Open Thread for December 1-7, 2013

A few things:

19 responses to “Open Thread for December 1-7, 2013”

  1. Regarding auctioning parking spots, is there any evidence that complaints about housing projects are really about the use of on-street parking, and that if parking were removed as an issue (never mind whether auctioning would accomplish this) opposition to development would cease or be reduced?

    Two projects come to mind that suggest otherwise: Back Bridge Lofts, where opposition is based on height and expected traffic and the Hollywood group living project, where most of the concerns are about the expected tenants and where the geography of the area makes parking moot.

    It looks to me like complaining about parking is a means to an end, and if that were removed housing opponents would just find something else to complain about. Offering a payoff without any strings attached might well increase opposition to new housing, because if you pay people to complain they will complain.

    So here’s a suggested alteration that might make auctioning better serve its purpose: In districts where perpetual parking licenses are handed out to residents, there should be complimentary, transferable, perpetual licenses handed out to property owners to build housing without parking. That makes explicit that this would be a trade, with costs and not just benefits.

    • Or, you could just be campaign contributor Beam Development and charge tenants for parking on the street (i.e. land Beam does not own). Then, when you are caught, do not refund any money- just keep the money that should go to tenants or the city.

      See- Beam loves that Shoup guy.

      • I’m interested in what you mean by this. Perhaps this is the Beam buildings in the Central Eastside. There, employers are allowed to buy permits for their employees ($X per year). This gives employees the right to look for an on-street parking space in the permit area, and if they find one, park there all day, instead of 2 hours. So do you mean that Beam passed the cost of these employee permits on to employees? Or to the tenants’ employees?

        Would “caught” mean it was discovered that a lot of the on-street spaces were already used, and they had to walk 3 blocks?

        • Here is a quote from the Portland Mercury, which broke the story.
          I find Beam’s behavior unethical. Begin quote:

          Beam found itself in the city’s crosshairs this fall after anonymous complaints to the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and the neighborhood’s transportation committee revealed the company had been improperly charging tenants for public parking outside its building at SE Taylor and Water.

          “There was a misunderstanding, a legacy thing,” says Jonathan Malsin, Beam’s operations director. “The previous owner had been doing that 12 years ago. We’re playing ball with the city. We wanted to be good neighbors.”

          But Beam won’t face any sanction.

          • Ah, that probably explains it. There is parking to the south of the building, which is really in the Salmon Street right of way, but it looks like a private lot. And/or they could be referring to spaces along Water next to their loading dock, again in the public ROW.

  2. TriMet recently has made some service improvements along SW Powell even as they were forced to cut service and raise fares. Most all the buses run to Gresham instead of ending at I-205. Buses on SE Division were added on weekends.

  3. Change of subject: I found an example of urban living I like:

    I lived in a similar fashion as a 20-24 y.o. Mamacita, and it was a fun and safe way for a young woman to live.

    Will this catch on even if it doesn’t generate huge profits for builders…

    PS Don’t call the for-profit dorms by any other name than their zoning code. Live by the CX, go bankrupt by the CX.

      • Scotty- Mamacita was too cool for to join a sorority …. pleeeze ….

        These SFO spaces pick people based on compatibility- it is not first come first serve.

        There is no reason why a six bedroom house can’t have at least six people.
        That is not uber-density. Plus, the opportunity to save old houses is there.

        • Well, I was too cool for the frats (or so I tell myself :) ) so I get where you are coming from.

          Indeed, I see no reason why this sort of housing should be disallowed (nor am I aware of any opposition to such). That said, most older homes don’t have six bedrooms in them–three or four being more popular configurations. Actual frathouses are specially-built buildings that have a larger-number-than-usual of living quarters.

          Whether buying up an old home (such places in inner Portland are expensive) and turning it into a rental of this sort is a cost-effective investment, is another question. Freestanding homes in inner SE are going for over $200/square foot–if you bought a 4br home for $600k and turned it into four rental units, how much rent could you earn a month?

    • I understood that the Vintage Trolleys were put on the original 1st Ave MAX line, in part as a mitigation for the MAX running through the Skidmore historic district. That is, if you’ve got these modern light rail cars running through here, you have to have old-fashioned style streetcars running through here as well. So, if they stop running the Vintage Trolleys, does this void the mitigation for the Skidmore District Max line?

      And, the Oregonian article on the subject talks about the “original woodwork” on the Trolleys. No, they were built new, from scratch except for the trucks, by Gomaco. I guess the Oregonian couldn’t conceive that such good woodwork could be done these days.

    • Extremely sad to see this. Reminds me of the photos where the old streetcars were burned to get rid of them. They should be running on the streetcar routes. Too bad they couldn’t see the big picture and find a way to make it work. We will come to regret this some day.

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