Have Principles Become Too Inconvenient?

Everyday I read the letters to editor I become more concerned that Oregonians and Americans are too quick to ignore basic principles in order to achieve a desired outcome more conveniently. Basic principles like “Equal protection under the law” or protecting unpopular minorities from the “Tyranny of the majority.”

Take Measure 49, it recognizes that if a property owner has the value of their property taken from them by regulation after they purchased it, the owner should be compensated. But it makes the right only apply to small property owners that only want to develop less than 4 homes. Why does the person that owned a large tract of land since the 60’s that could have been developed into 100 homes not have the same basic right in principle as the small property owner?

It is convenient for those that want to limit development without paying for the reduced value to ignore equal protection and to set-up two classes of citizens through a ballot measure. The inconvenient route would be to treat all property owners the same and pay the compensation where preservation is warranted and to allow the development where it is not.

America corrected a huge mistake when the 14th Amendment was adopted providing equal protection under the law for “All persons.” This documented a long held principle that no person is above the law. It also means that no person is below protection of the law. If persons with small measure 37 claims deserve compensation under the law, then persons with large claims should also. The right should be independent of the person and equal to all.

Measure 49 would set up a class of persons that does not receive the same rights as others, purely based on how much property they own. Why should Oregon forget such a basic principle for convenience?

Measure 50 is another example of principles being inconvenient. Smokers have become a highly unpopular minority, and as such, they are the frequent targets for politicians looking for funding. What will be the next unpopular minority to be taxed? SUV drivers? Families with more than 3 children? Bicycle riders?

The US Constitution and Oregon’s Constitution both contain checks and balances intended to protect unpopular minorities from, as John Stuart Mills so elegantly phrased it, “The Tyranny of the Majority”. Mills 1859 essay “On Liberty” warned of using democracy to impose the will and practices of the majority on those that impose them.

Pure democracy has been likened to two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for dinner. Our laws are intended to protect the lambs in our society, no matter how much their smell or their bleeting annoys the rest of the wolves.

It is inconvenient to try to make tobacco completely illegal and it is also inconvenient to convince voters to raise taxes broadly on the entire population of the state. So, the legislature chose the convenient, but unprincipled, route of picking out an unpopular minority and counting on the tyranny of the majority.

Just because we can out vote a minority and impose our will upon them does not make it right. Who or what behavior will be next?

This also brings me to another convenient lapse of principles, the urban renewal district. These districts intentionally set one class of persons above others in rights under the law, purely because of the geographic location of the property they own. The cause is a noble one but giving tax waivers and matching funding to one person who wants to build a mixed-use building and not another only based on the location is wrong.

We need to do the hard work to revitalize urban centers, like improving all forms of transportation and cutting bureaucratic barriers to economic viability. Short cuts like renewal districts may be convenient but are not based on principles.

As you receive your ballots I would ask you to ask yourself the following two questions:

Does this Measure improve equal protection under the law or undermine it?

Does this Measure impose the will or practices of the majority on an unpopular minority setting the stage for increasing the tyranny of the majority.

Now, go out and do the principled, although inconvenient thing.

Jay Bozievich is a freelance writer, public employee, and former elected official.

  • Snow

    All those in the majority who want to tyrannise those affected in both measures 49 and 50. should read this carefully and ask themselves where they are. I just read a post by Terrance, who was happy to vote for measure 50, he should read this. I’m concerned about the vindictiveness I read in many of the posts. It is really sad our society has become puritanical and intolerant of others.

  • Britt Storkson

    The deception of Socialism is that everybody is treated equally. Nothing could be further from the truth. While our Constitution guarantees equal protection that’s not what we’re getting.
    Funny that those who push socialism so hard push is onto someone else.
    The same people who push for more and new taxes often don’t pay them or pay only a small portion of them.
    As detailed in http://www.theprotectionracket.com the best way to get rid of a tax is to impose it uniformly. If we have a tax everybody should pay the same rate – no exceptions. Equal protection and equal burden.

  • dean

    First, M37 also established 2 classes of property owners; those who have owned their land long enough to qualify for waivers and those who have not. Any form of zoning differentiates between property owners, so this in itself is obviously no big deal.

    Second, those with larger claims are treated equally to those with smaller claims under M49. They all get a right to build 1-3 homes. None get the right to build gravel pits, put up billboards and so forth. Some may get to build a few more homes if they meet the higher bar that proves actual loss in value and if the land meets certain criteria.

    Third, in a democracy individual rights are always balanced against what is deemed best for the majority and in the case of property, the effect of a land use on the neighborhood. This is the whole premise behind land use regulation in the first place. M37 basically suspended the previous “rights” (i.e. to object to a land use decisions) of everyone except those with claims.

    The author seems to think that 100 acres automatically should result in more homes than 10 acres. But he makes no case for this.

    ANd the urban renewal objection is simply silly. Governements use tax incentives to attract the type of development they believe is best for the community. Do they make bad decisions sometimes? Yes. They are human.

  • Jare

    Measure 49 would set up a class of persons that does not receive the same rights as others, purely based on how much property they own

    Actually, everyone has the same rights under 49. For the past four hundred years we’ve put limits on what people can do on their land. 49 says that everyone gets to build 3 houses — that’s equality.

    And the basis for that is that we want to have Oregon jobs in farming and forestry — economies that employ tens of thousands of Oregonians.

  • deaniac

    dean bloviates thusly:
    “Second, those with larger claims are treated equally to those with smaller claims under M49. They all get a right to build 1-3 homes.”

    Sounds like gay marriage: There is no descrimination, gay men can marry any woman they choose, just like lesbians can marry any man they choose, just exactly like hetero men and women.

    • Chris McMullen

      “First, M37 also established 2 classes of property owners;…”

      Huh? You’re kidding right? Anyone who has owned property for a minor length of time generally has built much more equity than a brand new buyer. I suppose they’re a different “class” of owner to you? Using your logic we should control every aspect of property ownership so new buyers have the same equity as someone who’s owned a house for 50 years.

      Good lord, what idiocy.

      M37 leaves claimants to take the risk on their own. It doesn’t make big government the sole controller of our lives like M49 does. M37 not only tried to make things fair, but more so it addressed the total mess our land use policy has become. Unfortunately, our liberal congress refused to fix land use laws, deciding to instead gut M37.

      M37 does not give, but restores the advantage to people who have owned their property for a fair amount of time. Just like it should be.

      If you’re a selfish NIMBY, you’ll vote yes. Those who believe in free-market capitalism will vote NO ON 49!!

  • jare-head

    dean and jare are sock puppets for the same puppet master.

    Same arguement: “Actually, everyone has the same rights under 49. For the past four hundred years we’ve put limits on what people can do on their land. 49 says that everyone gets to build 3 houses — that’s equality.”

    Any gay person can marry any one member of the opposite sex, just like any hetero person can marry any one member of the opposite sex. Exactly the same.

    And that has been that way for much longer than just four hundred years.

    Not that there is anything wrong with that.

  • Gullyborg

    “The author seems to think that 100 acres automatically should result in more homes than 10 acres. But he makes no case for this.”

    No, the author simply thinks that the person with 100 acres should have the right to make as many homes as he wants to.

    Not every 100 acre lot will become 100 homes. Some will become more homes (I live on 1/5 acre in town). Some will become fewer homes (what’s wrong with a luxury development where homes sit on 5 acres and sell for millions each?). Some won’t become homes at all. Some will become factories, or shopping malls. Some will even end up as CONSERVATION ZONES because, believe it or not, some wealthy land owners want to preserve their land for the future.

    Why should government stand in the way of all this?

    FACT: the population is growing

    FACT: more people will need more homes

    FACT: more homeowners will need more infrastructure, jobs, industry, and support

    FACT: without DEVELOPMENT, the growing population lives a lesser quality of life than the current generation

    These facts are indisputable. Yet, the “Yes on 49” people want government to stop progress in order to save the future. That makes no sense!

    Let people have the right to develop their land. The free market and the evolving needs of the growing population will determine what needs to be built. Not every once of land will end up a Wal-Mart or track homes. No one will develop into track homes without a market for them. No one will build a Wal-Mart where there are no potential customers. The vast majority of land in Oregon is undeveloped now and WILL STAY THAT WAY under Measure 37, because NO ONE LIVES THERE and as such, there is no need to develop there. But areas near cities, where populations are growing, need to develop.

    Was Measure 37 perfect? No, it can be improved. But Measure 49 is a big step backwards. We need to vote it down, and demand that the legislature readdress the issue – this time with OPEN DOOR meetings and with input from ALL SIDES instead of the disgrace that happend last Spring.

    • carol

      That’s the same song I have been singing. An interesting site is Fix Measure 49. there you will find a sensible solution for all but die-hard NIMBYs.

      • Alan

        Fix 49 to fix 37 to fix 7?

    • Anonymous

      all your facts are opinions. there is no objective evidence to back up your claims. except the population growth. but then again, the majority of population growth is out of the US. but your last ‘fact’ is laughable

      • Gullyborg

        well, that says a lot about you if you think future generations will live better if we don’t develop now — I guess your grandchildren don’t need their own homes, new jobs, new industry, or anything like that. Nope, as long as they have their own field on which to raise cows so they can churn butter, all will be well.

        but then, agriculture itself is one of the top enemies of the far left.

        I guess what you are really saying is you want your grandchildren to live in poverty, desperate for food, and eventually dying of cholera (if they make it adulthood at all).

        Yep, that’s the leftist vision of the future, right there.

  • Jared

    Neither Measure 37 nor 49 allow anyone to build as many houses as they want to. Nor does either effect the total number of homes built — simply where they will be built.

    And as far as the bullshit about open meetings — Measure 49 had nine public hearings and heard from over 300 people in testimony. All sides had input, and the committee had an ex-head of OIA on it.

  • carol

    there is some dispute on that, see Measure 49, What’s in a Ballot Title, by Huss, on the home page.

    • dean

      I did not see where any M37 supporters disputed the statement that it does establish different classes of property owners, based on longevity. How much equity one has or does not have depends as much on how much cash one puts into property as it does on longevity of mortgage payments.

      To Gullyborg: Yes, Western Oregon’s population is growing, people need new homes, employment and so forth. That is not in dispute. What is in dispute is how to best handle growth. Pre-M37, Oregon’s method was to rely on incrementally expanding urban growth boundaries, combined with more efficent use of land in already developed areas. Post M37, some amount of new growth will now occur in ex-urban areas that lack services, and where there may be conflicts with commercial farm and forest land uses.

