Portland 6th Most Prepared American City for Oil Crisis


Hat tip to the Coalition for a Livable Future for this link.

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53 responses to “Portland 6th Most Prepared American City for Oil Crisis”

  1. Was Mildner talking about this group when he said,
    “Moreover, TriMet relies upon a public participation process — dominated by public employees and advocacy groups — that is rarely viewed as an attempt to find the truth”
    TRIMET’S EXPANSION PLANS
    Where’s the green in the new Green Line?
    Thursday, March 30, 2006
    Gerard Mildner
    The escalating $55 million price tag of the OHSU aerial tram has alarmed Portland citizens and city officials. But an even greater financial debacle is unfolding in TriMet’s $550 million Green Line, which promises further damage to the region’s bus network and disruption to downtown livability.

    TriMet’s proposed Green Line will extend the light-rail system from Gateway Transit Center to Clackamas Town Center and create a new route down the Portland bus mall. Most of the attention so far has focused on the significant disruption of construction in downtown Portland. City transportation engineers were politically pressured to agree to this plan despite the impending traffic chaos.

    But an equally significant impact will be the financial waste.

    While inner-city bus trips cost about $2 per rider, TriMet’s proposed Green Line will cost nearly $16 per rider. Taxpayers will get practically no benefit for the extra $14. Despite carrying less than 1 percent of all mass-transit trips in the region, TriMet’s light-rail system claims 30 percent of the region’s transportation capital grants.

    The Green Line also will bring enormous environmental waste, requiring as much energy to construct as four years of TriMet’s entire bus and train operations. A much better environmental impact would be achieved by expanding TriMet’s bus fleet and converting it to natural gas.

    Instead, TriMet has steadily reduced its bus fleet and inner-city service. In the last six years, TriMet reduced its fleet from 700 to 606 buses. The remaining inner-city buses have become more crowded, leaving some riders waiting at stops during rush hour.

    One explanation for these changes is that TriMet receives only one-fifth of its revenue from transit customers, with the rest provided by taxpayers.

    As a result, the agency feels compelled to subsidize costly suburban service even when inner-city service is the better investment. In fact, many city routes are so heavily patronized that they receive no effective subsidy.

    TriMet needs to solve its democracy deficit, starting with a politically accountable board. How many citizens know that the governor appoints the TriMet board? How many would recognize the names of its board members? Rarely are TriMet policies debated during statewide gubernatorial elections.

    Since losing the last two public votes on light rail in 1996 and 1998, TriMet has operated without direct public consent, seeking taxpayer dollars from urban renewal agencies, the Port of Portland and local government.

    Moreover, TriMet relies upon a public participation process — dominated by public employees and advocacy groups — that is rarely viewed as an attempt to find the truth. Downtown business owners and residents are only now waking up to the future disruption of shifting 200 buses per hour from the bus mall to Third and Fourth Avenues.

    TriMet’s excessive spending on high-cost rail transit has contributed to the declining willingness of taxpayers to fund local government. If the city of Portland can find $30 million for North Portland light rail, $30 million for Airport MAX, $38 million for the Portland streetcar, still unknown millions for the OHSU tram and now $62 million for light rail to Clackamas Town Center, it’s no wonder city officials have a hard time finding political support for an income tax for schools.

    Many justify Portland’s investment in light rail as our symbol to the rest of the world, much like the Eiffel Tower is the symbol of Paris. But Paris only built one Eiffel Tower. We should learn from Paris’ example, cancel the Green Line boondoggle, and make TriMet return to the business of providing effective, efficient and environmentally friendly transportation.

    Gerard Mildner is an associate professor and director of the Center for Real Estate at the Nohad Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University.

  2. Whats that old saying?

    “don’t believe everything you read”

    to quote my granny at least.

    Also, our symbol is the rose bush and Fir tree. They should get it right at least!

  3. Sorry, I forgot Barbur IS 99. So you have basically 2 main N-S roads. For how many, 200,000 people?

  4. Will Peak Oil Bring Down Modern Society?

    To believe that society will be brought to its knees by running out of oil you have to believe:

    That, after 100 years of false alarms, we really will run out of oil.
    AND; That, contrary to widely accepted economic laws, higher prices will not reduce demand,.
    AND; That, contrary to widely accepted economic laws, higher prices will not bring additional supplies.
    AND; That the experts are wrong about the amount of shale oil.
    AND; That the experts are wrong about the amount of tar sands oil.
    AND; That we cannot use hydrogen because we will run out of uranium to run the nuclear power plants necessary to make hydrogen.
    AND; That we cannot make gas from our huge reserves of coal like the Germans did to run their war machine in 1943.
    AND; That, after harnessing steam power, electric power and the atom. Placing a man on the moon and exploring other planets. Creating the telegraph, telephone, radio, television and computers. Conquering plagues, famine, polio, smallpox and dozens of other diseases and decoding the genetic code. After centuries of solving every kind of problem imaginable, mankind will suddenly lose his ability to solve problems.

    —- Gimme me a break —-

  5. Jim,
    None of the energy sources you’ve cited has the EROEI of crude oil. Coal, shale, and tar sands also have the inescapable problem of CO2 which contrary to popular misconeptions, is not easially sequestered. Our penchant for gigantism will eventually be our undoing unless we take a more pragmatic, localized and scaled approach to energy production. You’re correct that demand destruction will take place, unfortunately it has the potential to not be an orderly reallocation of resources, but rather a chaotic free for all. By subsidizing oil and NG production, our governement is setting us up for tragedy. Let renewables compete, factor in the cost of pollution and environmental destruction. If we do, renewables will eventually rule.

  6. Ron – it really does, just make more sense to make ourselves compartmental as you write about, but I can’t help but say jim karlock is right too, everytime there is a nightmare scenario it’s never the actual case. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared and or just alleviate the possibility in the first place.

    Oil is no where close to being reduced via decreased demand, but areas can be more prepared than others by decreasing their “local” demand ala PDX. One of the first things we could do is actually make people PAY for what they use, i.e. the roads… via the gas tax… the current one in no way actually pays for the roads and most of the cash flow has to come out of the general fund.

