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Portland’s next great bike neighborhood may be its most unexpected triumph yet

Posted by on July 8th, 2015 at 2:41 pm

the district lead image
The Lloyd, waiting to be born. City of Portland Archives: A2012-005, April 24, 1964.

This is the first in a three-part series made possible by Hassalo on Eighth.

At first glance, the changes sweeping across the Lloyd District right now look like a story Portland has told at least twice before.

Developer makes big bet on underused land near downtown. Residential towers shoot up. Amenities multiply. Streetcar whistles through. Bikes roll in by the hundreds and eventually the thousands.

But the true story of the Lloyd District, though it’s still being written, isn’t actually like that of the Pearl or South Waterfront before it.

It’s far stranger — and far more important for the rest of the world to understand.

As the first in a flurry of huge planned or proposed apartment buildings opens to residents this month in the Lloyd District, BikePortland is doing something new, too: we’re publishing a three-part series, told over the next six weeks, about the past, present and future of a neighborhood that could one day be the single most important hub of bicycling in the United States.

It’s easy to explain why the Lloyd has so much potential: unlike either of its predecessors, the Lloyd is poised to add thousands of residential units right in the middle of the country’s largest grid of connected bikeways.

bike score heat map
In 2013, Walkscore.com raised eyebrows by calculating that the Lloyd District was Portland’s most bikeable neighborhood. Two years later, what made sense then only in theory seems on course to eventually become the reality on the ground.

“I think the city kind of missed the ball on biking in the Pearl,” said Iain MacKenzie, a Northwest Portland resident who publishes the website NextPortland.com about urban development. “Bicycling is a lot more on everybody’s radar now, both the city’s and private developers’, than it ever was in the 90s.”

The Lloyd District seems likely to become the most bike-oriented high-rise neighborhood in the United States.

Bike infrastructure in the Lloyd has a long way to go. We’ll be discussing the changes that’ll be needed in Part III of this series.

But here’s the bottom line: if current plans for the Lloyd District move forward, one in 50 renter households in the entire City of Portland will live in one of three new apartment projects, all within a five-minute walk of one another — and all within a 15-minute bike trip of the central city’s 135,000 jobs. That’d be just the beginning; if these projects are built as proposed, it could prompt a string of parking lots owned by Kaiser Permanente to become new towers of their own, adding further to the district’s impact.

The most remarkable thing about the Lloyd’s impending transformation, though, isn’t where the district is. The most remarkable thing about the Lloyd’s transformation is what the district is.

The Lloyd District was, 20 years ago, essentially a suburban-style office park with an auto-oriented shopping mall in the middle of it.

If Portland can continue seamlessly transitioning the Lloyd District from a drive-alone employment zone that rolls up its sidewalks at 5:30 p.m. into a beating heart of east-side street life, it won’t just have created the most bike-oriented high-rise neighborhood in the United States. It’ll have written a guide for how to build such a hub out of a sea of corporate parking lots.

“I’m incredibly optimistic about that area,” said MacKenzie, who said that the Lloyd is on the way to being maybe the country’s most important biking neighborhood. “In 20 years, they aren’t going to believe what it was like a few years ago.”

This series will tell the story of what is making this transformation possible.

The day everything changed: Sept. 15, 1997

Elwood_02 with bike
The car-free 8th Avenue intersects with a newly reopened NE Hassalo Street in the middle of the Hassalo on Eighth complex that opened its first building this month.
(Rendering by GBD Architects)

Before we explore the Lloyd’s history and future in the next two posts, though, it’s worth spending a little time asking just how successful the Lloyd District has been already. Here’s a good place to start:

Portland’s goal to quadruple bike use, triple transit use, double walking and cut driving in half between 2010 and 2030 has been described as unrealistic by many people, including Mayor Charlie Hales during his 2012 campaign. (In the next breath, Hales added that the goal is “ambitious” and “wonderful.”)

But that’s almost exactly what the Lloyd District did between 1994 and 2013.

“When we began in the Lloyd District, less than 10 percent of employees in the district took the bus,” Rick Williams, the founding director of the Lloyd District business association Go Lloyd, said in an interview Tuesday. “Less than 1 percent rode their bike and less than a half percent walked.”

For Williams, it’s easy to pinpoint the day everything began to change for the Lloyd: Sept. 15, 1997.

That was the Monday morning when the Lloyd District flipped its first 1,000 parking meters into action.

“Our goal was to get 20,000 employees into the district. Not six, not 10. And the only way to get 20,000 into the district was we had to put up bigger buildings. And the only way to put up bigger buildings was to get away from surface parking.”
— Rick Williams, founding director of Go Lloyd

For people parking on the streets, it was a 35-cent-per-hour annoyance; for people commuting to work in the district, it was a $40-per-month expense as some employers began to charge, too. But in combination with huge investments in local public transit and a steady flow of biking and walking projects, the district’s abandonment of free parking set the stage for its redevelopment.

“Our goal was to get 20,000 employees into the district,” Williams said. “Not six, not 10. And the only way to get 20,000 into the district was we had to put up bigger buildings. And the only way to put up bigger buildings was to get away from surface parking.”

So, starting in 1994, the district’s landowners hired Williams to create a new sort of business association for the area: one with a mandate to break the chokehold that auto parking had over the district by improving the district’s non-auto transportation options.

We’ll explore this history a bit more in the second post of this series, coming in a couple weeks. But here’s a spoiler: the plan worked. Here’s a chart of the on-site parking at three major mixed-use projects, one in each of the city’s major redevelopment districts during the last decade. The first two were built in 2007; the third, the planned 980-unit Oregon Square project in the Lloyd, is going before the city’s design commission next month.

auto parking

Though the buildings currently going up in the Lloyd, just to the north of the Oregon Square site, have much higher parking ratios for retail space, that’s largely because the developer is trying to lure a grocery store as an anchor for the district. Hassalo on Eighth is setting aside just one residential parking space per two apartments.

Unless you count bike parking, that is. As we reported last year, Hassalo on Eighth is the biggest bike parking project in North America, a record that seems most likely to be broken by other buildings being proposed in the Lloyd District.

If these plans keep moving forward, the Lloyd District won’t be on its way to becoming Portland’s least auto-oriented new neighborhood. It’ll already be there.

oregon square
The planned Oregon Square.
(Rendering: GBD Architects)

Coming in two weeks: How the Lloyd woke up from its century of broken dreams.
Coming in four weeks: The bikeways the district’s advocates are lining up that’ll be needed to make this dream come true.

— The Real Estate Beat is a regular column. You can sign up to get an email of Real Estate Beat posts here, or read past installments here. This is a sponsored series by BikePortland. It’s brought to you by the bike-loving folks at Hassalo on Eighth, the Lloyd District development that is now leasing. We agreed on the subject of the series but they have no control or right to review the content before publication.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • grumpcyclist July 8, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Michael Andersen: Your articles are frequently pro-developer and now I see why: you’re taking money from them. I’m really shocked that you guys are doing sponsored content now.

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    • 9watts July 8, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      Have you thought to contribute funds to bikeportland, grumpcyclist? I realized that I was getting more value from this site than from all the newspapers I subscribe to combined, and that it was time for me to pony up.
      It is easy. You can do it from where you are sitting right now.

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      • shuppatsu July 8, 2015 at 4:21 pm

        I don’t have a problem with sponsorship so long as it’s fully disclosed, which in this piece it is. Whether by design or accident, there are some articles where it’s not entirely clear. The one I’m thinking of was the Oregon Outback gear article, where Jonathan only disclosed in the comments that all the equipment was provided by the manufacturers.

        Sponsorship gets in the way of truly objective journalism, but it also enables journalism to exist in the first place. I assume Jonathan and Michael are careful to pick sponsors whose products or goals align with theirs, but at any rate, so long as it’s disclosed we can make our own judgments whether the sponsored work is tainted or not.

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        • pat lowell July 9, 2015 at 8:39 am

          I agree about the Oregon Outback gear piece – I was surprised that the sponsorship “disclosure” was hidden in the comments and not mentioned until after the article was published. Jonathan had been pretty good about disclosure in the past, so I hope it’s not the start of a new trend.

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      • Anne Hawley July 8, 2015 at 7:53 pm

        I couldn’t agree more, 9watts. I’ve contributed to BikePortland and will again, because I get enormous value from the excellent reporting and community interaction here. Meanwhile, if sponsored content helps Jonathan and Michael keep doing what they do, I’m all for it.

        And, FWIW, I also turn off ad-blocker for this URL.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) July 8, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      Hey, grumpcyclist, thanks for the feedback. We’ve been doing sponsored content for years; the Weekend Event Guide was created for Hopworks Urban Brewery, Portland Design Works sponsored our most recent Ride Along series, etc.

      As noted at the bottom of the story, Hassalo on Eighth had no oversight of the content itself; we pitched them on sponsoring, they agreed to, and we planned it from there.

      If you think the sponsorship of a particular series of posts crosses a line that you don’t want to, that’s fine. We also run lots of less directly sponsored posts that exist only because of sponsorships like these.

      In any case, I’ve been covering the Lloyd District for three years, at Portland Afoot and BikePortland, for all of the reasons listed above: it’s rapidly transforming from a suburban-style office park into the most bike-oriented high-rise neighborhood in the country. That’s newsworthy, and I’m glad we found a way to tell this story.

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      • Adam H. July 8, 2015 at 8:19 pm

        Most of the articles you mentioned don’t read as advertisements. PDW didn’t have much of a mention in the Ride Alone article, nor does Hopworks always have an event in the Weekend Guide. These companies also give plenty back to the local bike community. An article lauding how a large real estate developer is improving a neighborhood reads far more like an ad then the aforementioned examples.

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        • SE 34th July 9, 2015 at 10:03 am

          I’m having trouble understanding how transforming a parking lot into places where people live is all bad. Seems like an improvement to me, especially given all the cycling infrastructure that’s going in. I’ve lived in PDX all my life, and the Lloyd District has been one dead car zone for a long time.

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          • Adam H. July 9, 2015 at 10:59 am

            I’m not arguing what Hassalo is doing is a bad thing – in fact I fully support their building of housing with tons of bike storage. My point was that the article reads too much like an advertisement instead of objective journalism – even though the featured housing development is a good thing. Hassolo may not have had any final say in the contents of the article, but I have my suspicions that subconsciously BikePortland would be careful not to be too critical of their advertisers.

