Mayor races, OHSU and beer.

The Eastside Guy
When you’re low on dough
By Dave Lister, BrainstormNW

I miss Blitz-Weinhard beer. Brewed right here in Portland and served up in stubby, brown bottles, it had a crisp, clean taste that can’t be found anymore. In the years since the brewery closed I’ve tried to find a replacement. Pabst is close, but not the same. Schlitz doesn’t work for me. Bud has a bite I don’t care for. Coors is like drinking water. And the microbrews? Forget about it. I’m looking for a beer, dammit, not a cultural experience.

Blitz put out a low-end version of that beer in the same stubby brown bottles, but with a different label. It was called Bohemian. Some said it wasn’t the same. Some said it was drawn from the bottom of the vat. But I couldn’t tell any difference. It tasted the same to me. The only difference I saw was a cheaper label that fell off in your hand after a couple gulps while the bottle sweated on a hot day.

No matter how strapped for cash you were, you could always scrounge up enough change for a six-pack or a quart of Bohemian. Because of that, we developed a saying: “When you’re low on dough, reach for Bo.”

It was the early 1970s, and I was working in Portland’s thriving warehouse district for a wholesale company. We sold everything from pipe fittings to pitchforks to neighborhood hardware stores all over the region. Our place was on Northwest 21st and Flanders, right across the street from the Tastee Freeze. We spent our days packing boxes with batteries, padlocks, nuts and bolts, and spray paint. We unloaded 40-foot semis filled with shovels, rakes and hoes. We’d laugh at the cloud of dust that bloomed up when we dropped a crate of 4-foot-square asbestos stove boards on the hardwood floor. Nobody knew then that asbestos was a problem, and as near as I can tell it didn’t do me any harm.

Everett was the driver who picked up for one of our best customers. We called him Ev. We marveled every week at his skill as he backed a huge semi into our tiny loading dock on the skinny side street. We treated Ev with special care for good reason. Our place was his second stop after picking up at the Blitz brewery. And like magic, after he was done loading up, we’d find a cold case of Bohemian sitting atop the bales of binder twine that we kept between the stacked boxes of garden hose and the ricked bundles of shovels and hoes. About 3 o’clock we’d congregate in that spot and pop the tops off the lukewarm bottles of beer with the diagonal cutters we carried in our aprons to cut the steel banding wrapped around pallets of pipe fittings and farm implements. We called them “dykes.” I don’t think they call them that anymore.

I can still remember how good that beer tasted. After six or seven hours of hard, physical work, our sweaty little crew would pop those tops and knock down two or three of the stubby 12-ouncers, usually with a couple of Camel cigarettes. Our boss didn’t care; he was right there with us.

Back then, Portland was a blue collar town. Not far from our place were both Coast to Coast and True Value’s distribution centers. Berenson Hardware was around the corner. Down on the waterfront, they were busily cutting up the last of the Liberty ships from the war for scrap and enjoying hefty U.S. Navy ship repair contracts. Right out of high school you could find a good paying job “” one that would allow you to raise a family and afford a real home with a patch of yard around it.

Thirty years later, there’s nothing but the ghosts and phantoms of those great jobs. The Blitz brewery is long gone, replaced by condos and high-end retail. The warehouse district is now the Pearl District, and the waterfront will soon be condos. Young people are confronted with a minimum-wage economy, live six to a flat, and embrace bicycling because they can’t afford to own an automobile. The so-called “creative class” enjoys the nightlife here, until their money runs out, and then they move on to greener pastures. And our politicians proclaim what a wonderful, green, sustainable city we have created.

The legacy of the Goldschmidt-Katz era is clear. Portland has been gentrified by design. Maybe because the dot-com bubble of the ’90s masked the loss of those jobs by the tremendous, but temporary, profits gained by stock speculation, real estate speculation and day trading, we have lost our blue collar job base. Vera Katz let it happen. Her chief of staff, Sam Adams, provided the arm-twisting to make it happen. They ran Columbia Sportswear out of town and spent untold sums of public money on failed civic monuments.

The starkest testimony to this failure, perhaps, is South Waterfront and the tram. OHSU’s Peter Kohler, along with Mayor Katz, proclaimed that a massive public investment would net a burgeoning biotech industry cluster, and that the jobs lost from the thriving warehouse district would be replaced by this new, cutting edge economy. Adams embraced his boss’ vision, took over, and made sure the tram was completed.

We now know the truth. OHSU is broke. The condo towers stand unfinished and unsold, and the biotech jobs will be in Florida.

I don’t think we can afford any more of this. I don’t think we can afford Sam Adams as mayor of Portland. I don’t think we can afford to raise taxes and fees to fix a crumbling infrastructure when $30 million of one-time surplus has been spent to bail out OMSI, augment the arts, and pander to the bicycle alliance.

Sho Dozono is a man I admire. Like me, he’s an Eastside Guy. His background is impressive. In contrast to career politician Adams, Dozono has been a teacher, a businessman, a coach, and a community leader. His earnest advocacy for the public school system led him to spearhead the community’s bailout of the disintegrated Portland public schools a few years ago, and his patriotism led him to lead a huge group of Portlanders to New York City to show our support after Sept. 11.