    People should definately be held accountable for what they use. Otherwise “markets” cannot provide intelligent paths for people to travel while they’re unbalanced and unnatural via subsidization.

  7. …crud…

    I wrote that other blurb because of the other entries… but I didn’t get to my actual note on this article.

    I moved here to PDX not because the city is more “ready” for such an event. I have a hard time from empirical evidence that such a thing will hit us “that” hard… the market (if allowed) will prevail and push us toward REAL solutions.

    I moved to Portland because I have alternatives to using my car. I can live my daily life within walking distance. I live downtown and have everything I need plus entertainment at my doorstep in practical terms. I have access to friendly neighbors, relatively intelligent people, and daily business contacts. This is all possible because of capitalism, mass transit, rail service, and a real “human scale” lifestyle. The irony is this real “human scale” lifestyle is what makes this city show up on that list! The main culprit (and problem) with most of America these days is our association and psychological obsession with cars as “one of us”, “my [fill in name here]”, “need to haves”, etc., etc. By Portland simply reducing the need and subsidized “cheapness” of the automobile Portland has become a “liveable”, “future thinking”, and “Most Prepared” city.

  8. Sorry to see the comments on this news item “Portland ready for Oil indepenence”…hey it nice to be up there with NY, SF, etc…hijacked by reprints of commentary from the Oregonian, poor commentary at that.
    Alice, just give us the link next time, we can click if we want.
    TriMet’s service area is 29th largest in the country; ridership is 13th. That tells you something. I hear all the time that compared to citys of comparable size, Portland is a breeze to get around in by transit, bike and car. Our town is so Undense and so Uncongested…the world’s biggest small town. Let’s celebrate!

  9. Alice –

    Since you decided to post Gerard Mildner’s entire article here, rather than just linking to it, let me take the opportunity to respond to two very glaring statements in the article:

    Despite carrying less than 1 percent of all mass-transit trips in the region, TriMet’s light-rail system claims 30 percent of the region’s transportation capital grants.

    Less than 1 percent of all mass transit trips in the region on Light Rail? Really?

    According to TriMet, MAX carries 97,000 trips daily, 31% of their total trips. If that’s only 1% of transit trips in the region, that means that nearly TEN MILLION transit rides are delivered in the region daily by some unknown, unseen agency by invisible people on non-existent vehicles.

    Mr. Mildner would be well advised to seek a more alert editor, or perhaps take a refresher course in mathematics at his current employer, PSU.

    Many justify Portland’s investment in light rail as our symbol to the rest of the world, much like the Eiffel Tower is the symbol of Paris. But Paris only built one Eiffel Tower. We should learn from Paris’ example, cancel the Green Line boondoggle, and make TriMet return to the business of providing effective, efficient and environmentally friendly transportation.

    Indeed, Paris has but one Eiffel Tower. However, Paris also has a very extensive transit system incorporating many kilometers of subway plus surface bus lines, commuter rail, trams (streetcar) and yes, LIGHT RAIL.

    Perhaps Mr. Mildner should devote some closer study to Paris.

    – Bob R.

  10. I think Gerard Mildner is probably just another kook in the Cascade Policy Institute fold. I wonder if he actually commutes to work every day using his beloved buses, or whether he drives?

    And the Green Line will ultimately be a great project, not only allowing for greater regional transit connectivity and capacity, but encouraging development along transit corridors and in regional center. From Metro’s perspective, light rail is the transit backbone that will make the regional growth strategy successful.

    Some actual facts, rather than hyperbole:
    (source: http://www.trimet.org/pdfs/publications/factsheet.pdf)

    * Portland’s transit system serves more riders than the transit systems of larger cities such as Seattle and Denver.
    * In 2005, 63.9 million trips were on bus, and 31.9 were on MAX (out of 95.8 million total boardings).
    * MAX carries 26% of afternoon rush-hour commuters traveling from downtown in the Sunset Hwy. and the Banfield Fwy. corridors.
    * Westside MAX provides the transportation capacity equivalent to another 1.2 lanes in each direction on the Sunset Hwy.

    …and from http://www.trimet.org/pdfs/ridership/busmaxstat.pdf:

    * Light rail achieved a 32.5% farebox recovery ratio in FY 2005, as compared to 18.8% for buses and 22.6% for the Tri-Met system as a whole.

    cheers,
    ~Garlynn

  11. Incredible. Portland’s congestion has risen faster than any other metro area in the US since 1986, when the light rail era started in this region. The information is available at the Texas Transportation Institute web site .

    Go celebrate that!

  12. Incredible. Portland’s congestion has risen faster than any other metro area in the US since 1986, when the light rail era started in this region. The information is available at the Texas Transportation Institute web site. Go celebrate that!

    OK, Mel, I’ll bite. For the sake of discussion, what road/highway projects would you support using the regional transportation dollars which could be diverted from the Green Line project to alleviate congestion?

    – Bob R.

  13. Gerard Mildner’s original article correctly stated that “light rail carries less than 1 percent of all trips in the region.” Some editor must have added the words “mass transit,” turning Mildner’s true statement into a false one.

    As for Paris, that city tore out its last “light-rail” line in the 1930s. It opened a new one in 1992. But it carries an insignificant number of riders and has nothing to do with whatever it is that makes people like the city.

  14. Garlynn Says: Some actual facts, rather than hyperbole:
    JK: Well, sort of facts, I’ll fill in a few details below. (Never trust a government agency more than you would trust a corporation or politician)
    (source: http://www.trimet.org/pdfs/publications/factsheet.pdf)

    TriMEt “fact”:* In 2005, 63.9 million trips were on bus, and 31.9 were on MAX (out of 95.8 million total boardings).
    JK: Well no, those are boardings, a standard industry term. In public releases, Trimet calls them trips so that you will think that there were 95.8 million occurrences of someone going from home to work, etc. Here is the reality: Each time you step on a transit vehicle, you are counted as one boarding. If you transfer from the bus to the MAX you are counted as a second boarding on the same trip. Of course your return trip is counted the same way. So,if you commute to work starting on the bus then transfer to max, you are boarding four times per round trip to work and back. That is how one daily commute can be four trips (or six etc)

    TriMEt “fact”:* MAX carries 26% of afternoon rush-hour commuters traveling from downtown in the Sunset Hwy. and the Banfield Fwy. corridors.
    JK: Lets see, three lanes plus one track in each direction. Max carries 26% or one point above 1/4 of the four lanes (counting a track as a line). Therefore it caries about the same as one lane of road. However it cost several times as much. Of course around 2/3 of those riders were formerly in buses before trimet cancelled the bus service when max opened (so much for max improving transportation choices)

    Had we spent the money on road capacity instead of max, we would have a whole new lane (or two for the cost) for buses and cars to share and little or no congestion today. That is one way that max causes congestion.