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      • John R. July 9, 2015 at 8:23 am

        Hats off to you and Jonathan for impact+content+independence. At the end of the day you also have to pay the bills. You have been unwavering in not letting the bills interfere with your voice/platform. True service to the community.

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    • Joe Adamski July 8, 2015 at 8:43 pm

      And we see how well local government does housing? If folks living in the burbs was the sought after model, that’s where the action would be. Central city development only reflects what those with money are willing to pay.I do cringe at the prices such places charge and the dearth of working family housing. Where does this stack up in actually providing some level of affordable housing compared to past efforts in the pearl and sowhat? I don’t see the data.
      Since you and I are only spectators here, lets look back in 5 years and see what has transpires. By then we will have forgiven Micheal for shilling for the man. And we may have to eat a word or three.

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    • chris July 9, 2015 at 8:50 am

      YOUR house/apartment was built by an evil developer.

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  • m July 8, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Sponsored by Hassalo on Eighth?

    You are also asking for donations to “support local, independent journalism.”

    Which is it?

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  • Adam Herstein July 8, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Advertising disguised as journalism? I’d have thought this would be beneath BikePortland, but apparently not. Ugh.

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    • gutterbunnybikes July 8, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      All news sources lean towards their advertisers – you ever wonder who’s shopping for a Boeing 747 while watching CNN?.

      That shouldn’t really be much of a surprise. And this isn’t the first time I’ve seen (or at least suspected) this site use advertiser bias to steer away from certain issues – I’ve accepted it and won’t even bother mentioning them, but some have been there for a long time.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 8, 2015 at 4:30 pm


      Thanks for sharing your opinion. I think the article speaks for itself. The reporting is backed up by facts and past events. The only thing Hassalo has do to do with it is that their support helped inspire this series in the first place. Whenever I consider entering into one of these partnerships (and as Michael and others have noted already, I have done several times in the past) the question I ask myself is — Does the content pass muster in terms of news value to the community? I will never take money from someone to publish a post that doesn’t meet my thresholds for news value. And this one certainly does.

      Content partnerships like this one are part of the business and BikePortland cannot continue to exist without them (at least not given the current financial pickle we are in).

      I encourage you to read every word Michael writes and ask yourself if you feel that it is untrue, overly promotional of Hassalo, or inaccurate or spammy in any way, shape or form.

      I appreciate your feedback. It tells me that you have high expectations for the work we do and that you care very much about it. I do too, and no amount of advertising dollars is worth jeopardizing what we’ve all worked so hard to create over the past 10 years.


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      • Adam H. July 8, 2015 at 8:08 pm

        I haven’t minded some of the sponsored content in the past. The ones paid for by local bike shops or Showers Pass, for example, don’t bother me since they are local business I’d support anyway. For some reason, a real estate company crosses the line for me. This is not the first article featuring Hassolo, and the fact that they “inspired” (read: paid for) this article sours it for me. The initial article about how they have the most bike parking in the country (a laudable feat, don’t get me wrong) would have been enough. This article praising the Lloyd District could have been done without the Hassolo ass-kissing and nothing of value would have been lost.

        I fully support building more badly-needed housing in Portland and am not anti-developer at all. I am also by no means asking you to work for free and understand that BikePortland needs funds to be sustainable. (Whatever happened to the donor reward program you mentioned a while back?)

        I appreciate what you do for the city (you’re pretty much my exclusive source for bike news in Portland) and do plan on donating when I am able. I just hope you maintain your high level of journalistic integrity and don’t let large companies offer too much “inspiration” to articles.

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        • Bjorn July 8, 2015 at 11:05 pm

          I think a project designed by Portland architects, branded by Wieden and Kennedy and built by local tradesmen is just as local as a company that designs clothes in portland and manufacturers them in asia, more local probably.

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        • John R. July 9, 2015 at 9:24 am

          Adam H. Think you are being way too harsh/judgemental and also not recognizing the challenges of running a small business (BikePortland). The proof is in the quality of the output and imho they have done/are doing a tremendous public service. If you have a different business model and the content to back it up, go for it!

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    • Craig Harlow July 8, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      Adam, are you saying that there’s no story here?

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    • Tommy July 9, 2015 at 2:23 am

      What it sounds to me like they’re saying, Adam, is that advertising disguised as journalism is okay when *we* do it…

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      • davemess July 9, 2015 at 12:14 pm

        I think there is some truth to this. How many times over the years have people complained on this site about the O’s bias towards cars (which many link to their strong auto advertising revenue)?

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        • El Biciclero July 9, 2015 at 12:28 pm

          Yes, but that paper’s name is not “The Car-egonian”. I think we can expect bike-oriented and even pro-bike content from a site named “BikePortland” without suspecting too much advertiser meddling.

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          • davemess July 9, 2015 at 8:45 pm

            Sure, but many people have previously questioned how related to biking these “Real Estate Beat” articles really are.

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  • gutterbunnybikes July 8, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Nice write up – Looking forward to the future write ups.

    Though it’s different than the Pearl district, it very well might fall into the same pattern as the Pearl as far as transportation goes (where bicycle ridership numbers are falling supposedly). With everything a person needs within a 5 minute walk from the door, bicycle use might fall…But for all the right reasons because they are walking instead.

    But even if bicycle ridership ends up below predictions, it’s still ends up with fewer cars on the road per capita which is always a good thing.

    It’s stuff like this with the combination of the Tillicum and the upcoming Foster improvements that leaves me puzzled when people claim that bicycles and active transportation isn’t moving fast enough here in town.

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    • Reza July 9, 2015 at 11:07 am

      “(where bicycle ridership numbers are falling supposedly)”


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  • Nick Falbo July 8, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Advertiser or not, the developments in the Lloyd District are a big deal and the story is compelling. Would you prefer they not share it?

    Bike Portland has written articles on products from showers pass, ORP, Portland Design Works and other paid advertisers here before. We’re a small city with a interconnected bike-business scene – a little bit of overlap is bound to happen.

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  • Todd Hudson July 8, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    “a neighborhood that could one day be the single most important hub of bicycling in the United States.”

    A neighborhood that has incredibly bad bike access to points south (especially gettingacross the Banfield), marginal bike access to the north, inconsistent bike access to the east, and dodgy bike access to downtown is going to need to fix those bike accessibility problems before it can be an important hub of bicycling.

    Hassalo On Eighth spam in Bikeportland? Meh.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) July 8, 2015 at 3:44 pm

      Yep, all of those major obstacles will definitely be covered in Part III. 🙂 No question that they’ll all need to be addressed for the district to work.

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      • Adam Herstein July 8, 2015 at 9:03 pm

        I don’t understand. In part I, you praise how the Lloyd District is do bikeable (the most bikeable in Portland, in fact), yet in part III, you will cover how major obstacles are preventing the Lloyd from being bikeable. Which is it? Is the Lloyd bike-friendly or not?

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        • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
          Michael Andersen (News Editor) July 8, 2015 at 9:13 pm

          I don’t think the article above says anywhere that the Lloyd is the most bikeable part of Portland. That’s definitely not true! What it says is:
          1) it has more bikeable potential than the Pearl or SoWa
          2) if current plans keep moving, it’ll be the city’s least auto-oriented new neighborhood
          3) the Lloyd is on course to become, over the next 20 years, the most bike-oriented neighborhood in the country

          I think all of that is true, and pretty well supported above.

          The crucial ingredient discussed above is this:

          “If current plans for the Lloyd District move forward, one in 50 renter households in the entire City of Portland will live in one of three new apartment projects, all within a five-minute walk of one another — and all within a 15-minute bike trip of the central city’s 135,000 jobs.”

          Street infrastructure is obviously needed too. Fortunately, there are rapidly developing plans to install much of it, paid for in large part by this development, over the next 10 years.

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          • Reza July 9, 2015 at 10:30 am

            When’s the last time Bike Portland has actually covered the Pearl District, Michael? And I’m not talking about streetcar tracks.

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            • reader July 9, 2015 at 2:47 pm

              Maybe there’s a Pearl developer willing to kick down some cash for a nice write-up.

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            • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
              Michael Andersen (News Editor) July 9, 2015 at 4:35 pm

              Ha! That’s fair criticism. There are all kinds of biases … the one at work here is that both J and I live on the east side. I agree, we should cover the Pearl more than we do. I’d love for our next “reporting from” week to be in Northwest.

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              • maccoinnich July 9, 2015 at 4:59 pm

                I would love it if you did a ‘reporting from’ in NW. It’s really incredible how neglected this quadrant of the city is for bike infrastructure.

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    • ethan July 8, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      Tell me about it… I live practically due North of Lloyd District and work there, but biking down is always “fun.”

      The most direct routes NE 15th and MLK are almost exclusively for motorized transport and most of the routes in between are inconsistent and / or filled with cut through, aggressive, suburban drivers who care more about getting to their house 15 seconds earlier than if / when they kill someone with their car.

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      • Todd Hudson July 8, 2015 at 4:03 pm

        The Lloyd Blvd/11th St/12th St/13th St/16th Rd/Exit 1 mega-intersection is my favorite. A short gauntlet of non-synced traffic lights, gridlocked cars, and minimal bike infrastructure.

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        • ethan July 8, 2015 at 4:21 pm

          That area is such a waste of space. And it makes the bike lanes on Lloyd extremely dangerous.

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  • Champs July 8, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Qualifying household income for one of the shoeboxes in these places is almost $50k/yr.

    Clearly we are building our way into affordability.

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    • Paul July 8, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      No, but $50k/yr. for a 2+ person household also isn’t very much money.

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      • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
        Michael Andersen (News Editor) July 8, 2015 at 5:38 pm

        It’s not a ton of money, but if you and your partner are each making $25k a year I would definitely not recommend moving into our sponsors’ apartment buildings! Instead you should move into one of the crappier old houses that are less expensive than they would have been if a rich person had moved there instead of into Hassalo on Eighth.

        Newly built housing is for relatively wealthy people. That sucks but it doesn’t change the fact that newly built housing prevents rich people from pricing the rest of us out of the relatively bike-friendly homes we all want. That’s one of the central principles of BikePortland’s real estate coverage, because it’s as true as global warming and induced demand.

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        • soren July 8, 2015 at 5:58 pm

          newly built apartment buildings become cheaper apartment buildings in a few decades. and if we don’t build more apartment buildings in the inner city we encourage sprawl.

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        • Tommy July 9, 2015 at 2:29 am

          Are you serious? Where, exactly, is there any concentration of these cheap, crappy houses you reference? Certainly not anywhere within spitting distance of the Lloyd District, that’s for sure… “Let them eat cake” is what I’m hearing here.

