Portland 3000

Albert Kaufman

I've been walking around my neighborhood lately, and have noticed lots of spray-painted areas where sidewalks are cracked and are to be repaired. My thoughts when I see this is: are we really spending all of this money to replace something that's just going to break (either through tree roots pushing up sidewalks, or regular wear and tear) again in the not too distant future? If we were thinking 50-100-200 years into the future - we might consider different solutions - perhaps leaning towards removing asphalt rather than replacing it. And all of the money going into turning corners into easier-to-use corners (ADA accessible), that really makes me wonder - isn't there a cheaper way to turn what we have into something that can be biked/skate-boarded or roller-skated on and off of - like a small ramp instead of completely re-doing, and re-pouring the sidewalks seems like a good start to me. Anyway, that got me to thinking about how we might be doing things differently if we were planning for a Portland 100 or 1,000 years from now.

We all know cheap oil is going away - so that probably also means the cheap fixing of our streets is also going away. So, I'm mostly wondering out loud here, but I guess I'm posing the question and I'm curious what people think about the concept of long-range planning.

For instance: we all know that putting on chains and studded snow tires wrecks our roads. So, why didn't the message come out loud and clear over the past 2 weeks: Please don't drive unless it is absolutely necessary. Why wasn't that transmitted loud and clear by every government agency with a loudspeaker/blog/radio transmitter/e-mail/TV, etc.? Instead, we heard that we should support the economy through shopping, and get to work, if possible. During the storm I wondered to myself, do we have the ability to stop if we need to? I'll rephrase it - when it makes sense for our society to come to a stop - for our own good, for our own economic good - are we capable of doing so? My sense is that the damage done to our roads by people driving with chains and studded tires far outweighed the profits made by area retailers. And I know, local retailers are hurting, no doubt about that. I'm not trying to be insensitive here, but am trying to make a few points about how looking down the road a few years, we might do things differently.

We seem to be on a very "live for today" diet in this country. If we were looking further down the road how might we do things differently? Portland Mayor, Sam Adams wants to plant 80,000 trees in a year. If we were envisioning a future where we had to grow more of our food (I do), might we want to plant 80,000 fruit and nut trees a year, starting now? How about policies that make it really simple to grow food in your yard and sell or share that with your neighbors - how about a City Urban Ag department - helping Portland transition into a city that grows more of its own food?

What kinds of changes would you suggest as you consider Portland 100, 200 or 1,000 years from now? And, fill in your City/State here: Bend 3000? Oregon 3000?
Portland

Comments

  • Joanne Rigutto (unverified)
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    I'm not sure which tv, radio stations you were watching or listening to, but all the ones I was watching/listening to - 2, 6, 8, 12 for the local tv stations, and KPOJ, KXL, KEX for the radio stations, were all saying 'If you don't absolutely have to go out, stay home'. If that's not clear enough, I don't know what to say. I didn't hear any one on any of those stations, and I listen/watch from around 4:30am - 7:00pm for news, talk, etc. 7 days a week, say anything different. No one said 'Get to work to shore up the economy' or anything to that effect. I did hear stories about how the storm was hurting the retail stores in the area, but I never heard anyone say for people to get out there regardless of how dangerous things were, and go shopping.

    In addition to this, the bulk of the time that chains were used, it was on streets that were covered by snow/ice. I don't think that chains, being used on this type of surface, are going to damage the pavement. OK, if chains are used on bare pavement that's something else, but mostly they were not.

    Personally, I think that the city did as well as could be expected, all things considered.

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    Yup. I watched the entire Sam Adams press conference live on tv on the 23rd. Hismessage was: please stay home; only go out if you're prepared. He didn't say "please go shopping" until prompted by a reporter -- and then he asked people to shop locally and to travel on foot, safely.

  • Albert Kaufman (unverified)
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    One of the news stories I'm referring to was the OPB special which featured Ryan Deckert of the OBA who seemed to be wondering why all the fuss? Admittedly that was during week 1 of the shutdown :) That said, I still was reading in the O about how the "stores are still open, folks" - ya gonna let a little snow stop you from dashing out there between the flakes?" One of the morning headlines was something like "Shoppers dash to local stores between storms" or something like that. The headlines should have been "Stay Home, folks!".

    Many cars were riding the highways with chains when the highways were clear - and if you've driven around I-5 lately, you'll see the result - it's intense!