    TriMEt “fact”:* * Westside MAX provides the transportation capacity equivalent to another 1.2 lanes in each direction on the Sunset Hwy.
    JK: Comparing apples to oranges. Max is MASS transit. compare max on tracks to buses on the road. Buses win for capacity by a large factor. Lower cost too. Had we spent that BILLION dollars that Max cost, on improved buses and service the total transit ridership would probably be much greater that it is now. Have you noticed that they have been cutting bus service for several years? Critics say this is because of the cost of max – they are cannibalizing bus service to pay for their shiny new toy train.

    …and from http://www.trimet.org/pdfs/ridership/busmaxstat.pdf:

    TriMEt “fact”:* * Light rail achieved a 32.5% farebox recovery ratio in FY 2005, as compared to 18.8% for buses and 22.6% for the Tri-Met system as a whole.
    JK: Neglecting the TWO BILLION that it cost to build.
    Add in that TWO BILLION at a standard interest rate, and you get MAX costing about he same as taxi fare. And the fare box recovery is probably single digit. (Actually, you could shut down Trimet and buy every rider a new car every five years and be in the ballpark of costing the same. You would use about the same fuel too. Don’t buy cars for the well off or car owners and you would probably be able to pay for insurance for the remainder. Also free taxi fare to the needy that can’t drive.)

    Here is a note about that 22.6% recovery: What increase in ridership would it take to break even? First, if there were no cost increase, a 442% increase in ridership would do it. If the added capacity only cost ½ as much as the present, I guess that an 884% increase would do. Of course it would not be this efficient, so probably double that increase or more. Doubling that we are at 1768% increase. This is getting close to all trips in the area on Trimet for the “mass” transit system to break even. Not a very good example of mass production efficiency.

    Thanks
    JK

  15. Garlynn Said:

    >”And the Green Line will ultimately be a great project, not only allowing for greater regional transit connectivity and capacity, but encouraging development along transit corridors and in regional center. From Metro’s perspective, light rail is the transit backbone that will make the regional growth strategy successful.””* Portland’s transit system serves more riders than the transit systems of larger cities such as Seattle and Denver.
    * In 2005, 63.9 million trips were on bus, and 31.9 were on MAX (out of 95.8 million total boardings).
    * MAX carries 26% of afternoon rush-hour commuters traveling from downtown in the Sunset Hwy. and the Banfield Fwy. corridors.
    * Westside MAX provides the transportation capacity equivalent to another 1.2 lanes in each direction on the Sunset Hwy.””* Light rail achieved a 32.5% farebox recovery ratio in FY 2005, as compared to 18.8% for buses and 22.6% for the Tri-Met system as a whole.”

  16. A couple of people noticed the comment in my op-ed in Thursday’s Oregonian:

    “Despite carrying less than 1 percent of all mass-transit trips in the region…”

    That statement is incorrect. An editor at The Oregonian modified my original submission which was:

    Despite carrying less than 1% of trips in the region”

    I suspect the editor was simply trying to clarify the terminology “trip”, and wasn’t as well-versed as many of you. To clarify, light rail covers approximately one-third of all TriMet boardings, and transit is about 6% of all commuting trips and an even smaller percentage of overall trips in the region.

    On balance, I appreciate The Oregonian opening up its pages for a discussion of the issue, and hopefully we can intervene and prevent this project and invest the taxpayers dollars more wisely.

    My challenge to the advocates of light rail is what price per rider for light rail is considered too high? And is light rail so valuable to the region that it’s worth damaging Portland’s downtown?

    Cheers,
    Gerry Mildner

    Dr. Gerard C.S. Mildner
    Director, Center for Real Estate
    School of Urban Studies and Planning
    Portland State University
    503-725-5175 tel

  17. You guys are so full of shit.

    Your data declares, among other things, that Denver Colorado has no light rail service.

    In fact, it has been operating light rail since 1994.

    See… the official website of the Transit Service in Denver!
    http://www.rtd-denver.com/LightRail/index.html

    Wiki history of rail transit in Denver:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_transit_in_Denver%2C_Colorado

    Photograph of light rail train in downtown Denver, Colorado:
    http://www.denvergov.org/dephome.asp?depid=367

    If you can’t even get such basic facts correct – whether light rail in a city exists or not – you’ve pretty much blown your credibility in the rest of your argument.

    Nice opinion piece – right now it reminds me of GW Bush and his cronies doing soundbites on FOX News.

  18. Justin Says: You guys are so full of sh*t.
    JK: Speak for yourself.
    Did you happen to notice that Mel was reporting 2000 census data (the latest availabl full survey)? When did Denver rail open? In time for the 2000 census? Mel generally chooses to use census data because it is not subject to local transit company lies and distortins, like those that I pointed out about TriMet’s practice of reporting boardings so that they appear to be full trips (above).

    BTW: I stand by everything that I posted.

    Thanks
    JK

  19. When did Denver rail open? In time for the 2000 census?

    As Justin and the linked articles stated, Denver light rail opened in 1994. I was even there in the 90’s and saw it for myself.

    I would certainly hope that something around since 1994 would be “in time for the 2000 census”.

    – Bob R.

