth Henderson, project architect Robert Nobles and representatives from Lease Crutcher Lewis, the general contractor, met this morning with the Lake Oswego Business Alliance to discuss communications and construction plans for the mixed-use project at A Avenue and First Street.

Among other things, they shared a site and traffic plan that will turn Second Street into a southbound one-way road and reroute pedestrians around the construction site during demolition and beyond. That plan, and the installation of fencing around the property, also has a "Sept. 1st-ish" start date, Kessi said.

Kessi called last week’s Court of Appeals ruling, which affirmed an earlier decision by the state Land Use Court of Appeals to let the project progress and was issued without opinion, “the best possible outcome.”

“Since 1924, there have been a total of 259 cases reviewed by the Supreme Court that were affirmed without opinion by the lower court,” Kessi said. “Of those, none were land use cases decided by LUBA and affirmed without opinion by the Court of Appeals.

“We are moving forward,” he said.

Look for more details about the timeline in Thursday's issue of The Review…

Planning process vs citizen involvement

Ever feel like you are being "processed?"

Have you felt tike this for some time?

Me too.  For at least 18 years, but most likely more.  There doesn't seem to be much that has changed over time, only a refinement of the processes and dim remembrance of anything different.  The last ditch for anyone who wants to make a difference is to run for mayor or city council, but the pressure to conform to a predetermined agenda continues there too.

I clipped this "In My Opinion" column from the Oregonian, April 9, 1997, and ran across it today while going through some very old files.  I'd like to share it with you before the actual article meets the recycle bin.  I apologize for the poor quality of the images - I could not find the article online, so my photos will have to do.  If the article is unreadable, let me know and I will try again.

A place at the table
The Oregonian, April 9, 1997  Commentary by John Legry
Citizen involvement doesn't mean public hearings to ratify decisions already made

Favorite quotes:

Public process is a mechanical technique used to get people to comment, report their "participation" in findings and, all too often, justify a predetermined decision.  

But, when was the last time anyone asked you to review the land use growth policy for its impact on your life?  

Generally speaking, and despite Metro 2040 discussions, what is considered is the size of the pie, not whether or not it should be baked in the first place.  

The powers that be favor process over involvement.  

The downtown Office of Neighborhoods - not itself slated for a budget cut of any kind - has grown over eight years from $250,000 to an annual budget of half a million dollars, but is predominantly occupied with inside City Hall initiatives: city services outreach, meeting facilitation and public process activities.  

These groups should be considered the first line of Portland's democratic process.  They should be cherished and protected as one of the only real counterbalances to the growth and development industry in existence.  

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Urban centers lean left

Kotkin never fails in his insightful, well-researched articles about the trends occurring in our cities and suburbs today.  In this article Kotkin examines how urban centers have become increasingly left-leaning and have ignored and harmed the middle and lower wage earners with liberal political and land use policies.

We don't have to look to San Francisco or New York to see what is going on when we have a close-up view of the chaos in milennial-dominated Portland just a couple of miles north.  "Stop Portland Creep" was the Clackistani battle cry in the last election.  After reading this, it sounds more urgent than ever.

The peril to Democrats of left-leaning urban centers
Newgeography.com  August 11, 2015  By Joel Kotkin

Twenty years ago, America’s cities were making their initial move to regain some of their luster. This was largely due to the work of mayors who were middle-of-the-road pragmatists. Their ranks included Rudy Giuliani in New York, Richard Riordan in Los Angeles, and, perhaps the best of the bunch, Houston’s Bob Lanier. Even liberal San Franciscans elected Frank Jordan, a moderate former police chief who was succeeded by the decidedly pragmatic Willie Brown.   

This leftward shift is marked, but it’s not indicative of any tide of public enthusiasm. One-party rule, as one might expect, does not galvanize voters. The turnout  in recent city elections has plummeted across the country, with turnouts 25 percent or even lower. In Los Angeles, the 2013 turnout that elected progressive Eric Garcetti was roughly one-third that in the city’s 1970 mayoral election.

This new urban configuration, notes the University of Chicago’s Terry Nichols Clark, tend to have different needs, and values, than the traditional middle class. Since their denizens are heavily single and childless, the poor state of city schools does not hold priority over the political power of the teachers unions. The key needs for the new population, Clark suggests, are good restaurants, shops and festivals, not child-friendly parks and family-oriented stores. Sometimes even crazy notions—such as allowing people to walk through the streets of San Francisco naked—are tolerated in a way no child-centric suburb would allow.

Such social imbalances are not, as is the favored term among the trendy, sustainable. We appear to be creating the conditions for a new wave of violent crime on a scale not seen since the early 1990s. Along with poverty, public disorderlinessgang activityhomelessness and homicides are on the rise in manyAmerican core cities, including Baltimore, Milwaukee, Los Angeles and New York. Racial tensions, particularly with the police, have worsened. So even as left-leaning politicians try to rein in police, recent IRS data in Chicago reveals, the middle class appears to once again be leaving for suburban and other locales. 

Yet with those battles essentially won, the new urban politics are entering into greater conflict with the suburban mainstream, which tends to be socially moderate, and even more so with the resource-dependent economies of rural America. The environmental radicalism that has its roots in places like San Francisco and Seattle  now directly seeks to destroy whole parts of middle America’s energy economy.

Such policies tend to radically raise energy costs. In California, the green energy regime has already driven roughly 1 million people, many of them Latinos in the state’s agricultural interior, into “energy poverty”—a status in which electricity costs one-tenth of their income. Not surprisingly, those leaving California, notes Trulia, increasingly are working class; their annual incomes in the range of $20,000 to $80,000 are simply not enough to make ends meet.

It’s more than suburban or rural jobs that are on the urban designer chopping block. Density obsessed planners have adopted rules, already well advanced in my adopted home state of California, to essentially curb  much detested suburban sprawl and lure people back to the dense inner cities. The Obama administration is sympathetic to this agenda, and has adopted its own strategies to promote “back to the city” policies in the rest of the country as well.

These radicalizing trends are likely to be seen as a threat to Democratic prospects next year, but instead will meet with broad acclaim among city-dominated progressive media. Then again, the columnists, reporters and academics who embrace the new urban politics have little sympathy or interest in preserving middle-class suburbs, much less vital small towns. If the Republicans possess the intelligence—always an open question—to realize that their opponents are actively trying to undermine how most Americans prefer to live, they might find an opportunity far greater than many suspect.

This piece first appeared in Real Clear Politics.  Read entire article using link HERE.