      M49 dials back on the amount of ex-urban development allowed. Most new development will still be in urban areas, regardless of whether M49 passes or not because market conditions will favor more compact, closer in development.

      While I’m in favor of M49 and have always opposed M37, one side of me wants to see it stand as is because many property owners with dollar signs in their eyes are going to be surprised at the lack of demand for housing on acreage that is a long commute on traffic choked roads to jobs and services. Mixed use, medium density, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods are the wave of the future, and not just in Oregon. And with oil at $92 a barrel and rising, this is only going to be more the case, not less so.

      • Jay Bozievich


        M37 does not create two classes of property owners. It treats all property owners the same in that it says the any regulations passed since you bought your property that dimish the value of that property must include compensation for that diminished value or be waived. Therby the person that just purchased property has the same right under the law that a person who purchased property 40 years ago. I just bought my house and land last year, but if Lane County decided to restrict my use with a new regulation, I would be due compensation or a wiaver the same as my next door neighbor who has owned their house since the 60’s.

        How is that not providing equal protection under the law? Unfortunately for class warriors like you, equal protection covers both rich and poor alike. Whether it is Dorothy English or Aaron Jones, both deseve to be treated the same under the law.

        M-49 supporters’ main problem is that M-37 requires compensation for future restrictions more than the fact it will allow less than 1% of the land in the state to make a claim based on past regulations. M-37 limits the power of the state and protects the rights of individuals. Hmmm, that sounds like another famous document we celebrate on September 17th every year…https://www.constitutioncenter.org/explore/Welcome/index.shtml

  • Neal

    Mr. Dean,
    You live in a fantasy world.
    I did not see where any M37 opponents ever addressed that our our land use system, zoning and UGB have long ago established different classes of property owners. Based, in many cases on no more than reckless placement of labels on every piece of land.

    The asinine and disingenuous pretense that M37 creates unfair and unequal treatment where all was fair and equal before
    is just so much BS. The countless examples of unfair and unequal treatment lead to M7 and M37 being passed.

    Western Oregon’s population is growing, people need new homes, employment and so forth.
    Of course what is in dispute is how to best handle growth.

    Your contention that the Pre-M37 method was somehow orderly and efficient is also bunk.
    You obviously have no familiarity with the highly dysfunctional UGB expansion process. It’s been nothing short of chaos and haphazard with an outcome of more roadblocks to development, off all kinds, regardless of the desperate needs of growth.

    Yet you and yours just call it “more efficient use of land”.

    “efficient”? Is that what is is? You have to be friggin blind ideologue to spew that garbage. How about an example of that efficiency?

    What nonsense. In reality it’s been just cram more into the same areas by mandating that cities comply with densities requirements.
    There’s been no accompanying policies to address any of the detriments or rising needs of traffic, affordable housing, infrastructure or replacement revenue for the BILLIONS spent on planners and their schemes.

    With M37, will a relative little amount of new growth of all kinds scattered about with far less impact than the status quo you mistakenly find so well done.

    Yet while you are soooo concerned about the neighbors of M37 claimants you show no signs of recognizing and acknowledging any of the neighbors ill-treated by the planning regime.

    Aren’t you the good little comrade.

    • dean

      Okay Neal and Jay. I admit it. I’m a liberal-communist class warrier who lives in a fantasy world (some fantasy…half remodeled house, run down farm, 20 year old van,) because I support good planning done within a democratic framework. Now that the well from which I draw my words is poisoned, you can dismiss anything I say. But what the heck, I’ll say it anyway.

      The “2 classes” that M37 created are on the one hand, those who do not have to abide by CURRENT ZONING and on the other, those who do. That is what the “waivers” were all about. If I own 10 acres zoned for farming, and my neighbor owns 10 acres zoned for farming, and now he/she can build 10 houses and I can’t, that is 2 different sets of rules applied to 2 landowners.

      Now I admit this is not markedly different than what we have had in the US since the 19th century…ZONING. Some property owners are zoned for some things, others for other things, presumably depending on what is deemed best for the community, not for the individual. Land use restrictions on what one can and can’t do on their (our) private land date back to the original settlement of this country, including New England land allotments (restricted individual ownership to 30 acres, plus use of “the commons.”) There was also the law of the Indies, Penn’s plan for Philadelphia, Oglethorpes plan for Savannah Georgia, and so forth. “Planning” has been around as an art and science since ancient Greece.

      Oregon’s land use system, beginning in 1973, down zoned a lot of rural land that had been open to large lot/small acreage development, or in some cases was unzoned altogether. There was little need for land use restrictions on rural land prior to WW2 because there were less than 500,000 people in the whole state, and car ownership was limited, so people in towns needed to live fairly compactly as a matter of practical necessity.

      But rapid population growth and the automobile opened up a lot of the best farmland in the state to ex-urban development. So legislation was passed, urban growth boundaries were established and a lot of farm and forest land was re-zoned for that purpose.

      At that time, the market for ex-urban development was still pretty limited, and the per acre value of land for farming or subdivisions was not hugely different. But more recently land value discrepency has accelerated, even though all land value has gone up considerably. No one has lost money who bought valley farm land 30 or 40 years ago. THat is a fallacy the M37 sold to Oregonians, and that M49 opponents continue to peddle. It just is not true.

      Yes, if the rules change after I bought my land I might not be able to do what I had been able to do previously, but my present use of the land is grandfathered in by law, so that is already protected. If I had bought land as a speculator, then I would be out potential profits. But the same holds true for a million other possible investments. Laws are passed, rules change. Life and politics do not stand still. If I am speculating, i had better make hay while the sun shines because the longer I wait the higher my capital risk.

      The power of the state against the individual is already limited. Yes, it is fair to argue the state has too much power. It is also fair to argue the other way around. There is no absolute right or wrong to this, as it depends on one’s values. I place a lot of value on my civil liberties, but less on my property rights liberties. Go figure.

      Neal…yes, the UGB does clearly establish differences amongst property owners. If you have that 10 acre farm and it is brought inside, and your neighbor is just outside, you win the lottery and he gets to watch you drive off to Palm Springs. As a liberal-communist class-warrior, think that needs to be addressed.

      In some cases, the dude with the 10 acres just outside only has to wait a while longer, until the next UGB expansion. Then he/she also gets to cash in. In other cases, if society really wants “permanent” conservation of that farm land near the UGB, then I think we need to offer some compensation. And a good source of compensation money would be a windfall tax on those that are brought into the UGB, once they sell and develop.

      Examples of increased efficiency inside the UGB:
      1) the “reclamation” of the old Belmont Dairy to mixed commercial and high density residential
      2) the multiple low rise mixed use projects along SE Portland streets (Division, Hawthorne, Belmont, and others).
      3) Several multi use mid-rise infill projects in the old downtown part of Gresham
      4) Fairview village
      5) The transformation of the Pearl district from dowdy industrial to a high density mixed use neighborhood

      These and other projects are resulting in higher density AND higher livability at the same time. Yes, there are also some bad projects out there (i.e. Rockwood apartments). Developers threw up cheap crap and it has created all sorts of concentrated social problems. That is free enterprise for you.

      You call it “cramming.” But most neighborhoods inside the UGB are not very dense to begin with. Sure, if you want an acre or more, you are not going to find it easily inside a UGB. But most people don’t want an acre, or at least they are willing to trade lot size for location advantages of close in living.

      Communities ALL ACROSS THE UNITED STATES are doing similar mixed use, medium to high density projects like those here in Portland. That includes communties with far laxer land use regulations like Atlanta, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Chicago, and so forth. The first “new urban” project was in the Florida Panhandle by a private developer in 1982 on land that was basically not zoned. It was a resounding success, both from a planning stand point and commercially, so it has been repeated and adapted, as it should be.

      If anything, “the planners” have been behind, not ahead of this market. They have been slow to change planning rules that make it hard for developers to do mixed use, higher density projects.

      Yes Neal, the “planning regime” ends up creating unfairness. But where it does so, presumably it is acting on behalf of the community. And I say this as a small farm owner who DID NOT WANT TO BE IN THE UGB AND ARGUED AGAINST IT, yet, the planners and elected officials thought it was best for the greater good, so my life has changed. Money is not the only issue after all.

  • carol

    You finally made my point, money is not the only issue after all. It is not the point in my case, and I suspect, not in the case of many other claimants. In my case, when the LCDC changed the rules the first (?) time, from 20 acre zoning to 80, it created a situation that M49 fails to address. If in fact, the 20 acre minimum had remained in effect, I doubt if there would be so much unrest among the older claimants.

    I respect your civility in this discourse, I am sure that you have returned your ballot already, so further argument is a waste of time, I have returned mine as well, but I do enjoy your well-reasoned arguments. Therein lies the problem, you go with reason, and I go with my gut, and things I have learned thru the years. For one, unless the development occurs close to urban land, it cannot amount to much, try getting a perc test approved in Oregon’s soil. How many of the claimants can afford th expense of an entire sewer system.

    After seeing ‘zoning’ in Califonia, (gasp), MANY years ago, I know that money talks, and after money has aquired land in an area itching to explode, ‘zoning’ gets changed. I suspect that this may be the case when the UGB gets expanded. I am almost sure that has happened in my area, and is in the process of happening again here.

    How would you have reacted to the present system fi the 20 acre minimum had remained in force? Just a rhetorical question, and then I’ll let you go. You are an articulate, well read person, but I suspect that you are somewhat younger than I am. My views have changed a lot over the years, I once voted for Reagan, Nixon, and the rest. When the Bush dynasty arrived on the scene, I began to change.

    Enough said about that, I firmly believe that the whole over-developement thing has been blown completely out of proportion, and possibly by those who have already collected the golden egg from the goose. As I have said before, as long as industry continues to be coaxed into Oregon by incentives, people are going to follow the jobs, and they must be housed. You have acreage, so I am sure that you enjoy a little space around you. Ciao

  • dean


    I wish we were closer neighbors. You would be great to share a cup of coffee or tea with.

    I am old enough to have voted for Nixon, a lifelong regret. Turned left shortly thereafter and have not seen much yet (reason or gut) to turn back the other way.

    M49 is a way less than perfect solution in my view. It would help avoid the land use chaos that M37 unleashed, so I am voting for it (but have not yet sent the ballot in, so you could still have me kidnapped).

