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OMg , reading that gobble-de-gook makes one realize why nothing gets done in PDX. Baron Hausman would roll over in his grave over this 'process'!


Got that right! Another 6 months of "studies" and "outreach" and we'll end up with a another plan nobody can afford to build and will never support itself economically without massive taxpayer subsidy. Keep on smearing OPUS (someone who actually understands economics). I can't wait to see the in-depth economic analysis of the new scheme the citizens advisory group comes up with! Not!


The City needs to sell that site to a private developer and repay Portand taxpayers. Round 2 this warm/fuzzy planning citizen involvement BS is just that.

The only thing happening here is PDC trying to justify their existance by holding "outreach" meetings etc., when the private market can handle this much more efficiently.

I say can the entire staff of PDC bureaucrats that are charging their time to this white elephant and give taxpayers a further break. MMMMMKAY.....


Oh how quickly we are willing to forget the work the PDC has done for the city. And OPUS had a great economic plan for this site....put a big box store in it....um, no thanks.


Sorry, Dennis, but the final scheme chosen by PDC's Board did not have big box, even though that would have made the project more financially feasible.

OPUS, along with Gary Larson and his team had a great solution. It is a shame that it is not getting built right now.


Umm, I guess you are right if you mean OPUS couldnt even acquire a big enough tenant to help cover the costs of the project and without the housing market boom, they had nothing to ride on.

Last I heard, their solution was something like Home Depot and condos...as we can see by the SoWa that the condo movement didnt pan out too well.

I am much more in favor of creating a masterplan idea, then allowing several developers to be apart of this on much smaller scales. It would have a better chance of becoming its own unique urban area for the eastside and would fit in much better with current smaller projects that have happened and could potentially happen in that area.


PDC waaaay overpaid for that site at taxpayer expense, they screwed around with it via all this public involvement BS, hired the wrong private developer, kicked everyone out of Convention Plaza (but did film an ODS commercial), and now they're expecting us to get all excited for "Bridgehead 2.0". Pahleeeeeze. These guys are development wannabe knot-heads who overpay and sell at a loss --- consistentantly. PDC needs to be disbanded and the money funneled to the school system. As a taxpayer, I'm tired of funding this kind of go-nowhere garbage. Sell the land to a private developer and be done with it. Big box looks pretty good right now, and might even generate a few gobs in the bureaucrat-heavy socialist place we've dubbed "The City that Works". What a laugh.

And for all you greenies out there, big box would be a very sustainable thing to do...as a close-in resident, I'm tired of shlepping to Clackamas to go to Home Depot.


Oh, and sorry Dennis...someday it will be revealed that this organization we call "PDC" is nothing but a fraud foisted upon Portland taxpayers at the expense of all the public services we should be receiving....and don't get me started on Metro.


PD- sounds like you haven't gotten a chance to explore your neighborhood enough. Let me recommend True Value on Hawthorne, Ankeny Hardware on Stark for your everyday needs, and Hippo Hardware for fixtures and expertise you definitely won't find at Home Depot (as admittedly cool as it is to stare at the sky-aisles aisles of stuff shipped from China, and as helpful and knowledgeable as many of the employees at Home Depot are).

Each of these very close-in stores has great bike parking right our front or across the street. For most purchases bikes work great and I don't have to wade through a sea of parking lots, instead I get some exercise.

On occasion I have had to use a car for larger items, but that's easy enough, and I believe there are a number of bike delivery services that would love your business. Save your gas Money, with oil at $80 a barrel I am sure you would rather ride your bike to one of these locations, buy that new dremmel tool you've been eying by not paying for gas, making up the difference, if the tool costs $5 more than at Home Depot.

And don't forget all the other great material resources available in Inner East Industrial. You won't find that in the suburbs!

I know that my Dad's favorite part of Home Depot back on the East Coast is that they have Dunkin' Donuts INSIDE! But guess what?: each of the three locations I mentioned have a coffee shop within 2 blocks! Get the exercise walking between these spots and you won't have to waste money on the treadmill to get fit. And you will have a great coffee in your hands while you chat it up with an informed local craftsman / entrepreneur!

I moved to Portland because it seems that a community of citizens (not consumers) has gotten together and demanded good urbanism based on TRUE conservative values - looking at what humans have learned from 1,000 years of making civilizations. (How Building's Learn by Stewart Brand is one my favorite books on Architecture and Conservatism).

Shoot, all you need to do is go back to Jane Jacobs to see why you driving to a big box in Clackamas has nothing to do with a "City" that "Works".

Cities, infrastructure and place-making are often expensive, slow, and opaque in their processes.

I do not primarily view city building as business and i know it is not maximally efficient. It is creating the stage where life unfolds and creating real places for future generations to live the good life.