  20. Mel, since you seem to be a fan of “USDOT publication EP-03-058, available free from http://www.bts.gov“, I hope you won’t mind if I quote a few choice paragraphs from the report’s section about Portland:

    • From 1990 to 2000, Portland added close to half a million people to its population base. The suburbs added a major portion of the new population. Unlike any of the other illustrative MSAs, vehicle growth in Portland’s central county was modest, just keeping pace with workers.
    • The growth in vehicles outpaced the increase in households and workers in the suburban and ex- urban counties, but not to the degree found in other MSAs. While suburban Portland added 4 vehicles for every three added workers, the central county added one vehicle per added worker.
    • The average travel time in Portland MSA increased less than 3 minutes (from 21.5 minutes to 24.4 minutes) in the 90s, the smallest increase of the five selected MSAs.
    • Portland is the one of the few large MSAs that showed an increase in percent of workers using transit from 1990 to 2000. Both central and suburban areas showed an increase in transit while the ex- urban areas showed an increase in drove alones.
    • The proportion of job growth that went to the suburban counties was the lower in Portland than the other example areas-just over 60 percent of the added jobs and workers for the entire MSA went to suburban areas, whereas 22 percent went to the central county. There is a balance of added jobs per added worker in all three area types not seen in the other MSAs that have been examined.

    – Bob R.

    PS… Mel… I’m still waiting for an answer as to what road/highway projects would you support using the regional transportation dollars which could be diverted from the Green Line project to alleviate congestion.

  21. I love the voodoo statistics of these anti-transit activists. I’ve seen less spinning on a merry-go-round. You have to look at the whole picture, not just select figures from TTI (hmmm…. are they affiliated with Cascade Policy Institute?) or a Fed website.

    Aaron

  22. Bob R,
    (hmmm…. are they affiliated with Cascade Policy Institute?)

    What is wrong with a group that advocates an end to the drug war and freedom in general

    FreedomNow!

  23. Okay, you guys are right. Profanity isn’t really appropriate here. JK, I apologize.

    However, if I see a foul, I’m going to call on it. And that was definitely bogus data.

  24. FreedomNow!:

    I totally agree with you on the drug war and freedom in general. However, that doesn’t mean anything a group says is automatically correct based on their stance on totally unrelated issues.

  25. “FreedomNow” – You misattributed the “hmmm…” quote to me. Aaron wrote that.

    Not that it’s a big deal, but it is important in any rapidly degenerating dialogue, I think, to keep track of who is shouting past who. :-)

    – Bob R.

  26. The comparative census data was from the census before Denver light rail began operations. The referenced fed DOT publication was the last available so it was used. The numbers are exactly as prepared by the feds.

    But the opening of the Denver light rail does not change anything because, like light rail systems, simply take passengers from the bus systems that were replaced by rail on the rail route and from carpool passengers. The number of SOV’s do not change.

    Seattle has always had greater transportation use than Portland, population adjusted. The Multnomah County Library and PSU have copies of the various censuses so you can track all of light rail failures. In fact, APTA annual “FACT Book” shows this. APTA stands for Amer Public Trans Asso.

    Light rail has NEVER, in any system anywhere, provided new or added service. They are always built in the corridor which has the greatest bus ridership.

  27. An editorial change to Gerard Mildner’s article on Tri-Met’s proposed
    Green Line to Clackamas Town Center introduced a serious mistake into
    the article.

    Dr. Mildner’s original article correctly pointed out that light rail
    carries “less than 1 percent of trips in the region,” which includes
    both auto and mass transit trips. Oregonian editors inadvertently
    changed this to read, “less than 1 percent of all mass-transit
    trips.” The addition of the words “mass transit” turned Dr. Mildner’s
    true statement into a false one.

    Otherwise, Dr. Mildner’s article is absolutely correct: the proposed
    Green Line will be a White Elephant. If Tri-Met does not even feel it
    is worthwhile to offer bus service along much of the proposed route,
    how can anyone think that light rail makes sense?

    The Green Line is just a last-gasp effort by the Goldschmidt
    “light-rail mafia” to take more tax dollars from schools, libraries,
    and other vital services and give them to contractors and real-estate
    developers. Portland-area residents have had enough of this and it is
    time to stop.

  28. About the 2000 census, the only rail line we had up here was the Waterfront Streetcar, not a good comparison to MAX. SOUNDER commuter Rail did not come on-line until September 2001, and then was only two trips a day, and at times late in the Rush Hour. Over the next few years more trips were added, and departure times were made for more convinient hours, and they went from empty trains to Standing Room Only, and from short trains to minimums of 6-7 cars long. Each Bombardier Bi-Level can seat around 140.

  29. Randal said: The Green Line is just a last-gasp effort by the Goldschmidt
    “light-rail mafia” to take more tax dollars from schools, libraries,
    and other vital services and give them to contractors and real-estate
    developers. Portland-area residents have had enough of this and it is
    time to stop.

    Randal – How many tax dollars allocated to the green line could legally be diverted to schools, libraries, etc. if the Green Line project were not built?

  30. I meant that SOUNDER Did not come on line until late-September 2000. Sorry.

    Also, if it were not for the at-grade running for MAX in Downtown, MAX could be operating in 3 or 4 car trains. The interesting thing about rail transit, in multi-car trains, is the operating costs, Multiple-Unit Control allows only one operator to operate a train.

  31. “”””””How many tax dollars allocated to the green line could legally be diverted to schools, libraries, etc. if the Green Line project were not built””””””
    That depends on how much Urban Renewal Money or other local moneies will be used to fund it.

    Interstate Max is diverting $45 millon from basic services during the life of the Interstate UR TIF payback. 25 years? or so
    Of that about $12 millon will come from schools.

  32. The Green Line is going forward because Clackamas county wants it. The Milwaukie line, after extensive study of everything but MAX, got back in line after strong demand from SE Portland and Milwaukie residents. People like the product!
    Bus service hours in N. Portland were not reduced when the Yellow Line opened, but transfered to other bus lines. The Yellow Line carries more people than the old #5, and when it gets to Vancouver it will carry a lot more…its like night and day for riders; believe me I used to ride the 5. Interstate Avenue is a much friendlier street for all modes than prior, and new investments are happening all over. Auto trips are down according to both PDOT counts and TravelSmart.
    What’s not to like? And what is the alternative vision for a liveable and accessible city?

  33. Steve wrote: “Interstate Max is diverting $45 millon from basic services during the life of the Interstate UR TIF payback. 25 years? or so. Of that about $12 millon will come from schools.”

