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Exactly right. There are too many examples of this kind of politics getting in the way of good design in architecture and land use planning.

Why Oregonians have a hard time utilizing the talent we have in this city, and relying on politicians for leadership, I cannot fathom.

Portland's saddest example I think, is our parks system which was initially planned by Olmstead Brothers, NY (NYC's Central Park). Seattle relied on these experts and got an amazing ring of parks you can walk and bike between which are stunning examples of landscape architecture.

Portland took the initial plans, put it in the hands of the politicians, and the whole thing faltered and died.

We have good parks, but nothing like we would have had if we had relied on people educated and knowledgeable.


I thought that Portland did hire landscape architects, planners and architects to work on some of their... plans.

Just out of curiousity, what was the rest of the Olmstead park plans for Portland? I have been aware of the Park Blocks - which yes, is 'missing' the middle section, but was there anything else proposed?

I personally favor the current plan to leave the buildings between Park & Park alone and not demolish them.

I'm also pretty excited about the Burnside plan, which I think will change people's perception of P-town more than almost anything in the last 20 years. If it's done right, that is.

The One True b!X

This balance will only work if public involvement is taken seriously and public official decision-making is transparent.

The problem is, we've had a develoment agency which makes decisions on its own all the time, and people haven't even felt listened to -- something which can help assuage concerns about decisions themselves -- and then also would make decisions (have we all forgotten the Bridgehead already?) which were never actually adequately explained and appeared to contrdict the criteria set forth for that decision.

So, devil's advocacy is fine and always useful. But it's pointless if we don't also point out the context we live in.


Well said.


This might sound harsh, but I think 'felt listened to' is sometimes an expression of whether or not the decision being made was the desired outcome of the person or group advocating. It's a mistake to think that if a room is filled with a group of people who are advocating one decision, that it represents the desires of the entire community.

- As I recall from the lecture on Olmstead and the Seattle & Portland park plans, Seattle's leaders put the park department in charge of developing the plan with adequate funding and Portland put the plan up to a vote. The plan was rejected by Portland's citizens, though thankfully most of the land in the Olmstead plan was acquired.

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