Oregon Iron Works Responds

With an op-ed from their chairman.

54 Comments

54 Responses to Oregon Iron Works Responds

  1. Garlynn
    May 3, 2013 at 10:18 am Link

    He makes a really good point: A lot of folks talk about job creation and business friendliness. Here’s a business that is innovating, creating and retaining jobs, and engaging in import replacement, which jane Jacobs identified as the #1 way that cities can grow their economies. We should continue to support Oregon Iron Works on their streetcar manufacturing endeavor in any way we can, as a community and as individuals.

    Innovation is messy. Sometimes, it runs over budget and behind schedule. That’s business, and that’s what economic growth looks like. Who has ever missed a deadline because they were working hard to deliver a next-level degree of quality? I know I sure have; and all I ask when that happens is understanding and support for the deliverable… and hope that the increase in quality makes up for the slippage in timeframe! :-)

  2. EngineerScotty
    May 3, 2013 at 10:28 am Link

    “Business friendliness” can take several forms:

    * Lowering taxes (either generally, or tax breaks targeted to specific industries or companies)
    * Reducing regulations
    * Increasing regulations, when the regulation in question handicaps competitors or requires others patronize the business in question
    * Preferential procurement practices in government contracting.

    Most conservatives think of the first two when they mean “business friendly”, and object to the latter two–particularly when the business in question is seen as advancing a “liberal” priority. And the relationship between OIW and PSI is certainly in the category of #4–production of streetcars for the Eastside line wasn’t put out for competitive bid, instead the business was awarded (with federal approval) to OIW. That said, this was all done in the light of day.

  3. Jim Lee
    May 3, 2013 at 1:58 pm Link

    Streetcars were perfected long ago, and innovation for its own sake will get one nothing but trouble. One must be competent and have mastery in a field before attempting to change and improve it.

    The problem with all things streetcar in our city is that none of the principals involved ever has demonstrated any competence in that field. If Chris were not one of the principals I would feel sympathy for him every time he is hung out to dry in his role as de facto public relations front.

  4. Lenny Anderson
    May 3, 2013 at 5:39 pm Link

    By all measures…community involvement, ridership, cost effectiveness, and helping to build our city…, Streetcar is one of the most, if not THE most, successful transportation project in this city’s history. Period. Name another that comes close.

  5. Nick theoldurbanist
    May 3, 2013 at 7:46 pm Link

    Surely you have to be kidding Lenny :)

  6. Lenny Anderson
    May 3, 2013 at 8:34 pm Link

    Go ahead, name one that’s better and done more for the city. I am all ears.

  7. Erik H.
    May 3, 2013 at 9:40 pm Link

    By all measures…community involvement, ridership, cost effectiveness, and helping to build our city…Name another that comes close.

    TriMet’s bus system.

  8. dave
    May 3, 2013 at 10:06 pm Link

    Streetcar is one of the most, if not THE most, successful transportation project in this city’s history. Period. Name another that comes close.

    Well, you asked for a debate, you got it.

    Without I-5 and I-84, most of us would not be here. You can hate the freeways but they have proven over time to be the most successful way to connect us to the rest of the country.

  9. Nick theoldurbanist
    May 3, 2013 at 10:09 pm Link

    Although I’m not a fan of rail in Portland, I would say that the Blue Line has had a much greater impact than any streetcar line would.

    But, like Eric says, it’s the bus system – the real workhorse that ties the city together, and thus is better for the city.

  10. Lenny Anderson
    May 4, 2013 at 8:43 am Link

    Of course the TriMet’s bus system evolved from the old Rose City Transit system which evolved from the streetcar network of the early 20th century. That streetcar system had a strong hand in the creation of Portland’s close in neighborhoods and commercial districts.
    Interstate freeways do indeed connect us, but they should never have been built thru the heart of the city. I-5 and I-84 destoyed and devalued numerous neighborhoods in Portland, including N. Portland, Albina, South Portland, Goose Hollow and on and on. We are only now recovering, but still suffer from the ugliest bridge anywhere and the loss of any real use of the east bank of the Willamette. Even ODOT recognized the latter as mistakes when they were built in the 60’s.