    That said, I hope some will respond to the general question: what changes in our behavior/planning should we make when we consider this place in 100-1000 years?

  • Just guessing (unverified)
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    Just guessing here....

    You are a public employee, right? Or maybe you work for a non-profit? Obviously your livelihood doesn't depend on commerce or producing anything that has to get to a market anywhere.

    Yeah lets just shut the city down when it snows. We all work for the public sector so who will really notice?

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    Good for you! City Ag Dept -- Great stuff. The Portland Peak Oil Task Force report -- an excellent report, by the way -- appears to have been shelved and forgotten already ... it should be dusted off and the new supercharged sustainability/planning office should be tasked with making quarterly (if not more often) reports to the Commissioners on issues such as this.

  • billy (unverified)
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    Albert: What kinds of changes would you suggest as you consider Portland 100, 200 or 1,000 years from now? Jk: FIRST: I would recognize that planning more than a few years out is not possible. Long range planning requires knowing the future, which is not possible. Let me give an example:

    It is 1910 and you must plan for an adequate supply of horse shit shovels and oats supply for transport horses out 50 years. You completely miss planning for the first freeway, because cars were not in wide use and won’t be for another 10-20 years. BTW, cancel that order for oats and horse shit shovels.

    SECOND, I would fire 180 of Portland’s 200 planners.

    THIRD, I would dramatically increase the capacity of our light rail lines, speed up service, and reduce forced intermodal transfers py paving over the tracks (rail will be re-bars) and running buses. Same for the congestion creating streetcar.

    FOURTH: I would forbid the city from engaging in any business activity, partnerships, buying or selling real estate at other than fair market value.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    For once I would agree with JK that our serious consideration needs to be what we have more of a handle on. That said, I think it's very important where you point your nose to where you head and think that kind of thought experiment is valuable.

    My main critique, trying to be real in planning, would be that "Portland" won't be an entity in those time frames. Besides the odd 9.5 quake, we'll all probably be borg with some kind of universal consciousness that precludes a sense of place.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Hey ALbert, I hear what you are saying, I appreciate why you are musing so. But are you at all in touch with those whose rent will NOT be paid if they "Just Say No"? During inclement weather? Where I was, I was pinned down b/c there were no buses within too many miles to walk in current physical condition. It would have taken me six hours round trip to get to the office and home of a day, minimum. Only five years ago, I recall having to scrounge food boxes to get me and my son thru b/c the office I was temping in kept closing for all of their holiday half days and days-off. And I will not say what horribly low hourly sum I was paid before taxes... we would NOT have gotten the rent paid were it not for my assiduous use of the conference room telephone, looking over my shoulder and keeping my voice very very low, on breaks and lunch to track down and secure food to make up for what I could not earn for the rent.

    The utilities went unpaid up to seven hundred dollars, to be carved down once finally decently employed again. Thank god PGE was compassionate back then, for it was a horribly long haul up out of that first bubble burst and bleedout.

    Albert, lots of folks just cannot stay home! They have to work. For survival no matter what it takes. Or because they (and this is how my job is now), must maintain production to meet regs and standards or what have you. I am blessed beyond dreaming now: a good boss, a small, flexible company, and able to work from home at a pinch, by remote. But one of my critical files just went out of compliance as a result fo being completely unable to get to the job site and find the needed signing directors.

    SO I have a mess to fix and it might impact the party whose materials I had to manage. That matters to me. I make a good enough wage now I could possibly have managed with a couple of days with no pay.

    But before this, I would have been on the streets or hungry, take your choice, with an innocent boy in tow.

    This economy is a bastard, has been since 1999. We do indeed need to find fixes: but we need to control for our bourgeous frame of reference - it sneakly sneaks in upon our musings.

  • rw (unverified)
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    OK, on-topic:

    Liveability: human-scale development/redevelopment as fixing and Planning changes come due. No wallet-crushing overhauls, but rejigger things when it is time to fix them, like what you mention viz sidewalks and modes of transport-useage such as skates, skateboards and bikes as well as ADA considerations.

    Likewise, high-density and drive-through ghettos such as that stretch of Hall they use for a dragstrip... need zoning and useage that encourage them to become walkable and neighborhoody. Right now, such areas are ONLY alternate routes for people going somewhere else, or where we boxed in apartment dwellers get off a bus or out of our car to climb stairs into our boxes. Nothing there to walk to or enjoy, no contact neighbor to neighbor except waiting at bus stops in the morning or getting off at night.