    In California and many other states, large, deep pocketed developers have been able to buy outlying rural land for cheap, and have then got the zoning changed and been able to build large new master planned communities, some of which are well done, others not so much. That is impossible to do in Oregon except for “resort communities” like Sunriver and Bachelor Butte.

    A book on my shelf is “Last Harvest, How a Cornfield Became New Daleville.” Not a page turner, but very informative about how ex-urban land development plays out nationally.

    On the 20 vs 80 acre minimum lot size, we need some of both. We need the larger acreages undivided for some purposes, and we need smaller acreage areas for market garden farming, small woodlot management, and simply for those who want to live out in the countryside. I have argued with my liberal friends that our land use system needs a rebuilt engine after 30 years. the system we have is too restrictive in rural areas, and this led to the pressure buildup that resulted in M37 and the one before it.

    I’d like to see us (all sides) be able to sit down with a good map of the areas outside all the UGBs of the W Valley, and identify land that might best fit the following categories: large acreage farms, small acreage farms, rural hamlets (groups of 5-50 homes that share some services) and villages (big enough for a store and some self-governance). And while we are at it lets identify logical places for new or significantly expanded towns to relieve some of the pressure on the Metro areas. And lets find a way to tap the windfall increased values associated with areas designated for urbanization, and share some of the wealth (dang socialist I’ve become, even with my own money) with those who have legitimate beefs.

    But I’m not ready to abandon planning altogether or to support “waivers” to rules that pit neighbor against neighbor. That is bad public policy in my view.

    I do enjoy our 5 acres except for all the work it demands. Truth is Carol, I could be very happy living in an urban loft with more free weedends. But I enjoy the privacy, view, and neighborliness of this still rural area, soon to be gobbled up by expanding urbanization.

    If M49 fails to pass, I’m going to weep a bit for Oregon, but then console myself with the thought that my new invisible friend Carol will be able to move ahead with her plans.

  • carol

    Oh my God! You have just finished stating every reason why Measure 49 should not pass. If the measure fails, we will be forced to readdress the situation, there is no way that things can continue as they are. The transferability issue for one, needs to be changed, and it gives the supporters of M49 breathing room. I ahve enough acreage to support a golf course, and it lies in such away that it would be a good one. My son-in-law think that’s a great idea. I think ‘over my dead body’! I would be stupid to spend $$ developing our land if the option to transfer to some one else wasn’t there. THE SKY IS NOT FALLING! We have time to reconsider, and you can be sure that this wouldn’t end with the defeat of M49.

    As you state, we need 10-20 acre plots, I have no statistics, as you have, but I supect that a great deal of the food crops grown in the Willamette Valley are from small, likely organic farmers. Some of the grass seed growers that I hear about are considering wheat, but guess what, not for food, for bio-fuel. Canola oil that is being experimented with recently is the same.

    My grand parents grew wheat here in the valley right after the war, (WWII), and made an OK living, but them days are gone forever, and in order to succeed, one has to either be very large, able to pay $100,000 for a tractor, or combine, or able to handle the work load on a family basis. I can’t help but feel that on eof the reasons that some large farmers who are opposing M37, are doing so not because they are afraid of encroachin neighborhoods, but because they know that if older farmers have another alternative, the land will not be available to lease, or buy at a price conducive to farming. I ahve a problem with an attitude that says keep out, I got mine. Fortunately, not all of them have millions to say it with.

    I have talked to a number of,’ city folks’ who don’t have a clue what the measure is even about, and you can bet your a– that the current TV ads aren’t gonna tell them. Both sides haven’t chosen stupid angles of attack. M37rs aren’t gonna lose their livelyhood, and I’ll bet my farm on the fact that the guy who claims 22 subdivisions will surround him as as far from the truth. Forunately for the politicians, TV is where a lot of folks get their information..Heh heh, let’s hope that they are too stupid to vote, ’cause I think the pro guys have more convincing ads. What did I just say??

    Take a deep breath, and think about it, do you honestly feel that if M49 fails, that M37 will remain? What about the Big Look, so conveniently set aside, give it another chance. Your ballot is secret you know, your liberal friends needn’t know, Heh heh, I’ll never tell, and I won’t stop trying to convince you. Just remember that all of us with M37 claims are OLD, just wait it out, keep throwing us under the bus, what a picture, and within several years, we’ll all go away. Do I sound pitiful enough? Use that considerable brain of yours, and the heart that seems as obvious. Do the right thing, dammit!

    Oh by the way, when I voted for Nixon, two of my girls were teen agers, so I gotcha there, by quite some. THINK, THINK, THINK.
    Auf Weiderschien (sic)

  • carol

    Just proof-read my little spew, shoulda done it sooner. Oh well old age is an excuse for everything.

    • dean


      You should be the one in the anti M49 ads you know. Your side would be way ahead.

      My “considerable brain” (you may have a few years on me, but I was not born yesterday Carol) says that either way, pass of fail, a major tuneup is needed and enough key players recognize this. Probably a very close vote is what is needed to spur some action. Maybe a tie would be the best thing of all.

      I don’t have the stats either and am too cyber-lazy to look them up. There are a growing number of small organic food farms up and down the valley. The Portland Farmer’s Market is truly a sight to behold. But there are also a growing number of fairly large farms that grow food and are organic or nearly so. Right here in Damascus Siri & sons farm about 120 acres certified organic, though most of that land is leased and will soon be lost to urban development. Larry Thompson farms about 100 acres, all food. But the predominant farms out here are nursery stock.

      There are a number of conventional food farmers who are part of Norpac and other co-ops. And you make an important point in MY favor Carol, that grass seed farmers can convert to food or biofuels fairly quickly. But if they subdivide first, then not so much.

      I agree with you that some large scale conventional farmers covet the land more than they fear new neighbors.

      Yes, the ads on both sides are insulting our intelligence. We even elect presidents based on these things. It is shameful. But apparently effective.

      I would never throw you under a bus. But my vote is a done deal unless I drop dead over the next day or 2.

  • carol

    Bio fuels be d—–, Hydrogen is the only way to fly. Food is food, and, bio fuels can’t fill anyone’s belly. If you have ever run a tractor over a 30 acre field, with more fields to follow, you realize that bio fuels don’t pencil out. We routinely have $500-800 per month fuel bills during planting season, and we can be considered small farmers. You ahd better vote quickly, before your heart rules over you head, and you do something you will hate yourself for. Yuk. I cannot say it enough, M49 is not an answer, and neither is M37. But if M49 passes, you know as well as I do that unless lawsuits tie things up , nothing will be done to fix it. Old folks hold the claims, and we won’t live forever. For myself, I will survive if the measure passes, but d—-t it ain’t fair!! Fix it, don’t murder it.

    What will I do when I don’t have these little chats to look forward to? I’ll survive, tha’s what.

    • dean


      I have zero expertise in the subject of alternative fuels, but if Canola oil can be sold at Costco for around $3 a gallon, and if it comes from Canola seeds grown in fields prepped and harvested by tractors, then it seems logical (there I go again) that the time and material cost of growing, harvesting, transporting, and processing would have to be below the sale price No?

      But…the larger challenge may be that it is not feasible to dedicate enough land to Canola to grow all the fuel we need, expecially since in the meantime we have to also eat.

      If I could vote just to let you divide your land into 4 20s, and cut out all the gravel quarry, commercial, billboard, and large subdivision claims, then both my heart and head would vote your way. They did not grant me that choice unfortunately.

      You survived well before our chats, You will survive when we are done. I have confidence in you.

  • carol

    Dam straight I’ll survive, even if the measure passes! If I survived 7 years of 24/7 intensive livestock management, I can survive the passing of the bill. My point of disagreement with you is this, if this measure passes, there will be no further action taken. If it fails, it will surely be readdressed, you must know this, your side isn’t gonna give up, not as long as they have favorable government on their side. On the other hand, if the measure passes, time is running out for a lot of us.

    You got me on the Canola item, I am fresh from an article saying that one of the farmers who tried it was disapointed in his yield. As far as Hydrogen goes, OPB has an interesting video on the subject, narrated, I believe, by Alan Alda. Whatever the case, we cannot continue our present way of life by the available means of locomotion. How many people stop to think that plastic is petroleum? And how much the plastic that pervades our culture is programmed to self-destruct?

    If in fact, your mind has actually come ’round to what your more recent postings say, and your writings do not reflect the attempt to sooth a frenzied old lady, then you must give more thought to the matter. There WILL be more chances to clean this up. You can lead the charge, and I won’t dispute you.

    I found HB 3540 again, after giving all my copies away. I have not re-read it yet, only glanced through it, but it hasn’t changed. It is still arbitrary, unreasonable and unfair. It could have been written by the admistration in Washington, not by a ‘liberal’ legislature. Some people say WWJD, I tend to say about this jewel from our governtment, “what would Molly Ivins say?” I can only imagine, given her take on the Lege. I can’t imagine that you haven’t read it, and yet, I can’t imagine that you would continue to champion the measure if you had. Que sabe?

    I have enjoyed our exchanges, I guess I like to argue, and I like my thinking challenged. You are more cyber-savvy than I, can you tell me specificaly where the strip malls, and large sub-divisions have been initiated? I know about the billboards and quarry, I am just surprised that the “O” hasn’t been specific concerning the first two. And do you have any suggestions as to where the gravel to maintain our infrasructure will come from? Told ya I was tenacious, I come from a long line of strong women.

  • carol

    Oops, i know it’s not my turn, but I just finished reading an interesting article, “Who is Fueling Whom”, in the November issue of the Smithsonian magazine

  • Neal

    Before, during and after M37 gravel quarries, strip malls and subdivisions happen and they are always opposed by someone while the lengthy and costly process of approval and construction moves through the bureaucracies.

    Mr. Dean and pals want voters to falsy beleive that we can’t allow ANY of these to enabled by way of a M37 claim. That somehow M37 development that’s identical to the establishment planning is unacceptable.
    Now Dean, leaving reality behind, will of course inject some ludicrous theories about how well thought out our planning is and how haphazard an identical M37 development would be.
    His immovable allegiance to the planner’s model of spending billions to subsidize higher desnities is a blind allegiance.
    He fails to aknowledge the enormous direct subsidies which can be $1-3 million on just one mixed use infill project to 100s of millions on larger schemes.
    He ignores the real world detriments of such planning while touting it as prefferable to the strawman of zero planned and zoned sprawl.
    Something which has never been a proposal by Oregon’s land use opponents. There’s a huge distance between Oregon’s excessive system and no system, with many scenarios for reasonable controls and regulations.