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          • maccoinnich July 9, 2015 at 12:15 pm

            I’m not sure what you’re defining as “spitting distance” but there are a lot of early 20th courtyard apartments and mid 20th century Joe Weston style in Irvington, Kerns and Buckman. The fact that over 800 units are coming online this year in the Lloyd District alone will absolutely reduce upwards pressure on the rents in those buildings.

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        • grumpcyclist July 9, 2015 at 3:10 am

          You’ve asserted this without evidence in the past, but you really need to show your evidence. All throughout the inner east side (inside of 60th) “cheap crappy” houses have had their lots split, been torn down, and replaced with bigger single family homes, multiple single family homes one the same lot, condos, and apartment buildings… all hugely upgraded in terms of amenities and cost. Somehow the increase in rental stock and owner-occupied homes and condos hasn’t done anything to lower costs in the inner eastside, in fact it prices seem to be accelerating upward.

          That’s my problem with your real estate coverage, you seem to be mouthing the words the developers want you to say. Now that I know that they’re paying your salary it just makes so much more sense.

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          • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
            Michael Andersen (News Editor) July 9, 2015 at 9:08 am

            Sheesh, OK:

            $500 for a bedroom in a shared house at 52nd/Woodstock: https://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/roo/5114391742.html

            $500 for a bedroom in a shared house at 30th/Stark:

            $400 for a bedroom in a shared house at Dekum/Mallory:

            That’s from the first page of Craigslist.

            Don’t get me wrong: I am not saying that anyone should be paying even $400 for what are, I’m sure, not super comfy spaces. If we had been building enough new housing over the last decade, more rich people would have moved there instead of from pricing middle-class people out of their homes, who priced out poor people out of theirs, all of which led to $400 attic rooms in Portland when you could be paying an entire home mortgage for $400 a month in a shrinking city like Lansing, Mich.

            Supply and demand are not going to solve everything, especially for the poorest folks. Personally, I believe taxpayers should to be paying more than we are to keep roofs over every head. That’s my opinion. But the fact that supply generally puts downward pressure on prices isn’t a matter of opinion, and we’re not going to pretend that it is.

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            • davemess July 9, 2015 at 12:33 pm

              I’m not following the comparison of buying a new condo to renting a room in a shared house.

              I’m guessing your also using the logic that people equally desire condos vs. single family homes?

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              • soren July 9, 2015 at 2:15 pm

                some prefer condos, some single family homes, and some even prefer renting apartments or rooms. i’m not sure why you think this is something to scoff at.

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                • davemess July 9, 2015 at 5:04 pm
                • Alex Reed July 9, 2015 at 9:01 pm

                  That study seemed to obfuscate more than it elucidated to me. The main conclusions (all else equal, most people prefer single-family homes; and, all else equal, more people would like to live in a more urban type of neighborhood than their current n’hood than would like to be more rural) were taken up by people as proof of their preconceived notions. The study didn’t present people with any real-life tradeoffs (“Would you prefer a small, $200,000 single-family home in an outer-Portland neighborhood 30 minutes from your job, or a medium-sized, $200,000 single-family home in a rural area an hour from your job?”)

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                • davemess July 10, 2015 at 12:31 pm

                  Sure and those are the same kind of surveys (without real consequences and trade offs) that always show that 70-80% of the population “supports more bike infrastructure”.

                  You make a fair point, and I do take those results with a grain of salt.

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              • Alex Reed July 9, 2015 at 4:43 pm

                These new buildings are all apartments, so I think Michael is talking about apartments, not condos. And, yes, I think renting a room in a shared house is a reasonable alternative to apartment living for some people. My own housing history goes dorm room, shared house, apartment, shared house, shared house, shared house, apartment, shared house, apartment, duplex, couple in single-family home.

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          • maccoinnich July 9, 2015 at 12:09 pm

            Here’s some evidence, from the Oregonian’s reporting on the last Multifamily NW report:

            “The last six months brought much slower rent growth than the six months prior. That might be the effect of more than 6,000 new apartments coming to the market in 2014.

            Northwest Portland, which has seen rapid apartment development in recent years, actually saw average rents fall over the six-month period.”


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        • Adam H. July 9, 2015 at 11:01 am

          So you’re saying that lower-income people should have to live in “crappy” houses? Where’s the compassion?

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          • Lester Burnham July 9, 2015 at 11:06 am

            Then get out of lower incomes and work for something better if that’s what you want. Otherwise, you can’t have a new house or apartment like somebody else. That’s tough.

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          • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
            Michael Andersen (News Editor) July 9, 2015 at 11:32 am

            No, I’m not saying that: I’m saying that on an individual level, my recommendation to someone of my personal income level (for example) would be to live in a crappier place than these fancy new apartments right in the middle of town.

            Our huge levels of Inequality are terrifying and unconscionable. But yeah, I’m willing to tolerate the fact that we can’t all live in brand new fancy apartments. Here’s one good reason: if I wanted to make enough money to live in Hassalo on Eighth, maybe I could, but then I wouldn’t have a job where I get paid to argue with you about real estate economics and social justice at 11:30 a.m. 🙂 I’d much rather be living in a crappier location, which I do, so I can do this.

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            • Lee July 9, 2015 at 7:08 pm

              I find your string of comments linked to living in a crappier apartment/location super frustrating on many levels. First, I would like to congratulate you on having the luxury to CHOOSE to live in a “crappier location”. For most people, this is not a choice for multiple reasons. It is also nice to hear that you are probably in the position to earn more, which would allow you to live in one of these “fancy new apartments”. Again, most people do not have this as an option. I am all for new development. We need more places to live. But, affordable places. These “brand new fancy apartments” and your support of them is furthering “our huge levels of inequality”. You state that it is “terrifying and unconscionable”, but when you tell us we should just live somewhere crappy, how does this help the situation and promote any sort of change? You are feeding the disparity. You are contributing to lower SES groups being pushed to the outskirts and leaving the inner hub overrun with the rich people that can afford it.
              Your comments regarding moving into a crappier older house that the rich person would have moved into had they not moved into the Hassalo is outrageous as well. I truly thought it was a joke. Affordable houses hardly exist close-in anymore. Yes, I have looked extensively, and by close-in I mean not Gresham. While I appreciate your shared housing links, please consider that not everyone looking for a house can live in a shared housing setting. Have you looked for a shared room setup with a child before? It’s pretty much impossible. Rents are out of control and I don’t feel the city is doing much to encourage affordable non-“crappy” housing. I don’t feel your comments help the situation, which is too bad because you have a mechanism to impart some sort of change.

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              • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
                Michael Andersen (News Editor) July 9, 2015 at 8:12 pm

                Thanks, Lee. I agree, rents are out of control. And yes, I am absolutely deeply privileged to have housing choices. Good point.

                Though I think you and I share goals, it doesn’t sound like we’re going to see eye to eye on the solutions, because it sounds as if you are certain that new housing puts upward pressure on prices whether or not it increases the overall supply, whereas I am certain that new housing puts downward pressure on prices if (and only if) it increases overall supply.

                I need to check out of this thread now, so I’ll let folks who disagree with me have the last word on reactions to my stuff. Hopefully people at least see where I’m coming from.

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    • bjcefola July 8, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      I forget. What neighborhood in the inner-east side matches that level of affordability?

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  • Stephen Gomez July 8, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Why the surprise that bikeportland is operating as a business? Every for-profit and non-profit news organization needs to drive revenue and there’s limited sources of potential income. Clearly, bikeportland readers don’t come close to supporting the work done by Jonathan and Michael.

    The story is clearly labeled as “sponsored” at the beginning and end.
    What’s important is whether the editorial content is impacted by the revenue stream–to my eye this is a newsworthy story, full of facts (which can be checked) with a good bicycling angle.

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    • jon July 9, 2015 at 11:12 pm

      Exactly and its good to team up with allies especially allies with money who want exactly what you want, in this case developers building a more bikeable city. Afterall the conventional news media is funded by car dealers and manufacturers hence their skewed perspective regarding traffic and cars vs. bikes to fan the flames for their suburban viewers.

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  • ethan July 8, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I like the new developments, but I dislike the speed at which Go Lloyd and PBOT accomplish things.

    There’s still no 7th Avenue bridge, the bike lanes haven’t been restriped on NE 15th, bike lanes on Multnomah and 7th are full of construction equipment and 7th has narrow bike lanes that veer unnecessarily and are in a dangerous location near a parking garage.

    Plus, dealing with the drivers in the area is super frustrating. I’ve had so many close calls, especially around Kaiser’s parking garage. It’s a cesspool of suburban drivers who don’t know / care that they block the sidewalk / bike lane / crosswalk.

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    • Adam H. July 8, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      Agreed, the Lloyd District is not fun on a bike. There needs to be more cycle tracks. Why not close Holliday to cars and make it MAX and bike/walk only?

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      • ethan July 8, 2015 at 3:55 pm

        This. This should be done. I shouldn’t have to travel out of direction or on sidewalks to get from the convenience store to my job that are on the same street.

        People who drive will complain forever about removing their access, but who cares? There are something like 9 parking spaces for every man, woman and child in the Lloyd District. Drivers who require parking in the area need to put up or shut up.

        Changing the streets perpendicular to Holladay to Handicapped / Short term / Cargo parking only would solve even more issues.

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        • Craig Harlow July 8, 2015 at 4:54 pm

          Keep saying this, and don’t let up the pressure. It’s been said for years, in many different arenas, and no substantive logic opposing it.

          It was proposed to the city in 2009 by the Lloyd TMA (now Go Lloyd) and accepted. It was green-lighted officially as a PBOT project with a task force convened in 2010. It was scuttled by a combination of misdirection and stall tactics.

          I’ve been told by an insider that It is still on PBOT’s books as an official project not yet delivered, and not ever closed, just pending.

          Keep asking about it until PBOT answers or else formally cans it. Until that time, the sidewalks are still generously wide.

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          • ethan July 8, 2015 at 5:03 pm

            The sidewalks are wide, but narrow considerably at the junctions. it can lead to some pretty bad bike / ped interactions.

            I was thinking about just parking a car2go in the middle of the street sideways and using it as a diverter so cars can’t get through. If anyone asks, I’ll just tell them that the Mayor said we needed temporary diverters.

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        • Ann July 8, 2015 at 6:08 pm

          Holladay is unpleasant to drive anyway. Closing it sounds great!

