This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 1, 2005 11:00 AM. The previous post in this blog was The suspense is absolutely killing me. The next post in this blog is Hitting the fan. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, July 1, 2005

Erik's new vision?

In a comment elsewhere on this blog, a reader makes a scary observation:

I was having a chat with one of Erik Sten's key staffers during a break while testifying at the voter owned elections council session. I won't name him, but his statement to me was "We will never have a Fortune 500 company in Portland again." His view was that real estate development and speculation would be the future economic engine of Portland.

Welcome to Orlando, folks. What a tragic vision (or lack thereof). On with the tram!

Comments (18)

Key problem: a Fortune 500 company will bring jobs with it, which will allow LOCAL people the opportunity to engage in real-estate development/speculation. If you don't bring the jobs, but focus on an economic engine that has no local parts, you effectively exclude any locals from the good times you are claiming to bring.

And god help us when house values in Portland stop being such a good value for Californians. As it is now, many older Californians can sell their house in CA, pay cash for a house in PDX, and have some change left over to play with. When that stops being a realistic scenario, then the Californians stop moving here, house prices are so high that locals can't buy, and you have no stable supply of jobs to prevent a total free fall.


That is delightful news. Next question: how long do we have until the PDX real estate bubble blows?

Of course we won't have another Fortune 500 company in PDX again. Why would a company locate to a place where it would have to pay a business tax when it can base itself in an outlying county and pay the minimum $10 state tax and very little in the way of municipal taxes? Look at Nike. Do you think it really gives two shits where the Beaverton city line is? No, it is thinking about it's bottom line. When it comes down to shareholders vs. citizens, shareholders will always win.

Real estate development will thrive due to the tax abatements and the increasing need for housing, but how many of these construction companies are actually located in the city? Not many I imagine.

The Blog reader suggests that this is some vast conspiracy by the city commissioners to focus their attention to non-business enterprises. maybe it is rather a logical reflection of the current policies.

So rather than thinking of PDX as anti-business, think of it in these terms:

PDX = Pro-Business
Rest of OR = Really, Really Pro-Business.

That paragraph punched me also. Particularly in terms of the continuing divide and spread of income classes, and the abandonment of ordinary government in favor of that involved in the speculation or the plethora of "agencies" to take advantage of increasing infirmities. There are those who love this (kind of) city, and those who increasingly recoil. The interview I read (last night, via jaybird's link) from last fall's Northwest Brainstorm with Tim Hibbits, although ostensibly pushing Francesconi in the mayoral race, did allude well to the town Portland used to be.

If not ephemeral, that Portland seems like just memories and dust, an old building or neighborhood here and there that, if you have someone to tell the story, it comes a bit into focus in the mind's eye.

Of course everything changes, and some like -- no, love -- this one, and some don't. I hope someone can really tell the story of the differences someday.

"I don't think there will be a general call for action until the meth tweekers start plundering the luxury condos in the Pearl."

Indeed. The Hollywood District is sliding downhill at a steady clip. Given it a bad summer or two, and even the shootings downtown will get bad enough to warrant action.

Jack, besides Boeing's move to Chicago, can you really think of any recent Fortune 500 relocations? It's not just a rhetorical question... I'd really like to know.

I don't find this 3rd-hand remark to be that outrageous. Fortune 500 companies tend to be born and then grow larger in a given place, they don't often pick up and move. And if it takes large amounts of corporate welfare to lure them, then I want nothing of it.

Well, there was Georgia-Pacific, which left Portland in 1982.

There was Louisiana-Pacific, which left Portland last year or the year before.

Ok, point taken on GP and LP.
But for the record, LP is not a Fortune 500 company... or at least I can't find it on this list:

If you're a regionalist, like I am, we HAVE a F500 company, Nike.

Can there be another in the City limits? Sure, but we'll have to get it the way we got all past F500 companies, we'll have to grow it. The potential for another F500 company is tied up in our ability to innovate, and I'm very optimistic about our region's potential to continue to be a center of innovation.