    Dean examples are utterly weak, laughable and right out of Metro’s public relations.

    He calls these “increased efficiency”????? inside the UGB:
    “1) the “reclamation” of the old Belmont Dairy to mixed commercial and high density residential”

    If it was such a good idea it should have been built with private money only.
    Efficiency must be in the eyes of the beholder. For Dean it merely has to be built at higher density and it’s increased efficiency.
    Too lame, that is.
    These little pockets of heavily subsidized projects deliver little or no benfit to the region while devouring public resources, overcrowding neighborhoods, causing traffic and parking problems, lessoning supplies of affordable housing. At the same time failing to produce the transit ridership or congestion reduction the Metro/Dean theories promise. AND many neighbors object to the infill.
    I guess that’s just too damn bad for them heh Dean?

    20 years after light rail started serving Gresham, Metro just recently nearly gave away 13 acres at Gresham station to promote more mixed use that wasn’t viable all these years.
    Metro threw in 3 million more for the Beaverton Round to further expand that miserable Mixed Use failure.

    Of course Dean mentions the Pearl. As if Lents and the region are so happy about the public contribuitons to that handiwork.

    In the real world application of what Dean advocates repeatedly fails to deliver the outcome envisioned the same tired theories are used to promote more of the same chaos.
    From Damascus to North Bethany to other UGG expansions, infill and upcoming light rail/streetcar oriented mixed use development , BILLIONS will be spent. BILLIONS which would be better spent on the very same infrastructure Dean claims M37 and other alternatives ignores.
    In short he is simply selling Metro’s lies.

    • dean

      There goes that dang Dean lying again eh Neal? Doing the evil Metro’s bidding and so forth.

      2 quick points. First, to my knowledge the Belmont Dairy was entirely a private enerprise project. Its not in an urban renewal district, and I don’t think Metro had any hand in it.

      Second, yes, a lot of other projects have been “public-private partnerships,” meaning they have recieved some public support IN EXCHANGE for extra goodies, or to jump start something ‘the market” may not by quite ready for. Sometimes the economics of these projects pays off with increased tax returns later on (the premise of uban renewal) and sometimes these projects are like wooden boats, holes in the water ones throws money into.

      Government officials, developers, architects, planners….they are all human. This means they are not infallible and they make mistakes. On balance, in the absence of hard data by relying on the huge increase in Portland’s inner city real estate, the significant amount of new housing that has been built and sold inside the UGB over the past 10-15 years, increases in cycling, walking, and transit ridership, I would say that these efforts have had success.

      Lents is a tough nut to crack, but you can’t say that Portland isn’t trying. There is a substantial mixed use building under construction there at the moment, and a light rail station on the horizon. Let’s wait a few years and see what happens next before giving up on it.

      The recent UGB expansions are all going to be very expensive to provide critical services to, in part because the Feds no longer provide much in the way of infrastructure block grants. For the most part, private developers are going to have to pony up for those services and that is the way it should be. We could allow these areas to be built with fewer services, thus being cheaper, like the place my parents bought into in Florida 27 years ago. Today that low density, sprawling “town” is a freaking mess, with polluted and declining groundwater, roads falling apart, and aging population, no services, no transit, no way to walk 2 blocks without getting run over (no sidewalks) and so forth. But…no public subsidies, at least initially.


      I don’t think either side is really going to give up do you? I mean, the issue of many M37 claimnants aging is a factor, but assuming they can build a few houses, at least they have that to work with right? Opponents to Oregon’s land use system tried to get it overturned 6 TIMES in the late 70s and early 80s, then went into hibernation and re-emerged with M7 and M37. M49 supporters likewise are not going to all committ assisted suicide if it fails, and M49 opponents are not going to all become born-again, planner-hugging socialists like me.

      I tried reading the dang thing cover to cover and went numb. Too much life to live here, painting to complete, last years willow prunings to gather up and feed into the chipper, projects to manage, students to teach…I just can’t let myself get completely bogged down in the measure minutia…like monks countiung angels on pin heads. So I admit…I am relying on skimming, my own experience as a professional landscape archtiect who knows something about land development and planning, and yes…who is fer it and who is agin it.

      Clearly, you know there are some very large subdivsion claims out there, in the W. Valley, in the Coast Range foothills, and in the lovely (rivals Tuscanny and Provence) but small Hood River Valley. A number of these are listed in the Voters Pamphlet (admittedly by teh pro 49 side).

      There are also a large number of claims that where the owners have not specified WHAT they want to do, particularly here in Clackamas County. There is a big box claim near my old home in Sellwood (SE Portland) on a site where the big box was already denied.

      As for gravel quarries, the state land use system specifically calls on Counties to identify where gravel resources are and to allow that use if land use conflicts and environmental damage can be mitigated. Is there enough to go around without M37? I don’t know, but I do know Ross Island sand and gravel is moving most of their operations to the Dallesport area in the east end of the gorge. (Disclosure: I have done consulting work for 2 rock qarry operators in that area).

      What I recall is that about 40% of all the M37 claims are for 3 homes or less, about 40% are in the 4-10 category, and the remaining 20% are more homes, commercial, billboard, quarry, or not specified. I’ll pose a question for you: Do you think the larger claims should be allowed? Or do you think one of the modifications to M37 should be limiting the scale and scope of claims to some reasonable level?

      And no…I’m not just being nice to a “frenzied old lady.” Any so-called old lady who quotes Molly Ivans and signs off in 4 languages needs no sympathy from me. She can handle herself just fine.

  • carol

    I salute you, great civility in the face of adversity. No I don’t think that some of the wilder claims should be allowed, however, I know for a fact that if one of my neighbors wanted to develope, I would salute his right to do so. Of course I think that it is possible to modify some of the claims, and anything is preferable to what we are faced with in M49. I confess to only skimming, but intensly skimming, the measure. and ya gotta admit that it is over-kill. That is the point I want to make.

    I don’t know where to draw the line, perhaps pick out the ‘greedy corporations’, or lift some of the newer regulations that ‘restrict, not prohibit’. Make a 10 or 20 acreage restriction, remove the $80,000 regulation. I still don’t think that a subdivision will succeed unless it is close to sewers and water. the UGB might extend below Charbonneau, along the I-5 corridor. Some of the gravel pits might be allowed on the land that the timber companies own, away from God and everybody, most of which is solid basalt underground. Hauling from the Dalles area sounds great for the eastern side, but more trucks on I-84? A scary thought.

    As for the ‘restrict vs prohibit’ broo-ha-ha, it exists. Prohibits is used in every case but one, Section 12, which concerns claims made on or after May 15, 2007, do you believe that this was an unintentional error? I believe, that in our case, we can make an end-run around the new law, but I do not like the idea of all the claims being handled by the state. The state doesn’t have the man-power to handle that much paper work, where will the $$ come from to hire it?

    Check out Friday’s Capital Press, and Dave Reinhardt, also find time to locate the November issue of the Smithsonian magazine.

    Painting, what kind? Mine has been largely ignored sinc I started spending so much time on the computer.

    • dean


      Painting the “new” dormer, way up on an extension ladder above my comfort zone. Hundreds of box elder bugs keeping me company. And what a great day! Fabulous.

      I’m not at all convinced “prohibit” means what you think it does. If it turns out that way, that it is intended to make the express lane a dead end, then I will be among the first to support a revision.

      I don’t think we can define “greedy.” I do think we can define scale, intensity and types of uses. M49 does that pretty well it seems to me: 1-3 homes good to go, 4-10, not so fast, and more than 10 plus other uses, as Tony Soprano might say, fuggeddaboudditt!

      Your proposals are otherwise very reasonable.

      Non-sewered subdivision were the norm aorund here for decades. After a lot of septic system failures the perc test rules were tightened up, but still, not enough to stop most projects. Water is an issue, but every new home as the right to drill a new well, declining water tables notwithstanding. Again, it is a plus of M49 that it recognizes this fact.

      The Dallesport crushed rock is being barged, not trucked to Portland. Gravel is just too low value to transport very far.

      Timber company forests, most of which are in the coast range, have lousy rock. It is sandstone, not basalt. Cascade range forests are on basalt, with high variability in quality.

      I’ll try to find the time to look up the articles you suggest. I did read Reinhard, and based on his own article the Sweeny’s played by the rules all the way. The land they sold for development was put into a UGB, and annexing for full services is the right thing to do, even though it costs more than non-annexation. Also going for higher density makes sense economically and ecologically.

      In saluting your neighbor’s “right to develop,” do you mean that is if he or she actually HAS the right to develop, or do you mean that anyone should actually have the right to develop? There is a difference.

  • carol

    I thought maybe you defined painting as in Diebenkorn or Van Gogh.

    Please read your HB3540 a little more thoroughly, 1-3, under the eye of the state. 4-10, fuggeddabouddit. To begin with 4-10 cannot be on highvalue farm or forest land, or water restricted land. The water restricted land I agree with, however high value is also defined in the measure, on the second page, give me a break.

    The forest lands in Clackamas Co. are on basalt, at least appear to be, in the Molalla Corridor where I have ridden the trails extensively, and on east from there as well. I am not familiar with the coastal forests, except to see the clear-cuts, which are hard to not see.

    Have you attempted a perc test lately? As for water, does a farmer have a right to drill a well that drains a neighbor’s domestic well which has prior rights? How about 100 gallons a DAY to water a giant pumpkin? Heard that one on TV yesterday.

    The barge, great idea, I am relieved to hear that one, it makes sense.

    I am saying that if MY neighbor won the right to develop, I wouldn’t complain except to my spouse, who agrees with me. We are back to the same point. I am more than willing to concede that M37 can be tweaked in many ways, but M49 *IS TOO RESTRICTIVE*. Honest, it goes too far, and by the time any revision could take place, more of will turn up our heels, go belly up, kick the bucket, pass peacefully into another world. In other words, croak. If it fails, then the ‘Big Look, or something like it will kick in. I am relying on you to see that it does.

    Please take time off from petting your box elder bugs, (hate those things, if I were on a ladder, and one got on me, I would no longer be concerned w/M49). This evening would be a good time to go over HB3540 again, and try to understand where I am coming from. Open your mind, remember, you voted for Nixon! This mesure is not a typical ‘liberal’ missive, more like it was conceived by you know who.
    Vaya con Dios!

