August 16, 2006
Sport Columnist Conflates Streetcar, Trailblazers
I wouldn't even have seen it if a reader had not e-mailed me a link, since I don't regulary read the sports page, but yesterday Dwight Jaynes' commentary in the Portland Tribune suggests that the "keep Portland wierd" foks are winning, wondering when we'll stop building Streetcars and start rattling Paul Allen's cage about keeping the Blazers here in Portland.
To get elected here you need to pay homage to bike paths, streetcars, trams and light rail – which is fine as long as there is an admission that all that stuff is nothing more than a tiny answer to our congestion problems.
My goodness, find me a politician who is willing to admit that and you’ve found a treasure. But I don’t expect it anytime soon. We continue to preach urban density – dropping hundreds of residents onto blocks (such as in South Waterfront) designed for no residents – and then we call those traffic-clogging streetcars part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
OK, Dwight, here's the play: we'll sell the eastbank freeway to a private company who will charge us tolls to use it. Then we'll turn around and use the proceeds of the sale to buy the Blazers from Paul Allen, and the Rose Garden from Allen's creditors. Will that make you feel better?
August 16, 2006 9:59 AM
The politicians do not think as we do. They think “politically”, they would say. We need facts not thoughts down there.
August 16, 2006 10:21 AM
Dwight Hater Says:
Funny, Dwight doesn't propose any solutions, just whines about Portland's leadership and berates them for not spending money to pursue large unprofitable corporate orgasms with no lasting economic benefit.
I'd like to know what Dwight's preferred solution is to the transportation problem in Portland. No doubt it would have included the Westside bypass, a third Columbia River bridge, the Mt Hood Freeway, the Lake Oswego Freeway and keeping the freeway that used to run through what is now Waterfront Park.
August 16, 2006 10:39 AM
Obviously, the solution to all of Portland's problems is a strong NBA franchise and hosting the All-Star game, according to Jaynes. Brilliant!
August 16, 2006 11:12 AM
Clay Fouts Says:
I have yet to determine whether or not it's a useful adaptation or a personal weakness that my eyes instantly glaze over when subjected to any text referencing professional or college sports. As a direct consequence, I have no idea what this guy's trying to say.
August 16, 2006 1:05 PM
Terry Parker Says:
“To get elected here you need to pay homage to bike paths, streetcars, trams and light rail – which is fine as long as there is an admission that all that stuff is nothing more than a tiny answer to our congestion problems.”
My interpretation: Bicyclists, streetcar passengers, tram users and light rail riders need to start paying user fees and fares that better reflect the financial tax dollar costs of providing the services. No more free bicycle infrastructure to bicyclists and no more Fareless Square. The politicians are unwilling to listen to common sense pricing approach for these things and the non-users who pay the bills.
“My goodness, find me a politician who is willing to admit that and you’ve found a treasure. But I don’t expect it anytime soon. We continue to preach urban density – dropping hundreds of residents onto blocks (such as in South Waterfront) designed for no residents – and then we call those traffic-clogging streetcars part of the solution rather than part of the problem.”
My interpretation: The politicians are unwilling to listen to a common sense pricing approach for these things and the non-users who pay the bills. Politicians push their own personal agendas, stack advisory committees with sound-a-likes, and hold back facts and information from the public that would otherwise erode their agendas thereby preaching socialism with the use of tax subsidies, property tax abatements and urban renewal districts to further their cause. Streetcars become a traffic clogging problem when they are planned for streets like MLK and Grand Avenue, and both creep along at a slow rate of speed blocking other traffic and creating congestion, especially when they stop for passengers in travel lanes.
Personally, I don't read the sports pages either, but I think Dwight is onto something here. Now if more people with his views would just get involved and speak up, Portland would become more democratic with all views included.
August 16, 2006 3:26 PM
Dwight Hater Says:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but we just had a primary election in Portland, did we not? Where voters pretty much endorsed the work of the incumbents running for re-election (Adams and Sten)?
I'd say the politicians are listening to the right people - THE VOTERS - who just sent them back for another term.
"If more people with [Dwight's] views would just get involved and speak up" - sure, but that presumes such people form a great silent majority that just happened to forget there was an election this year, and forgot to run any candidates for those offices.