  • jaybeat (unverified)
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    Albert, as always, thank you for helping us to think beyond BAU, even if many of us apparently can't.

    Lots to chew on here...in reverse chronological order?

    rw I'm afraid you are the one with the "bourgeous[sic] frame of reference"--you obviously feel that if it is unsafe for you to get to work, your employer has the right to cut your pay! Wrong, wrong, wrong. That's what sick leave, PTO, FTO, vacation pay, flex time, whatever the heck you want to call it is for. You should not have to choose between safety and making ends meet. End of story. You're right that this reflects an exploitative economy that "is a bastard" but of course that's not new, and not limited to bad weather, either.

    billyIt is 1910 and you must plan for an adequate supply of horse shit shovels and oats supply for transport horses out 50 years. You completely miss planning for the first freeway, because cars were not in wide use and won’t be for another 10-20 years. BTW, cancel that order for oats and horse shit shovels. The blinders you've got are way bigger than the ones the horses wore in 1910!! Try this, instead:

    It is 8000 B.C., and if you and your tribe aren't in a sustainable balance with the world around you, you're going to have to move, get in balance quickly, or die trying. Fast forward 10,008 years or so, and it is the same story. Freeways? Ha! A tiny blip on the radar related to our very short term discovery, use and exhaustion of fossil fuels. Hardly worth a footnote in the history books. (Oh, and I've always thought it funny how the bus routes through established neighborhoods are exactly the same as the streetcar routes they replaced. Houses don't sprout legs and walk away that much, I suppose. Not so smart to have paved over those tracks 60 years ago, now was it?)

    I would forbid the city from engaging in any business activity, partnerships, buying or selling real estate at other than fair market value. As soon as the corporate gods you apparently worship agree to do the same.

    Just guessing Obviously your livelihood doesn't depend on people pooling their resources and participating in how they will be used for the common good. What's that, you don't live alone on a completely isolated island? You only live in a government-is-all-bad-and-should-let-everyone-do-whatever-they-want-and-everything-will-be-swell fantasy-land? Ah, well then. In that case, what you say makes perfect sense.

    Now, will you all please go pollute some other NON-progressive blog so the rest of us can discuss how the heck we will try and get out of this mess alive?

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Kaarlock sez: "I would recognize that planning more than a few years out is not possible."

    So...the semiconductor industry (on which JK relies for his business) does no planning? I think only if one conceives of "planning" in an exceptionally narrow sense. Intel etc are damn straight either doing research themselves or funding research that will be critical to the next advances in semiconductor technology. Bell Labs was for years, until they became obsessed with the short term bottom line, a key center of innovation in applied physics. This sort of research is "planning" in the BEST sense: putting smart minds to work and letting them develop new technologies.

    Just guessing sez: "Yeah lets just shut the city down when it snows. We all work for the public sector so who will really notice?"

    I'm just guessing that "Just guessing" is one of those folks who likes to bitch and moan about taxes and government, and bitch and moan about how the streets were a mess last week, but at the same time doesn't want to pay for maintaining an expensive fleet of snow-and-ice removal equipment that will only be used for about one week every 4 or 5 years. I mean, this is America, after all: the motto on our money ought to be "make someone else pay the bill", not "e pluribus unum".

    Jaybeat: remember that in the Kaarlockian libertarian mindset, there is no such thing as "the common good". Ayn Rand, for example, was quite explicit about this. And as there is no such thing as "the common good", then obviously trying to plan for such is prima facie absurd. The libertarian ideology does not permit for any exceptions: if the laissez-faire ideal of each person pursuing his greedy desires does not magically produce a society in which all people have at least their basic needs taken care of, the problem by definition cannot be the ideology but rather the laziness of individuals.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Jaybeat: temp workers don't get PTO, etc. BARGAINING POWER pushes POLICY to allot workers what they get. Your comment is simply fucking obtuse.

    Those who are newly employed or may have significant health issues to which they must attend via USE of those "O"s you reel off as if an bottomless coffee cup... (myself for one) often are running close to the vest or always barely ahead of the zero on all of those lovely alphabets you name off.

    Think beyond your well-provisioned self.