    Steve, those figures about UR TIF are only true if you assume that absolutely none of the increase in property values in the district is due to MAX, and that those increases in property values would have occurred exactly the same way without MAX, and that new development added to the tax rolls would have proceeded at the same pace and in the same quantity with or without MAX.

    That could possibly be true, but that’s a lot of assumptions.

    – Bob R.

  34. Its a lot more complicated…the reconstruction of Interstate Avenue with the Yellow Line gets some of the credit for new retail along the line…new Fred Meyers, New Seasons, Gotham Building, etc. All these bring new taxes to the URA, but will eventually go to the general fund. But the new retail also helps to lift residential property values, insuring that the 3% annual increase occurs both inwith the URA and without…most of Overlook, Arbor Lodge and Univ. Park.
    URAs pencil out if the area’s property values are stagnant. Then its a question of whether you believe public investments should be made to spur private investment…I think Steve opposes this.
    Last question…what public investments will spur private investment the most? Transportation projects are always near the top of the list for good reason…they improve access.

  35. Bob,

    Are we supposed to be comforted because there may be the prospect that some small part of the Increment and $45 million would not have happened without UR? Talk about assumptions, that’s all the PDC does.

    No one needs to assume that “none” of the increment is due to the UR investment, but it matters little when the greater impact is considered.

    Contrary to Lenny’s tired assertion that these transportation boondoggles spur development the massive 3744 acre Interstate UR district was beginning to be gentrified before MAX. MAX has not spurred anything but more government spending by way of UR. Fred Meyer did not in any way result from MAX.

    The bus lines on Interstate carried more people before MAX. You just don’t want to look at the real numbers while you stare at the Yellow line padded with fareless square short hopps between the Rose Quarter/Lloyd district and downtown.

    The TIF is so costly that real break even is likely 40 to 50 years.

    That’s at least 4 decades of starving basic services.

    You don’t seem to be bothered that officials keep telling people TIF doesn’t use general fund money.

    MAX does not increase property values. But even if you want to attribute “some” of the increased property value to MAX or UR it is so insignificant as to be insulting to basic services and taxpayers.

    This game as to whether development would have happened “at the same pace and in the same quantity with or without MAX or UR” is the means to avoid actually running the numbers.

    You want more light rail and that’s all that matters.

    Lenny the Yellow Line. like others, gets no credit other than the means to justify UR spending and subsidies.

    The Interstate properties were already on a 3% automatic minimum increase before UR and the gentrification is do to supply and demand not MAX.

    New and remodeling of the old is further increasing property tax assessment beyond the 3%.

    Just like the PDC you have never “penciled out” a single UR district.

    TIF is being so abused in Portland the Increment is now larger than the base.

    Over $4 billion in city wide TIF assessed value has none of it’s taxes going to general fund basic services budgets. The base is around $3.8 billion.

    Transportation projects do help development. Not light rail.

    Your refusal to look at our track record at Cascade Station, Gresham Station, Orenco Station, the Round and other experiments is proof positive you are only interested in more rail and high density at all costs.

    Cost and performance doesn’t matter.

  36. Steve,

    All you’ve been able to show is that the Yellow Line, at worst, diverts over 25 years incremental tax revenue amounting to $12million from schools. (And that’s assuming your numbers are correct in the first place.) This based on the assumption that MAX contributes no value to the district. $12 million over 25 years does not a funding crisis make.

    The bus lines on Interstate carried more people before MAX. You just don’t want to look at the real numbers while you stare at the Yellow line padded with fareless square short hopps between the Rose Quarter/Lloyd district and downtown.

    What percentage of boardings in Fareless Square do you think are going to the Lloyd District on the Yellow Line, exactly? (Especially since the Yellow Line doesn’t go to Lloyd Center). Isn’t it fair to assume that at least _some_ of those boardings, especially in the afternoon, are headed back out along Interstate Avenue?

    In any case, just looking at the new Yellow Line stations alone, and excluding every boarding from downtown, the Yellow Line gets over 7,000 boardings per day, which is still higher than the #5 bus that it replaced. I’d give you a more direct comparison, but I don’t have stop-by-stop boarding numbers of the old #5. After all, to be fair, I’d have to exclude downtown boardings from the old #5 counts as well.

    Furthermore, if all the downtown boardings were fareless square utilizers (those scum! how dare they be counted!), we should have seen a corresponding downturn in Red/Blue ridership as those fareless freeloaders shifted to the Yellow, no?

    That’s at least 4 decades of starving basic services.

    Basic services are continuing to get the exact amount of money that they received… we’re quibbling over the extent of theoretical increments. Not exactly what I’d call “starving”.

    You want more light rail and that’s all that matters.

    Since you’re so good at reading my mind, let me read yours: You don’t like light rail and nothing will change your mind. There! See how easy that was?

    Your refusal to look at our track record at Cascade Station, Gresham Station, Orenco Station, the Round and other experiments is proof positive you are only interested in more rail and high density at all costs.

    “Refusal”. BS. When did I ever “refuse”?

    1. Cascade station is difficult to evaluate because of the private interests involved, but it should be noted that it has failed to build out despite the presence of a major airport, an airbase, a major freeway, and several major arterials. Light rail is not the only factor. Regardless, the Airport station already gets 1,527 daily boardings. That’s nearly 75% of what the Red Line gets at Lloyd Center, one of those “fareless” stations that we should never count.

    2. Gresham Station is growing rapidly with all kinds of development… retail, commercial/office, and residential, and the light rail station there hasn’t even opened yet. I’ve shopped there numerous times, yes even by taking MAX to the station located away from the development.

    3. Orenco station built out rapidly and is nationally regarded as a success. I almost bought a home there, myself. Orenco gets 1,013 weekday boardings on the Blue Line. I don’t think you can count those as duplicitive fareless square boardings, now can you?

    4. The Round took a long time to complete due to financing issues with the original contractor. Buildings A, B, and C have been open for awhile, and according to the Round web site, Buildings D and E have begun construction, although I haven’t been out there to take a look. The station there currently gets 750 weekday boardings. Building D won’t change that much since it will primarily be a parking structure.