    • dean

      No…not van Gogh. Could not sell a single painting while he lived poor troubled genus. And I’ll bet he wished he would have had a “go backy’ on that ear. I’m more in the John Nagey world when it comes to art.

      I agree, the way M49 is detailed, most of the 4-10s won’t make the cut. I think proving the actual dollar lost will be the killer for them, and I agree “high value farm land” was defined too strictly in the measure. I would have cut more slack there.

      A farmer cannot drill a well and irrigate in a groundwater restricted aquifer unless he has pre-existing water rights. I know this from direct experience. We are limited to irrigating 1 acre only, and dryland farm the rest.

      Okay…the key with your neighbor is: “won the right’ to develop. That means, at the moment, they either have a M37 waiver right or they go ask for a zone change. I’m with you there, but would probably oppose the zone change unless it was very modest.

      On perc tests, no. The fellow who bought the land next door did though, on the same crappy, undraining soil we have and he passed. Go figure. Part of the issue is there are new systems, sand filter and so forth that can be done, at serious expense, even in crappy soils.

      My risk calculation needle is still way to the side of yes on 49. Once we get the big projects off the table, then hopefully some serious discussions can take place. But I’m not holding my breath. And Carol, do not assume that I have any meaningful influence one way or the other. I’m not a power player, just an idea person and bug petter.

      I should not have mentioned Nixon. But then you went all the way through Reagan right? Very scary that fellow. “Now where did I put that box with the big red button in it…?”

      Its not a liberal or conservative issue for me Carol. It is a land conservation issue. I am pretty dug in on land conservation. Now if I can just figure out what I did with that ballot…..

  • Neal

    Quit diverting into nonsense, The fantasy I was talking about is your perception of our planning whihc has nothing to do with your “…half remodeled house, run down farm, 20 year old van,”

    What your delusion sees as “good planning done within a democratic framework”, is nothing of the sort.
    With zero allowances or consideration of the pitfalls resulting from our planning it doesn’t even qualify has planning. Let alone good planning. Any plan that ignores the effects is not a good plan.

    All the cheap rhetoric about the theories behind our planning mean little and serve only to perpetuate more of the same dysfunction.

    As with most other planning advocates you talk with a pretense of authority and expertice giving you a higher level of understanding on how it is all supposed to work.
    You are lost in the loony theories and empty promises.

    Our land use planning and zoning did far more to create “The “2 classes” (or more) that you attribute to M37.

    Again you are propagandizing wihtout any basis or recognition for what our planning and zoing has done to property owners for decades.
    Furthermore you exagerate to the extreme what zoing and land use regulations M37 actually relieves. You’re wanting to cast M37 property owners as the lucky who are granted green light to do anything. You don’t portray anything accuratelyt or honestly.
    Not even your own neck of the woods and what is happening with the Damascus planning.
    Why don’t you say what good planning that process has been?
    Yours neighbors apprear to be about to stuff much of with some heafty balot measures.
    I suppose those folks don’t have your keen insight into planning wisdom?
    I’ve lived on the UGB for 16 years. Inside of it and my property is very valuable. Across the street? Not so much.
    You go thorugh all of this “M37 acres zoned for farming, and my neighbor owns 10 acres zoned for farming” stuff as if that isn;t exactly what our statewide zoning did when it was created.
    Much of the zoning was created with reckless labeling from aerial photographs and topographical maps.

    Zoning and the UGB is ALL about 2 different sets of rules applied to 2 landowners.

    Where you really stumble is your blind feeling that most or all of our zoning is “deemed best for the community”.
    That is such BS. Countless parcels around every city, across the state are locked up and restricted for no reason other than the blind prohibition and the theories from fanatics. That’s why no other State has adopted Oregon’s extreme model. It foolsih, punitive and unneccessary.
    Yet you and yours think it is all vital.
    How did Washington and Idaho ever survive?
    Or the other 47 States?
    What’s really demonstrative of your misinformation tactics is the reality that M37 doesn’t abondon land use planning like you repeatedly misrepresent. In fact very minute amount of our land use planning can be effected by M37. Unfortuantely.
    So we don’t need any history lessons or more propaganda.

    Oregon’s land use system, beginning in 1973, with labeling the whole State whether or not it was accurate or made sense.
    The rest is history as Oregon has suffered ever since.
    SB 100 has been hijacked and changed at implementation with cherry picking some parts and leaving out others.
    But our fanatics at 1000 Friends enjoy the wholesale blockade and prohibition.
    It continues today with or without M37. Contrary to your story telling M37 can’t change much of it at all.

    Urban growth boundaries were established and ever since have been used exclusively for prohibiton versus the comprehensive preservation WHILE provisding land for all typs of growth.

    But you leave out much of the real story.

    Your story is the fallacy here.

    I suspect you would change your tune if your 5 acres in Damascus were to fall into a new label of no new build or other restrictions you may find objectionable.
    Yo are such a BS appolgist for the New Urbanism planning.

    “If anything, “the planners” have been behind, not ahead of this market. They have been slow to change planning rules that make it hard for developers to do mixed use, higher density projects.”

    What the heck are you doing making it up as you go.
    That is so wrong.
    This is what makes me call you a lying pig.
    With your level of participation you have to be aware of the public/private partnerships, sweeping zone changes, consessions, fee waiving, tax abating, and direct subsidies that have been thrown at the push for mixed use new urbanism.

    Yet you sit here claiming planners have made it “hard for developers to do mixed use, higher density projects”???????

    I’m sorry pal but you are one screwed up demogogue.

    The planning regime has tried everything, even resorting to giving away the land for these mixed use schemes, at light rail stations too boot. Still they don’t fly.
    Beaverton Round, after millions of public assitance, half the housing units in a first phase building were cancelled, another whole housing building was cancelled and a 7 story parking garage was added.

    Cascade Station even worse.
    The same is repeated in Hillsboro with TODs not preducing the market rate housing and parking garages built instead.
    Parking garages for our auto oriented reality.

    That’s completely irrelevant and really meaningless as being inside the UGB does not mandate you to do anything. It’s not even annexation and the taxation change.
    “it was best for the greater good” ????? You may assume it was but that has yet to be shown. A little premature aren’t you?

    In terms of infrastructure costs and available funds goes, billion have and are being spent to fund the rail transit, new urbanism smart growth experiment wihtout regard for where that money would or should be going.
    But that diverting of BILLIONS doesn’t even enter your assesment of what is good plannning?
    It just must be good no matter what it costs right?

    • dean

      Okay…so I am a lying, no good pig, living in a delusional fantasy land, lost in looney theories and empty promises, stumbling, blind, full of misinformation, making all this up as I go, and I am irrelevant. Did I miss anything Neal?

      You would not believe how bad I feel. I’m going to cry myself to sleep now and reconsider my entire approach to life, the universe, and everything. With luck, I will wake up a calm, sober, rational, clear thinking anti-planner like yourself. Buh bye now.

      • Measure 37, prop. owners rock

        Dean’s views are highly predictable from the left: property rights are bad so Measure 37 has to be bad. Those of us who believe that property ownership is a good American constitutional right disagree with Dean and co. and recognize that the Democrats in the Legislature are just trying to take away property rights that Oregon voters wanted to restore. Dean’s friends think that all property owners should shut up, pay taxes, and let everyone else tell them what they can and cannot do with their property. This from the so-called tolerant left?

  • carol

    Ouch! Oh well, life goes on. As to the situation concerning the well, maybe not, but sh– happens, and it did. My example of the neighbor developing was purely rhetorical, I have no neighbor who wants to develop, I only know how I feel about things. I don’t have a problem with development personally, if it is done in a rational fashion. I guess I have a real problem with LCDC, because of the arbitrary way that they have changed the rules over the years. If things had been left as Tom Mc Call left them, prolly none of this would be looking us in the face right now.

    I can understand that others are concerned about over deve-lopment, but I feel the fear is exaggerated, same as the fear of terrorism is exaggerated. With a little fear mongering people can be led to a many extremes. And this measure is an extreme. If the restrict/prohibit thing is real, how long will it take to fix it, if it ever gets fixed. However, on the other side, the same legislators are in power, annd the same anti-developement folks feel just as strongly, so that the issue will be addressed very quickly. I am even in favor of putting a moratorium on ‘vesting’, until something is settled within a set amount of time. Not an open end moratorium. Any thing to solve this thing in a fair reasonable way. Catchya in the AM

  • Neal

    “mainly because in today’s market, the rents are just not there to support a quality mixed-use project”

    You know what your problem is Dean?
    You don’t know what you are talking about and end up lying.

    Pay close attention readers to the reality Dean distorts.

    You can say
    ” First, to my knowledge the Belmont Dairy was entirely a private enerprise project.” after using it as an example of “efficiency”
    but like so many of your other misrepresentations, you are wrong.
    Mr. MacNichol said the PDC was involved most heavily at Belmont Dairy. We bought the land from them for Museum Place and have a $3 million soft second loan from them,

    The PDC also hired a design consultant from Seattle to critique our design. In my opinion, that was excessive. Regardless of how your site is developed, a subsidy will be needed to attract someone to come in there, mainly because in today’s market, the rents are just not there to support a quality mixed-use project. He would have to crunch some numbers before he could say what that subsidy would be, but there are many ways to get subsidy. Tax abatement and urban renewal are two ways, but tax abatements won’t help the urban renewal side. You balance all those things out.
    Mayor Katz gave the PDC some direction about the design of buildings and we had to have Mayor Katz bless our design of Museum Place even though that was not part of the official process.

    Mr. MacNichol said there were low-income tax credits and we had a limited partnership agreement with Fannie Mae as our tax credit partner. Other financing sources include a construction loan from Bank of America, a take-out loan, permanent financing from the Network for Affordable Housing, two low-interest loans with the Portland Development Commission (PDC), and three smaller transit-oriented development loans typically given as grants. Because of the way the tax credit deal was structured, we delayed the tax credit investor’s equity and had to issue unrated bonds for a period of five years before that equity came in as bridge financing

  • Neal

    Millions in public dollars to create chaos

    “At Belmont Dairy, there are 62 covered parking spaces for about 28,000 square feet of retail and 85 apartments. 15 of those spaces are reserved for Zupan’s grocery store.”