  11. nobody
    May 4, 2013 at 9:36 am Link

    Lenny,

    The airport MAX project beats out streetcar in my book.

  12. Lenny Anderson
    May 4, 2013 at 3:21 pm Link

    I go to IKEA from time to time, but the development that followed the Red Line pales in comparison to that along Streetcar between NW and SoWa.
    Buses, MAX, freeways are called out. They were are in the mix of the transformation that began in the 70’s, of which Streetcar is a clear decendant.
    TriMet was created from the ashes of Rose City Transit, the Transit Mall was built, old Harbor Drive was removed to create a riverside park, and two freeways, Mt Hood and I-505, were stopped. In their stead the first MAX line to Gresham was begun. The 1972 Downtown Plan was the guiding work for this start of the shift from almost total auto dependence to more modal balance.
    The Central City Plan followed in the 80’s, with the broadest and deepest citizen input before or since. It sought to extend the success of the Downtown plan to the neighborhoods of the Central City. Some kind of “people circulator” was called for to connect NW, West End and South Portland. Streetcar is what came out of that effort, and the neighborhoods that it touches have had development not seen in Portland since the years between the L&C Exposition and WWI.

  13. Mamacita
    May 5, 2013 at 8:49 am Link

    Fares from the Street car amount to about 5% of the costs. What a money pit. Meanwhile, Tri-Met teeters on the edge of bankruptcy. But, cognitive dissonance is part of Portland culture. When the street car fails the original objectives, just go back in time and re-write the goals.

    BTW guys- great job bringing Nike to the lifeless SoWhat neighborhood. Oh right, they turned the spot down due to a lack of parking.

  14. bjcefola
    May 5, 2013 at 10:45 am Link

    they turned the spot down due to a lack of parking.

    What’s the factual basis for that statement?

  15. Lenny Anderson
    May 5, 2013 at 2:08 pm Link

    So what were these so called “original goals?” Make a serious argument and junk the foolishness.
    Portland is a three stripes town anyway…who needs Nike…let them be city tax evaders out near B-town.

  16. dave
    May 5, 2013 at 3:08 pm Link

    Lenny-take a ride out to Hillsboro on the blue line
    When you look at the development west of Beaverton along the blue line, the amount of number of apt, condos and homes makes the pearl district look like child’s play.

    The streetcar is an urban amenity
    It’s not much of a transportation line. The condos in the pearl would have been built regardless of the streetcar. Stop kidding yourself otherwise.

    And nice job for insulting the thousands of Portlanders who work for Nike. Which just happens to be located along the blue line

  17. dave
    May 5, 2013 at 3:09 pm Link

    Lenny-take a ride out to Hillsboro on the blue line
    When you look at the development west of Beaverton along the blue line, the amount of number of apt, condos and homes makes the pearl district look like child’s play.

    The streetcar is an urban amenity
    It’s not much of a transportation line. The condos in the pearl would have been built regardless of the streetcar. Stop kidding yourself otherwise.

    And nice job for insulting the thousands of Portlanders who work for Nike. Which just happens to be located along the blue line

  18. Allan
    May 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm Link

    Nike is on the blue line-ish. It’s a ten minute walk or a shuttle ride away. Same for most Intel campuses. If we’re not getting folks close to a door we’ve probably failed to get market share of high wealth folks. Hence the giant parking structures. Some of these problems could be solved through the suggested wayside service upgrades

    The potential developments along the blue line in wash co. are so much greater than what is there now. It’s coming, slowly

    Lenny I think the red line comment was intended at mean even the red line has done better, but that it was the best.

  19. Jason Barbour
    May 5, 2013 at 9:41 pm Link

    Let’s not kid ourselves. The Nike World HQ is on TriMet Bus Route 62-Murray Blvd. What that fact has to do with streetcars or OIW is beyond me. :/

  20. Nick theoldurbanist
    May 5, 2013 at 10:15 pm Link

    “Nike is on the blue line-ish. It’s a ten minute walk or a shuttle ride away. Same for most Intel campuses. If we’re not getting folks close to a door we’ve probably failed to get market share of high wealth folks.”

    >>>> Right. If we had built a busway on the west side, instead of MAX, we could have offered service right to the door without transfers.