Portland, and the nation, is approaching hard economic times. I think it will probably be on the scale of the early ’80s, when interest rates soared and inflation was rampant. When we weathered that storm, we had that tremendous job base. This time, we are without that base.

During the age of the Internet, which obliterated the majority of traditional travel agencies, Dozono’s leadership allowed Azumano Travel to not only survive but thrive. That says something to me.

I think it is critical that Portland’s next mayor not only be able to read, but be able to write a business plan. City revenues will be down and spending will have to be prioritized. We won’t be able to afford the Burnside-Couch couplet, more streetcars or more esplanades. We won’t be able to afford Sam Adams. We’re going to be low on dough.

So I figure, when you’re low on dough, reach for Sho.

But what the heck do I know? I’m just an Eastside Guy.

— By Dave Lister, BrainstormNW

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Posted by at 07:30 | Posted in Measure 37 | 46 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Joey Link

    Two thumbs up 😉

  • Alan

    Interesting that you point out that “city revenues will be down” because I dont think City Council has fully realized this.

    I have not seen any cost savings or big daring agendas to reorganize and departments for cost savings or reducing bureacracy.

    Portladn needs to plan.

  • eagle eye

    Ah, Blitz. A friend of mine used to call it a “cheap chemical buzz”. He became a pretty famous scientist, maybe it was all the Blitz. It sure was cheap, I indulged a good deal. I happen to like Pabst and it too is cheap though not that cheap (even accounting for inflation). Blitz was the low end. I don’t even want to think about Bo. Wasn’t there something from Washington called the green death? Anyhow, I’m quite happy with the microbrew movement. Some things improve. But it would be nice to bring back the Blitz days …. if only.

  • Dave Lister

    Pabst in bottles, I think, is the closest. Hamms, maybe. The “green death”, was that Mickey’s perhaps?

    • eagle eye

      I’m not sure. I think it was a Washington product. There was — still is I think — an east coast product called Rolling Rock in a green bottle. Light, easy easy drinking, like Coors only lots better.

      • iwmpb

        You guys are killing me! “Green death” was Rainer Ale . . . ugggh, the name certainly fit it well. As a native Oregonian, I have always had a sense of pride in Blitz . . . I remember you could buy a 12-pack of bottles for $2.99 not that long ago (ok, maybe it was a while ago, but I’m living in deniability of my age!)

        • Dave Lister

          Yes, I remember now. Rainier Ale. UGGGG is right.

        • Chris McMullen

          My buddies and I always called it “skunk beer.”

        • eagle eye

          Yes., that’s it! Rainier. The very aptly named Green Death. Something to make Oregon proud of Blitz. And you could get it for 60 cents a pint, on draft.

  • dean

    Dave…nostalgia is certainly not what it used to be. Having grown up in the rust belt, which for the most part never made a transition from a blue collar, highly unionized manufacturing economy to a high tech/service/professional/tourism economy, the rust belt is now stagnant, aging, and in decline. The best and brightest and most educated young adults from those places are moving to places like Portland precisely because of the investments made in bike lanes, parks, natural area conservation, transit, and urban renewal. In 1985 Portland was an economic basket case, on the same downward trajectory as Pittsburg or Cleveland. That is your model for our future?

    Fuggiddaboudditt.

    One of the few rust belt cities that made a transition to a new economy is Chicago, my kinda (home) town, which is competing with Portland for the title of the “greenest” city in the United States. Yes…micro brews are associated with liberal snobs. But so what? They are way better beer, and while more expensive you don’t have to drink nearly as much (heading to the can between every can) as the watery garbage that was Blitz (or Hamms, Schlitz, Bud, Pabst, etc.). They also provide a lot of local employment at decent wages. How many people does Blitz employ these days? And they boost tourism. Who the hell would fly to Portland from Amsterdam or Frankfurt to sample our Blitz?

    Why argue with succes? If the last 20 years shows anything it is that forward thinking, build and rebuild mayors are exactly what is needed to maintain forward progress. Yes….civic projects cost money, but they result in a long lasting legacy that people can use and enjoy. Penny-wise, pound foolish conservatism will get you nothing but decline.

    Red Skelton is reported to have once said about Portland, “Nice city. I wonder if they will ever finish it?”

    Hopefully not.

    • Dave Lister

      Dean,

      I guess we will have to just disagree on this one. The city has lost thirty thousand jobs in the last decade. Sam Adams himself says 21% of portland residents are living below the federal poverty line. Building an economy on tourism means the job opportunities are mostly minimum wage hospitality industry jobs. Adams touts our small business economy, but doesn’t grasp that we need the payrolls of large employers to fuel that small business economy.

      You say “why argue with success”.

      With a high school dropout rate of 23% (again, Per Sam Adams) and the poverty rate I mentioned above I guess your definition of success is not the same as mine.

      • eagle eye

        It’s too bad Portland can’t have the “new Portland” and do what it takes to have a decent economy too. Boston seems to have done it, Chicago to a large extent too as dean says (though Chicago will always be Chicago, I hope).

    • eagle eye

      “while more expensive you don’t have to drink nearly as much (heading to the can between every can) as the watery garbage that was Blitz (or Hamms, Schlitz, Bud, Pabst, etc.).”