That doesn't excuse waste and dithering, but it does mean your boilerplate language about "Socialist Bureaucrats" "Knot Heads" and "Greenies" is uninformed and unconstructive.

Any good recommendations on Conservative Urban Historians we can bring to the conversation?

I would love to hear some informed debate about these ideas that doesn't resort to name calling and platitudes, but recognizes the power of the markets, entrepreneurs and the desires to create robust urban communities that are beautiful and economically viable for more than one generation to come.


HandyMan –

Thanks for the thoughtful and witty rebuttal; it made me laugh, especially the part about bike parking at hardware stores. As you have probably surmised, I believe in the market mechanism much more so than the bureaucracies that try to dictate how it should function and evolve. The PDC is a great example of that. There are plenty of examples of PDC’s reckless acquisition debacles that have ended in messy refinancing efforts or outright losses.

I can appreciate all the discussion about place-making and sustainability. Most cities accomplish this through zoning and good planning, not outright acquisition of property on the back of the taxpayer. This is not “good urbanism based on TRUE conservative values” as you assert, it is blind reliance on government agencies to engineer our surroundings. It is embarrassingly expensive and very much a waste of money that could be put to much better use. I don’t mind paying high Portland taxes, but I do mind having to send my kids to crappy (and getting worse by the day) public schools and at the same time having botched real estate deal after botched real estate deal crammed down my throat knowing that I’m paying for it. It’s truly disturbing to think that Portland voters scoot around on their bikes in the rain appreciating all this “good urbanism” having no idea how it works or what it costs. Having lived in many parts of the country that are equally nice, I can tell you that the average Portlander has no idea of the raw deal they’re getting, or how the bureaucracies have done more to screw us out of our future than to secure it. Blowing all of this money that we don’t have through tax increment financing and other sources of leverage on projects like the Bridgehead has done more to erode Portland’s future than the tailpipes of a million SUV’s. What Portland has done is the opposite of sustainability, you just don’t know it yet.

In these times it is simply irresponsible to keep promoting this white elephant called the Burnside Bridgehead, especially in the name of sustainability and “good urbanism” when we have a 12% unemployment rate, crappy underfunded schools and mounds of municipal debt.

Keep Portland Weird!!!

Steve L.

Though I am a true liberal, a lot of what PD says resonates in my neighborhood. While my neighborhood lost its only civic amenity, our school, PDC has pushed for tram (way over-budget) for a private corporation, based on yet unfulfilled promises of jobs and a “Nanotech Institute” in S. Waterfront Park (SWP). This new SWP neighborhood then got a new trolley line while our school sat empty. Next up for SWP is a new Max line to be built soon. PDC is now pushing for a new pedestrian bridge (over-budget) for SWP and while back in my neighborhood our school is now leased to Riverdale (!), and my children have to edge their way along major arterials with no sidewalks or bike lanes.

While I think public outreach and studies are a good thing, I would rather they are conduced through an open public entity, like the city government, that is accountable to ALL the citizens and sees value and potential in EVERY neighborhood.

Steve L.

In addition, the taxes in Portland make affordable housing unaffordable, none of the young designers I know can afford to buy in Portland, and my wife and I often discuss moving.

I think there are many people in Portland waking-up to the fact that they are getting a raw deal, it is just not reported.


PD - what is so funny about using my personal freedom to choose appropriate transportation infrastucture such as bikes and bike parking, and recommending others do the same? I was being serious and sincere. That you find it funny seems to mean that the conservative imagination has atrophied and we need to expand it.

As a conservative I value self reliance and living within my means, both fiscal income and solar income, and using a bike and walking are great ways I can act on those values.

I haven't purchased a motor vehicle in the last five years which is beyond my current means, and I am self reliant enough to maintain my own vehicle. Also, passing neighbors at speeds less than 20 MPH means we often make eye contact and even occasionally talk in the street.

I wonder about how my children will feel about the greenfield bigbox sprawl and credit-card based gimme now landscape we are leaving them?

How can I convince a fellow conservative to choose the delayed gratification of taking slower but more ecologically and socially appropriate transportation? As it seems you are quite happy to rely primarily on your automobile, the market treats the pollution of this as an externality, and the state has intervened to prop up auto-based infrastructure distorting the market. Hmmmm...any recommendations on what it would take to get you on a bike and out of your car as an act of conservative theory in action?

Does a primarily bicycle and rail based dense urban community with a robust entrepreneurial and locally sourced economy, with some global inputs seem humorous? It is one vision I could see my children prospering in. Car-centric cities, even if dense, not so much.

You seem like an engaged and critical thinker I am wondering what the conservative social imagination could spawn if it got beyond the simplistic language and market orthodoxy that it seems to be stuck in.