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    • Joe Adamski July 8, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      There are many things that need improvement in our central core as well as the outlying districts. A district that does not put the car in the highest priority is a good thing however. If I can park a bike for free or little, compared to a car.. and have good transit connections, all my daily needs met in walking distance.. will I ride a bike or drive a car?
      my secret fantasy is that 5% of the new residents, not having a two hour daily commute, will have the time and energy to engage and start pushing for better active transport facilities. Lets start with the npGreenway trail.

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  • Brian K Smith July 8, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    I was a board member at Portland Afoot (Michael’s previous publication that merged into BikePortland) for most of its existence and am a close personal friend of Michael’s. The board spent three years trying to help Michael as he explored ways to fund journalism on important topics that did not have an audience willing/able to pay for the content directly or an audience that was attractive to advertisers.

    Glance through some of the periodicals you still receive in the mail or online and guess, based on the number of ads for fancy cars/watches/perfumes/cruises/home remodels/restaurants, what target audience the advertisers are interested in. Then think about how many rich people want to read about public transit, urban planning, and bicycles as a daily transit option.

    I can 100% guarantee you that neither Michael nor Jonathan are getting rich from BikePortland in general or this sponsored content package in specific. How many of you who are complaining about this clicked on one of the donation links/banners previously and donated something? If you did, did you donate enough to cover any significant portion of 1.5(+a little bit of accounting) full time salaries?

    Journalism in general (not just local and independent) is struggling all over the world because the model of supporting a newspaper on the back of subscriptions, classifieds and car/grocery/department store ads has become impossible in the internet era. Sponsored content is the only thing folks in the industry have found that actually pays the bills and lets them keep devoting most of their time to bringing readers the information those readers want/need. If you don’t like it, please step up with some viable alternatives or just skip the clearly identified sponsored content.

    As for the accusation that Michael is pro-developer:

    1. He writes the Real Estate Beat column, which not too surprisingly often discusses the activities of developers and he tries hard to help his interview subjects (regardless of what they do for a living) portray their best selves. You may disagree with what the developer has to say and wish Michael had made them sound like an idiot, but I’m happy to have a reporter that would help me present my best self if I were ever the subject of a piece.

    2. Michael is very much pro-density. Not blindly so, but I think he would agree with the general statement that higher density is a key factor in making non-auto transportation more viable and popular, which is good for the cycling community, the city, and the world. It’s very hard to talk about increased density without talking about the physical infrastructure changes that make that happen and the individuals and organizations responsible for those infrastructure changes. When they are doing so in a way that is better for cyclists in some way (as with last year’s story about the bike parking at Hassalo on Eighth), would you prefer that BikePortland solely complain about the flaws in the improved infrastructure or focus on the improvement and mention in passing one or two things that they’d love to see to make it even better? Which approach do you think is more likely to make decision-makers continue to make innovative decisions?

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    • gutterbunnybikes July 8, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      Glad you brought up, but I was going to say something along the lines that some peoples ire might have more to do with publishing some good news on the local transportation scene.

      After all it’s a dire emergency that Portland lose it’s Platinum Status (as if that is relevant to anyone but wonks). Heaven forbid good news in the local scene.

      Won’t even get into the fact that “the club” some of these folks likely belong owe their existence and their apparent success to BP.

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      • soren July 8, 2015 at 6:02 pm

        the downgrade platinum petition was not intended as outreach to the interested but concerned. and, imo, it served its purpose very well indeed.

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    • grumpcyclist July 9, 2015 at 3:14 am

      So what you’re saying is that you’re a real estate developer and have had a long-term relationship with Michael Andersen, which included being on the board of Portland Afoot… which even further explains why so much of what he says seems as if a developer wrote it for him. Thanks for the clarification.

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      • Brian K Smith July 9, 2015 at 8:36 am

        I’m a software engineer. I’m not sure how you read my post as saying I was a real estate developer. What I did say was that I am glad to read journalism written by someone who gives interview subjects the opportunity to clarify their intent, regardless of the profession or goals of the subject.

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  • kiel johnson
    kiel johnson July 8, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    I would like to comment that michael is a pretty good writer. The piece has a lot of well written lines and is pretty fun to read. Nytimes quality writing. Informative, well paced, and ties itself up. Good job!

    I also think that maybe “building the bike capital” is a strech, especially since the neighborhood killed bike lanes on 9th and Holladay, but it is only through a narrative like this that they will begin to change and see what an opportunity they have.

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  • Glenn July 8, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    I’m fine with this appearing on Bike Portland, especially since it was identified as an advertisement. Let’s look at this way – Hassalo on 8th is making some strong statements about their commitment to bicycle transportation in the neighborhood, and that’s a good thing. Perhaps other developers will take notice and try to one up them. Imagine a developer using lack of car parking and additional bike parking just a few short years ago (hell, imagine it in most cities today). Michael is also getting some much-needed revenue for a site that has primarily been a labor of love, and a source that many cyclists rely on for news and updates.

    That said, I would like to see Hassalo on 8th double down and commit some financial resources and political capital to improving bike infrastructure in the neighborhood. It’s one thing to build and market as bicycle friendly. It’s another to take it a step further and work with PBOT, the city and organizations like BTA to make the improvements that will create a district that they claim we’ll see in 20 years. You can trumpet the fact that there are less parking spots than most other developments in the city, but that was done because it is much cheaper and the city allows it. Take a share of the money you saved and pump it back in to more resources for the cyclists who you claim will be clamoring to live in the district.

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    • maccoinnich July 8, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      ” I would like to see Hassalo on 8th double down and commit some financial resources and political capital to improving bike infrastructure”

      With 657 units in the development, the developers behind Hassalo on 8th likely paid somewhere around $1.3 million to PBOT and $3.8 million to Parks as a condition of being issued a building permit. Oregon Square and 1510 NE Multnomah will be contributing even more. That could go a long way towards building the Green Loop through the Lloyd and over I-84.

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  • Rob Chapman July 8, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    I actually like the buffered lanes on Multnomah (ducks). Now if we can do something about the 12th/11th Ave area it would be magical. I feel like I’m rolling the dice every time I cross the MAX tracks northbound at the park. I’ve had motor vehicle operators pass me with less than 6 inches to spare whilst taking the lane there.

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    • ethan July 8, 2015 at 4:30 pm

      The buffered lanes on Multnomah are great!… when they’re not filled with parked cars, construction equipment, in mixing zones with cars and bus stops or anywhere near parking lots / garages.

      It’s not great most of the time.

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    • maccoinnich July 8, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      I like them too, although it is obvious they were done on the cheap. From a purely aesthetic point of view I would love to see more permanent and attractive planters / landscaping. From a functional point of view it would be great if the bus pullouts could be replaced with floating bus stops. I know others hate them, but I actually prefer the turning mixing zones to a continuous bike lane with the risk of being right hooked.

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      • soren July 8, 2015 at 6:06 pm

        how often do you ride ne multnomah?

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        • Anne Hawley July 8, 2015 at 7:49 pm

          I rode it every day, morning and evening, during the first 18 months or so of its life, and still use it regularly. I agree with maccoinnich: I like riding it and prefer the mixing zones to the right-hook potential of straight-through bike lanes. It’s always a relief to me when, coming from the nasty business to the south (crossing the freeway, etc.), I turn onto the semi-protected bike lane. It feels safer to me than almost anywhere else I ride in the city.

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        • maccoinnich July 8, 2015 at 11:03 pm

          I have a regular journey that takes me from NW to NE, and back. Sometimes I ride on Tillamook; sometimes on Broadway/Weidler; and sometimes on Multnomah. So while I don’t ride it every day I’ve ridden it often enough to have formed an opinion. Why do you ask?

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          • soren July 9, 2015 at 8:23 am

            i ask because my interested but concerned partner felt very uncomfortable on it. she insists that we use tillamook.

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      • AG July 8, 2015 at 7:00 pm

        I commute downtown both ways on Multnomah every day and love it. I live in NE and used to cross the Broadway Bridge and go up Williams to Knott until. I cast about for alternatives once the new realignment happened and Multnomah is definitely the best. Very little traffic, I like the mixing zones, no door zone riding. The small changes I’d like to see are better timing on traffic lights, signage for delivery drivers, pedestrians and shoppers to create awareness of the bike lane. People sometimes step off the curb and don’t realize they are in a lane of traffic and I worry that delivery drivers will step out from behind their trucks into the lane without looking. These issues are minor and rare – just possibilities to make it better.

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      • Dan July 9, 2015 at 7:42 am

        The mixing zone where westbound Multnomah meets Grand is much better than the separated bike lane was. Now when I get there first I can claim the entire lane and not worry about cars turning into me.

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        • Beeblebrox July 10, 2015 at 10:56 am

          Glad to see some love for mixing zones in these comments. Some people seem to think full separation is always preferable in every situation, but I don’t think that’s the case. When you have low speeds and short turn lanes, a mixing zone can be a great solution. Full separation with separate bike signals should be reserved for wider/faster/busier streets where it’s worth the high cost.

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  • Buzz July 8, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Biking through the Lloyd District today still pretty much sucks, so it’s hard to imagine it getting much worse…

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    • ethan July 8, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      Yep. The Lloyd District is the main area that I bike where people *intentionally* try to hit me with their cars.

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      • Dave Thomson July 8, 2015 at 9:44 pm

        Exaggerate much?

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        • ethan July 9, 2015 at 1:00 pm

          Not at all. There have been 3 places where people have intentionally tried to hit me with their cars recently (within the last year). One of those happened on NE 7th, just North of the Lloyd District. Another time happened at 6th And Multnomah and the most recent time was NE 7th and Holladay.

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  • Kyle July 8, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    I work in the Lloyd district and my office window faces the new building. I’ve watched this building go up and Ive read about the next two that are planned for the area. I really think the Lyod district will be transformed by these new buildings. There will be significantly greater numbers of bikers and pedestrians, not to mention bars and resturuants. The Lyod district is currently a Buisness district. Adding thousands of residents will transform the culture and its makes sense to put these apartments in given the proximity to downtown.

    I do agree that there are issues with bike infrastructure. I bike the section of Lloyd blvd from the rose quater to 11th everyday. I think the number one issue will be left turns for the new residents in the Hassalo. It will be an issue for anyone wanting to use the steel bridge, going both to and from the city. It will also be a big issue at the intersection of 9th and multnomah, when riding east to west.