      A deep misunderstanding here, extremely important to clear this up. Those watery beers are not necessarily lower in alcohol. Pabst is 5.0% alcohol by volume. (Another important distinction: % alcohol by volume is not % alcohol by weight. 5% by volume is about 4% by weight. So 12 oz. of 5% beer contains about .5 oz. of absolute ethanol.

      The microbrews are not necessarily higher in alchohol. Many of the McMennamin’s brews are under 5.0% by volume. Most are not much higher. Something like Deschutes Obsidian Stout, one of their more alcoholic beers is 6.2% by volume. Read it on the bottle. Or take Guinness draft (not the high-alcohol special export version, but the regular draft). It is right around 4.0% by volume i.e. less alcoholic than most “regular” American brews like Pabst or Bud.

      • Dave Lister

        Great explanation. Precisely why I switched to Scotch.

        • eagle eye

          Ah the truth comes out, you learned to like high-octane! So much for the Blitz/Bo nostalgia!

          • Dave Lister

            Well, if Blitz were still around (or Bo) I would buy it. It would make a good chaser.

    • CRAWDUDE

      Dean, I guess every region has it bad beer brands. Back in Minnesota we had, gag, Grain Belt. I know you had to have experieced that, lol!

      A cheap Pabst beer known as ” Red, White and Blue” and the socially unacceptable Blatz. A friends dad drank that cuz he knew even we wouldn’t sink that low and steal it out of their fridge,lol!

      But my favorite was Steinhouse, brewed in New Ulm, Minnesota. $2.10 for a case………..and thats was with the bottle deposit. We used to play cards and the losers had to chug a whole bottle, talk about some transparent cheating, lol!

      Thanks for the article Dave, I’m not from here but the “back in the day” beer stories brought me back to simpler time………..if only briefly 🙂

  • Bob Clark

    Dave-

    I share your lack of enthusiasm for Sam Adams, the politician and current commissioner. However, for me it is not so much the economics but the associated densification and escalating cost of living. I think the economy will muddle its way out of the current flat line sometime later this year because the Federal Reserve has put out the proverbial “punch bowl” of easy money, and then too, there’s the tax rebate stimulus checks we’ll be getting soon. Another major thing floating Portland is the influx of over taxed Californians to places like Oregon and Washington. Cityhall and Oregon at large are pandering to the influx of rich retirees.

    Cityhall is aided greatly by Metro which restrains the dispersement of these migrating rich retirees to high density developments in Portland city proper. Limiting road expansion and bridge expansion also aids in steering the influx to Portland city proper. Attracting these rich retirees means building glitzy new things like street cars, subsidizing high rises, and paying for shelter for transients no matter how futile.

    This is a bummer for longtime natives like me who live in the old single family homes with yards on the east side or north side. We don’t want to be overshadowed by the highrise concrete condos now dominating the Pearl. While we occassionally use the bike lanes for safer biking, we also still need a car or truck to haul stuff to fix our homes/yards and other. A car is just a huge time saver. Yet commissioner Adams’ plans of plastering the east-side with streetcars represents a big encroachment for automobile driving and even bicycling. Unlike buses, streetcars are inflexible and slow moving road hogging contraptions. Also, there will probably be a push to build high rises alongside the streetcars. In other words, more congestion and high density for the now relatively quiet and soothing single family residential neighborhoods on the eastside.

    Finally, Portland city government debt is growing leaps and bounds based on the findings of Jack Bog’s blog – this debt raised inorder to finance these new public amenities, which many of us could care less about. Each Portlander now owes indirectly through city government debt obligations more than $8,000, or more than $32,000 for a family of four. Portlanders could get hit hard if migration patterns were to change and it no longer attracted affluent inter-state immigrants. Cityhall would be bound to raise taxes on its residents rather sharply.

    P.S do you like Sam Adams the beer?

    • Dave Lister

      Bob,
      As a lifelong native living in a 1923 bungalow close in NE I absolutely agree with you.

      As far as beer is concerned, I don’t care much for any of them. Somewhere along the line I turned into a red wine drinker.

      I like a good chianti most of all, but usually buy cheap Merlot.

      • eagle eye

        Ah, more self-outing. A wine-swiller along with the scotch. An effete elitist just like the lefties. I believe your nostalgia for blitz is just that. If it was really still around, you probably wouldn’t be able to stand it.

        At least it’s red wine you’re drinking. But chianti and merlot? No taste for the local stuff for which Oregon is famed? And you wonder why the economy is bad?

      • Terry Parker

        Dave and Bob, you are both right on target. Sam is living in a bubble of his own making while stacking the deck on citizen advisory committees to keep that bubble intact. His personal pet project agenda of congesting city arterials by wedging in streetcars and giving the pedal pushers a free ride on specialized or exclusive infrastructure such as the Flanders Street bridge (costing not just paint but millions of dollars) is totally absurd – especially when it is taken into account that some of the public dollars for those frills could be utilized to maintain the crumbling infrastructure already in place. Obviously Sam was deprived of having a Lionel Train Set and maybe even a bicycle in his childhood. Instead of shaking up City Hall, it would be more accurate to state that his plans are to shake down the taxpayers by digging deeper into their pockets and increase the public debt for his toys, both of which will increase the cost of living in the City and go against the effort to create more affordable housing. Basically he is hosing the majority of public for his fantasies.