  • carol

    Saying this is against my better judgement, since we are on the same side of the fence, but Dean has at least been civil throughout this argument, the only other place that I have encountered the trash talk, is on some pro-49 talks. I guess I would be considered to have a passive-aggressive personality, since any vituperation makes me nervous. If I came face to face wiith it vocally, I would tuck my tail and slink away. I suppose that I am letting my self in for a written tirade, but I needed to say it.

  • Neal

    With all due respect to your sensitivities I myself don’t find Dean’s misrepresentations and outright lies to be “civil” just because he maintains a phony civil tone.
    A mannerly, well dressed bank robber is still a bank robber.

    In Dean’s case he is a purveyor of misinformation which is harmful.

    I happen to find his methods far more insulting and abbrasive than my caustic condemnation of his message.

    In fact I call on others to put a little more enegry and aggression into their rejection of his regime.

    That aside, I am quite calm and pleasant as I do battle and I wish you the best.

    • dean


      Are you back on your meds? I’m grateful if that is the case.

      On Belmont Dairy…go back and read what I said, which was that “to my knowledge” they did not have subsidies. TEchnically “to my knowledge” might mean that I was not actually lying. Or I could have studied with Alberto Gonzalez. One can never know.

      Your research suggests Belmon got some subsidies, at least in the form of favorable loans. I say bully for them.

      Subsidies, whether direct or indirect, have been part of the land development process for about as long as land development has been going on. What are Fannie mae guarenteed loans if not subsidies to homebuilders? What are government funded freeways that allow ex-urban development to even be possible? WHat are taxpayer funded schools, without which the suburbs would be real estate toast? If your point is that NO projects should ever be subsidized, and to truly let ALL developers be reliant on the market, as long as they follow whatever rules are in place, then I’m okay with that.

      Yes, I am generally a supporter of new urbanism. Guilty as charged. What exactly are you a supporter of Neal? Besides having all the planners killed or shipped off to North Korea that is.

      Carol…even though I come across as civil, in reality I am chewing on a steel bar and tearing the appendiges off of a raggedy ann doll as I write these friendly sounding notes to Neal. My therapist says this is good for me.

      But anyway, I’m glad it is you on the same side of the fence with the likes of Neal, and not me.

  • carol

    Whew! I feel as though I ahve escaped.

  • Neal

    Not Dean, he’s painted himself into an unescapable corner.

    He’s misrepresented every planner’s example he raised, has distorted the effects of M37 and propogandizes the need for M49 for a fix.

    He’s wrong wrong wrong, and we are watching history making him so. Every where one looks one can find Dean wrong.

    Look at the real outcomes of our planning, look at the real M37 claims, look at the real M49 and Dean is on the wrong side of reality.

    • dean


      What is the sound of one hand clapping? It is Neal congratulating himself on “winning” a debate. Of course, as a participant, he could be biased, but probably not since he is for truth, justice, and the American way.

      Stil….I am reminded of the Soviet judges in the Olympics back in teh day, awarding their athletes 10s even if they stumbled and fell.

      The main problem with the corner I have painted myself into Neal, is how crowded it is. Polls consistently show high local support for good planning, and for land conservation. I would guess that 80% of the elected officials in the Portland area are pro planning and pro smart growth.

      The real outcome is that Portland consistently ranks as one of the most liveable cities in the US, and even makes some world lists. Home values are holding their own in spite of the great morgage meltdown.

      It is you who live on the wrong side of history, and that is what makes you so dang mad. It is what makes you call people names whom you disagree with. Your world is crumbling around you Neal.

      But also, you failed to even try to answer the question I posed. What are you FOR Neal? What is your vision of how Oregon and Portland ought to be, in the absence of all these planners?

  • Neal

    Are you dense.
    I am for M37 and less extreme land use planning, better planning, legitimate planning, real transportation policies and responsible spending..
    Funny you use the soviet judges. That’s exactly how our planning gets high marks.
    Then it’s hyped over and over again, with tax dollars, agency staff and yahoos like you.

    What?, you gave up trying to find good examples of our planning and now you’re citing polls?
    Of course polls show people want good planning and land conservation. Who doesn’t.

    You just can’t grasp that Oregon loonies took it too far. Way too far. Our land use planning sucks (New Urbaism) and we’re conserving much more than what needs to be conserved.

    But 100% of our local elected officials are full of shit when it comes to planning and not a one of them wanders from the pack.
    They all sing the same Metro music you sing.
    Like I said, there’s more to fear from them than M37.

  • carol

    Not! Whether you believe it or not, large, deep-pocketed developers just wait for the UGB to be expanded, quite often in the direction in which they own property. Property that is leased to farmers, thence qualifying for the ‘HUGE’ tax benefit. The benefit is based on the property not being developed, and five years of that must be refunded in the event of development, but hey, What a price to pay for a 20 fold, or more, profit on your investment.

    And yes, the UGB does get expanded in very strange directions, look at the map. I am sure that you can explain this, but not to my satisfaction. Either the deep pockets are talking to the planners, or the planners are talking, in advance to the DP. It happens too often to be explainable. I am looking at it over many years,why would the planners want the Golden Goose to expire? Follow the $$$!

  • carol

    Oops, I meant Dean. The brain is the first to go!

    • dean


      I’m not Neal thank goodness. Otherwise I would start calling you names.

      As a reluctant participant in the 2002 urban growth boundary expansion by Metro, let me relate some of my experience, which I think contradicts your suspicions.

      State land use policy puts protection of productive farm and forest land first, way above protection of wildlife habitat, clean streams, and other worthwhile goals. (I have a lot of problems with how priorities for expansion get set by the way).

      I knew some landowners in Washington County who lobbied pretty hard to get their area into the UGB, and they had a good case to make but they failed because their land was zoned as EFU. They were not “developers,” or even speculators. Most of them had ownerd their land for decades, and some now have pending M37 claims.

      Here in Damascus, where the largest UGB expansion was made (over 12,000 acres,) Only a handful of local landowners were pro expansion. All of the large farms in this area are owned by families who have been committed to farming for generations, and to my knowledge only one of them urged expansion here, The rest took a wait and see attitude.

      About 75% of local citizens (according to polls) were against the UGB expansion altogether. Most of these only own an acre or two, and did not have much to gain economically.

      The dollar differential is about 3-20 times potential increased value between being inside or outside of the UGB in these parts. It depends on a lot of factors: how much land, where is it located, how many ecological constraints it has, and so forth.

      Developers do not put money down on land until it is within a 3-5 year window of being ready to be built upon. Speulators have a longer window, up to 20 years. With the recent mortgage bubble burst, most developers can’t get financing, so things around here are on hold.

      And Neal,,,the problem is that I gave you several examples and you ignored them. The odd thing is, “new urbanism,” which you so hate, is a very CONSERVATIVE approach to planning. It borrows from the best examples of the past: hamlets, villages, neighborhoods, and main streets. Back in the days when neighbors sat out on front porches that were near the sidewalk, instead of being hidden away on back yard decks. Back when walking was safe, convenient, and entertaining.

      And as I said, it is a NATIONAL, not LOCAL movement. It started in Florida, which has a very lax land use system. Dallas, Texas and Salt Lake City, not exactly bastions of liberalism, hired the same “new urbanism” planner who used to run Metro planning to help them catch up.

      Metropolitan Atlanta, probably the most non new urbanism place in the nation, is choking on traffic, air pollution, and is running out of water. They have some of the highest obesity rates in the nation. Is this your preferred model?

      If everyone who disagrees with you on this is a loonie, yahoo, and so forth, you are in deep trouble.

      Whatever happens to M49 and M37, the central thrust in land use and urban planning locally and nationwide will continue to be experimentation and implementation of smart growth and new urbanism for the forseable future, at least until the next good idea comes along.

      Should Oregon’s land use system be changed? Yes. Did it “go to far?” In some cases yes. I’m all for sitting down, analyzing it, and making necessary changes. M37 was the wrong change.

  • carol

    Ah, but there in lies the problem, we agree on one thing, it needs to be fixed. Where we disagree is on M49. I say if it passes, there won’t be much sitting down, or analysation. The changes will have been made, and there won’t be much ‘wiggle’ room.

    I further disagree that ‘the sky is falling’, the claims that have been filed, as per several court decisions, cannot be transferred, which means that each individual will have to develop each claim independently. I myself, would even be hesitant to spend the neccessary $$ to do that, as subsequent sales would be fought in court.

    So. We are back to square one, this thing need fixing, the web-site Fix Measure 49 presents the most sensible, fair, view that I have seen yet. However, the thing that sticks in ‘progressive’ crops, (craws, if you will), is the fact that this will only transpire if M49 is defeated.

    I don’t know how Portland planners operate, but I do know how it works in a small town. It has happened here, and is in danger of happening again. Two ??, where in Washington Co. is any land not zoned EFU, and do you really believe that if M49 is defeated, that we have seen the end of this? Oh, one more ?, do you think that if it passes, ther will be adjustments? Think it over, I need a straight from the HEART answer.

    • dean

      If it passes, that could be the end of it. But since it does not address most of the larger underlying issues we have talked about in the past I do expect a ressurection of the big look task force or something along those lines, yes.

      If it fails, and the transferability issue is not resolved, then you may be right, and few claims will be realized. Ironically the ones most likely to go forward are those by deep pocketed landowners like the timber companies. The little guy may get screwed yet again, and the worst projects will get built.

      No…we won’t se the end of it either way. The opposing sides are too dug in, and seem to truly hate each other except for we two. New battles will be initiated and waged.

      The Washington county EFU issue is huge, and is driving the entire UGB debate in our region. Fundamentally, the reason the UGB expansion happened here in damascus (a lousy place for a large suburb by many measures) is that 1000 friends wanted to draw a line in the deep prairie soil of Washington County. There are no “natural” barriers to growth out there, Hillsboro and Beaverton are booming, and they feared that opening that area up would be a barn door they would not be able to get closed. By many measures Washington County is way better suited for urbanization than is Clackamas county. But they do have the better soils.

      Carol, if I “think” it over I can’t give you a “straight from the heart” answer can I?

      My brain says yes, more adjustments are ahead no matter the election outcome. It looks like turnout is going to be so low neither side is going to be able to claim a mandate.

      As for my heart….it has hope. It is neither optimistic nor pesimistic.

  • carol

    Oh well, What more can I say? I can’t remember, was the convent property included with one of the UGB expansions?

    • dean

      I don’t know about any convent property.