  • rw (unverified)
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    SO Jaybeat: are you seriously going to tell me that I, a single mother struggling in a collapsed economy on a temp agency job at nine dollars an hour BEFORE taxes during holiday season with NO benefits, NOTHING but the wages earned from the hours worked...... was bourgois? Are you serious? And you will also tell me, the young girl who worked three jobs and six days a week on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe - carrying hod, cleaning condos and painting condo developments on a crew - sometimes for as little as five dollars an hour (mid eighties with a huge mexican and native population busing up the mountain daily)...... was bourgois? You gonna tell me that right now as I salt every dime I can into retirement POST taxes and spend the other most of it on treatment for chronic pain etc.... I am bourgois? Tell that to the guys I dropped bags of goods off to under the Hawth Bridge yesterday and today.

    At FORTY SIX I finally managed to pull myself on my own to some PALTRY position of beginning to stand still, and you'd like to say there is something wrong with that.

    Here then, pal: let me just STOP being sober, stop getting up every morning and working honestly every day. Let me stop paying my single person taxes while supporting two. Let me just lay down and let go. So you can feel good about paying for me, eh? That would be mighty enlightened of me!

    ;)... hehehehe. God that pissed me off. No, I'm not a starving tubercular [choose your favorite off-the-grid bedizened country J-off] baby with flies in her eyes and death too far on the horizon. Not THAT enlightened. NOr am I, NEARLY done raising my kid alone, a fabulous hobo poet lady out there just spreading the illusion with a kid tagging along behind me as best he can. Not these days. I'm paying my share, that of others when I can, and doing what needs done where I can spare it. There is no savings account, there is no inheritance, there is nothing left over after each paycheck has finished doing it's part. NO credit cards, no cable TV, no new cars or electronics. Hell, the TV we watch was lugged from Oklahoma, bought seventeen years ago and hauled from place to crummy old place! :)...

    Gimme a break. I kind of doubt that your Albert would piss on me - he would possibly ENGAGE the conversation. I am certain we know the same people in the non-profit, poverty-fighting fundraising world. Certain of it.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Well, damn. I flamed jaybeat, prolly should not have. I don't take kindly to being called somehow stupidly invested in the current wrong-headed world order. Sorry Jaybeat. Feh.

    OK.. let's see if I can go back to staying away from here. I did ok for a month... it was good to rest and work on my real productive things... at this point I am adding nothing.

    Let's see if I can just get lost for a while.

  • Bob R. (unverified)
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    Can't "billy"/JK keep his identity consistent within even a single comment?

  • ws (unverified)
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    What kind of changes would I suggest for down the road a bit? Affordable, decent places to live within walking or bike riding distance from where they work, go to school, church, and so forth. If the area economy didn't depend upon each working individual having to travel great distances, weather cycle extremes couldn't close in on it like a tourniquet.

    Washington County's hi-tech plants could have covered a lot less land area if they'd confined their square footage into multi-story rather than mostly single story structures. Had good, affordable community centers been located within walking/riding distance from the plants, a lot less land would have had to have been covered with asphalt to make parking lots.

  • jaybeat (unverified)
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    RW, Lord, no, I am not suggesting you haven't worked, scrapped and bled every step of the way for everything you have. You have infinite respect from me for doing so and apologies for having offended you.

    I never meant to say that YOU were bourgeois. What I do think IS bourgeois (a more accurate term would be anti-worker groupthink masquerading as "rugged individualism") is the attitude that if you or anyone else who is part-time, temporary or under-employed, that you don't DESERVE the right to choose safety without suffering economically. It speaks to how brutally effective the anti-worker mindset has been that people who lack basic work/life protections ATTACK THOSE WHO DO, rather than the managers, corporations and political parties who have prevented such protections from being established as RIGHTS generations ago, as they are in most enlightened democracies.

    True, the ultimate "victim" mentality is do turn on, drop out and expect someone else to foot the bill. But I also think we are playing a different but perhaps more insidious version of that role when we toil for a lifetime under crappy conditions, being ripped off by job after job, and then bite the hand (voice?) that suggests we deserve better. That way the ruling elites can sit back while the poor whites attack the blacks, the blacks attack the Latinos, the Latinos attack the Southeast Asians, and everybody blames everybody else (or themselves) for their plight instead of looking at the true perpetrators. Divide and conquer has been the Republican strategy since Nixon, and even at your young age, you are old enough to have seen first-hand how effective it has been.

    At FORTY SIX I finally managed to pull myself on my own to some PALTRY position of beginning to stand still, and you'd like to say there is something wrong with that.