        I was born and raised in Portland and live on the Eastside in a modest single family house with a small yard. I too reject the concept of towering high density structures being built on the arterials along with streetcars in and around my neighborhood – even more so if any of this development is subsidized with public dollars. If this type of development is allowed to occur, it will definitely reduce and/or destroy the tranquility of living on the Eastside while negatively impacting the quality of life in single family home neighborhoods.

        Because this upcoming election is one of the most important in Portland’s history – it will define whether Portlanders want to be dictated to by an ambitious monarch, or whether they want an objective statesman with a public decision making process where all citizen opinions and concerns are equally valued and listened to – for the first time in as many elections as I can remember, and for only the second time since I was of age to vote, do I have a lawn sign displayed. And as you might have already guessed, it is NOT the RED target one that has the less than accurate slogans such as “keep Portland moving forward” (reinventing the 1920’s and congesting streets is not moving forward) or “Portland belongs to all of us” (all of us not defined or even represented in the Adams view of transparency) – it is BLUE!

      • CRAWDUDE

        I was working in Spain for a few weeks back in 2000 and fell in love with the Spanish red wines, Rioja, Navarre, and Ribero Del Duero. You can find many placed that have these for about $12 a bottle, give’m a try, they are a steal. I know Trader Joes carries them from time to time.

  • John Fairplay

    This thread just goes to show you how one’s political views might color their view of the world. To Dean, 21 percent living under the poverty level and a 23 precent drop-out rate equals “success,” primarily because they indicate a population that is likely to be dependent on government programs for their subsistence for life. These numbers equal or exceed some of the other great liberal “successes” like Detroit. Middle class Portlanders are – and have been – fleeing for the suburbs so they can have “a patch of yard” for their kids to play in. Some are even moving over to Dean’s neck of the woods where they are showing signs of putting a stop to the kind of nonsense they thought they’d left behind in Starnesville. None of the 30,000 jobs Portland has lost have been government employees.

    It is only a matter of time before Portland collapses under the weight of its “leaders'” poor decisions. Per capita public debt is already over $8,000 with perhaps another $1 billion on the ballot this November. Governor Kulongoski ought to consider placing tolls on all roads leading out of Portland. The State would never want for money again.

    • dean

      John…Detroit represents one of the rust belt cities that failed to make the transition, not one that I would put forward as any success, liberal or otherwise. Detroit is a one industry town that declined in proportion to the decline of domestic automobile manufacturing. Portland could easily have done the same thing by following the decline of our timber industry if we had not had forward thinking leaders who invested.

      Yes…Portland still has poor people and poor people’s kids who don’t make it through school. And if we were a failing rust belt city instead of a transitioning service/high tech. tourism city we would probably have even more poor people, even more dropouts, and fewer people with money to tax for those bike paths, parks, trolleys and streetscapes.

      I just do not see the “fleeing to the suburbs” that you do. A 1500 square foot craftsman house on a 5000 square foot lot in east Portland costs as much or more than a 2500 square foot ranch burger on an acre here in Damascus. With extra space comes extra maintenance, and teh extra distance means more time commuting, running errands and so forth. And a rider mower costs a lot more than one of those old fashioned rotators. The market for large lot suburban homes is not what it used to be, and that is where you will find most of the foreclosures nationally.

      And if we Damascans do manage to “put a stop” to the new development Metro is trying to foist on us, we are going to cost ourselves $2 billion in land value by my back of the envelope calculations. Talk about dumb.

      The low wage service jobs Dave points to, hospitality industry and so forth, need not remain low wage. In Vegas, San Francisco, New York, and I think Boston, these jobs have become unionized and pay middle class wages, nearly as good as the industrial wages of yore. And those industrial wages were also mostly minimum wage before unionization. There no special skill needed to load trucks (I did it in Chicago at Nabisco after a 2 minute orientation. I learned quickly that crates of fig newtons are way heavier than crates of salerno butter cookies, yet we got paid piece work).

      Once the Teamsters move in the wages become middle class, and the same will happen in the service industries if we will recognize the value of middle class wages and start working towards that. And these service jobs can never be off-shored.

      EE…its not the alcohol that matters in beer. Its the hops, the brewing method, the attention to detail. Mass market industrial beers can’t create distinct flavor because they would lose their audience. Oregon Pinot is great stuff, but too expensive for nightly quaffing. I’m with Dave on the much cheaper very pleasant chiantis, though he can have the merlot.

      I hope Chicago remains Chicago, but lets not get all nostalgic about grit. I had my nose broken multiple times growing up there, was shot at, and had baseball bats swung at my head. Here…30 years and change without anyone so much as taking a swing at me. I’ve learned to like that part, and probably would not remember to duck if something serious happened.

      • eagle eye

        “its not the alcohol that matters in beer. Its the hops, the brewing method, the attention to detail. ”

        Sure, sure, that is one helluva excuse for getting drunk. “It was the lousy hops that made me do it”.

