Blogs

Leaving Portlandia

There have been two universal reactions to my announcement that I was going to move from Portland to the Midwest: surprise and disbelief. But I also found a number of people who, if given a few moments to find clear and honest footing in the conversation, could see through the self-absorbed mental fog that covers the city in equal measure to the grey rain clouds and tells its inhabitants every day that Portland is the most amazing possible place in this country to live.  read more »

The 2012 Year in Unemployment

I recently looked at the changes in jobs in metro areas for 2012. Here’s a follow-on look at unemployment. First a look at the national unemployment rate picture, which has improved remarkably.  read more »

It's Not About The Climate: How the Left Lost Sight of Social Justice

Over the last few decades, humans achieved one of the most remarkable victories for social justice in the history of the species. The percentage of people who live in extreme poverty — under $1.25 per day — was halved between 1990 and 2010. Average life expectancy globally rose from 56 to 68 years since 1970.  read more »

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A Lasting Solution to the Transportation Funding Dilemma

President Obama's FY 2014 budget request includes $77 billion for the Department of Transportation and an additional $50 billion  "for immediate transportation investments." His next transportation bill to follow the current MAP-21, calls for a 25 percent increase in funding over current levels and assumes a transfer of $214 billion to the trust fund over six years "to maintain trust fund solvency and pay for increased outlays." To offset this spending, the Administration proposes using the "savings" or "peace dividend&quot  read more »

Chinese Cancel Treasure Island Investment as Brown Seeks High Speed Rail Funds

California's Governor Jerry Brown and an entourage of public officials and corporate executives has spent much of the last week traveling around China trying to drum up business for the state. One of his principal objectives is to entice Chinese investors to take a stake in the California high-speed rail project. From the Governor's perspective, this makes all sense in the world.  read more »

States Seek to Become More Self-Reliant for Infrastructure

During his March 29 visit to the privately built and financed PortMiami tunnel project, President Obama unveiled a new infrastructure plan. His latest proposal---costing $21 billion--- includes a renewed call for a National Infrastructure Bank capitalized at $10 billion,  a  $7 billion  "America Fast Forward Bonds" program modeled after the former Build America Bonds;  and a sum of $4 billion in direct loans and loan guarantees.  read more »

Seeking Community in Vancouver's High Rise Ghost Towns

The Province in Vancouver reports (in "15% of downtown Vancouver condos sit empty, turning areas into ghost towns: Study") that "much of the downtown core is starting to look like B.C.’s ghost towns — with apartments languishing empty, businesses closing down and residents not feeling the sense of community they bought into." The study, by University of British Columbia (UBC) planning professor Andy Yan, indicate  read more »

Children Falling from High Rises in New South Wales

Frustrated young children confined in the small apartments proliferating in New South Wales are naturally inquisitive and incapable of judging risks.  They climb onto window sills or balustrades to fall onto concrete many metres below.

The results have been appalling. In Sydney during the period 1998 to 2008 169 children have fallen to serious injury or death, and, as the proportion of apartments increase, so do these tragic incidents, of which there is now one a week.  read more »

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Portland's Slothful Creative Class?

In an article entitled "Portland area's college-educated workers depress metro earning power by choosing low-paying fields, shorter hours," The Oregonian's Betsy Hammond reports on a new study decrying the less than robust economic impact of Portland's younger college graduates, especially males.  read more »

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