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Great stuff, Brian. What I don't understand is that all of this banter about "20-minute" neighborhoods is pretty useless if your job requires a commute to Tualatin as mine does...and many of my neighbors commute to Lake O., Gresham, Hillsboro, Airport Way, etc.

Adams has a great little science project in all of us where he can describe how forward-thinking Portland is with planning, but if he fails on the job growth front (as he and City Council have repeatedly done), then most of us will continue to rely on our cars as we commute to the burbs. Adams' lack of job creation is generating more vehicle trips, not less...let's give credit where credit is due.

Michael M.

+1@PD above. I realize the 20-minute neighborhood concept isn't necessarily supposed to mean you never ever need leave your neighborhood, but the increasing number of Portland residents who have to commute out-of-town for work wipes out whatever gains might be made by making grocery store trips by bike. Until the City Council figures out a strategy to keep and build employment opportunities in the central city, Adams's plans sound more like turning Portland into a bedroom community for the suburbs.

Regarding eBikes, I think one thing we need is a uniform understanding of what defines an "eBike" vs., say, an electric scooter. These bikes are supposed to provide an electric assist, but they aren't supposed to take the place of pedaling and there is supposed to be some upper limit to speeds you can achieve with these assists. There's been a lot of sloppy journalism in mainstream media that doesn't seem to recognize (or spell out) the differences. Most of the concern about eBikes I've seen isn't motivated by pedal-power puritanism, it's motivated by fear that people are going to be blowing through bike lanes at 35-40mph on vehicles on electric Vespas they refer to as eBikes.


I appreciate that the Portland Plan is looking forward to create such livable neighborhoods, but I have 3 criticisms:

1. The Pearl did just fine without some theoretical 20 minute neighborhood plan in place. The secret appears to be high density mixed use and proper open space.

2. Is the City going to change course and require each 20-minute neighborhood to host its own homeless shelters, SROs, low-income housing, section-8 and related human services, or will they continue to force them into a cluster into Old Town/Pearl? Will SOWA be seeing an SRO and a homeless shelter (I'm not talking about "affordable housing")? I think homeless people should be allowed to expand their living options into these other 20 minute neighborhoods, don't you?

3. I quote from Paul Krugman from 2005: "In the Zoned Zone, which lies along the coasts, a combination of high population density and land-use restrictions – hence “zoned” – makes it hard to build new houses. So when people become willing to spend more on houses, say because of a fall in mortgage rates, some houses get built, but the prices of existing houses also go up. And if people think that prices will continue to rise, they become willing to spend even more, driving prices still higher, and so on. In other words, the Zoned Zone is prone to housing bubbles."-- We're already a highly zoned city, that I fear that we may be only exacerbating the cost of living within these 20 minute neighborhoods as well as setting ourselves up for larger bubbles. I'm not saying that we shouldn't have livable neighborhoods where you can access services within a 20 minute walk, but gentrification is not without a downside. Can the planners find a balance?


The concept does work ... my wife and I began this lifestyle about 4 years ago. Our 20-minute neighborhood (more like 15 minutes) works great since we have all the prerequisites: walkability, transit and lots of services nearby. We have one car that we put between 4-5K on a year. Portland has a number of neighborhoods that are very successful in this regard and many that partially work (i.e. the jobs aren't as close but other amenities are).

Sure, not all neighborhoods can even begin to offer the full mix of items needed to have them become successful 20-minute neighborhoods. Also, some people will commute no matter what is in their neighborhood. The other thing that factors in is people's ability to downsize. If you haven't done it already, try it, it feels great to be free of the extra junk.


During the elementary school closures by Vicki Phillips, lost in the turmoil were Phillips' efforts to make Portland's elementary schools larger, from 300 to 500 student schools to 500 to 700 student schools. Schools like Rieke Elementary were given a “grow or die” ultimatum and so they started to recruit from neighboring catchment areas and added trailer classrooms. Now PPS wants to re-build Marysville School with a student capacity larger than the schools historic peak in the 70s.

Because of this push by Phillips and her cohorts, more children are bused to elementary school than can walk or bike. I hope the city and PPS change directions before we spend a billion (plus) on re-sizing our elementary schools to larger than what a 20-minute neighborhood could support.