        I too have lived in Chicago and have no desire to go back for very long.

      • Terry Parker

        John,

        Families fleeing to the suburbs can be validated by the continual decline in Portland Public School enrollment and the overcrowding of students in the surrounding school districts, including in Clark County

      • dmf

        I wish I was as smart as you. If I was, I would know everything like you do. But I’m not as smart as you. I do however look at things as they are, not through the rose colored glasses you use.

        • Terry Parker

          The only reason for anybody to wear rose colored glasses in Portland is to provide the wisdom to see through Sam’s ominous bubble and the costly foolishness of his doctorial pet project snail rail streetcar and bicycle babble agenda.

          • dmf

            Then why does dean wear them. Oh, I know, he lives in Damascus not Portland

      • cc

        “I just do not see the “fleeing to the suburbs” that you do.”

        That’ll happen if your eyes are closed.

        “And a rider mower costs a lot more than one of those old fashioned rotators.”

        “rotaries”, oh rural one.

        “The market for large lot suburban homes is not what it used to be…”

        No, it’s better. For suburban home with lots larger than the inner city. Apples and apples.

        “And if we Damascans do manage to “put a stop” to the new development Metro is trying to foist on us, we are going to cost ourselves $2 billion in land value by my back of the envelope calculations. Talk about dumb.”

        Words like “foist” have an accepted connotation. When you use that word, and in the next sentences bemoan the results of “putting a stop” to that which is being “foisted”, you reveal either confusion or a calculated crassness. You can’t be all things to all people, dean. Either you want the development or you don’t.

        “The low wage service jobs Dave points to, hospitality industry and so forth, need not remain low wage.”

        They will, so long as illegals perform them. Where are your beloved Teamsters on illegal immigration? What would Hoffa say?

        “Once the Teamsters move in the wages become middle class…”

        Quite an assumption when the Teamsters have lost tens of thousand of members over the last few decades – as have all unions except public employees’.

        “…its not the alcohol that matters in beer. Its the hops, the brewing method, the attention to detail.”

        Once again, no subject is without dean’s purview. Never mind that he substitutes his judgements for others’. It’s telling that, even in matters of taste, where, by definition, there exists no “right or wrong”, he deigns to intruct us on the merits of our preferences.

        What you know about beermaking could be thrown out with the trub.

        • dean

          Eyes wide open cc. Show me the numbers. Show me how “the market” for homes on large lots in the Portland area is larger than it is for homes on small lots, condos, townhomes, etc. I don’t see it. Big almost always costs more than small, but that does not translate into a larger aggregate demand. And there is a lot of evidence that close in small beats far out big. Why? Maybe people prefer neighborhoods over subdivisions.

          Portland’s population increased by 7.4% from 2000 to 2007. If people are “fleeing” Portland, how can the population be increasing?The population of kids is declining as is true for cities across the US (San FRancisco being the leader,) but Multnomah County (2/3 of which is in Portland) has 22% below the age of 17 compared to 23% state wide. Hardly off the charts. And the data I found says only 13% of Portland residents are below the federal poverty line, not 21%.

          Rust belt cities?
          Boston: 0.3% population growth (2000-06). 19% below poverty line.
          Detroit: 3.4% pop loss, 22% below poverty
          Buffalo: 4% pop loss, 26% below P line
          Chicago: 0% growth, 20% below p line.

          Thanks for the corection on rotary mowers. They are not much use out here in the boonies.

          I used “foist” because it is an accurate description. About 65% of Damacans did not want to be absorbed into the UGB according to surveys at that time. The potential of forgoing $2 billion in increased property value if we end up not urbanizing is a reasonable estimate based on developable acres and development value versus rural value.

          I am neither confused nor crass. I am conflicted, as are many of my neighbors. No…it is not “I either want it or I don’t.” I “want it” if it is done well, and I don’t “want it” if it is done badly, even though I will probably make a boatload of unearned money (capital gains) either way.

          There are just as many “illegals” in Las Vegas and San Francisco as there are in Portland I would think. I don’t “love” the Teamsters, and have no idea what their position is on illegal workers, though I imagine they are opposed, as am I.

          Yes…most unions other than the service workers are declining in membership, and wages nationally are stagnant or dropping, while corporate profits are soaring. So let’s bust the government unions and finish the job. That way we can get those poverty rates up to Cleveland levels and even things out. If we make ourselves poor enough we can even stop “illegal immigration” without the expense of the fence.

          I agree with you on my knowledge of beer making.

  • Chris McMullen

    Compounding the fact that ales, Portland’s beer of choice, is much easier to make than lager (ie Blitz). Portland’s beers are overblown and tired. I do tire of the Dean’s of the world pontificating on subjects they know nothing about.

    Of course, Dean is only looking out for his best interests and like most liberals, only cares about himself.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      >Of course, Dean is only looking out for his best interests

      In that regard Deans actions do point out one truism that holds for liberals and conservatives alike:

      “Everyone is conservative in the field of their own endeavour”

      One may be liberal, support unions, living wage laws, and wealth redistribution. However when it comes to ones own environs seldom will you see anyone, liberal or conservative, insist on paying union scale to anyone who might happen to work on their home, or only buy US made garments, where workers are paid a living wage, or hand out money and support someone who refuses to work for any extended period (liberal parents with a child working on his third PhD might be the one exception here, yes, I have known some).