  21. Anandakos
    May 6, 2013 at 12:33 am Link

    @Everyone,

    Lots of Nike folks now ride to Millikan and walk to Fifty-Eight or to Beaverton Creek and walk to the “Millkan Campus” (the street, not the station).

    It’s true that the main campus does not have direct service, but Nike does a good job of providing very convenient “on-demand” shuttle service at the morning and evening peaks. The rest of the day the shuttles are scheduled, because they’re mostly hauling people between meetings at a different campus that where they work.

    I think they missed a real opportunity a few months ago when they build the running trail through the woods between Beaverton Creek and Jenkins. They could have worked with Tri-Met to make an entrance by the station and a “cut-through” path walk directly to the main entrance and lots of folks would have made the five minute walk instead of shuttling.

    It’s not that much farther to The Park from the “old campus” that such a path to the station would be.

    And, Nick, what makes you think that a “busway” would have dedicated buses leaving the system to serve Nike? That’s a great example of one-seat-riditis. Such service would have had to be like the C-Tran expresses to Pill Hill and the Lloyd District: two or three buses at the peak hour.

    Not convenient!

  22. EngineerScotty
    May 6, 2013 at 8:03 am Link

    And, Nick, what makes you think that a “busway” would have dedicated buses leaving the system to serve Nike? That’s a great example of one-seat-riditis. Such service would have had to be like the C-Tran expresses to Pill Hill and the Lloyd District: two or three buses at the peak hour.

    In an “open BRT” system, the two halves of the 62 (one heading north to Cedar Mill, past the main Nike campus, and the other heading south to Murrayhill) could be two branches of the busway. But such a topology generally assumes everyone wants to get downtown in the morning, and home in the evening; reverse commutes are not served well.

    For a city/region with many different employment centers, a grid makes more sense. The problem with the 62, for Nike commuters, is that it only comes every 30 minutes or so–in most cases its faster to walk from Millikan Way or Beaverton Creek to the Nike campus, even though neither has a nice pedestrian route.

    What annoys me about the Nike running path around the perimeter of Tek Woods is all the “no trespassing” signs…

  23. Oregon Mamacita
    May 6, 2013 at 11:20 am Link

    Mr. Cefola:

    Here’s a blip from the Oregonian.

    “City officials have considered offering unprecedented financial incentives of about $80 million for parking garages, parks and new streets tied to a massive company expansion.”

    The lack of automobile access was a big factor, IMHO.
    Nike never said exactly why they turned down the
    whole area we invested tax dollars in. Portland protests blocking the streets would have been a factor, along with the state of Portland schools
    (Nike employees tend to be younger and healthier and often have kids)

    So technically, I was not right. But realistically, Nike did not go for the whole street car, boxy studio thing. And that is a problem for the anti-car livable streets folks.
    A lousy attitude towards cars and trucks is (IMHO) a drag on the economy. We need more than
    bikes & beer.

  24. EngineerScotty
    May 6, 2013 at 12:56 pm Link

    The lack of automobile access was a big factor, IMHO. Nike never said exactly why they turned down the whole area we invested tax dollars in. Portland protests blocking the streets would have been a factor, along with the state of Portland schools
    (Nike employees tend to be younger and healthier and often have kids)

    Given where Nike chose to locate–right next to their existing headquarters–I suspect that being close to the existing Nike campus was a big draw for them. Beaverton School District has had budget problems of late (another tax levy is this month), FWIW; and “protest marches” seldom wind their way down to South Waterfront.

    At any rate, a diversity of lifestyle options is a good thing. Many employers, including large ones, do choose to locate downtown (despite the alleged inconvenience, and the expensive real estate), so it certainly isn’t the case that nobody wants to be located where driving is inconvenient. And Nike, being a company which is heavily invested in active lifestyles, would be the last company I would think to encourage car-dependency.

    There seems to be a mindset among the older generation that hipsters and their lifestyle choices are all a passing fad that the kids will one day outgrow (one anti-urbanist writer described Portland as “Willy Wonka urbanism“). And there are impediments towards child-rearing in some denser urban environments, including lack of suitable housing for families, historical concerns about school quality, and the issues involved in taking kids on transit. For those who don’t care about urban amenities, living in the ‘burbs is an obvious choice. But for those who do, many do choose to stay.