    5. There you go again with that “more rail and high density at all costs” line. “At all costs” is an illogical extreme, useless hyperbole. You’ve never once engaged me in a discussion of what I think represents worthwhile transportation development, even though I’ve offered in this forum multiple times.

    Cost and performance doesn’t matter.

    I’ll do you a favor, even though you’ve extended no such courtesy to me, and tell you what I think a limit should be on new rail construction… A surface rail project should be considered to be too expensive if it overall pencils out at over $100 million per mile and/or the daily boardings when divided over the capital costs over 30 years exceed $5 dollars per boarding.

    What lesson should I take from your comments? One thing I’ve learned for sure is that “short hops” have no merit and needlessly “pad” rail usage figures.

    – Bob R.

  37. Bob,

    You sure spin. Now you got Interstate MAX down to only diverting 12 million? and only 25 years to pay it off.

    This is the perfect example of your unwillingness to grasp the full costs and real impacts and performances.

    Everything you listed here was doctored, spun, marginalized, cooked up and propagandized.

    In usual fashion you then take my mention of the Lloyd district as an opportunity to divert away from the central points.

    I never said the “Yellow Line goes to Lloyd Center”

    And you favorably assume those hopps are also Interstate trips.

    Your counting methods are TriMet wonders and are manipulative.

    You fully retarded my point about fareless square and the short hopps which pad boarding numbers.
    Interstate MAX was not needed. The only reason it happened was becasue of the push to get it to Vancouver. Same goes for light rail on the Transit Mall plan.
    We don’t need it, can’t afford it and it is being forced upon the public because it will lead to more. Avoiding any public votes all the way.

    “””””” (those scum! how dare they be counted!)””””””””‘

    Wow!

    “””Basic services are continuing to get the exact amount of money that they received… we’re quibbling over the extent of theoretical increments.”””””””

    Sorry Bob your ignorance of UR and TIF really surfaces here. You’ve obviously been fully absorbed by the UR property tax snatchers.

    I see you enjoy the play that it’s merely liking or disliking light rail.

    “””””When did I ever “refuse”””””””

    You just did it again by spinning the projects.

    “””1. Cascade station is difficult to evaluate because of the private interests involved, but it should be noted that it has failed to build out””””

    It isn’t difficult at all. That’s BS. It failed to build out because of the Mixed Use restrictions and big box bans put on it by you MAX proponents (Hales and Company) who wanted it to become a mini ped/bike/transit city.

    $200 million + later and nothing. Now a big box IKEA is coming and TriMet says in part because of MAX. ?????

    “”””2. Gresham Station is growing rapidly “””””””

    All these years and parcels next to MAX remain vacant. The Eastside MAX line is lined with crime and blight which Gresham officials hope will be addressed with,,,,,,,”urban renewal” in Rockwood.

    “”””3. Orenco station built out rapidly and is nationally regarded as a success.”””

    No it isn’t. Metro declared it a success. It’s an auto oriented high density traffic chaos. Big deal. And again the parcels next to MAX were the last to be developed.

    “””” I almost bought a home there, myself”””””.

    That means what?

    “””””Orenco gets 1,013 weekday boardings on the Blue Line””””””

    How many commuters when it matters? Worthless TriMet numbers mean little.

    “””””. The Round took a long time to complete due to financing issues with the original contractor.”””””””””

    What a dance. The Round has been redesigned. Half of the first phase housing units were canceled, all of the second phase canceled and a seven story parking garage is now coming. BID DEAL. Why is government even in this development business? They wasted millions playing developers with tax money.

    “””””””according to the Round web site”””””””””

    Nice source.

    “At all costs” is accurate as the money never matters and the relative small numbers served is equally not important.

    Light rail should be halted entirely. It is a fraud, it diminishes transit use, hobbles our transportation system and spawns a circle of more UR for high densities to make rail work & then it doesn’t. Despite your TriMet boarding numbers.

    Congestion is worsening and all this group can do is demand more of the same that is causing it.

    You have destroyed the ability to get desperately needed roads through the system in timely manner.

    Claim transit will help Tualatin-Sherwood Road?

    Threaten No Columbia Crossing remedy without light rail?

    Congestion relief should only address trucking and commerce and not automobile traffic?

    The last thing we need is more TriMet/Metro plans.

    Traffic congestion is bad and getting worse.
    It is a nightmare for commuters and it is choking freight mobility.
    There is no more clear illustration of our inability to meet growth needs than our failure to address our transportation needs.
    Within the transportation arena we are facing utter chaos.”

    from Metro head, Mike Burton’s State of the Region Speech, 2000

  38. Steve,

    I agree that LRT has become a major pork barrel industry, with only a few exceptions in high density Eastern cities. Are you ever present at any open houses?; would like to talk to you sometime.

    Re. Columbia Crossing; The best idea I have seen is from the NewInterstateBridge.com group which would like to see a Vancouver-Rivergate Connection, via the Amtrak route. I don’t think this would lead to the Western Bypass Freeway that some are hysterical about.

    The big problem with new roads is getting the neighborhood groups to agree. I and many others would like to see a shortcut/Willamette R. crossing that would save Metro area drivers miilions of miles per years. This would not even require any new road, but simply a bridge, which could be aesthetic. But METRO is going to give special attention to the privileged whiners that can only see one solution and raise holy h–l at any other, sensible solution. But if the neighboorhoods and METRO can jointly convince themselves that any improved roadway would be a forboten thought, it’s very hard to change it. It would take a genuine political challenge to their security.

    I can see Front Ave as becoming a strategic route but I doubt that anyone will listen now. Considering that 99W/Barbur Bv. pours into it from the SW and Hwy 30 from the Northwest, with a potential route teeing off across the RR route, I think it wuill become increasingly important. I also think we will see hirise construction going that way (northward along Front Av), eventually, because of the river views. I could be wrong.

    If we had a scaled down rail transit would you object? Part of the problem with buses is getting people to WANT to use them. It may seem hypocritical to pander to wealthy urbanists with subsidized rail transit, but if it works, by giving a coherent path to increased density, and the conservation of land, why not? The streetcar system needs to be reworked so that: 1. it becomes much cheaper to implement 2. It can carry more riders 3. It is faster. By building them here, we can have some intense debate on how to improve it and make it more cost-effective. However, I would cherish no illusions that there would be vested interests ready to wring their hands.