  • Bo

    Blitz Beer, Rainer Beer, did we fail to mention Hamms?

    • dean

      Bo…I did mention Hamms. “In the land of sky blue waters” right? Horrible stuff, great slogan.

      Chris…easier….harder….I’m more interested in better. I have met few lagers outside of Germany that are good tasting.

      Rupert…. unionizing hotel maids would boost their incomes and give them a better chance to raise their kids well, which would probably be good for the rest of us, but an individual (liberal or conservative) might still opt for a cheaper room. I agree.

      But the sum of private interests might not be what is best for the public interest, which is why we have politics in addition to economics.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >Rupert…. unionizing hotel maids would boost their incomes and give them a better chance to raise their kids well, which would probably be good for the rest of us, but an individual (liberal or conservative) might still opt for a cheaper room. I agree.

        Quite true. Methinks such a union would either have to have a death grip on all the hotels in an area, or the higher rates would assure the hotels demise. People are willing to pay higher rates for rooms if it benefits them personally, such as in more luxurious accommodations. Not many are willing to pay more for the same accommodations simply because the workers are unionized.

        >But the sum of private interests might not be what is best for the public interest, which is why we have politics in addition to economics.

        Also quite true. The political process among many other things does exist to ensure one entities private interests do not infringe on another’s. Where things run awry is when the politicians confuse their ability to regulate trade with their ability to run a business or assess the economics of one. Most politicians have not even the most rudimentary knowledge of economics or running a business, as Hils idea to freeze mortgage rates and foreclosure will attest. This is why they are politicians.

  • Anonymous

    dean is a hypocrite and a manipulator of the truth.
    His continual story telling is chuck full of misrepresentations and distortions.
    What he has is the perspective of a Damascus property owner who’s land has been labeled for development by Metro. And dean’s version of “doing it right” is what ever Metro decides with a smart growth new urbansim plan. And of course one that keeps his land in the money.

    On all fronts and all points in the land use arena dean is a purveyor of Metro style propaganda. Disregard as you would those calling the SoWa, Beaverton Round, infill and light rail the only way to go.

    Damascus is a fraud. Chosen by Metro to fullfill 1000s of acres in required UGB expansion to provide land for growth while knowing it is impossible to develope within their master planning process.
    Thereby keeping the infill and urban core push steam rolling ahead.

    dean’s ridiculous real estate comparisons and 2 billion number is just random manipulation intended to marginalize the oppostion to such dishonest land use planning. When it comes to backed up substance dean flops. Furthermore, dean’s ignorance on the real world planning outcomes region wide disqualifies him as even a pretense of expertice.

    From global warming to central planning he’s all propaganda all the time.

    • dean

      Rupert…yes, organizing one hotel in a city or region would not acomplish much. Organizing all the major hotel chains would. That is what has been done in the other cities I mentioned, and that is the way it would have to happen locally to be meaningful. If we want to have a middle class service economy that allows low skill, low education people to live their lives and raise their kids in a dignified way without needing much public support then this is the sort of thing that needs to happen, otherwise we will continue to divide and decline, in my not very humble opinion. I don’t know of any plan B other than Reaganomics, and with due respect nearly 30 years of that has not worked very well for those below the median income.

      I don’t agree that most public officials lack knowledge of economics. Many are obsessed by economics writ large, and treat economists (i.e. Greenspan) as modern day soothsayers. I do agree most lack business management skills, but these are very different subjects, and most economists (i.e. Greenspan) would also flop at running a business, as most business people seem to flop at politics (i.e. Ross Perot).

      My anonymous coward leaps out from the shadows to call names and attack…slinking back into the shadows as quickly as he appears. En guarde!

      Okay…some “real world” economics for you. Rural zoned farm and forest land outside the UGB sells for around $20K per acre. Land zoned for urban uses within the UGB is $200-600K per acre. Damascus has 10,000 acres, of which about 1500 is already developed, and about 2500 that is environmentally constrained, so may only be lightly developed or avoided altogether. That leaves 6000 acres. At the low end you get around $1.2 billion in increased land value. I used $2 billion as a below average figure that reflects documented land sales in adjacent communities that have completed their urbanization plans,within the Metro framework you scoff at: Happy Valley and Gresham. Ridiculous? Random manipulation? Propaganda? Let’s see if your math is as good as your cowardly name calling.

      You have no idea what my version of “doing it right is,” so limit yourself to putting words in your own anonymous mouth.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >Rupert…yes, organizing one hotel in a city or region would not acomplish much. Organizing all the major hotel chains would.

        Well duh, obviously if one hotel, or half the hotels in a city unionize, then no one will stay at them as their rates would be exorbitant.

        Force must be used!

        Give the people no choice and they will have to pay someone $30 an hour for a $8 and hour job. Yippee!

        >That is what has been done in the other cities I mentioned, and that is the way it would have to happen locally to be meaningful.