[personally directed remark removed]
August 16, 2006 5:01 PM
Terry Parker Says:
Anybody who follows politics knows the incumbent has the advantage followed by those with big dollar war chests to spend on campaigns. Also it was Saltzman and Sten who were reelected, not Adams who oversees PDOT. Sten's chief opponent who lost against him in the primary was a hardcore bicycle advocate. One of Sten's top priorities is low income housing. Based on a question I asked him at a candidates fair, Sten does not always agree with many of the property tax abatements either. The one exception is for low income housing. I also make the exception there. In addition, I believe I remember Saltzman disagreeing with one of the proposed tax abatements in the South Waterfront, and the developer Homer Williams did not receive it.
August 16, 2006 5:18 PM
i read recently in the oregonian or the trib that a recent poll showed sam adams to be, in fact, the most popular council member. not sure if that would hold up in an election.
August 16, 2006 7:24 PM
Ross Williams Says:
Nonetheless, people in the Portland region have consistently elected people who support the current transporation policies and if anything are advocates for moving towards more investment in alternatives. The most obvious example was Robert Liberty defeating Rod Monroe who had been the chair of JPACT, but that is only the most obvious. If those folks actually deliver what they said they supported during their campaigns, we would be a lot further along toward a more balanced system where people had realistic choices for most trips.
August 16, 2006 8:03 PM
Terry said, "Now if more people with his views would just get involved and speak up, Portland would become more democratic with all views included."
Democracy means that sometimes that decisions get made for the public good and that you don't always get your way. I think Portlanders have a long history of knowing what they want in terms of transportation investments. They've elected people that tend to support those ideas. I don't think that is a coincidence.
If Portlanders wanted more freeways, they would have voted for the gas tax increases necessary to pay for them.
August 16, 2006 9:10 PM
Jason McHuff Says:
"Dwight just whines about Portland's leadership and berates them"
I think some people would say that about Phil Stanford. As was mentioned elsewhere, the Trib may have started out as a good paper, but has since laid many people off.
August 17, 2006 10:47 AM
Lenny Anderson Says:
Of course the irony here is that the mayor who came the closest to getting us major league baseball (which I favor) also brought us Interstate MAX, the Tram and other delights that Mr. Jaynes can seem to abide.
Elections...Katz beat Blumenauer for first term...a race between two strong advocates for transportation options/balance. This was to replace out 2-term bike riding Mayor Clark. Katz won a 2nd term without significant opposition.
The roads vs. options debate is over just about everywhere but on this blog. Let's move on.
August 17, 2006 6:29 PM
Whats that saying?
"Geeks rule the world, Jocks..."
August 18, 2006 10:49 AM
Terry Parker Says:
“Democracy means that sometimes that decisions get made for the public good and that you don't always get your way.”
That also includes bicyclists and transit advocates not always getting their own way, and/or bicyclists and transit advocates attempting to end the debate to get their own way. The public good is does not just apply to what bicyclists and transit advocates want.
“I think Portlanders have a long history of knowing what they want in terms of transportation investments. They've elected people that tend to support those ideas.”
The people of Portland also voted down North-South Max. Both I-Max and Airport Max side stepped a vote of the people to fund them. The public had no vote on funding the Tram. The people has also voted down gas tax increases and supported Measure 37 by a wide margin, even in Multnomah County. People who vote for a candidate do not always agree with everything that candidate stands for. Candidates often get elected or re-elected on name familiarity, voter apathy, just spending big dollars and/or party politics, even in non-partisan races. People also often vote for what they consider the least of two evils running.
“The roads vs options debate is over just about everywhere but on this blog.”
Currently PDOT applies censorship to stifle opposing opinions. Agreeing with that concept is agreeing with socialism. The debate will never be over. Only when bicyclists and transit riders directly pay the costs for their respective infrastructure and the government services received, thereby not poaching the costs from motorists, bill the debate be lessened.
August 18, 2006 7:51 PM
Dwight Hater Says:
Terry - All your talk about the reasons why elected officials win or lose sounds like excuses for why candidates who support your positions on transit/roads don't win.
If Portlanders want candidates that will worship roads above all else, they'll put them into office.
Also, just because something fails a public referendum does not mean it is never allowed to be voted on again by future referenda or city councils. N-S failed, but Tri-Met got the money from other sources to fund I-max and probably will get money to fund Milwaukie light rail - all through legal, representative means. If you don't like it, vote against officials who support the spending of said monies. But don't whine when your positions and your candidates lose.
Not everything can be voted on in a referendum, sometimes elected officials make decisions - and then we vote to elect or not elect them based on those decisions and other things IN TOTAL. But I find it hard to believe that if Portland were really so up in arms about its council's decision making, it wouldn't have thrown out incumbents this year. Running as a roads-only no-transit-choice candidate in Portland dooms you to about 15% of the vote, which I like to call "Lister-ville." Enjoy your stay in Lister-ville, Terry.