  25. Oregon Mamacita
    May 6, 2013 at 2:20 pm Link

    Engineer Scotty,

    I think you may be in denial. The ease with which Nike protestors could shut down both roads in and out was probably a factor.

    The whole point of sinking our tax dollars into the SoWa was to attract employers like Nike. Mostly, we repel employers. I agree with the Willy Wonka joke.

    It is a little sad when the New Urbanists think they cornered the market on coolness and youth. Again, with the failure of the street car, the failure to attract the “creative class,” I hear a lot of denial.

  26. EngineerScotty
    May 6, 2013 at 3:43 pm Link

    Mamacita,

    There are only four (auto) entrances to the Beaverton Nike campus; were protesters to come and try and blockade the campus (by chaining themselves across an entrance during rush hour), they could cause quite a bit of disruption. The existence of an elevated jogging path around the campus, which essentially forms a big dike, means that cars ain’t going to get in or out anywhere other than these four entrances (jumping the curb and driving in the grass is not an option). I won’t speculate on whether the Portland Police Bureau or the Washington County Sheriff would be more efficient at removing such a blockade, but Nike’s headquarters could easily be disrupted. (And it’s not uncommon to see someone protesting at the Nike campus; though usually such protests are peaceful and non-disruptive).

    At any rate–I thought the problem wasn’t a failure to attract the “creative class” (they’re here), but a failure to provide them with sufficient employment, or something like that.

    At any rate, if you prefer suburban living, there is plenty of cheap housing available in the burbs–not all of the metro area is turning into Portlandia. Happy Valley (and many other parts of Clackamas County) in particular, is still a buyer’s market (Portland and Washington County, not so much); you can a nice McMansion cheap if that is your desire. And the recent election results in Clackamas County will ensure that “Portland creep” won’t invade Damascus or other good, wholesome, hippie-free communities.

  27. Lenny Anderson
    May 6, 2013 at 4:39 pm Link

    I do need to get out on the Blue Line to the west side. Does someone have numbers on the amount and value of housing and office space built there vs along the original N/S Streetcar line (not counting Intel, please). Within a few blocks of Street car the numbers are in the thousands of units and billions of dollars. Regardless, my point is that Streetcar is just what was intended…a useful (12K rides/day) and cost effective (less than $2/ride) connector between Central City neighborhoods on the westside that has certainly had a role in creating two brand new neighborhoods (look at the real estate ads! ask the developers!)
    Sorry about my dig at Nike, but it bugs me that they refuse to join Beaverton and pay city taxes like most of us do. Lot’s of Nike employees live in Portland; indeed my guess is the design folks there were the ones behind a Portland location. I’ll bet that conversation is not over yet at Nike. Adidas location in N. Portland has helped them attract a lot of talent, and that is the name of the game today.

  28. EngineerScotty
    May 6, 2013 at 5:44 pm Link

    Lenny,

    I suspect the Pearl would have happened regardless; which is not to say the Streetcar isn’t a valuable amenity. But it is awfully hard to quantify how much development in a place is due to proximity to transportation infrastructure, vs proximity to shopping, cultural attractions, good schools, jobs, fine dining, or other things people might find valuable. The sort of development that has occurred in the Pearl is unlikely out in Washington County, as a) few if any places are zoned for it, and b) Washington County simply doesn’t have the plethora of boutiques and galleries and bistros and other such stuff that is available close to downtown.

    Which is not to say that the Blue Line hasn’t been instrumental in spurring development–the area from Elmonica to Orenco has seen tremendous growth; unsurprisingly, those are the parts of the Blue Line alignment with fewer legacy uses like industrial parks, fairgrounds, airports, etc.

    As far as Nike goes–their relationship with Beaverton has improved. While I’m not a big fan of Phil Knight, ex-Beaverton mayor Rob Drake tried an end-run around them, and got slapped down for his troubles.