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  • Ann July 8, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    I’m surprised to read such negative views about biking in the Lloyd District. I worked there for 7 years, while living in Concordia. I’m a very timid bike rider, but never had trouble getting to work. I would cross Broadway and Weidler at NE 6th, or sometimes down at the light on 7th when traffic was thickest. The bike parking infrastructure is good, and getting better, I think. Lots of employer sponsored incentives for transit and biking, too, which I imagine this series will cover as well.

    I think a combination of expensive parking and biking/transit incentives are important. My new job just south of the Lloyd has free parking and I drive alone a TON more than I used to.

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  • Ann July 8, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Also, the commuter bar graph transformation is pretty amazing!

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  • Clarence Eckerson July 8, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    To the people who are concerned about sponsorships – good journalism doesn’t fall from the trees. It is not magic. Things need to be paid for. And I can certainly tell you I don’t know anyone in the activist community or advocacy journalism community getting rich doing what they are doing. Although some of us may in the end make a good living, many of us work 60+ hours per week, and much of our “days off” can be spent working anyway.

    I have no problems with this. Bike Portland has been around for a long time. I’d like them to stay around. Unless readers want to pay for that, there is no mathematical formula that works. I’ll be honest, even at Streetfilms, there is a growing chance that it may not survive in to next year. I sure wish there was someone like the Koch Brothers to come along to fund all this advocacy and journalism we need to continue, but right now there is not a large pool of money out there. I’ve been at this for over 10 years, about as long as Bike Portland. But it never gets easier. Never.

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    • BicycleDave July 9, 2015 at 1:22 am

      Love Streetfilms and BikePortland. Recently installed ad blocker and just disabled it for Streetfilms. If the money for these sites doesn’t come from ads where will it come from? Trust yourself to see the bias when it is there. Keep up the good work Clarence and Jonathan and Michael.

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  • Rider x July 8, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    I think the article is great. Thank you for keeping me informed! It’s been clearly labeled as a sponsored piece and that content is not reviewed or approved before publishing. Seriously. People can always find something to complain about. I’ve been living on the west side for 18 years and don’t ride near as much on the east side as I used to. I used to commute through that area from 1994 to 1996 as I lived in NE and worked downtown This article has piqued my interest in all the changes in that neighborhood and I’m going to take a ride over there soon to explore. Thanks again to the great team at bike Portland. I’ve been a daily reader for many years !

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  • Dwaine Dibbly July 8, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    When I saw the article, and the “Presented by…” text at the top, I thought to myself “OK, self, it’s a sponsored article and may have a bias, so read critically.” And I did. THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT WAS SUPPOSED OT HAPPEN!

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    • Dwaine Dibbly July 8, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      (Hit “reply” too soon)

      My point is that it was clearly labeled as a sponsored article. My assumption is that it might not have gotten written without the sponsorship money. That’s ok. The “most important bike neighborhood in the USA” stuff is a little over the top, perhaps, but that’s ok and I’m glad to get access to the information in the article. I will allow it, and will gladly read the next two in the series.

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      • davemess July 9, 2015 at 12:38 pm

        I think for some it brings into question if some of Michael’s other article (esp. real estate beat which have been pretty heavily pro development) contain this same bias without disclosing it specifically.

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  • q`Tzal July 8, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    Played Sim City 2000 too much – envisioning the Lloyd Center Mall reborn as one of those tall Arcologies. Kinda a blend of Mall of America but more of a focus on providing residential accommodations for people that work anywhere nearby.

    Still could be a retail and office park focal point but with integrated apartments the commute could be all walking and at times all indoor.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu July 8, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Good article on a timely and important topic.

    If you complain about commercial sponsorship of BP, you should either donate enough money to support the site without sponsorship, or stop consuming content that you won’t pay for.

    Way too many whiners here.

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  • Mark July 8, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    The Lloyd District would be the perfect place to build Portland’s first Dutch-style protected intersection. Street widths are pretty generous and density would support the investment.

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    • RJ July 9, 2015 at 7:47 am

      Multnomah/9th. 9th Ave protected bikeways from Broadway to the new I-84 bike/ped overcrossing.

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  • Nate Young July 8, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    I was surprised to see no mention of the EcoDistrict designation, one of 5 in Portland. Michael, do you think that has played a role in the improvements to date and to come?
    I personally think EcoDistricts are one of the defining concepts Portland is exporting to the world (I also realize it isn’t really a new concept – though the systematic development of them may be.)
    Having a neighborhood sign in to a unifying theme is a powerful first step and I think we can clearly it paying off in Lloyd after a decade of hard work.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) July 8, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      Yep, I definitely plan to talk to Sarah or Alison for Part III, the one about the future. My impression is that the EcoDistrict hasn’t been around for long enough yet to be a big part of what we have now at the Lloyd, but I’m interested to learn and report about the role it’s trying to play going forward.

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  • Josh G July 8, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    All the hot weather has me daydreaming of sitting with my feet in the Oregon Square reflecting pool (in the last picture above)

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  • rachel b July 8, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    OK. Was rightfully shamed into contributing to BikePortland. I’m embarrassed it’s the first time. Working in the arts I know what it’s like to have your work taken for granted and to toil your ass off for little to no compensation (and everyone thinking that’s just fine), so I’m horrified I didn’t think to do it earlier. Will make it a regular thing and you can call me out if I don’t, Michael and Jonathan. Thanks for BikePortland.

    And now I can rant with a (sort of) clear conscience! I think what bothers me about this article is the same thing that makes me leery in general when we get to talking about development and Portland’s metamorphosis and accommodation of future residents here. There’s often, for me, an unnuanced, blindingly bright and boosterish ‘we’ve drunk the Kool Aid’ quality to the discussion that really turns me off. I feel sometimes like so many of the folks who move here forget there was an actual here, here before THEY got here. And it was a very good here! Not an improvement project looking for a makeover.

    I understand it–idealistic people move to what they see as a better place and they’re ecstatic and brimming with vim and vigor and a desire to make their mark. So, like an overly-enthusiastic guest at someone else’s party, they want to welcome everyone. And don’t want to see (and often are impatient with) the strain and distress all this mass Portland love is causing the existing residents of what once was a wonderful place to live and has now, quite honestly, become everything I never wanted in a city: hot, crowded, traffic-jammed, pretentious, smug and expensive. My opinion. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This less happy side of the story of development and growth hasn’t been talked about so much, here in New Portland, until lately. I’ve been glad to see more coverage of it in recent weeks, finally. All this sunshine gets me down.

    I see the writing on the wall for Portland, just like everyone else. Unlike Michael, I’m not happy about it, though! Listening to/reading him and so many of the folks here on this subject makes me feel alien and lonely and doomed. So, I’m one of those who’s clearly never really jazzed to see a story like this, even as I appreciate the intent.

    I recognize the value of knowing about City plans and development (I have to keep up on it fairly closely at my job). But it depresses the hell out of me to read about it every day. Oh, look: another apartment building is going up. Oh, look: another apartment building is going up. Oh, look: another apartment building is going up. Another apartment building is going up. We can squeeze more more more more more more more more more more more in! Truthfully, I think more more more people ruined Portland–ruin any good place- and I don’t look forward to more people, still, cramming in here. I honestly can’t fathom it. I don’t want to. At this point, I resent having to accommodate even one more starry-eyed dreamer’s achievement of their Mecca, that great tabula rasa and cure-all, PORTLAND, OREGON.

    So, I look forward to the less sunny side of this story about the great terraforming and peopling of the Lloyd District. I’m not expecting anyone to agree with my dour view of New Portland. But I, for one, will miss the tacky Lloyd Cinemas multiplex and would take it over another thousand people any day.

    Thanks for letting me rant here, BikePortland. And thanks so much for the exhausting, poorly compensated, dogged, determined, excellent work you routinely and faithfully do and the service you provide to the community, for free, Jonathan & Michael.

    Throw some money at them!

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) July 8, 2015 at 11:13 pm

      Thanks for the generous words, the honest criticism, and the sense of perspective, Rachel.

      For what it’s worth, since folks are talking about donations: part of the reason Jonathan and I are a little extra stressed this week is that we’re getting close to finally, finally creating a simple product-type way for members of the BikePortland community to give a bit of money each month to help Jonathan keep our collective lights on. Coming soon, we swear!

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      • Anne Hawley July 9, 2015 at 11:42 am

        Oh good! I was hoping for something like that. There’s squeak-by room in my budget for a modest monthly contribution, but if I don’t automate it, resistance on a month by month basis is way too easy to give in to. I will happily transfer my Hulu Plus membership, which I never use, to a BikePortland subscription, which I use many times a week.

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    • BicycleDave July 9, 2015 at 1:38 am

      The population is going to grow (unless someone does the unthinkable). Where will the new people live? I think it is better to increase the density of cities than have them live on former farm or forest. I’d rather live in a desirable city than one people are leaving. So I’m stuck here in this beautiful, desirable place trying to encourage it to be incrementally better as it grows.

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      • 9watts July 9, 2015 at 9:47 am

        I think it is quite a bit more interesting than your two choices (really only one) would have us believe. But I’ve already said my piece here in the past few months.

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      • 9watts July 9, 2015 at 9:54 am

        “I’d rather live in a desirable city than one people are leaving.”

        Classic. Are we really incapable of allowing or imagining the kind of demographic stability that has characterized all human habitation until the past two centuries? How is it that we manage to consistently skip over, fail to consider, elide the possibility of a city, a Portland, that is neither on the decline nor bursting at the seems? Zero growth is not a scourge but our fate, sooner or later. Why wait to figure this out until we’re 2x or 4x or 100x our current population?

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        • davemess July 9, 2015 at 12:43 pm

          Just wait 5-10 years until the next Portland (supposedly Pittsburg?) pops up.

          Again I’ll say, I just find it funny that some of the same people on here who rail against the inaccuracies of traffic models and predictions are completely in agreement with the models and predictions for population.

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          • 9watts July 11, 2015 at 8:03 am

            “Again I’ll say, I just find it funny…”

            Perhaps you have some larger point to make about projections, but since these quips of yours keep popping up underneath posts of mine I’ll say (again) that I do not have much faith in either type of extrapolation. My point is altogether something different, and I think you know it: To accept growth as inevitable is foolish and worse.

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    • Dan July 9, 2015 at 7:47 am

      Were you born here? 😉

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      • 9watts July 9, 2015 at 9:48 am

        Not Rachel B, but I’m a fifth generation Portlander, for what its worth.