August 19, 2006 8:18 AM
While I disagree with Dwight's position on transportation, the larger point in his article is spot on. It is appalling how the city's leaders continue to show (apparent) disdain for professional sports in Portland. Call them overpaid knuckle-draggers if you like, but the fact is that sports is a green industry that raises a city's profile, creates jobs and economic activity, AND increases mass transit use.
August 19, 2006 8:25 AM
To all the people (libertarians?) who are complaining about such and such happened without a vote:
Last I checked, we were founded on the principle of "taxation without representation", NOT "every tax requires a vote of the people".
August 19, 2006 12:06 PM
Paul Edgar Says:
I recommend that you should be careful in your support of socialist activistism. A vot of the people should have some meaning.
What will you say and do when the next time they effect you and your lifestyle in a manner that you do not agree with. It maybe a camera's on the corner of the street and they end up being less interested in traffic flow and more interested in monitoring you and your activity.
August 19, 2006 1:17 PM
Dwight Hater Says:
Paul Edgar -
Thank you for bringing clarity to the debate - "a vote of the people should have SOME meaning." OK, that really clears it up. Should all funding/tax decisions made by referenda? Should we abolish all public offices and hold a fully public vote on all issues every week? Should we have govt by plebiscite?
Or once a referendum has been held, is that position is fixed in stone for all time? For twenty years? Ten years? Even though people's opinions change (Milwaukie used to be against light rail, now they can't wait for it), funding sources change (a mix of federal money was used instead of only local money), proposals change (Interstate max by itself was much different than the whole N-S light rail) people move in and out of city boundaries (people might move to Portland b/c they want transit and are thus more inclined to vote for it than others - or should you vote be weighted by how long you've lived in Portland?), etc.
Yes, a vote of the people should have SOME meaning. As in, the people voted yes or no on THAT proposal at THAT time - and they cannot bind future votes or prevent changed proposal from coming up for debate.
August 21, 2006 8:00 PM
Paul Edgar wrote:
"What will you say and do when the next time they effect you and your lifestyle in a manner that you do not agree with."
I'll do the same I thing I've always done... vote for candidates and ballot measures based on a combination of my viewpoints and who I believe will govern most effectively.
You are implying that the people have no say in governance and I couldn't disagree with you more.
August 25, 2006 2:06 PM
Matt Picio Says:
"My interpretation: Bicyclists, streetcar passengers, tram users and light rail riders need to start paying user fees and fares that better reflect the financial tax dollar costs of providing the services."
Bicyclists, streetcar passengers, and light-rail riders already subsidize the massive automobile structure that is in place, even if they don't use it - roads are only 40% funded by gas taxes, most of it is funded from general taxes which are paid by everyone.
If you force the small percentage of people who use alternative transportation to pay the entire burden for the assets provided for them, and do not do the same for road users, alternative transportation will disappear. That is not a good thing. It is the diversity in transportation options that makes Portland the livable city that is is today. If we followed the car-oriented vision of the 1960's, we'd have another 6-12 freeways in Portland and 1-3 more bridges across the Columbia. While that sounds good to some of us, who would pay for it? We can't even pay to fix the Sellwood bridge right now, and McLoughlin is about to become a gigantic mess as soon as PDOT starts replacing the viaduct over the Union Pacific tracks.
"That also includes bicyclists and transit advocates not always getting their own way"
They don't. North-South MAX was never built. The MAX line to Milwaukie is not a sure thing. Tri-Met isn't getting their transit center at Kellogg Lake, they've relocated to north of Milwaukie. Oak Grove successfully stopped Metro from turning their community into a transit center. The bicycle program promoting shower facilities and amenities for cyclists downtown failed. Cycling advocates have had limited success amending traffic laws, and PDOT ignored cyclist requests for improvements to the St. John's bridge. And that's just a couple minutes of thought on the subject. Cyclists and transit advocates don't get everything they want. The fact that they have as much as they do is because the voters gave it to them - more people care about having a diverisifed transportation system than care about easy motoring. And until the motoring public cares enough to vote for the things THEY want, that's the way it will be.
I, for one hope that motorists become activists, because once the experience of an event becomes more impotant to them than the convenience of the event, they'll make wise choices rather than the "knee-jerk" reaction of the typical voter.