Creating a top-tier research university would be a big boost though!

You are missing one fundamental point. Any company that is born in Portland will relocate outside of Portland prior to reaching F500 status. Why wouldn't they? Portland and Multnomah County are the only taxing jurisdictions in the region which penalize businesses. A case in point is my own small business. We wrote checks to the City of Portland to the tune of $10,000.00 over the last 24 months. We are contemplating a move to Tigard. The same 24 months in Tigard would cost $120.00. That's a lot of zeros different my friend.

I don't know what's wrong with you people. The Tram is going to attract 1000s of biotech jobs.

The PDC is investing decades of property taxes and Randy Leonard and company tell us it's a good investment.

Randy says "even downtown hoteliers thinlks a convention center hotel will bring them more business. (they don't want to build it themselves but Randy doesn't wonder about why not)

Progressives have been crafting this place for decades and utopia is right around the corner.

Peace and bring on the blues.

And another 300+ condos planned for the Albina Fuel property in NE, if this Trib article can be believed.

Would you pay for a condo overlooking a freeway on a corner that's already way congested as is?

And get this - they want to put a drugstore or a grocery store in as the retail anchor. Yep, three blocks up from a Fred Meyer, across the street from a QFC, and 15 blocks down from the still empty retail space in the 1600 Broadway condo den that was supposed to hold a Zupan's...

A condo on the Albina Fuel property?! Nuts. Now I need to change the punch-line of stupid (ethnicity-goes-here) jokes to end with "Portlander".

I mean, there isn't even a train station there. And: No. Parking. What. So. Ever.

Betsy - "...across the street from a QFC"
The condo people actually have to walk around the gas-station (after crossing NE Broadway) to get to QFC.

Its simple! Just as Portland solved all its Problems with re-naming them "Issues" we can simply now look to the Fortune 10,000.

Let's show some creativity here and forget this
measly Fortune 500 nonsense!

Bubbles in housing? In Florida?

Florida Real Estate Bubble during the early 1920's.

Scott-in-Japan at July 1, 2005 02:47 PM: Indeed. The Hollywood District is sliding downhill at a steady clip. Given it a bad summer or two, and even the shootings downtown will get bad enough to warrant action.

JK: Hollyood district used to thrive before the city planners had their way with it. They literally destroyed it by making it “walkable”. That is because they removed most parking from Sandy to get space to make the sidewalks wide enough for benches and trees. At the same time they eliminated left turns to get traffic moving better. That made it difficult to get to most of the district so that it was easier to go other places such as the Lloyd center. My self, when I stopped being able to park in front of Radio Shack, I started going to the one at Lloyd center which has parking right at the front door.

The truly sad thing was that, once they decided to eliminate parking, they could have built a left turn lane, instead of the wide sidewalks. That would have kept the damage to a minimum. I talked to one planner about this.

The planner clearly understood the damage done to the Hollywood district by the lack of left turns, but stated that the trees (on the wide sidewalk) were so nice. Well, so were the family wage jobs that he kissed off by using that space for trees instead of left turn lanes.

That is one reason I formed the opinion that most planners have shit for brains. They are practicing a profession with no basis in science. They seldom have any proof that any of their proposals will actually work, yet they are rebuilding Portland to this new paradigm.


Jim's right. The result of the "Hollywood Improvement Plan". Down one Fred Meyer, up one Value Village.

If memory serves me rightly, some years ago the City turned NE Union Avenue (now Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) into a boulevard by doing just that: putting in a center median, widening the sidewalks, and removing the on-street parking. I believe the results were so disastrous that the City redid the project and put most of the on-street parking back in. Besides making it convenient for shoppers to stop, on-street parking slows traffic and provides a safety barrier between pedestrians and traffic to make the sidewalk more attractive to pedestrians.

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