        I guess, I mean whatever. Maybe you are referring to Chicago as one of those cities. I have done trade shows in Chicago, and let me tell you, you are not allowed to carry in anything in to the show floor due to union regulations. If you take out so much as a screwdriver to set up your booth, some union thug will be all over you well, like union thugs beating up a replacement worker. The result? I jack the prices through the roof! I make no more than what I would in a non union situation, my customers pay more, so they have less, and the union thugs? Well, I guess they get to live middle class lives on less than a high school education. Great!

        The State is happy because prices are jacked up, so they get more sales tax.

        The Union thugs are happy because a guy with a hand truck is now making $30 an hour and up.

        I’m sort of middle of the road because I am making no more, no less.

        My customers are impoverished because now they have to pay more, because I charge more, because I had to pay union thug guy with hand truck. And let me tell you – You want to see someone move slow? I mean real slow, achingly slow? Pay a guy $30 an hour to run a hand truck and you will see.

        >If we want to have a middle class service economy that allows low skill, low education people to live their lives and raise their kids in a dignified way without needing much public support then this is the sort of thing that needs to happen

        Wait, who are you talking about here? Those lucky enough to get into the union? Uh, well, I guess so. Oh, wait, you must be talking about them, not the skill-less poor low education types who will have to pay higher prices. Their standard of living will be lowered. Sorry, my mistake.

        Wait a second? Are you talking about everyone being in a union? I mean that’s the only way anyone is going to be able to afford anything. Then doesn’t that just change things from low class 7-11 worker, making $8 and buying a pizza for $12 from a kid making $8 an hour to:

        Unionized 7-11 worker, making $30 and hour, buying a pizza for $45 from some union pizza kid making $30 an hour?

        What’s the diff?

        Oh wait, that would result in huge wage inflation, which means??????

        Wait!

        I am on to you sly dog!!!!!!

        Genius………everyone moves into a higher tax bracket, more people start paying the alternative minimum tax ( never indexed for inflation, sigh, they only had the best intentions at heart ) and the government gets more money!!!

        Pure genius I do have to say!

        >I don’t know of any plan B other than Reaganomics, and with due respect nearly 30 years of that has not worked very well for those below the median income.

        Actually it worked very well. Quite a few moved out of poverty under Regan. Hmm, under Clinton, when we soaked the rich, the disparity between rich and poor grew. I have no idea if you were of working age during the Carter years, but I can assure you, the Regan economy was quite a welcome blessing. Unemployment was at its lowest level in like forever. Wages for low skill workers did indeed fall, but that was more due to loss of unionized manufacturing jobs because frankly, our cars sucked.

        Look, if you think that unionizing everyone and erecting trade barriers is going to work, I would invite you to take a look at council housing in the UK. Anyone who thinks the days of graduating with a GED, and being able to make enough money to raise a family in middle class fashion with a low skill job are coming back, is an absolute idiot.

        Anyone who thinks erecting trade barriers will accomplish this should really sit down with someone who runs a business that exports. You want to see unemployment that will make people Carter’s four year look like a blessing? Just try it

        >I don’t agree that most public officials lack knowledge of economics.

        Of course they do. To wit, we have a major political candidate, Hillary, who is proposing freezing interest rates and foreclosures. We just recently had a debate between her and BO where it was pointed out that when capitol gains taxes were raised, revenues went down. They repeatedly insisted that they thought it would be great therefore to raise capitol gains rates.

        My point was really with regard to the economics of running a business. The vast majority of public officials have no concept of any such thing. This is demonstrable on a local level where we here endless talk from those running for secretary of state about raising the corporate minimum tax. They seem to think that somehow because most Oregon corporations pay the minimum, then they must be pulling something . Bad bad evil corporations. What would be nice would be to inform some of these brain surgeons that probably in most states corporations pay the minimum or zero taxes. That’s because most corporations are type S. Ill leave it to you to figure out the significance of that, as I assume your business is a type S corporation.

        Ok – Moyers is on with BO’s KKK minister, Jerry Wright, I gotta check this out. See ya!

  • jfe

    Dave writes a good opinion piece.
    I wonder, though, whether blue collar jobs are going to come back to Portland or any city in the United States with the trade regime now in place. Established manufacturing is going off-shore in droves to low cost platforms like China. And start up manufacturing usually spins off from an established base, by people already in the business that want to own their own company and think there is a nich their expertise can fill. Manufacturing takes knowledge and at present America isn’t deveoping knowledgable people in the manufacturing sector.

    It’s hard to get set up in America, if your idea can get stolen, then the production carried out in China.

    Dave worked in a distribution center for mom and pop hardware stores. That isn’t coming back. There is distribution work, but more and more that’s done in-house by large companies.

    Dave’s concerns are justified, in regards to Portland’s business climate. Portland has done okay in the new economy, it could be better, as others have pointed out, it could be worse, but the risk is that Portland will start to fall behind because new companies won’t be started and established companies won’t come to Portland if there is a high tax business climate. Companies will just go someplace else where the taxes are lower and the red tape hassles are less.

    Getting back to my theme at the top of this comment. While Portland and Oregon governments can effect the business climate, there are basic issues outside state and local government’s control. Manufacturing is an endangered species in America. Manufacturing was one of the pillars of blue collar jobs, including in Portland. I would also argue that manufacturing contributes to innovation and productivity increases.