    Not at all. I am saying that there is something wrong with the fact that you are attacking me for suggesting that you and everyone else deserves better.

    Think beyond your well-provisioned self.Actually, I have very few of those O's. None, in fact, till after the first of the year, as I am one of the "newly employed" you mention. I, too, will be scrapping the bottom of the barrel, using them to cover child sick days, snow days, etc. THAT SUCKS. I should not have to chose between having to go to work sick tomorrow, staying safe today, and actually having a paid day off next month. So called "flexible" time off is anything but flexible if you have the bad luck to be sick, or have sick children. It used to be you got 2 weeks sick leave and 2 weeks vacation, to start. Now employers give you 2 weeks "FTO" which means more time where, if you don't work, you don't get paid. Union workplaces, I would imagine, haven't suffered the same erosion.

    In Europe, working people get a freaking MONTH of vacation. Couples in Sweden get NINE MONTHS of PAID family leave. Basic human rights, if you ask me. Our societal affluence should pay for that, not some rich asshole's seventh Rolls Royce or a corporation's 200th lobbyist, buying off our government so they can take even more of the wealth generated by, that's right, We the People.

    Why not here? America? Land of the Free? Too enslaved by (artificially enforced) economic insecurity to be able to stay home from work on a snow day? Disgraceful.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    The libertarian ideology does not permit for any exceptions:

    There is no libertarian ideology. We don't immediately remember we actually liked something when the Party leadership are for it, like Democrats. jaybeat's analysis of the JK kind of libertarian is accurate. Most often, at least here, the people that find him the most irritating are the big L Libertarians, such as myself. Either we aren't a part of the party or you have to account for all the "utopian" criticisms we get. "No common good" and utopian thinking aren't exactly bedfellows.

    The biggest diff between the kinds of libertarians, I think, comes down to what the method can be applied to. The little ls are very reductionistic. The big Ls use the same method but believe loosey goosey concepts and fuzzy prinicples can be operationally defined. We're both "facts just the facts", but we admit a lot more into the universe of possibilities what can be measured than the very well characterized government-is-all-bad-and-should-let-everyone-do-whatever-they-want-and-everything-will-be-swell fantasy-land bunch. While they may glorify laissez-faire tactics, we know that you have to create a very special environment for what appears to be laissez-faire to work.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Zarathustra: Sorry, but your parsing of the difference between little-L and big-L libertarians doesn't grab me.

    I had a brief flirtation with the big-L type--your type, I gather; the Libertarian Party (but note Kaarlock ran for the legislature on the LP ticket)--about 25 years ago, when I was desperately searching for a political grouping that would take a principled anti-interventionist stance. And the Libertarian Party in fact did so. The problem was, I found just about everything else about the LP to be repellent. The LP seemed to me to be a movement almost purely of the white middle class, and moreover, the LP's core principle could be (and still can be) summed up as "I've got mine, Jack, now you fuck off." The LP then spun a nominally rational ideology around this core principle as a way to justify their greed and disdain for the common good.

    Any political movement that celebrates the author of a novel in which the "hero" is a rapist (Howard Roark in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead) has lost me.

  • GLV (unverified)
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    Let me get this straight:

    Albert you posit that cheap oil is going away, with the obvious result of less driving and more walking. Yet you also advocate ripping out sidewalks? Why? So people can slog around in the mud 7 months a year?

    Really? Am I missing something?

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    Planning is important, but trying to plan more than a decade out is difficult. Trying to plan a 1000 years out?

    One thing that real planners do, though, is try to temper pie in the sky thinking with tough reality, something Albert's musings conveniently ignore.

    Just to take one example: Albert wants us to grow our own food in Portland. That runs completely contrary to his earlier plea that we all stop using single occupancy vehicles and rely on feet, bicycles, or mass transit.

    A highly dense, highly pedestrian driven is incompatible with a city where people have the land to grown their own food. There just won't be enough land even if we allocate space for community gardens to feed a population of 800,000.

    Your vision of a dense metropolis must of necessity be "fed" by a ring of rural farms and the food will have to be transported in using rails or trucks, and then distributed to local stores using paved roads.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    A highly dense, highly pedestrian driven is incompatible with a city where people have the land to grown their own food. There just won't be enough land even if we allocate space for community gardens to feed a population of 800,000.

    Your vision of a dense metropolis must of necessity be "fed" by a ring of rural farms and the food will have to be transported in using rails or trucks, and then distributed to local stores using paved roads.