The 20 minute neighborhood is just logic. It is a problem if you live in Portland and have to commute to Tualatin. If you use logic, you should move to Tualatin and have your 20 min. neighborhood there.
As far as e-bikes go...you know you want one you militant pedal people! It is funny to see grandma casually pedalling and singin a tune as she smokes you on a hill.
If I have an electric "scooter" that can do 30-40, I am going to be out in traffic where cars can see me and I won't get tagged by some right turning SUV.
Get over it and let's get more cars off the road.


Sorry, don't move to Tualatin. If you must work there may I suggest an electric motorcycle like the Enertia(or scooter - Vetrix) that will go 40 miles at 60 mph.
Or there are good gas powered ones that gets 50 mpg or better.


Stephen, with all due respect...you need to pull your head out of your back-side.

Telling someone who has lived in Portland proper for 25 years that they should move to Tualatin just because their job (of 3 years) is there is just asinine.

Instead of creating jobs in the core part of the city (which would aid in the 20-minute concept), our elected elite in Poorland ignore the fact that if people are going to live here, shop here, dine here, etc...it would be best if the political and business climates were conducive to....wait for it...working here!

Instead, those of us that actually like Porltand are told by stuck up Greenie folks like you to move to the suburbs and to "Get over it" and get more cars off the road.

What a bunch of horse-hockey.


Oh jeez PD , you want your cake and eat it too. If you work somewhere , then move nearby. Your
selfishness in insisting on SOV commuting across the region , polluting the air everyone shares is so 20th century. Your apparent grumpiness is probably from spending hours stuck in your car going 12 MPH commuting. {-:


Billb -

So when a taxpayer (in Portland) is dissatisfied that his employer relocated from Portland to Tualatin to avoid the unfriendly business environment he all of the sudden becomes "selfish" because he must relay on a car to get to work? Are you kidding me? These failures to keep employment within Portland at the city government level are what prompts more reliance on SOV's than anything.

But Greenie elites like you don't care about how Average Joe has to live...you just want your bike lanes. You are the blind voter that keeps Adams, Leonard, and Saltzman at the helm -- ten bucks says you're blogging from a taxpayer funded computer at City Hall. Heck, you're probably Amy Ruiz herself, aren't you "billb"?

Brian Libby

You're kidding I think, PD, but billb is not Amy Ruiz.

Sara King

I have to laugh when I hear folks like the Mayor talk about the 20-minute neighborhood like it is a brand new thing. Frankly, this has been the planning vogue for at least 20 years now, especially in Portland. Over the years, mixed-use, higher densities, transportation choices and work, live, play convenience has been part of "Neo-traditional planning", "new-urbanism", "complete neighborhoods", etc. Remember about 15 years ago when Charlie Hales said that every child ought to be able to walk to a store for a quart of milk?

Same concept, new name.


It may be the same concept with a new name, but I live it and I love it. I feel bad for people whose lives are so wrapped around their cars. They spend so much time and money figuring out what to do with their cars... where to park it when they get where they're going. Where to park it when they get to the next place. Where to get gas. Waiting in lines of cars. Stuck on the freeway. Traffic in the city. How's that I5 bridge treating ya?

I walk out my front door and have the best of the city at my feet. It's bliss. I walk everywhere, and when I'm feeling lazy I hop on the streetcar or MAX. It's a good life.


PD , send that 10 bucks to Sister's Of The Road for me. I write from my tiny design studio in NW PDX which I walk to everyday, and YES I do want bike lanes , streetcars , MAX , and anything else that will make the city breathable and pleasant."Greenie Elite" , do I get to wear a funny hat with that title?
I do not simplistically blame City Hall for the macro - economic condition we are in.
[that keeps me from getting that 100 mil building design project I am so ready to do]
Maybe Amy can put in a good word....

Jeff Joslin

A tiny historic footnote correction. Sarah: Charlie coined the phrase "the orange juice test".

I'm sure you're all enthralled I straightened that out.

eric cantona

PD calling others the "greenie elites" makes me assume that he/she is a "real american".

that said - I would agree that the city of Portland has done a pretty crappy job of attracting/keeping businesses here, which runs counter to the notion of 20 min. neighborhood. I also think that is beginning to change, albeit slowly.

Sara King

Yep, you're right, Jeff. It was the orange juice test.

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