  39. —– Original Message —–
    From: STEVESCARE@aol.com
    The bus lines on Interstate carried more people before MAX. You just don’t want to look at the real numbers while you stare at the Yellow line padded with fareless square short hopps between the Rose Quarter/Lloyd district and downtown.

    >”What percentage of boardings in Fareless Square do you think are going to the Lloyd District on the Yellow Line, exactly? (Especially since the Yellow Line doesn’t go to Lloyd Center). Isn’t it fair to assume that at least _some_ of those boardings, especially in the afternoon, are headed back out along Interstate Avenue?””excluding every boarding from downtown, the Yellow Line gets over 7,000 boardings per day, which is still higher than the #5 bus that it replaced.””Furthermore, if all the downtown boardings were fareless square utilizers we should have seen a corresponding downturn in Red/Blue ridership as those fareless freeloaders shifted to the Yellow, no?””Gresham Station is growing rapidly with all kinds of development..””4. The Round

  40. “”” It may seem hypocritical to pander to wealthy urbanist’s with subsidized rail transit, but if it works, by giving a coherent path to increased density, and the conservation of land, why not?””””

    It’s all perpetual theory and concept.

    The high density always costs huge amounts of public subsidies and never generates the transit use promised.
    It also never considers and plans for the detriments of the high density, crowded together new development.

    Example, SoWa never planned for the added traffic.

    No traffic impact study was performed for traffic impact to the South including I-5, 43/Macadam, Barbur and Sellwood bridge.

    The purposeful avoidance of the fatal flaws of this high density-rail agenda cannot be overstated.

    It’s irrational exuberance for rail transit masquerading as transportation planning.

    Millions are wasted, congestion worsens, bus transit stagnates and the regional transportation system declines.
    And the reports on the rising cost of congestion are met with demands for more of the same.

  41. Well somebody out there still thinks that Portland is right up there with NYC, SF and others for being a great place to live as we wean ourselves off cheap oil.
    As I drive, bike and use transit around Portland, I never experience congestion…I see lots of empty streets.
    Going Street to Swan Island is not congested, despite being the most heavily used employment area arterial with a very high percentage of trucks.
    People choose to congest, and according to the 2000 census many are choosing to live closer to where they work.
    Last, where are you going to put more roads in Portland? Tear out the block of homes next to NE 33rd or SE 39th? Oh, that would go over great.
    Portland’s arterial network is complete, its freeway network is complete. Its high capacity transit netork is not, nor is its bike network. We just want to do the obvious and give the most people the most access for the least money.

  42. It was suggested to me by someone that I stop “feeding the trolls”, but since I am now being called a liar in a public form, I feel I must respond:

    Steve said, about me: “You sure spin. Now you got Interstate MAX down to only diverting 12 million? and only 25 years to pay it off.”

    Steve, those were your numbers, from this very discussion thread. That’s what you said Interstate Max diverted from schools. Here is your quote, again:

    “Interstate Max is diverting $45 millon [sic] from basic services during the life of the Interstate UR TIF payback. 25 years? or so. Of that about $12 millon [sic] will come from schools.”

    Steve went on to say: “Everything you listed here was doctored, spun, marginalized, cooked up and propagandized.”

    Apology demanded.

    You fully retarded my point about fareless square and the short hopps [sic] which pad boarding numbers.

    I tried to work within your arbitrary boundaries and excluded all downtown boardings from the totals, but you won’t even have a discussion based on non-fareless boardings, so why bother?

    When I gave boarding counts for Orenco, Steve moved the goalpost again: “How many commuters when it matters? Worthless TriMet numbers mean little.”

    Okay, Steve, what are _your_ boarding counts for Orenco? Why should I trust your numbers over TriMet’s? Why are TriMet’s numbers worthless?

    I said: “Basic services are continuing to get the exact amount of money that they received… we’re quibbling over the extent of theoretical increments.”

    Steve replied: “Sorry Bob your ignorance of UR and TIF really surfaces here. You’ve obviously been fully absorbed by the UR property tax snatchers.”

    Please, don’t hold back on the personal disparagement. I’m anxious to hear more.

    And while you’re at it, Mr. Teacher, why don’t you explain exactly how UR and TIF really works to me, the ignorant, fully tax-snatcher-absorbed, spinning, propagandizing, cooking, and doctoring student.

    Again, Steve, apology demanded. Until I get one, there is no need for further discussion with you. You have not demonstrated the ability to respectfully disagree and debate.

    – Bob R.

  43. Well Bob,

    Seems you can misrepresent plenty but can’t take the heating up debate over transportation and planning.

    Your description of the Round, Cascade Station and alike was as insulting as anything you were offended by and was right out of the Metro handbook.

    Equally was your take on Urban Renewal.

    It was you who referred to the $12 million as “no crisis” implying that was the only millions wasted from basic services for I-MAX.
    That was you spinning.

    “”””Apology demanded”””””

    No, I don’t want to hear a repeat of “Orenco boardings”.
    It’s TriMet mush. Take a drive out there and tell me what a transit-oriented success it is.

    Heck, Lenny has already declared SoWa a success. See how that label happens.
    Every year the entire city has it’s assessed value rise by at least 3%. My understanding is the average is actually 5% due to routine new development etc.

    Basic services rely upon the corresponding rises in property taxes to offset their rising costs.

    UR now takes up 12,000 acres of the city.

    With over $4 billion in the UR Increment there is currently more value and taxes from that 12,000 acres being diverted than remains feeding basic services.

    This 05/06 FY alone $63 million is being diverted from basic services. $20 million from schools this one year.

    Yet your pals in public office calmly tell the public the bald faced lie that UR does not use General Fund money.

    Now that’s insulting and demands an apology.

    Nobody voted to spend school dollars on light rail. Or police, fire, library or parks money. If the public

    As I said earlier, and you completely ignored it, Interstate UR district is 3744. Every tax increase from every property, every year since 2000, has been diverted to pay for MAX and other UR projects.

    Given that the policy makers never clarified this to the public I say they are dishonest and conniving.