    That's a fair criticism, but I recommend a train ride in Japan sometime. On the 2+ hour long ride I took from Tokyo to Kyoto, I never got out of built-up urban areas; I also saw rice paddies and vegetable fields in what, by US standards, would be considered very peculiar places.

  • Albert Kaufman (unverified)
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    Thanks for all the comments thus far. Portland3000.com anyone? I think it is possible to think ahead into the future and base today's decisions on something more than we currently do today. I think our society's goals and aspirations are out of whack - as was evidenced by GW's call to return to business (shopping) as normal, post 9/11. I'm glad to see that consumer spending is down 75%, that, to me, is a good thing. I'd rather live in a world where we spend less time making stuff, and more time playing with our children, reading, and building lasting close relationships.

    There's a lot to answer above. And, a lot of anger. I suspect we're in a transition time right now and that those who are entrenched into their positions are going to do what they can to return society to the status quo - shop, shop, shop. I don't think the Earth (or more accurately, humans) can exist for long on such a planet, though. And, there seem to be rumors out there that we may have lost our love for, stomach for, capacity to: shop. So, we'll see.

    All that said, I really do think that with all of the technology out there and the amazing way databases can be linked, that we can make better societal decisions - that will save us money and lead to a City/State/Country where we'll all, hopefully, be more excited to live. Is standing still, and/or doing what we've been doing until now an option for going forward? I don't think so.

    So, back to my original question (hidden by sidewalk repair and driving with chains on thus ruining local roads vs. stimulating the economy)

    What choices do we make today when we consider life in 2100, 2200, etc?

    I did have a thought on those corners - perhaps what is being done (must cost about $50K an intersection) is something that will last for 100 years? So, not a terrible move, though I could imagine a cheaper fix which would not involve a complete redo of every corner...

  • Albert Kaufman (unverified)
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    And, sorry if I didn't answer every question, one I know I forgot is "what do you do". Getting Albertideation underway.

    Happy new year, everyone!

  • Al (unverified)
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    Regarding the shopping/working thing: I understand what the blogger is saying here, but I think it's not grounded in the everyday reality most people are facing.

    People have children to feed, sick children and other relatives to care for/earn for, and have crappy jobs, which they desperately need. Whether there's a way they could eat better or live more sustainably a generation or two out, doesn't matter right now. Their needs are important NOW and that's that. They need to work, and work NOW, period.

    I think the planning that needs to be done is to figure out what to do with the millions of people whose livelihoods will be phased out by the end of the "growth economy." It's not inconceivable that as places like Phoenix and Vegas literally dry up economically and physically, the Northwest will see an influx of people joining our own unemployed. How will these people be fed?

    Considering that the Willamette Valley's two main crops are nursery plants and grass seed, one major planning step would be to rehabilitate all that ornamental horticulture to food farming. Our region is among the most fertile regions in the world, and we have more water than the other guys. True enough, the nursery, Christmas Tree and grass seed industries will be drying up very soon because in a global recession, who needs to re-landscape (homeowners will be planting gardens for food anyway).

    I know it's an idea you espouse, Albert, and I espouse it too, that localization is uber-important. Although we have a long way to go to make the greater Portland area peak-oil-compliant, I think the greatest challenges, and the most aggressive work to be done, must be to create a localized infrastructure that involves all facets of a full economy: localized transportation, food distribution, business law that supports small business and manufacturing, law enforcement, housing, and some sort of a social safety net that can creatively and effectively deal with a large labor pool and not enough paid positions to absorb them.

    The TV show "Jericho" was very informative about what happens when a community is isolated and has to get by on its own resources. Worth a watch...

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    Do we even know how much food a well-tended urban lot in Portland can produce?

    Consider: http://is.gd/ekeo

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Posted by: George Anonymuncule Seldes | Dec 31, 2008 7:36:19 PM

    Do we even know how much food a well-tended urban lot in Portland can produce?

    Consider: http://is.gd/ekeo

    A lot. The knock on effects are tremendous.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    and Joel, that's exactly what I'm refuting, the "I've got mine, screw yerself mentality". It is a problem, but you see it wherever anyone gets real representation. MM people are a classic. Would you like me to characterize the Democratic Party by their worst abuses?