  29. Chris Smith
    May 6, 2013 at 6:55 pm Link

    Scotty,

    There’s documentary evidence for the effect in the Pearl. The developers were planning rowhouse densities. They committed to higher densities based on the City’s commitment to replacing the Lovejoy ramp and building streetcar. It’s memorialized in the development agreement.

  30. ws
    May 6, 2013 at 7:07 pm Link

    There’s documentary evidence for the effect in the Pearl. The developers were planning rowhouse densities.

    You’ve said this before with no data or link. I implore you to find a source otherwise it’s moot.

    And since when do developers try and build the least amount of density on a parcel of land? Most of them it’s ram-and-cram; the economics of more units on a lot often equates to better profit.

    My only theory, assuming this is even remotely true among all developers, is developers thought the streetcar was an actual transportation tool and it would be needed in order for parking issues and getting units leased hinged upon people mostly ditching their cars, thus the streetcar stepping up.

    The streetcar could vanish from the Pearl and it would be the same.

    It’s not an economic development tool. People want safe, clean, and walkable streets.

    That’s so much more important than a streetcar and costs so much less.

    Just imagine if the streetcar money on the eastside was used to fix up the entire streetscapes it runs along instead?

    12′ sidewalks and 4 lanes of traffic…looks like a Midwest street through Anysville, USA.

  31. Oregon Mamacita
    May 7, 2013 at 1:51 am Link

    Engineer Scotty,

    I note that whenever I criticize Portland’s planning failures, I am am told that I can move to the suburbs.

    Part of the reason that Portland planning is failing as we speak is group think.

    “Signs: Illusion of invulnerability –Creates excessive optimism that encourages taking extreme risks (See Street Car)

    Collective rationalization – Members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.
    (People who think that SoWhat area is “vibrant.”

    Belief in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions. (This explains the sleazy behavior by BDS around the parking minimums)

    Stereotyped views of out-groups – Negative views of “enemy” make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary.”

    Yes- if I question recent failures I am told to move to a McMansion.

    Direct citizen action is chipping away at the New Urbanism. I am here to stay- it is the BPS employees who may need to move. Good luck with the group think. And feel free to move to Singapore if you like tall buildings and the nanny state.

  32. Douglas K
    May 7, 2013 at 8:38 am Link

    I don’t know who said SoWa is “vibrant” or what “vibrant” meant in context, but it’s certainly a place people want to live — at least, those who vote with their feet and wallets. I just checked Zillow, and the cheapest unit I could find was $317,000 for a 797 SF 1 bedroom apartment. That scarcely qualifies as a planning failure.

    No, there hasn’t been a lot of activity in SoWa for the past five years, but there was this real estate crash (you may remember it, it was in all the papers) that pretty much shut down development throughout the country. Today, OHSU is building its waterfront campus, and Zidell is poised to start developing its land. So Nike didn’t land there? Big deal; they weren’t ever likely to expand into Portland anyway. Other companies will.

    As for the ridiculous notion that planning has failed, I remember what downtown Portland was like when I was a kid. Crumbling old buildings, plenty of vacant storefronts, weed-strewn vacant lots, plenty of surface parking, and the place pretty much shut down after dark. After thirty years of planning, I’m not seeing much evidence of “failure.”

    Streetcar? I use it all the time and it’s frequently standing-room only. Again — where’s the failure? The eastside streetcar? Just opened; if it hasn’t triggered development in the next decade, then we can start talking about failure.

  33. Chris I
    May 7, 2013 at 8:53 am Link

    “Why don’t you move to the suburbs” is a logical response to suburbanites who constantly call Portland development a “failure”. By what measure? What about the thousands of suburban homes that have been foreclosed on after losing huge amounts of market value? Is that not a failure?

    Mamacita,

    The vast majority of U.S. housing is suburban sprawl. You can relax; you won. Your ideal development pattern has been a success. Why do you feel the need to rub our faces in the dirt after beating us? Not a very gracious winner…

  34. Oregon Mamcita
    May 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm Link

    Dear Chris I:

    Labelling me a “surburbanite” is the kind of group think that I mock.

    Last Friday, a friend and I strolled around the
    new South Waterfront area in the evening, after dinner. It reminded me of a Singapore, but without people. Rather than “vinrant,” the neighborhood was comatose accept for people walking small dogs.