    I don’t think you have demonstrated the ability to address and stick to the cogent points raised while debating.

    No apology wanted.

    Airport Way, created 1986 acres 2780
    Interstate 2000 3744
    Central Eastside 1986 681
    Convention Center 1989 601
    Downtown Waterfront 1974 309
    Gateway Regional Center 2001 653
    Lents Town Center 1998 2472
    North Macadam (SoWa) 1999 409
    River District 1998 310
    South Park Blocks 1985 161
    Willamette Industrial 2004 751

    Lenny said, “””Portland’s arterial network is complete, its freeway network is complete””””

    Complete? What does complete mean? No more capacity or mobility is needed? When was it “completed”?
    The region? According to what? Who?

  44. “Complete” means there is connectivity from any point to any other point. This is true for the auto network, but not true for the transit, cycling or pedestrian networks (note lack of sidewalks in many areas).

    Complete does not mean uncongested.

    And lets keep the conversation here more civil, or I’ll close comments on this thread. It’s already strayed pretty far from the original topic.

  45. I move we ban Steve.

    Been there, done that. I did it with great reluctance at that time, and only because I felt like Steve and a few other folks were attempting to dominate the forum to destruction. We have a more established and healthy ecosystem here now and I don’t have the same concerns.

    I think dissent is healthy, as long as people follow the rules, particularly as it regards not getting personal, which this thread is pushing.

  46. Steve’s beef is with urban renewal which is one source for transportation investments, especially local match dollars.
    Not sure if he is OK with URA dollars that get spent on streets or roads. How about the Burnside/Couch couplet; that will need URA $ if it is built. Roads, OK? Streetcar, not?
    PDC and its URA $ get credit for a lot of things that citizens want and like…Waterfront Park, Pioneer Courthouse Sq., Union Station, but also for the vacant land still lingering near Emanuel Hosp.
    I expect that the financials for all URAs are available on the PDC website…starting tax base, growth in TIF, level of bonding, project lists…then you can do a case by case analysis of each URA to see if it has been a net gain or loss to the city’s tax base.
    The next URA that is do to expire is the Central Eastside, which is begging for an extension. So here’s a change to have a concrete debate, since at least one project still to be funded in CE is Streetcar…is it worthwhile? will it increase property values enough to warrent keeping CE’s TIF out of the City, School and county tax rolls?

  47. The problem I have is that lately it seems to be a complete waste of my time to try and engage the dissenters in any meaningful way.

    For example, Steve asserted months ago that downtown employment had declined since the mall opened. I directed him to actual employment statistics from the Metro Regional Databook which clearly showed otherwise, and he did not adjust his rhetoric nor did he provide information when I asked him for his source for the assertion.

    Another example: Mel said that there were only 26 cars (12 + 14) from Washington in a 3-hour period at Delta Park / Expo Center. I went out there myself and counted way over 100 in a 10-minute period.

    When debating ridership amounts on the Yellow Line with Steve, I actually agreed to work under his terms and not include “fareless” downtown boardings. I only included boarding counts from new Yellow Line stations, digging through TriMet spreadsheet data to get the results. For my efforts, I was told that my numbers were spun and doctored and that TriMet data was worthless and a fraud. And yet, Steve did not offer reasons as to why this was so.

    When debating the “failure” of Orenco Station, I had mentioned my familiarity with the development because I had almost bought a home there, his immediate response was “That Means What?” and then in a later, separate comment he admonishes me to “Take a drive out there and tell me what a transit-oriented success it is.”, as though I had not seen the place.

    Steve repeatedly asserted that I wanted Light Rail “at all costs”. I attempted to engage him in that debate by clearly stating what limits I would consider “too expensive” for surface rail. He completely ignored it and continued with the “at all costs” assertion.

    I’m torn between wasting my free time combating their assertions or just ignoring them. But the problem with ignoring them is that future visitors to this site may think their assertions are correct because they go unchallenged.

    – Bob R.

  48. Lenny,

    Steve’s beef is not limited to the rampant abuse of urban renewal.

    The Burnside/Couch couplet is another low priority boondoggle that the PDC amateurs will surely screw up.

    What ever the PDC and its URA $ get credit for pales in comparison to the detriment they cause.

    Of course you wouldn’t know that because you only “expect that the financials for all URAs are available on the PDC website” and have never reviewed them.

    You also apparently think no one has looked at the “starting tax base, growth in TIF, level of bonding, project lists”,,,”to see if it has been a net gain or loss to the city’s tax base”

    Similar to the PDC themselves who ignore State Law requiring them to produce yearly reports on the impacts to basic services and thereby allowing you to marginalize those who have.

    Your reluctance to delve into the UR TIF quagmire to better grasp the impacts, costs and misuse makes it easy for you to declare “success” as soon as money is spent.

    In doing so you are misrepresenting both TIF and the projects it funds.

    At least you have finally admitted you have not studied any of the TIF stucture.

    Perhaps you should stop giving advice on something you no so little about.

  49. “”””I’m torn between wasting my free time””””””

    I torn by how many critical points you skimmed by in this one thread alone as you dally in the periphery of less import.

    Furthermore, you don’t get points.

    When I said take a drive out to Orenco I was suggesting you apply observation versus TriMet/Metro hype as to the “success” of the area.

    Go back and answer some of the germane bullets by some of us instead of pretending you have.

    Perhaps start with revisiting the points on Cascade Station.

  50. Steve,
    you would do yourself a favor to calm down and learn a little civility. But really you are wasting your time on this site. We’re trying to figure out the best, most cost effective way to expand the transportation options for people in this region…to keep Portland the great place that it is, to maintain our air quality, to keep the rivers clean, etc.
    Not sure what your vision is. What do more roads get us? And more roads where? Like I’ve said, I do support the elevated expressway through Lake Oswego, and why not widened 43 through Donthorpe while we are at it. Sure they would love that.
    But more roads really aren’t even an option in Portland any more. Do you want to see the Valleys covered in sub-divisions? Raise the gas tax for another ring road? You’re whistling in the wind. But in 25 words or less, I’d like to know what it is you want for our corner of the world. Then maybe we can go from there. Otherwise, spare us.