    Those that think America can get by solely on a service sector economy are sorely mistaken. The Dollar’s drop against the Euro by half is partly responsible for the rise in gas prices. Part of the Dollar’s drop is due to America’s trade deficit in manufactured goods.

    Could it be that Dave’s world will never be recreated as long as the door is wide-open to China, and how long will it be until America has sold its soul to China, and China calls the shots or is it already too late?

    Trade is good. Basically, trade is economics: The exchange of goods and services. But there are good deals and there are bad deals. America needs to get a better deal from its overseas trading partners.

    There was nothing wrong with Bohemian beer, but I always liked Henry’s Private Reserve better. Here’s to more blue collar folks drinking the ‘good’ stuff in Portland and beyond.

  • Anonymous

    dean,

    Who’s the coward?
    The conniving regime you belong to.

    Your so-called idea of “real world” economics and elementary lesson on real estate values is jibberish. Once again you shown yourself to have no knowledge about what you speak.
    Instead you cling to gross generalities with inside/outside UGB comparsions that mean nothing.
    Somewhere, somehow you volunteered or got assigned to peddle the dishonest central planning Metro BS here and that’s what you do.
    Your examples are ridiculous as there are many parcels right outside the UGB which have sold and get far more than 20K an acre.
    UGB parcles inside and out vary greatly in value.
    Your cherry picked values are worthless tripe for your propagandizing.
    There are countlessl acres within the UGB that have sat for many years with restricted value awaiting the other half of UGB expansion, the master planning you worship.
    Land inside UGB is valued much high only if it can be used.

    You and your central planning regime deliberatley block any and all development within UGB until Metro mandated density and types of development are possible. Then and only then do property owners realize the higher values.
    The Damascus scheme promises to include every extreme restrcition, and cost possible, adding many years to any individual property owner getting to simple devide and use their land.

    Your numbers mean squat. The environmentally constrained acreage is extreme and punished many land owners. The plan for transportation is insane and the ultimate densities resemble nothing in rural Damascus today.
    You are a slickster peddling the Metro fraud.
    Fraud that perpetrates rediculous urbanization at tremendous costs.

    But that is your version of “doing it right” as you see no other way of doing things.
    One can only wonder how you think citiies and communities around the region were ever created before Metro and central planning.

    But then you think our planning is reducing CO2 and saving us from Gloabl Warming.

    • dean

      You have no idea what you are ranting about. Not worth my time.

  • Anonymous

    You’re the one telling people they can buy 5 acres outside the UGB for only $100,000.00

    And 5 acres inside the UGB doesn’t bring $1-3 million, as you claim, unless it can be developed. Which your regime prohibits on nearly all of the UGB expansions in the last ten years.

    UGB expansions are useless and dishonest tools to further block land use for years.

    You might as well be Rex Burkholder himself peddling his balderdash here. You have the same lack of integrity and MANY people are sick of it.

    You call it name calling. I call it calling it what it is.

    • dean

      No guts, no glory….and you still make no sense. Grow up.

    • Chris McMullen

      OC’s resident Marxist can’t come up with a valid rebuttal. How typical.

      • dean

        Chris….some garbage is just not worth rebutting, particularly baseless accusations or paranoia about one’s motives from people who lack the minimum amount of courage it takes to identify themselves. Speaking of basless accusations…”resident Marxist?” Please. Save that pejorative for if and when you actually discover one. Maybe hiding under your bed?

        Land outside of the UGB is valued based on the allowed use combined with its attributes. Well over 90% of privately owned land outside UGBs in Oregon is limited to farm and forest land uses. Prices on that land vary based on soil class, irrigation rights, slope orientation, forest stocking, and other factors. $20K per acre is a reasonable average in the north Willamette Valley, which can be confirmed by a few minutes studying real estate listings in the local paper or on line.

        Lands zoned “rural residential” that can be built on are fewer and farther between. 5 acres zoned rural residential would probably have a value of around $30-40K per acre minus improvements, still far less than 5 relatively unconstrained acres within the UGB.

        The core contention of the accusing anonymous coward seems to be that land brought into the UGB does not actually have increased value because Metro has no intention of allowing it to ever be urbanized. This is a load of crap. It does take time for these lands to get developed because there are still many steps, including planning, rezoning, codes, and financing of infrastructure. Developers typically have a multi-year horizon when they invest in land, and the more uncertain the outcome, the less they are willing to pay. But the value of local exclusive farm use land went up the minute Metro decided to include it in the UGB. It will go up again if and when Damascus adopts a plan, and it will go up more if and when utilities and essential infrastructure are financed and extended to this area. Land in communities adjacent to Damascus is selling today for much more than land in Damascus because they are farther along in their planning. There is no other reasonable explanation.

        These are easily verifiable facts…and I frankly don’t care if you or anyone else chooses not to believe them because they are brought to you by the keyboard of a liberal. That is your problem, not mine. But you can’t change the math, because math knows no ideology.

        Last point. If you or your cowardly anonymous friend want to change the “Metro regime,” then get busy and find someone to run for their elected council. There are 3 or 4 seats in the present election with no serious opposition to any of the incumbants. So stop whining and get busy.

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