    Failures? A streetcar where they are afraid to enforce fares. A street car that grosses 5% of its operating costs in ticket sales. Million dollar Pearl District row homes that pay almost no property tax. SE Trolley neighborhoods crammed with the next real estate bust (small expensive apartments with no parking).

    How about unfinished, weed-strewn Lents common?

    We need more organic growth, and more trustworthy city planners.

  35. Chris Smith
    May 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm Link

    We’re not afraid to enforce fares, it’s just not cost-effective. A higher level of enforcement would garner less in revenue than it would cost.

    And the 5% number predates the elimination of fareless square.

  36. Bob R.
    May 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm Link

    A moderation note: It is unacceptable on this blog to directly suggest someone move elsewhere in order to live in an area with policies that they like. It is completely within a person’s rights to advocate for policy changes within the area that they live.

    That being said, Scotty’s comment did not cross the line because he was merely pointing out that our region offers plenty of these types of development patterns and choices. Chris I’s comment does cross the line, however.

    However, in your particular case Mamcita, especially regarding “group think”, you should be careful about stones and glass houses. You frequently dismiss those with whom you disagree as “car haters”, including on several occasions here on this blog.

    While we expect toned-down rhetoric from everyone participating here, you could do yourself a favor by taking a “do unto others” approach.

  37. EngineerScotty
    May 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm Link

    Mamacita,

    I should clarify that my remarks weren’t intended as “love it or leave it”–we’re all entitled to try and remake the communities we live in as the way we want; and you may have perfectly valid reasons for living in Portland (assuming you live in the city) despite objecting to changes there.

    To express things a bit differently, though–you (and other commenters who have expressed similar objections) seem to be complaining that the city is acting–like a city. For cities to work, they generally need larger concentrations of people, which implies density. Many cities thrive with lower-density areas on the fringes–and Portland certainly has its ‘burbs, even if they pale in comparison to the suburbs of Phoenix, for instance.

    I don’t know if you are in this group–but there does seem to be a certain cohort of folks, many of whom live in single-family homes within the city limits–that seem to want to have their cake and eat it to: they want close proximity to the urban core, but they want (more or less) the suburban lifestyle–free of the downsides of density such as crowding, traffic, and competition for resources such as parking; more socio-economically homogeneous communities (in particular, the ability to avoid and exclude poor people), and the like. Many of these folks are older (I don’t know about you, obviously) and also correlate apartments with poverty and crime–and may also have similar attitudes towards modes of transportation other than the automobile. (I grew up at a time in which bikes and busses were considered to be for losers and the car was the symbol of freedom and respectability… I got over it, not everbody from my generation, or preceding ones, has done so).

    Urban living is also communal in some ways, as many necessary resource (particularly transportation!) simply don’t scale if everyone provides their own. (At least not with the automobile). Thus cities need public transit (what sort is appropriate is an interesting discussion, of course); and that needs to be paid for. This causes some political conservatives to be skeptical of cities as well.

    Feel free to not answer if you would prefer not to–but, assuming you do live in Portland, what is your vision for the city? How do you think Portlanders should want to get around? Where do you think Portlanders–particularly those who want to live in a city rather than a suburb–ought to live? How ought living in Portland differ from living in Beaverton or Tualatin or Oregon City?

  38. Bob R.
    May 7, 2013 at 2:19 pm Link

    A few links to examples of the “non-vibrancy” of South Waterfront:

    The fact that the district can seem tranquil at night is by design, it has a higher proportion of residents to retail/restaurant than does the Pearl District. It’s not meant to have a large component of “destination” shoppers or diners, it’s meant to serve the residents who live there, and those who come to work there during the day. It also serves as proof that you can have a modestly densely-populated urban area, right in the city, that is calm and uncongested much of the time.

  39. bjcefola
    May 7, 2013 at 5:22 pm Link

    Mamacita, the vast majority of “no-park” apartments are not in urban renewal districts and are not served by streetcar. Nor am I aware of the city providing any kind of financial incentive contingent on developers not including parking. You claim to be against heavy subsidies and want organic growth, but that organic growth is exactly what is spurring so much opposition.

