Portland

Studying the Wrong Cities Will Lead to Repeating Their Mistakes

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The junket factor must be the only logical criteria by which various industry “study tours” overseas are planned. How else to explain how entirely inappropriate the choices are? The list of cities identified for “study” by Australian development and planning industry bodies reads like the pages of a glossy weekend travel magazine: we’ve seen study tours to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Copenhagen, London, Vancouver and (of course) Portland. The purpose? One recent blurb promises it is “to expand our horizons and bring new ideas back to Aussie shores.”  read more »

Of Niche Markets and Broad Markets: Commuting in the US

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The six transit legacy cities - mostly urban cores that grew largely before the advent of the automobile - increased their concentration of transit work trips to 57.9% of the national transit commuting, according to the 2018 American Community Survey. At the same time, working at home strengthened its position as the nation’s third leading mode of work access, with transit falling to fourth. The transit commuting market share dropped from 5.0% in 2017 to 4.9% in 2018.  read more »

How to Sell Forced Densification to Libertarians

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When cities pass zoning rules (as Missoula, Portland, and many Portland suburbs have done) mandating minimum-density zoning — so that people are forced to either build high-density housing in existing low-density neighborhoods or build nothing at all — libertarians lead the charge against such rules. But urban planners have managed to achieve the same result, and gain the support of some who consider themselves libertarian, by:  read more »

Inclusionary Zoning Flops in Portland

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As the price of housing continues to rise in many cities, one popular progressive policy idea to address it is inclusionary zoning. Inclusionary zoning requires that a certain percentage of units in a building be priced at below market, targeted at people who earn some fraction of the area median income. Often this set aside is required in exchange for density bonuses or other things the developer might want.  read more »

Subjects:

Portland’s Congestion Plans Are Working

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Portland’s transportation policies are working. At least, they’re working if you think their goal is to increase congestion in order to encourage people to find alternatives to driving. At least, the increased-congestion part is working, but not many are finding alternatives to driving.  read more »

Portland Housing Stupidity Grows

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Here’s an incredibly stupid idea to deal with Portland’s housing affordability problems: Multnomah County proposes to build tiny houses in people’s backyard. The people will get to keep the houses on the condition that they allow homeless people to live in them for five years.  read more »

Super Bowl: Super Subsidy Sunday

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Imagine what it would cost to fly from New York to Los Angeles if the country tolerated a National Airline League? Answer: about what a “personal seat license” will cost at the new City of Champions Stadium in Los Angeles, say $28,000.

In the latest shifting of NFL deckchairs, the League raided St. Louis, San Diego, and Oakland — cities that need things to cheer about — and told team owners that they are free to move to Los Angeles, the city of tomorrow, because of its willingness, today, to chip in on the construction of a $2.66 billion stadium in Inglewood, a city within Los Angeles, for the Rams and possibly the Chargers.  read more »

How Portland Is a Lot Like Texas

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One theme I always hammer is that you have to look at proposed policy solutions in the context of the area where you want to apply them.

A great example of this is Portland’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB). The UGB, a policy that limits suburban development outside of a line drawn around the Portland region, is widely admired and perhaps even seen a type of holy grail policy in terms of preventing sprawl.  read more »

Driving Farther to Qualify in Portland

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Portland has been among the world leaders in urban containment policy. And, as would be predicted by basic economics, Portland has also suffered from serious housing cost escalation, as its median multiple (median house price divided by median household income) has risen from a normal 3.0 in 1995 to 4.8 in 2014.  read more »

The “Inner Cleveland” of Trendy Cities

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Check out these photos and try to guess where they were taken. If you thought Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Buffalo, Cincinnati, or a dozen other Rustbelt towns you’d be mistaken, although your confusion is completely understandable. It’s actually Portland, Oregon – that bastion of liberal, crunchy, hippie, yuppie, hipster, eco-friendliness. Go figure. I’m not putting down Portland. Portland is great. I love Portland. I’m making a point about the reputation of some cities and how we perceive places differently based on a lot of vague stereotypes.  read more »