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      • rachel b July 9, 2015 at 11:50 am

        Yes, I was. 🙂

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    • soren July 9, 2015 at 8:49 am

      “the strain and distress all this mass Portland love is causing the existing residents of what once was a wonderful place to live”

      and i believe that recent development on division, hawthorne, burnside and in lloyd center are the epitome of what portland should have done 10-15 years ago. instead, we saw the gentrification and socioeconomic cleansing of some of our most diverse neighborhoods. moreover, development in the central city takes some of the gentrification pressure off middle and outer east portland. the more the better as far as i am concerned.

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    • Bjorn July 9, 2015 at 10:01 am

      “become everything I never wanted in a city: hot, crowded, traffic-jammed, pretentious, smug and expensive.”

      I don’t think that the temperature of the city can be blamed on people moving here, the density of the city is still quite low really, dense walkable communities reduce traffic per capita, and Portland is by far the cheapest city to live in on the West coast so I guess I just don’t agree with your premise in general. Try renting a room for 400 bucks a month within a few miles of downtown San Francisco, it is still possible here and if we can add enough supply of rental units going forward we might be able to keep it that way. If instead we just try to keep everything as it is rents will continue to go up and it will be harder and harder for people to live near downtown.

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      • rachel b July 9, 2015 at 11:56 am

        Hi, Bjorn. The Urban Heat Island Effect is created precisely by people and more people. More people = more traffic and more pollution from cars, trucks, semis, planes, trains, factories to feed our needs needs needs. Our nights that no longer cool down here are likely more attributable to Urban Heat Island Effect than the offshore Blob, for example. And I don’t really care that Portland’s better than some awful crowded place people escape from to come here! I’m comparing it to what it was, and I don’t want it to become a place only slightly better than places people want to leave. Which it is becoming, has become, which was my point. Portland may be better for you, given the hellish milieu you chose to exit–but it’s a helluva lot worse to those of us who’ve lived here awhile!

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        • Bjorn July 9, 2015 at 4:14 pm

          I was not aware that Corvallis was a hellish milieu, I will let my parents know, they may want to get out too before it is too late…

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          • rachel b July 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm

            HAH! 🙂 Sorry–I inferred (incorrectly) that your reference to SF meant you lived there. That’s the city to which I referred. Corvallis is lovely. 🙂

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            • Bjorn July 9, 2015 at 9:09 pm

              No I am from Corvallis, but I have turned down job offers in San Francisco and San Diego not because I didn’t want to live there but because the cost of living in those cities was so high that it would destroy my standard of living to move there.

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    • KatKamp July 9, 2015 at 11:21 am

      Well, it’s either going to be apartment buildings that go up and accommodate more people (unless you can find a way to stop population growth) or more track housing in the suburbs. I’m out in Aloha, and they’re going to be turning 1600 acres of beautiful farm land into more crappy, suburban, car centered, cheaply built track houses. SO take your pick.. keep moving the urban growth boundary for more sprawl and more car centered housing developments, or, build up, and have mixed use, centralized housing/work/play developments. I look forward to the latter, and would like to see this city transformed in the future. And I was born and raised in Portland.. There’s room for improvement.

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      • rachel b July 9, 2015 at 12:21 pm

        Hi Kat. I don’t want to accommodate more people, and I am for incentives for not reproducing. 🙂 We’re turning Portland into the places everyone left to move here. How long is it going to remain “better than” San Francisco/LA/Chicago/Seattle (i.e., less miserable) if we keep on the current path? I have few answers–I’d actually like to hear more from 9watts about his ideas, which seem admirably Big Picture focused. Portland is a city of small shoulders–it was perfect as a small, not-overly-peopled place. Why can’t we retain spaces like that, somewhere, anywhere?

        Couldn’t we at least maybe call a halt to any more people moving in until infrastructure is demonstrably in place and up to the actual and projected, greatly increased demands, and after resources (esp. water, esp. in light of our perhaps ‘new normal’ hot dry weather and dearth of rain and snow, poor bald Mt. Hood) have been evaluated to determine whether or not more people can be supported? That just seems practical! If there was some dire situation and it was refugees coming here, I’d feel more responsible for shoving over and accommodating more people. At this point, I’m not for encouraging more people to move here, in general.

        p.s…sorry about the farmland. 🙁 Aurora is beautiful. I have come around to thinking Portland’s suburbs/town centers need to absorb more growth, if people are going to keep pouring in here like lemmings, though. Portland is going to become unlivable if we keep packing them into the city at the rate we’re currently talking about. It’s already miserable, in my opinion. Formerly (before I saw with horror that we are going to be clobbered, really and truly clobbered, with even more humanity than I was bargaining for) I was for the “put ’em in the city” plan, for what that’s worth. Keep Portland Small! My futile cry.

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        • paul g. July 9, 2015 at 1:07 pm

          I think it’s important that we are clear on the demographics. All of this is readily available at the Pop Center at PSU (for Oregon / Metro), Census (for US), and a variety of sources for worldwide growth.

          The US is nearly at zero population growth–the most recent growth rate is estimated to be 0.71%–and has been there for a long time. Countries that have below replacement population growth (Japan for instance) are facing a very severe demographic trap as the population ages, with too many retirees and too few young people.

          In short, there is no need for incentives against reproduction in the US.

          In Portland Metro, between 35-40% of our population growth is “natural” meaning we are having children (it’s been even higher in the past–nearly 60% of Multnomah County growth in the 2000’s). Even if we stopped in-migration, we’d have to accommodate 350,000 more residents who our OWN CHILDREN.

          As a friend of mine who has been on a number of planning commissions, puts it tongue in cheek, “You don’t want growth? Great, here’s the solution. First, stop having children. Second, everyone who is over 75 needs to hurry up and die.”

          Where do the in-migrants come from? Are they fleeing urban centers (LA, NYC, Chicago, Seattle)? Nope. We actually lose a fair number of residents to Seattle (for employment). We gain residents from the greater LA and Bay Area, but I know of no evidence that they are specifically fleeing the “big” city for a “smaller” city (and we’ll always get a large proportion from those regions because they are two of the largest population centers in the country’s largest state that is just to our south).

          There is an awful lot of evidence that many in-migrants come to Portland BECAUSE they want urban amenities and an urban lifestyle.

          This argument was played out on a previous thread. I know of no way that we can stop people from moving into the region. If we try to restrict building, we’ll almost surely drive up the costs of housing in the desirable areas faster than is already happening. The very things about Portland that people regularly celebrate on this forum are the reasons that individuals who already live here, or who want to move here, are bidding up prices.

          I write this also as a longtime resident, Rachel, and one who has raised a family in the city. We have to have a conversation about WHERE and HOW we put in density.

          As one who lives in a quiet neighborhood of single family homes, I’d be a lot happier seeing large complexes appear in the Lloyd district, which has the space and infrastructure, than shoehorning them into places where they are completely out of scale and overwhelm the neighborhood.

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          • rachel b July 9, 2015 at 2:49 pm

            Hi Paul. Only have a minute and need to be quick so this may be scattered and stray from the local to the global in perspective, but (in my opinion) global issues impact local more than ever, these days, and it’s all of a piece. Apologies for lack of citations—I’ll trust you can find them.

            In the U.S., I guess our biggest problem is really our much higher rate of consumption and resource depletion per person. So far, it seems the best idea for tackling combatting that has been to discourage reproduction (since we’ve not had much success with getting Americans to give stuff up, and it’s unlikely that’ll change). So—birthrates may be flat or decreasing, but consumption is increasingly on the rise, species extinctions too (rapidly). We’re using up resources, even depleting our groundwater/aquifers, which is really freaking me out. Quite apart from the water loss, how much cooling to the earth do they provide? Some of that water’s 10,000 years old, and we’re systematically draining it. Who knows the consequences, as no one’s done this before. Yay, humans!

            We’re setting up ourselves and every living thing (them first, unfortunately) for catastrophe—water shortages, heat, drought. That’ll really sock us in the future, the extent of the pain only exacerbated by our numbers and the people people people competing for rapidly depleting resources. So, how do we combat that? Not being contrarian—I really want to know. Is maintaining stasis ok? Or are there too many of us right now for the earth to support, given current rates of (over) consumption?

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          • 9watts July 11, 2015 at 8:17 am

            “The US is nearly at zero population growth”

            You must not be a math professor, paul g.
            What part of a doubling in 100 years (70/0.7%/yr)is hard to understand?* And rachel B’s points about our disproportionate resource consumption here in the US only adds insult to this injury. Right now, if everyone on earth consumed at the rate we here in the US do we would need five planets to sustain continue, with zero population growth.

            * when I was born, the US population doubling time was 50 years. We’re making some slow progress, but let’s not fool ourselves.

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          • 9watts July 11, 2015 at 8:48 am

            “Even if we stopped in-migration, we’d have to accommodate 350,000 more residents who our OWN CHILDREN.”

            Not all of us chose to have four children, paul g. Rachel already mentioned that she and her husband intentionally did not have any. My wife and I compromised at 1. There is nothing natural or inevitable about late 20th century US fecundity rates. The very fact that population growth rates have come down a bunch would seem to confirm this.

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          • 9watts July 11, 2015 at 6:12 pm

            “Countries that have below replacement population growth (Japan for instance) are facing a very severe demographic trap as the population ages, with too many retirees and too few young people.”

            paul g.,
            that term doesn’t mean what you think it means.

            But the logic behind the the Japanese have no one to pay into their social security system shrieks is faulty. If you’re in a hole stop digging; and for heaven’s sake don’t criticize those who, having stopped digging, now face new but far more minor challenges than the ones they used to. Reshuffling the health care system and reprioritizing government attention in light of declining numbers of children and younger people is hardly a problem if we remember that the point of the economy is to serve us, not the other way around.

            What you mistakenly call a demographic trap is a necessary adjustment, a correction. Exponential growth always and necessarily comes to an end, whether through voluntary behavior change (Japan) or much less pleasant variations on that theme. Your antidote—continued population growth—is madness.

            We are not rabbits!

            And if you want to know what is really going on in Japan w/r/t demographics, I’d suggest starting here:

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    • Anne Hawley July 9, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      rachel b, I always appreciate your eloquence here in speaking up for us natives and long-time residents. Some days, I share your pain. When I’m in someone’s car and they drive on one of the arterials that I avoid on my bike, I’m astonished at the speed and magnitude of new development.

      Astonished, but not as appalled as you are. I’m actually happy to see four- and five-story apartment buildings going up on all those wretched corner lots that used to lie vacant and withering, a blight on NE Portland. For most of my 20-some years as a homeowner in the Sabin neighborhood, I’ve been depressed and ashamed to see what I assumed were huge PDC landholdings just sitting there, wasted, waiting for some right moment.