  • Neal

    The Washington county EFU issue is huge, and is driving the entire Dean,
    You are just about the most illinformed and misinforming guy oin the blogs.

    The reason the UGB expansion happened in damascus, and other difficult locales, is that 1000 friends (and Metro) wanted to maintain enormnous obstackles to actually developing anything.
    Sort of a non-expansion UGB expansion.
    But it looked like compliance on paper.
    The “natural” barriers canard is just that.
    There are countless acres throughout Washington County ill-suited for farming but still have EFU restrictions and remain all around every city’s UGB.

    Soils me this.
    How is it that the 1000s of acres Metro chose better than the many pockets of land adjacent to services and far more able to develope?

    Your allegiance to the land use planning has you blind.

    There is no science to their choices. It’s haphazard, costly, illconceaved and fails to provide shovel ready land for growth in an efficient manner.

    Forget the “better soils” song and dance. There are many parcels which either don’t have such grand soil and/or will never be farmed.

    1000 Freinds and Metro et al, want them locked up anyway

    You seem to never want to discuss the obvious.
    You can parrot EFU, EFU, EFU all day long but the fact of the matter is the whole darn region not already urbanized is labeled EFU.
    Pretty much like the rest of the state.
    So when you mention trumpet EFU you’re not just talking about our fine farming soils and feeding the state.
    Please finish that song.

    And stop making up things as you go.
    Despite the transferability issue Hardy Meyers cocncoted, many if not most non deep pocket land owners can and will will go forward if M49 fails. That’s a good thing.
    And the timber companies mostly used the M37 claims for placeholders and/or propose very sparce developement , also good.

    The most common way for the little guy to get screwed is by our planners, our punitive land use system and advocates like you.

    But you try and spin this thing saying the worst will get built.
    Geeze,,,, you’re a piece of work.

    We all know about high productive farm land, forest, wildlife habitat, clean streams, and other worthwhile goals.

    Try and move forward without the long winded elementry lessons.

    EFU is overly applied to lock up land and stop sprawl, period.

    I don’t buy your polls either. Especailly if Metro conducted them.

    “Do you favor saving Oregon or paving it over”,,type polls.

    And Dean the examples you gave were NOT good planning or efficient, and you didn’t even know the Belmont one was heavily subsidized, and lacked parking. Among other detriments.

    You can’t point to a single New urbanism example around here that turned out as envisioned. The Pearl is a downtown core rehab and irrelevant.
    New Urbanism is not a a CONSERVATIVE approach to anything.
    It’s social engineering at taxpayers expense and fails miserably
    to do what is promised.

    But instead of providing working outcomes around here that we should replicate you divert into revisionist history lessons and other locales.

    These new twisted around devlopments are not causing people to once again sit out on front porches. And they no longer have driveways to hang out on, garages sale or parking for guests.

    Are honestly holding up these crazy overcrowded collosal boxes with front doors a couple steps from busy streets, that no one uses, and drive around back parking. garages that eat up green yards and don’t function well?
    You call that efficient and preferrable?
    That’s special that you think thats a swell way for people to live while you live on 5 acres.

    Yammer on about something in Texas, Utah and Florida.

    NO examples of good stuff here?

    Yes many of us know that Liberalism and new urbanism has spread. All on a pack of lies you help distribute.
    Which isn’t nice for you to be doing.
    It’s worse than “namecalling”.

    Atlanta, probably the most non new urbanism place in the nation, is choking on traffic, air pollution, and is running out of water. They have some of the highest obesity rates in the nation. Is this your preferred model?
    That’s exactly what is happening here pal.
    In fact our traffic has been congesting at a faster rate than Atlanta.
    And it’s going to get much worse due to the planning you champion.

    Yes of course whatever happens to M49 and M37, the implementation of the bad ideas “smart growth and new urbanism” will continue for the forseable future, because M37 doesn’t effect it like you mislead people.
    M37 if left intact will show just how wrong and disingenuous you and yours have been.

    Since you apprently don’t comprehend or deliberatley distort our land use system you’re the last person I want sitting down, analyzing it, and making necessary changes.

    If we get a chance to see how harmless M37 really is we can work on some more good changes.
    One would be to comply with SB 100 and require planning jurisdictions to provide land for all uses and choices including less dense housing with decent yards.
    Another would be to accomodate more job related development to spread employment locations closer to housing.
    Sprawl can be loose and pallitable instead of the high density paved over Metro model. Especially if we sever the money wasting on those example you gave. 🙂

    Now behave!

  • dean

    Neal…I think I finally have you figured out. You can’t accept any positive models of smart growth or new urbanism because if there were any, anywhere, then your world would crumble.

    Your views on planning and land use are retro, 1950s nonsense. The same approach that empties out cities and has paved over farmland all across the country. What you have described is Tysons Corner Virginia. Great place. Lots of free parking and one almost never needs get out of one’s car. In fact, to do so would be dangerous. In a world with $92 per barrel oil, one would think it makes sense to try a different model now. “Loose and palatable sprawl?” I’m trying to visualize. Maybe you should write a book on that idea.

    Yes, car traffic is going to get worse here no matter what Metro does. The gas tax buys about half of what it did 20 years ago. But unlike Atlanta, if we keep urban growth boundaries snug and increase density in appropriate places, we can choose to take the train, ride the bus, bike or walk. That is nearly impossible in Atlanta, and they are going to pay the price.

    Your Metro/1000 Friends conspiracy theory is bunk. SB 100 put farmland conservation first, not Metro. Counties zoned land either EFU or “exception,” generally meaning rural residential in the 1970s. The exception lands have to be urbanized first. If Metro had their way they would pick off easier areas, and they unsuccessfully lobbied the state to get the rule changed. And in fact Metro DOES push for jobs and housing to be close together, sometimes to the point of absurdity by pushing for industrial land use where it is not economically viable., like right here in Damasacus.

    So Neal, ask yourself this: Why do people pay more money for an old house on a small lot with a front porch, the garage behind on an alley in Ladd’s addition, with no place for guests to park, than they pay for a relatively new ranch burger on 1-2 acres right here in Damascus? Do you have an opinion on that worth sharing? Or would you rather think up more names to call me?

    I live on 5 acres because I chose a run down farmhouse that needed a lot of fixing. For the same price I could have bought a small condo in the Pearl. If this 5 acres was so dang appealing the price would have been bid up far beyond my reach.

    Location location location Neal. San Francisco has a whole lot of “crazy overcrowded collosal boxes with front doors a couple steps from busy streets” that cost a lot of money. What do they know that you don’t?

  • Neal

    Your rhetoric that anything less than our UGB chaos is rampant sprawl is foolish. As is your innuendo on Metro’s process and your property comparisons.
    Again you know not of what you speak. Metro’s does more to obstruct jobs and jobs locations than help. Their Industrial lands process resulted in parcels stuck in plannerslimob just like their Residential UGB expansions. Their selection of Industrial land was a laugher. Pure nonsense as they sought only to talley up an impression of providing land.

    Your take on traffic is consistently wrong headed too.
    Yes, car traffic is going to get worse. Becasue Metro and TriMet inflict policies which devour massive sums, overcrowds our communities with increased density in chaos fashion while failing miserably to either accomodate growth or to trigger enough train, bus, bike or walk usage to make any offsetting difference what so ever.
    Our local policies are impossible to provide what growth needs.

    In your delusion you think all we need do is turn all of our suburbs into San Franscisco.
    You can’t point to a single example in OUR suburbs where Metro’s handi work has suceeded with Smart Growth but I can demonstrate enormous waste and poor outcomes from many of their experiments.

    You truly do live in a theroetical world.

    • dean

      So Neal…you seem to concede my point on Ladds addition without actually conceding it. There is clearly a strong market demand for the types of neighborhoods that smart growth/new urbanism advocates are trying to design and build. It is a fair question to wonder if these projects can succeed in the suburbs.

      Point one is that they historically HAVE been successful in the suburbs. Oak Park, Riverside, La Grange, Naperville, and several other “railroad” suburbs near my hometown of Chicago were dense enough and mixed use enough to be held up as examples by new urbanism advocates of what can be done today.

      More locally and recently, Lake Oswego’s downtown renewal has shown that new urbanism works. Gresham is beggining to get mixed use buildings in its historic downtown. The main street in Troutdale is another example. Fairview Village, which I mentioned to you way back is an imperfect but worthy example.

      If you would open your mind to this just a crack Neil, you would see the value in this approach. We have a projected population growth of 1 million people in the Portland area over the next several decades. If you accomodate them by simply adding onto the existing UGB and allowing low density, separated land uses, you would cover an area of land 2-4 times the size of the existing metro area. And you would never find the money to build the highway system you would need. Plus, as a private property rights advocate, you should be concerned that new and widened highways are the main trigger for land condemnation. You want “takings,” you will get a lot of it if you start plotting new hgihways all over the map.

      Building new, and retrofitting older neighborhoods at 8 units to the acre average density, which is typical of Portlands older neighborhoods, is the wiser, more conservative path to take because it makes more efficient use of existing infrastructure.

      Consider that back in the early 90s Portland had next to zero rowhouses, and builders said there was not market for them. They also said there was no market for homes on 5000 square foot lots in the burbs. They said no one would want to live downtown. And they ridiculed the idea of building mixed use buildings on transit corridors. They were wrong on all counts, and ended up making money hand over fist building these sorts of projects over the last 5-10 years. The market has shifted away from low density, separated land use, car dependent development.

      Yes, some folks opt for space and are willing to pay for it and/or deal with the inconvenience of ex-urban living. I am one of those at the moment. Our land use system ought to be modified to allow more rural housing. But it ought to be done within a well thought out planning framework that identifies the best areas for rural homes and hamlets, not through land use waivers that are based on length of land tenure.

  • carol

    Aha! Speaking of open minds Dean , both of you could stand a little daylight into a smug closure, However I have to admit, yours seems to be cracking a tad, doesn’t the sun feel good in there? This measure is not the answer!. I have no quarrel with density in Portland, however the way M49 is structered, it leaves no room for the other side of the picture. I have never been an advocate of subdivisions, but 2 acre plots ‘clustered’ here and there ain’t the answer either. This need more work, and if this measure passes, I’d bet the farm that nothing more will happen until the lawsuits begin, and guess who will have the $$ for that. Not me, or anyone that I know.

    • dean

      Touche Carol. Mine is well cracked. I support 49 as the lesser of evils. Lets get the big stuff off the table and then find a way to allow some reasonable small acerage projects into the mix.