Sorry about the rant. PD (or others), I would love to hear what you think. And back to Burnside Bridgehead for other parties not interested in the only slightly related side conversation. :-)


Many Conservatives relinquished their social imagination to the market so don't expect a response other then let a private enterprise take care of it.

Steve L.

Bruder says they want to “make the ordinary extraordinary.” This site seems to be far from ordinary, it seems extraordinarily challenged by being boxed-in on three sides by Burnside Bridge, a looming freeway interchange and a truck-shipping terminal, with a rail line and elevated freeway ramps blocking the river view for several stories.

Along with the view and pedestrian issues in this area, I would imagine the air quality and noise from the freeways with frequent traffic jams and increasing rail traffic would disadvantage this area compared to other underdeveloped downtown areas.

The hopes of large trade shows and a new entertainment district in the Rose Quarter would seem to make all these issues worse over time.

If the goal is to “Promoting Job Creation and Economic Growth” by creating something “extraordinary” I would pick a site with more chance of success and fewer challenges.


It is exactly because of all of the constraints that you have enumerated that makes this project crucial. IF (and I understand that it is a big "IF") successful, it will cause the entire area to be stimulated.

Additionally, each of the issues that you mention can be solved with great, thoruough design, hence the masterplanning effort.



You're reading too much into my post. I do have a bicycle and I ride it quite often…but not to the hardware store. I ride my bike to work at least three days a week and to run some errands. I do this because I enjoy it; I get exercise, save money on gas and parking….but I don’t ride it to satisfy Scam Adams and all the greenie bike-centric bureaucrats.

Portland creates an environment of social guilt to forward planning efforts that would otherwise be unsuccessful. Like many others in this city, you’re coming from this corner of guilt that the City has created, leaving room for bad, expensive, overblown, and arrogant policy.

You state: “How can I convince a fellow conservative to choose the delayed gratification of taking slower but more ecologically and socially appropriate transportation?...Does a primarily bicycle and rail based dense urban community with a robust entrepreneurial and locally sourced economy, with some global inputs seem humorous?”

Translation: “Unlike you, riding my bike means that I am an integral part of this unique progressive City, a City like no other. Riding my bike means that I care more about the environment than the people in the cars around me. By riding my bike I am a global thinker in a city that thinks globally.”

This is a hopelessly arrogant corner to be coming from, and you’re letting the City of Portland’s marketing department make a fool of you. They need folks like you who can support ill-fated property acquisitions and bad policy because they’ve convinced you that this is all in the name of sustainable place-making and creating a “robust entrepreneurial” environment with “global inputs”. Well, guess what….it isn’t working. High unemployment, sub-par public schools, and a higher than average costs of living are the result…so, you’re getting the opposite of what you say you stand for. But those streetcars sure are nice…

People in Portland tend to think that people don’t think progressively in other cities. There are plenty of bicycle riders in Phoenix and Denver too.

Portland would be a truly wonderful place if it could surrender this arrogance and put more resources toward things that matter. Improvements to public schools, job creation, and public safety would be good places to start.

Steve L.

How do constraints make this project “crucial?” Crucial to whom? Good schools sited and sized to strengthen existing communities and maximize walkability and bikeability is far more crucial to the families I know.

There must be dozens of equally challenged quasi-industrial areas in Portland, is it also crucial to spend millions to attempt to transform all these areas, when success is a “big if?”


The pdc has become backstop financing for
ill-fated developments from the $14 million dollars wasted on the defunct not-to-be built
convention center hotel to the financially
challenged block 40 at the failed south waterfront.

They are also spending millions in extension financing and holding costs coverage for several stalled public-private partnership

Low levels of creativity in a closed-system where the employees spend lots of time watching their backsides and through the time consuming and costly re-organizations.

Where's the affordable housing?
$250 million a year and not enough to show.
We must change the regime...from the top down!


PD sez...

"I do this because I enjoy it; I get exercise, save money on gas and parking….but I don’t ride it to satisfy Scam Adams and all the greenie bike-centric bureaucrats."

You're drawing up a false dichotomy here. There's no reason you couldn't be biking to help the envoronment, but not biking to satisfy Scam Adams et al.

I'm generally unimpressed with some of them greenie beurocrats as well, but that doesn't mean that I can't be motivated at least partially by a concern for the whole globe.

That's like hating on a band because you don't like their fans. It's a very Holden Caulfield position to take, in my humble opinion... not all that useful in the real world.


I started riding faithfully in the mid-80's for enjoyment and exercise. Like it or not Aaron, my enthusiasm for cycling has nothing to do with the environment. I know that must be hard for some green-washed Portlanders to swallow.

And if you think Scam Adams is really a fan of the environment, guess again. He only loves himself.

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