  • ws (unverified)
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    Some 5000 sq foot residential lots could grow a lot of food, just using a good portion of the area of the lot reflexively given over to grass turf. There are people in Portland that grow food on the roofs of their houses. The O did a story on some of these people a few years back.

    In the Portland area's not so distant past, lots of food crops used to be grown out in the Gresham area. A little further back in time, in N.E. Portland too. And of course, until it was paved over with single family dwellings about 10-15 years ago, the Bethany area in Washington County was beautiful, sweeping cropland. Lots of food could have been grown out there, but now.... .

    Cracked sidewalks due to tree roots isn't such a hard problem to solve; instead of re-pouring concrete, use sand and pavers instead. When the edges of the pavers rise up after a year or so, lift and reset them. Takes a little time, but wastes very little material.

  • David McDonald (unverified)
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    Call me crazy, but I've always thought ADA sidewalks were designed to assist people with disabilities in getting around town. Bikers, roller skaters, and skate boarders should not be benefitting from ADA compliance.

    Further... it may seem snarky or bithchy for me to write this here, but Kari, you still haven't told me what Jeff Cogan has said to you about people with developmental disabilities.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    There are people in Portland that grow food on the roofs of their houses.

    which reduces the urban "heat island" effect. Israel has scads of roof gardens.

  • Steve (unverified)
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    "Please don't drive unless it is absolutely necessary."

    What percentage of people out on the forzen roads do you estimate wree joy-riding. I really think you have to give the general populace some credit, even if you think they'll never be as smart as you.

  • (Show?)

    Some 5000 sq foot residential lots could grow a lot of food, just using a good portion of the area of the lot reflexively given over to grass turf. There are people in Portland that grow food on the roofs of their houses. The O did a story on some of these people a few years back.

    A "lot"? Please define. If I have six people living in a house on a 5000 sq ft lot, how many days of food do you think I can produce in my yard, which is (at best) about 1/3 dedicated to yard / garden? How many people have flat roofs to accommodate gardens?

    And you ignore the main point--TODAY'S 5000 sq. ft. lot may be able to accommodate a large garden but if a) you want to pack 100's 1000's more people into Portland and have a work/live/shop residential setup, then it is going to be impossible to also grow food for these people in the city because most people won't be living in single family homes on 5000 sq ft lots

    That's precisely my point--pie in the sky proposals without the barest level of scrutiny don't constitute planning. They just constitute pie in the sky.

    A dense urban environment MUST have roads. It MUST have some sort of motorized vehicular transportation to bring in and send out food and goods from surrounding regions.

    There are no short or even medium term alternatives to an interstate highway system as a primary means of transportation in a country that sprawls over a continent.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    There are no short or even medium term alternatives to an interstate highway system as a primary means of transportation in a country that sprawls over a continent.

    ...and where at least 1/3 of the land area is too arid for agriculture without large-scale reclamation projects. If not for dams and irrigation, those wheat fields in NE Oregon, say, would revert to high-desert scrub.

  • (Show?)

    Vis a comment above regarding how we're going to live here in the future - I already imagine that Recode is working on changing city codes so that it will be more acceptable (and legal) for more people to live in a house together who are not related. I believe the current law is 5 people? That said, perhaps one way we'll elegantly accept more growth is to have houses house more people than they do, currently. I imagine there are probably thousands of rooms in Portland which are not being lived in - giant houses and McMansions that house 2-3 people...

  • Lelo (unverified)
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    I love rethinking our driveways. Or, rethinking them to the point of getting rid of them. If we reduced our driveways and replaced them with gardens, think how different our world would be. See here: Paradise unpaved.

  • Steve (unverified)
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    Brilliant strategy - Rather than address today's problems with what we know, let's gin up some issues for 1000 years down the road, continually insist these will be problems and then do nothing about today's issues.

    Ah, politicians - The blind leading the blind.

  • Jiang (unverified)
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    Posted by: Albert Kaufman | Jan 2, 2009 1:06:36 PM

    Vis a comment above regarding how we're going to live here in the future - I already imagine that Recode is working on changing city codes so that it will be more acceptable (and legal) for more people to live in a house together who are not related. I believe the current law is 5 people? That said, perhaps one way we'll elegantly accept more growth is to have houses house more people than they do, currently. I imagine there are probably thousands of rooms in Portland which are not being lived in - giant houses and McMansions that house 2-3 people...

    and here's one, now, more commonly known as Kastel Billystein, with, as you say 2-3 people...

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