      I know you feel differently and respect that viewpoint.

  • carol

    OK, if you believe that, I have a ocean front property in Ariz that I’ll sell you for a mere half million. I just returned from SF and Sonoma county, and it’s a riot how they are getting around the newer zoning laws. Apparently, if one wall is left standing, it’s a remodel, not new construction.

    However, one good thing, an aquaintance of my brother was paid 2,000,000 for development rights to property. I’m sure that I can find someone in Oregon to buy mine. I wonder if Nature conservancy has any $$ left, we have wonderful wildlife habitat on our high value farmland.

    ‘Scuse my sarcasm, I spent most of yesterday transforming my 3 year old G-grandaughter into a horse, and teaching her how to whinny! I’m feeling exceptionaly childish today.

  • Neal

    Good grief dean, Ladd’s addition is an example of development decades before any of our contemporary land use extremism.
    And it wouldn’t comply with today’s denisty manadates if it were proposed in the suburbs.
    Is there a demand for the close in older neighborhoods? Duh.

    You continue to miss my points and avoid telling me what it is you see as preferrable to M37, around here.

    You don’t need to wander all around the country with me.

    From what you have posted you want Oregon communities to adapt to San Franscisco ro Chicago. Yo can;t give much of an example around here for some reason but you must want more Beaverton Rounds and infill as a means to preserve Oregon Communitites?

    And somehow M37 doesn’t preserve Oregon Communitites???
    LO’s downtown is a small downtown makeover. And it was very expensive.
    You seem to suggest we should duplicate that on a grand scale throughout the suburbs? That isn’t preserving Oregon communitites Dean. It’s altering them.
    And what qualifies as “new urbanism works”? The fact that it was built? That money was spent? Works for what?
    Those small pockets of makeovers sure don’t accomodate growth. Are you suggesting they do?
    Gresham is only now, after decades of propoganda claiming light rail spurs development, getting some of the parcels at light rail stations enough subsidies to make them happen. Big deal. What’s that mnean form the growth in the Gresham area? Nothing.
    Same goes form Troutdale, Fairview Village, Orenco Satation etc.

    I have done way more than open my mind a crack Dean. I have investigated and studied these things which you clealry now very little about. As exampled by your misunderstadning that Belmont Dairy was “privately developed.
    Dean you fail to apply due dilligence so you inflate the value in this approach.
    All these pockets and infill will never be enough to accomodate the 1 million. And it will alter Oregon cities forever with the overcrowding.
    Contrary to your delusion there is plenty of land to allow more low density, Oregon-like, separated land uses. And if you and your planners would stop wasting billions on rail transit and smart growth we would have enough money to build the highway system and roads we need.
    Your Metro speak is getting nauseating.
    “Roads and land condemnation, “takings,” plotting new hgihways all over the map”.
    Your model sucks pure and simple. Cramming every city with ,
    densities you want is insane and it aint Oregon.
    It aint wiser or efficient. It’s chaos as we see all over our region.
    But all you do is look at the few pockets of pretty and pretend doing it everywhere is viable and saves the cost of infrastructure.
    Yeah right. Just like Belmont, where you thought no public money was used. Do you havge any idea how many billions have been spent on rail and smart grwoth aorund here?
    All you are promoting is more taking of infrastucture money and spending it on more high density private development.
    The reason there has been a market for row houses is they cost less than homes and people had no choice but to buy them if they wanted something new and nice. It was all about lack of affordable new housing. No one said there was no market for homes on 5000 square foot lots in the burbs. But Metro mandated that as an avreage for much of the region. NO one said no one would want to live downtown.
    Mixed use on transit coridors is still being ridiculed as takes massive public subsidies and it fails all over the place.
    You just don’t know what you are talking about.
    You assume it “works’ simply because it gets built.
    “inconvenience of ex-urban living” Say what.
    We don’t have any well thought out planning framework.
    SoWa is the mother of all proof. Damascus is a joke and North Bethany same.
    The only thing thought about is how to make it over crowded, expensive and a dysfunctional rat race so people stop driving.
    But they don’t, the mess gets worse and you stand in the way of reasonable and less costly M37 development.

    • dean


      Money could also be available to buy development rights from farms as well as habitat. Maryland uses this approach.


      Where to begin? The densities that the entire Portland metro region is held to amount to 6-10 units to the acre of NET developable land. These were negotiated between 26 cities, 3 counties, Metro, and LCDC. They were not dictated by anyone. The idea was to share the burden of growth.

      THe projects you casually dismiss, like the downtown Lake O makeover, are mostly small. But they add up to a lot. The last UGB expansion assumed that about 300,000 new people could be housed within the pre 2002 UGB. THe expansion was to take up 100,000. Many small projects may be less disruptive than a few large ones.

      Gresham made a huge mistake when it forced the light rail to miss its historic downtown. That decision, made in anger over loss of the Mt Hood Freeway (it would not have been free, and did not go to Mt Hood by the way,) cost years of delay in redevelopment. And now the downtown has in effect moved to where the light rail stop is.

      When I point out projects that “work” to you, my definition is they met their intention. In the case of the Pearl, Belmont Dairy, downtown Lake O, and Fairview Village, they were built primarily with private capital, and targeted public investments either added value or made these project possible sooner than the market alone would have. Belmont Street was a run down, tawdry antique mall with a huge vacant eyesore that was holding the place back. The dairy project ignited a lot of reinvestment up and down the block, extending now all the way to SE 60th. None of these project are anywhere near light rail.

      In Damascus, about 1/3 of the total land area will likely be classed as not buildable by virture of nearness to streams, wetlands, steep slopes, and landslide hazards. Of the remaining 2/3, about 1/3 of that is already developed as subdivisions of 1/2 to 2 acre lots. Redevelopment potential is low for these areas, so no increased density will be assigned to them except for permission to build “granny flats”.

      So we are down to about 5000 acres of developable land out of the 10,000 in the city. Streets, parks, schools, and other institutional land uses will take up about 25%, or 1000 acres, leaving 4000. Industrial areas and office parks will get around 1000 acres. That leaves 3000 acres for commercial, mixed use, and residential. If we average 10 units to the acre net (our goal locally is to hold the line at 8, but Metro wants 10,) we will end up with around 50,000 people living in 20,000 housing units. So the GROSS density of Damascus is projected to be around 2 units to the acre.

      Most of the new housing will be detached, single family residential. New neighborhoods will be about as dense as Ladds Addition or Irvington, both of which have 5000 sq ft lots with a scattering of duplexes and flats.

      There will be higher density housing in centers and along some corridors. But we are talking 2-4 story buildings like those on Hawthorne or Belmont, not like in Hong Kong or Manhatten.

      If this all works out, Damascus would be a moderate sized (by Oregon standards) city with a lot of green space, neighborhoods that are easy to walk around in, a bus system (light rail is way unlikely here) with frequent enough service to be useful, clean streams, nice views of hills, employment close by, enough diversity of housing and jobs that one could stay here cradle to grave (yet not live with mom the whole time), and perhaps become a model others will want to study. if this falls flat, which is more than likely for a whole lot of reasons, it will serve as a model to avoid.

      If I were a betting man, even though I like the picture I just painted, I would bet on failure. Why? Because Damascus was a poor choice for this experiment, and I tried like heck to convince Metro of that. The land ownership is far too fragmented, and the available urban infrastructure is too far away and expensive. They knew all that but felt compelled to lassoo Damascus because our farmland was less valuable than that of Washington County.

      There is not enough money to build the highway system you would need for your well planned sprawl vision. Nor is there enough for my new urban communities. The gas tax has not kept up with inflation and the existing infrastructure is detriorating rapidly. New freeways are ALWAYS resisted by local communities and landowners for darn good reasons: eminent domain, noise, pollution, and ugliness.

      No one has been forced to buy a rowhouse. I saw a used one for sale in Sellwood the other day for $375K by the way. For a little less you can buy a 2000 sq foot 4br, 2 bath home in Eagle Creek on 2 acres according to a Bruns and Olsen listing. What do you make of that?

      I only have one vote to cast on M37 by the way. If anything stands in the way it will be a majority of voters chosing to adjust their previous vote.

  • carol

    In Oregon, zilch, nada, zip. LCDC says it all. no need for conservation $$

  • Neal

    Dean you are dwelling on the irrelevant while ignoring the Billions wasted on rail transit and subsidizing TODs/centers/corridors/Smart growth policies,,, and then claim there isn’t enough money.

    As example, the legislature just approved $250 million in lottery backed bonds for Milwaukie Light rail and hundreds of millions in Urban Renewal continue to drain basic services budgets across the region.

    You’ll no doubt claim thta has no effect on lack of funding for other infrastructure just as you claim the UGB and othe l;and use regulations have no effect on land and housing prices.

    As far as your “Sellwood house for $375K comparison to a 2000 sq foot 4br, 2 bath home in Eagle Creek on 2 acres ??????

    What do I make of that? $357 isn’t afforadable. That’s why families move to McMinnville where they can afford a house and then commute to the Portland region.
    What is it you make of your comparison?

    • dean


      What I make of it is that if “the market” preferred low density ex-urban housing to moderate density urban housing, a price differenctial would reflect that. The Sellwood Townhouse would cost far less than the Eagle creek house, particularly when you factor in that there are a lot more total homes to choose from in the city than outside of it. The shortage of ex-urban housing ought to be driving the price way up but it appraently isn’t. That blows a hole in your argument that opening up rural lands to development through M37 is going to affect housing prices within the urban area.

      I don’t make the claim that the UGB has no effect on land prices. but not having a UGB would not necessarily drive prices down. If that were true, seattle, the Bay area, and other comparable locations would have cheaper housing than Portland, but they don’t.

      As for “other regulations,” that is a broad category. If we eliminated all of them people could build shantytowns out of scrap materials like in 3rd wold countries, and housing would be very cheap indeed. Which regulations do you want to eliminate?

      In your research on transportation funding, how much of the total is going to roads versus transit, cycling, and walking? I would guess the ratio is at least 80% to roads, meaning if you shifted the entire 20% leftover from transit/cycling/walking to roads you would still be way short of the need. And the need would increase because you failed to fund the alternatives to driving.

      So I don’t agree that billions are “wasted” on light rail, TODs and so forth. That is investment needed to create neighborhoods where people can get around without a car, or at the least make shorter car trips.