      That moment seems to have come, and while the type of development bound to ensue (eating, drinking, and shopping establishments that are totally not my style) isn’t for me, I sit on my old-lady porch on Failing Street on a summer evening and watch ten bikes go by for every car. Those people, mostly young and very likely new to Portland, are chatting in pairs and families, the only other sound the whirring of their tires on the asphalt. It makes me happy.

      I see the problems, believe me. I couldn’t afford to live here if I hadn’t moved in when it was gunfire and gangs, and my friends hesitated to visit me out of the (irrational) fear of crime and the (rational) fear of falling through the rotting deck of my porch. The giant, badly-built, $650,000 behemoth that just went in across the street has altered my “view”, and their windows now look down into mine. The California people who moved into it are way, way richer and younger than I am. We have almost nothing in common, as far as I can tell.

      But it was gunfire and gangs. The lot across the street was vacant. Not nice, just vacant. I needed a car when I first moved here because there was nothing, not even coffee, within walking distance. Now it’s a lively, thriving neighborhood where I can reasonably plan to spend the rest of my life without a car.

      Is it changed? Yes. Is all the change for the better? Well, no. The busy streets are busier, and the neighborhood has a decidedly paler average skin tone (though that seems to be changing back a little). Prices have gone up. Landscapes have changed. Some old houses and churches have sadly disappeared. It’s not an unalloyed delight.

      But I come out on the side of excitement and curiosity, and faith in this generation of younger people from other places, because they really want to be here, and they’re demonstrating a new and necessary approach to life in the 21st century. It is very different. I’m a little alienated by it. But I like it.

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      • rachel b July 9, 2015 at 12:51 pm

        “I sit on my old-lady porch on Failing Street…” 🙂 You are charming, Anne H! And clearly much more of a ‘glass half full’ person than I, which I admire but can’t emulate.

        I liked everything happening here up to about 2008–the shiny new restaurants, coffeehouses, the shiny new (bicycling!) people, etc. Then, in my opinion, some critical tipping point was reached and everything gradually turned to ever-deepening poo. Too many people. It didn’t matter to me anymore that we have much better food in town because I don’t want to go through what it takes to get to it–too much of a hassle. And then, I don’t want to wait in a monstrous line when I get there. Doing pretty much anything, any little simple thing, has become a hassle. Even riding the bus, which is packed like some horrid sausage every day. I never used to be claustrophobic (slightly agoraphobic, yes) but I sure am now! My asthma’s reached epic proportions. The air here–never great (despite common misconceptions) has worsened in recent years–at least in the city.

        If I had a choice between a less populous Portland + IHOP and some elbow room vs. popular, teeming Portland with excellent top-rated restaurants, at this point, I choose IHOP. The sheer weight of humanity is seriously wearing on me. This is not the Portland I chose. And, unlike newcomers of the past, the more recent arrivals make me feel completely alien. My gross happiness index is simply higher with the roomy IHOP scenario, even if the food is not as good. It still is good, though… 😉

        There are a lot of individuals moving here that of course I like! But in the aggregate, it’s just too much, even if they’re good people (and they are). I’m for keeping the city small and retaining it’s character. And I’m for discouraging more people moving here, for the health of the city and everyone in it. And most certainly for my own personal sanity. If I’d wanted to live in NYC or San Francisco, I’d have moved there. I loved Portland all my life, ’til 2008–I don’t love it anymore. I do love the bicyclists, though. 🙂

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        • Nate Young July 9, 2015 at 1:42 pm

          I’d like to understand what you would have the city do? Honestly and with all due respect, it seems that you are advocating somehow shutting the door to new migrants. Is that true?

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          • rachel b July 9, 2015 at 1:55 pm

            Can we accommodate them? Do we have the capacity? It seems like a question that should be asked anywhere, esp. as regards resources and infrastructure.

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            • soren July 9, 2015 at 2:32 pm

              the problem with a gated city solution is that vancouver, gresham, happy valley, tigard, tualatin, beaverton, hillsboro, forest grove, sherwood, oregon city, camas, troutdale etc are happy to accommodate them.

              and when it comes to decreasing aggregate resource use, nothing beats dense urban cores.

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              • rachel b July 9, 2015 at 3:47 pm

                But do we actually have the resources? Now, as folks are moving in? Or are we going to just let growth happened unchecked and try to play catch up while things crumble? In the city, I mean. I’m asking because I don’t know–I’m guessing we don’t. I know our infrastructure is definitely not up to the challenges and there’s no plan in place to deal with that issue. Supporting what’s supportable according to resources available is not being a gated city. It’s being practical and forward-thinking. If people insist on coming despite a city’s inability to support their basic needs, won’t they then have to move to those outer areas? Not saying I’m happy about that either–just asking.

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                • rachel b July 9, 2015 at 3:48 pm

                  happen, not “happened.” oops.

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                • Brian K Smith July 9, 2015 at 7:08 pm

                  Rachel, thanks for sharing your thoughts and concerns about growth and change in Portland. I think you (and many other commenters here) are illustrating something that is easy to forget: almost everyone wants to improve the state of self, family, neighborhood, city, country, and world. Where we differ is how we balance those sometimes competing areas of focus and how we define “better”. Can people picture someone who is more focused on self than you think is appropriate? Can you picture someone who is less focused on self than you think is appropriate? (The former might be more common, but the person who doesn’t go to the doctor about their because they don’t want to be a burden and ends up with a major illness is an example I’ve seen of the latter.)

                  I’m probably an example of someone who most find too focused on the world at the expense of the other levels. In my opinion, immediate drastic reduction in carbon (and equivalent) emissions is the highest priority. Second highest priority is reducing the global disparity in health, wealth, education, happiness, etc. I believe that who your parents are plays too much of a role in determining whether you live a life of misery or joy.

                  Here’s the kicker: I’m willing to trade stagnation or loss at the self, neighborhood, city, country level to achieve those goals. I don’t know you, Rachel, personally, but I bet I’d like you just fine if I did. I’d still vote for something that made both of our lives worse if I thought it would make a difference in global emissions or global inequality. There’s a lot of people in this country who think that makes me a jerk (or other less polite names). I feel like it doesn’t matter if the current generation of Americans is better off than prior generations if that improvement comes at the expense (or nonexistence!) of future generations or the inhabitants of the rest of the world.

                  As an aside, I think that there’s pretty good reason to believe that the past twenty years or so of relative stagnation in the developed world is connected with the past twenty years or so of rapid improvement in the lives of many people in the developing world.

                  Anyway, this was an extremely roundabout route to responding to your statement that there is no plan in place to address these challenges. There is, in fact, such a plan: http://www.portlandonline.com/portlandplan/index.cfm?c=56527 (click on the image of the cover to download the whole document)

                  A significant part of that plan is creating higher density neighborhoods with vital services like groceries, parks and transportation within walking distance. If more people can walk (or bike) to what they need then we can avoid making congestion worse (or maybe even make it better) while accommodating more residents.

                  I haven’t spent enough time reading it all to be a strong advocate either for or against the Portland Plan, but I did want to let you know that a bunch of thoughtful, well-intentioned people spent a lot of time a few years ago collecting feedback from the people of the city and working to address many of the questions you are asking. Whether you agree with their conclusions, the current city council is committed to the Plan, it’s already outdated, etc. etc. is all an exercise left to the reader. 🙂

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                • Nate Young July 10, 2015 at 10:47 am

                  In short, yes. We have regional resources in the PacNW that are much more able to support denser, higher populations. This is particularly true relative to other growing cities (think Vegas, Houston, or Phoenix) and ESPECIALLY taking into account climate change going forward.
                  So again, how do you propose limiting growth here? Are you talking about birth limits like China? In the 20 years it might take to put such limits in place how do you proposing dealing with our current reality?

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                • 9watts July 11, 2015 at 8:25 am

                  “We have regional resources”

                  sure. but Rachel’s point is well taken. At the pace we’re currently on, we’ll use them up everywhere at pretty much the same time. This used to be called a race to the bottom.
                  What exactly is the point of deferring the reckoning? I asked up-thread: since there are real, absolute limits, why are we content to postpone wrestling with how to live within them until our population has increased 2 or 4 or 10-fold? Do we really think it will be easier then, without the resources we now still have, and with X-times more people crowded in?

                  Rachel’s perspective may sound glass-half-empty, but she’s got science and statistics on her side.

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              • davemess July 9, 2015 at 5:11 pm

                Those cities might be happy to accommodate them, but if they are coming for the “urban experience” it is unlikely that many will be interested in moving to the burbs.

                Another option is to just let rents rise as they will. Definitely will price some (many) people out, but eventually will hit a tipping point and go back down.

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                • bjcefola July 9, 2015 at 5:24 pm

                  Like San Francisco?

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                • davemess July 9, 2015 at 8:49 pm

                  Or like Las Vegas.

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                • bjcefola July 9, 2015 at 9:51 pm

                  Las Vegas let builders build a lot more than they let prices rise.

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          • 9watts July 11, 2015 at 8:55 am

            “it seems that you are advocating somehow shutting the door to new migrants.”
            It is easy to pillory the person who raises the uncomfortable truth, while overlooking the fact that doing nothing is also a policy with far-reaching consequences. There are many possible approaches we could take besides the popular-around-here approach of doing nothing. As I’ve suggested many times, we should start by having a frank and extensive public discussion about all facets of this issue: how to come to terms with limits, fairness, those here who have no house vs those not yet here, freedom of movement vs. biophysical limits, quality vs quantity, self-determination, etc. Those raising uncomfortable subjects or perspectives are not, in my reading, doing this to cause trouble, or live out their xenophobic fantasies, or scare you with caricatures of Japan or Italy with their supposed demographic travails, or tell you how many children to have … But we do see a problem.

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        • rachel b July 11, 2015 at 2:14 am

          Thanks for your response, Brian. I agree with you about the need for an “immediate, drastic reduction in carbon (and equivalent) emissions.” That’s why my husband and I gave up our car two years ago (after sharing a single Honda Civic HX since 1996, used rarely because even then we biked, walked and bused everywhere), and why we haven’t flown since 2005. It’s one of the reasons why we don’t have children. We don’t use gas or electric-powered yard tools and we buy local. I’m all for sacrifice for the greater good–I’ve tried to live it. I don’t feel in danger of losing sight of the bigger picture, or that my views reflect a less-than-global perspective. I’d argue they are less self-serving than the views surrounding Portland’s “need” to accommodate more and more and more people when we live in a country with copious elbow room and countless options for places to live. The need for most people to move here is not urgent, though the discussion and the City’s approach would make it seem so.