    No one from the city told developers to build on Fremont or Division or in Hollywood. The city didn’t tell them what kind of housing to build, how many units to include or how big they should be. All developers are doing is responding to the market. And the market based on vacancy rates and prices indicates that a lot of people want to live in inner east Portland. Meeting demand with supply free of outside stimulation or restriction is the essence of organic growth.

    If anything, heavily subsidized mega projects like the Pearl and South Waterfront shielded the east side. Where would all the housing demand they soaked up have gone? Given that those residents opted for the most urban living experience available I doubt they would have gone to the suburbs. So where do you think they would have gone? As Scotty asked, where do you think new would-be residents should go and by what means should the city encourage them to get there?

    One can be against government planning, and one can be against market driven housing, but one can’t be both.

  40. Erik H.
    May 7, 2013 at 10:15 pm Link

    the old Rose City Transit system which evolved from the streetcar network of the early 20th century. That streetcar system had a strong hand in the creation of Portland’s close in neighborhoods and commercial districts.

    Funny. Because when the original streetcar lines were built, they were built to get people out of the “close in” neighborhoods. The term “streetcar suburb” originated from this trend of streetcar oriented developments built on what was undeveloped land, farmland and forestland.

    They might be considered “close-in” today, but in the 1880s-1920s they were hardly “close-in”.

  41. Erik H.
    May 7, 2013 at 10:19 pm Link

    The Nike World HQ is on TriMet Bus Route 62-Murray Blvd

    The Nike World Campus is served by the 62 on the east side on Murray, the 59 Walker-Park Way on the north side, and MAX on the south side (with a Nike employee shuttle). Many Nike buildings are located in the Beaverton Creek Business Park south of the Beaverton Creek MAX Station as well as in the Tektronix campus (served by the 62 and the Millikan Way MAX station), and for folks who live in Bethany the 67 runs down 158th Avenue and is a short walk to the west edge of the campus. Until TriMet’s recent bus service cuts, the 67 also ran along the south edge of the Nike campus on Jenkins west-east to Beaverton TC.

  42. EngineerScotty
    May 7, 2013 at 10:43 pm Link

    City of Tuscon considering levying fines against United Streetcar for failure to deliver vehicles on time.

  43. Bob R.
    May 7, 2013 at 10:59 pm Link

    City of Tuscon considering levying fines against United Streetcar

    I am unaware of any specific performance details in Tucson’s contract, but in principle of course they have every right to be disappointed by the delays, and to light a fire (rhetorically!) under United Streetcar. I’m sure United Streetcar is very aware of the delays and the potential damage to its reputation, and is trying hard to get things right, but that doesn’t change Tucson’s motivations to, if you will, “enhance” the incentive structure.

    According to the article, the current “fine” is $250 per day per vehicle. That actually seems like chump change… Imagine for a moment (I have to imagine!) that you’ve purchased a $2.5+ million custom home, and the builder is way past your move-in deadline. You have expenses. You want to move. You want it to be done. The builder has a reputation, and this it a showcase home. The builder is motivated to get it done, but that doesn’t change your own expenses. But $250/day even over 100 days is $25,000, or 1% of the purchase price. And its been more than 100 days for Tucson. I think they’re well within their (moral, if not necessarily contractual) rights to demand more than a 1% discount.

  44. Oregon Mamacita
    May 8, 2013 at 8:35 am Link

    Someone asked about my vision for my city.

    Well, for starters, slower & more organic growth. Just read a great article http://www.theatlanticcities.com/housing/2013/03/jane-jacobs-was-right-gradual-redevelopment-does-promote-community/4917/.

    I am making a very public prediction that a real estate bubble is forming in expensive apartments on the East Side. The jobs are not there to support the apartment rents.

    Please note that all the big employers are in Washington County, so it makes sense to put the density there. It’s a long commute from a Sackoff
    box to Intel. The Laika animators can’t afford those little places- and you need a car to work on a movie.

  45. Douglas K
    May 8, 2013 at 9:21 am Link

    The Laika animators can’t afford those little places- and you need a car to work on a movie.

    Why would an animator need a car? So they can get to all those location shots in an animated film?

  46. EngineerScotty
    May 8, 2013 at 9:31 am Link

    Mamacita,

    How gradual is gradual? Jacobs was writing against the mammoth housing projects and slum-clearing initiatives that were commonplace in the 1950s and 1960s, and ripped many neighborhoods and communities apart. (Mmany of the predominantly black, and in some cases that was the point). Jacobs never would have suggested that neighborhoods or communities be cast in amber.

    Is a “housing bubble” forming? It’s hard to tell whether a rise in prices is a bubble or not, until it pops. Asset bubbles are more of a problem in the sale market, not the rental market–people buy overpriced properties on credit and then lose their shirts when the bubble collapses and the outstanding loan far exceeds the value of the collateral. Multiple this several times when people add investment properties or properties being “flipped” to the mix, in addition to their own homes. (Certain predatory lending practices exacerbated the problem). Renters are far less exposed–they have an opportunity to renegotiate the rent (or move out) every year, or on 30 days notice if not bound to a lease. And landlords generally don’t rent to people unless they have a job (or other sources of funds); these apartments are not being occupied, for the most part, by the unemployed. A downturn may upset the apple cart, but that’s true no matter where you go, and true for existing housing stock as well as new.

    And it’s simply not true that “all the big employers are in Washington County”. You think all those throngs of people who are downtown in the daytime are there to shop? Of course, there’s plenty of new housing being built in Washington County–though none of it is going in without parking (land is far cheaper, and there’s little incentive to build on every square inch of a given lot that can be developed).

  47. Jason McHuff
    May 29, 2013 at 11:50 am Link

    Regarding the whole “5%” Streetcar fare recovery ratio (or whatever it is nowadays), does Streetcar account any of the TriMet subsidy as revenue from transporting TriMet fare-holding riders, or does Streetcar accounting consider all those riders as riding for free?

    If the former, and Streetcar only accounts fares purchased from Streetcar as fare revenue, it’s the equivalent of only looking at fares physically put in the fareboxes on a bus route where the vast majority of riders are transferring from MAX and using their “MAX fare” instead. TriMet of course doesn’t do this and would consider those as two pieces of the same system.

    Assuming at least part of the justification for TriMet subsidizing Streetcar is that its fare-holding riders can ride Streetcar at no additional cost, it seems that at least some of the TriMet subsidy should be matched to “free” rides given to TriMet fare holders.

  48. Bob R.
    May 29, 2013 at 2:20 pm Link

    This may not completely answer Jason’s question but provides a portion of the answer…

    A couple of small snippets from the draft minutes of the last Streetcar CAC meeting. (These minutes won’t be formally approved until the next meeting.)

    Ronchelli added that the fare surveys collected show that fare evasion on the Streetcar is around 7% and that many riders board with either a Streetcar Annual Pass, a TriMet pass or transfer or an employer ID pass which accounts for the observations of low ticket purchases onboard streetcar.

    and

    [Rick Gustafson] responded … Fare boxes on the platform will generate about $300,000 and the operating costs are about $100,000. Vehicle fare boxes collect about $250,000 and the operating costs are about $50,000 for those. Those constitute about 13% of all riders. About 50% of streetcar riders have a TriMet fare which we honor.

  49. R A Fontes
    May 29, 2013 at 2:35 pm Link

    …and some of those ‘TriMet fares’ are purchased at streetcar platform fare boxes. Are they remitted or credited to TriMet?

  50. Jason McHuff
    May 29, 2013 at 2:44 pm Link

    That should have been on the open thread. Oh well.

    But at least they’re recouping the money the money spent on the fare equipment (but there’s also the cost of surveyors/inspectors). Tacoma (albeit a shorter system) decided just not to try.

  51. Lenny Anderson
    May 29, 2013 at 9:17 pm Link

    So what is the status of the OIW streetcars? When will one hit our streets, or rails?

  52. Lenny Anderson
    May 29, 2013 at 9:17 pm Link

    So what is the status of the OIW streetcars? When will one hit our streets, or rails?

  53. Lenny Anderson
    May 29, 2013 at 9:19 pm Link

    So what is the current status of the OIW streetcars? I thought one would be going into service in May.

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