          We are not China, which has actual, real population pressures and has to accommodate more people in its cities. We’re bending over backward largely to accommodate desire, and whim (and, I’d argue, delusion in the case of the out of control idealization of Portland). We’re a accommodating an outgrowth of the immediacy and data candy of the internet which fuels desire, restlessness and a kind of frenzy, in recent years. Restless souls in earlier times didn’t have a world at their fingertips, to obsess, drool, pick and choose over. They didn’t have airbrushed, breathless videos and articles and travelogues and tv shows (ugh) to encourage the idea There’s This One Great Place…!

          What gets ignored in our conversations about density is the nuts and bolts–the existing (and projected future) resources, the infrastructure, transit. You clearly have a lot more faith than I do that our city has thoroughly explored these issues in their long-range projections and hasn’t been blinded by visions of revenue and a self importance fueled by international attention. You seem to accept The Plan unquestioningly. I don’t have that same faith. I don’t believe the state of our infrastructure, the demands that will be placed on it and our (dwindling) resources have been fully factored in.

          Nate Y–I’m curious about your assurance we have resources “in the PacNW” when we’re in such a volatile time of climate change, with long-term drought a real possibility here. To answer your question about limiting growth, I’ll repeat what I said early: create incentives to not reproduce and disincentives to reproduce.

          I am a skeptic at heart, but nothing that I’ve read in Portland’s plan has inspired confidence in me, esp. as regards the issues of infrastructure readiness and resources. The gung-ho, boosterish discussion surrounding density and the new urbanism makes me a little nauseated and a lot worried. We will have to wait and see who’s right, and I do hope it’s you.

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          • 9watts July 11, 2015 at 8:28 am

            And I’ll just add: I am not aware of any iron law of accommodation that stipulates that we must roll out the red subsidy carpet to any and every newcomer. Right now this is how we (our leaders and the Chambers of Commerce) have chosen to proceed. And it serves no one well in the long term.

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          • katie taylor July 11, 2015 at 5:20 pm

            I’d like to second what rachel b and 9Watts says here. City of Portland has not demonstrated much in the way of foresight in planning for the coming influx of people. I don’t think they really quite believe in it in any realistic way.

            We don’t even have a sales tax, and now would be the perfect time to pass one with half the people here accustomed to paying in the states they came from. But the political will is totally lacking. As our State senate’s recent behavior proves, we can’t even muster the will to fractionally raise the gas tax.

            Meanwhile, most of the streets downtown (and in many other parts of the city) have been allowed to critically fail – meaning that they can’t be patched up, they’ll have to be completely ground down and repaved at a price exponentially higher than what it would have cost to maintain them properly in the first place.

            Many of our underground pipes are vintage ’50s or earlier and are well past their useful life – recently, a civil engineer friend of mine was on a project where they dug up a functioning (albeit leaking) waterline that was still made of WOOD. Pause to think about that for a moment!

            Our brand new CSO was supposed to end the charming habit Portland’s sewer system had of dumping raw sewage into the Willamette during heavy rains, but as of last winter, we’re already back to business as usual. There are already more people emptying more ‘business’ into the system than was anticipated when they started the project, back in 1991. How much worse will that get with thousands more? The Big Pipe cost $1.4 billion. How soon do you think we’ll be able to scrounge up the money and muster the political will to massively expand our sewer system again?

            Very little of our infrastructure has been seismically upgraded, and a catastrophic earthquake could happen at any time, according to our seismologists. How do you like the idea of exploding natural gas pipes underfoot?

            There’s no money to maintain what we have, let alone beef it up and expand it to accommodate 400,000 more families in the Metro Region by 2030 (Metro projection and, I think, a low estimate) and there is no political will to fix that problem, no matter what unfunded daydreams are laid out in the Portland Plan.

            I think there’s every reason to be concerned that we don’t have our ducks in a row to sustain a massive population influx here – which means that it is likely to happen haphazardly and result in the complete obliteration of the city we know and love – and a replacement that is not likely to be something any of us commenting here will like better. When there’s no public money, public officials turn to private money (if you really want a scare, read up on Public-Private Partnerships – P3 — likely the wave of the future). Private money supports the people spending it and does its best to exploit the hell out of the rest of us.

            Like 9 Watts said above, deciding to do nothing is still a decision with potentially huge repercussions. It doesn’t matter how many nice ideas you have about the future of the city if you have no money or political will to implement them. It also doesn’t matter if you build 900 affordable apartments when you have a couple million people on the way.

            Oh – also, for anyone who doesn’t believe more people means degraded air quality + heat island effect, here are a couple of links:

            Urban heat island effect (we’re #4! In the whole country!):


            Our dirty air (courtesy DEQ/The Oregonian):


            There’s a lot to be upset about here. Full disclosure, I was born in Portland. So yes – all of this is a bigger personal affront to me than it would be to a lot of people, but I think even objectively it’s possible to see why we are in trouble here, and that it’s not all just going to work out without much tougher, more strategic leadership than we have.

            Thanks for a good read, Michael and all commenters!

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            • soren July 12, 2015 at 8:41 am

              Oh – also, for anyone who doesn’t believe more people means degraded air quality + heat island effect…

              if we want to reduce the impact of climate change on urban areas (including the heat island effect) we ned to facilitate large increases in urban density.


              “The key to New York’s relative environmental benignity is the very thing that makes it appear to be an ecological nightmare: its extreme compactness.”

              “To answer your question about limiting growth, I’ll repeat what I said early: create incentives to not reproduce and disincentives to reproduce.”

              population growth in the usa is not a major problem but sprawl-associated resource use most definitely is…and we won’t reduce sprawl associated resource use if we limit urbanization. i urge those concerned about unsustainable population growth (in developing nations) to join me in giving to:


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              • 9watts July 12, 2015 at 8:50 am

                “population growth in the usa is not a major problem but sprawl-associated resource use most definitely is”

                Come now. Those two are two sides of the same coin. What is sprawl (or in-fill for that matter) but population growth given form in buildings?

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                • soren July 12, 2015 at 10:06 am


                  population in the usa is growing at the lowest rate in history (~0.7%) and most of that growth is due to immigration.

                  the vast majority of population growth is occurring in developing nations while the highest resource use per capita is in the usa (and a few other highly industrialized nations). using population growth as an excuse to promote sprawl in portland makes no sense.

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                • 9watts July 12, 2015 at 3:57 pm

                  soren wrote: “using population growth as an excuse to promote sprawl in portland makes no sense.”

                  you’re starting to sound like jeg. 😉
                  I’m not using population growth as an excuse for anything. I’m saying that population growth (within our town, so yes of course migration is mixed up in this) is the driver of the need for additional housing, whether that ends up being built up/dense, or out/sprawl. I would have thought this pretty self-evident. The only way this is not quite the whole story is the extent to which we, some of us, have gotten used to the idea of more square footage per person. But I think that is a much smaller driver of what we are talking about here than is population growth (in the metro region, of course)!

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              • katie taylor July 12, 2015 at 9:55 am

                “if we want to reduce the impact of climate change on urban areas (including the heat island effect) we ned to facilitate large increases in urban density”

                By that argument, Lagos, Nigeria or Beijing must be even better. Every city in the US denser than Portland must be even better. If that’s the case, why is everyone moving here?

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                • soren July 12, 2015 at 12:10 pm

                  that is conflating population growth with regional migration. population growth minus immigration in the usa is essentially static.

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                • katie taylor July 12, 2015 at 12:24 pm

                  Sorry, soren – I couldn’t find a ‘reply’ button on your comment. I’m confused by your reply. What does that have to do with density being or not being the solution? The two cities I named are incredibly dense. Do you want to live in a place like that? Does anyone? Are they really such an environmental boon? My argument was that, like it or not, we’re not prepared on a very nuts and bolts level for sustainable dense growth, and nothing is being done to prepare or to preserve quality of life. It doesn’t matter if density is a great idea in the abstract or not. It’s not being done well here and there’s no sign that’s going to change.

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                • lop July 12, 2015 at 1:35 pm

                  Beijing is much less environmentally destructive than having all those people sprawled out over a much larger area. The density might have an impact on some subjective measures people group into quality of life. But since there is freedom of movement nobody is stuck with the new Portland. There’s always Corvallis, Albany, Eugene and plenty of other towns less crowded for those who want that.

                  And most people aren’t moving to Portland, just a small share of the country is. No need for hyberbole.

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                • 9watts July 12, 2015 at 4:45 pm

                  soren wrote: “population growth minus immigration in the usa is essentially static.”

                  I’m not following why you are making this big distinction. Growth in the metro region is what we are talking about, right? So if, say, half of the growth in the number of new, additional people is from in-migration and half from people already here having children, what is the difference when it comes to the quantity of housing these two categories of new people might want or need? Both are net additions and both are, at least the way I think of it, properly referred to as population growth.

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                • katie taylor July 12, 2015 at 9:00 pm

                  Excellent (and terrifying) data, rachel b! Lop, I didn’t say Portland is Beijing – I was using Beijing as an example to refute Soren’s statement that density is always the environmentally friendly choice and the inference that increased density will somehow make our environmental issues magically improve. That’s not hyperbole. As for the environmental friendliness of cramming all those people into one place, please see rachel b’s links.

                  Also, it’s rude to tell someone they can move if they don’t like seeing their home turned into a cesspit. You can quit your job if your boss starts grabbing your ass too. Great solution.

                  Also agree with 9Watts that net growth in the entire US is a moot point in this argument. Metro estimates 400,000 families will move to the Metro region in the near future. That’s actually a lot of people. Have you tried having that many people over for a party? It’s tight, and inevitably, someone doesn’t get any dip.

                  Great discussion!

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                • 9watts July 12, 2015 at 9:51 pm

                  lop writes: “Beijing is much less environmentally destructive than having all those people sprawled out over a much larger area.”

                  The premise here is that exponential population growth is a given, is inevitable. Therefore, having them all jammed together will be less of a problem, environmentally, than if they were all spread out. But this is a lose-lose proposition, utterly uninspiring, at least to me. We’re on the hook to leave the remaining fossil fuels in the ground, never burn them if we hope to have any chance of sticking around a while and continuing to live any semblance of what we’ve grown used to. Therefore, something’s got to give.
                  (a) negative population growth (e.g., Japan, Italy),
                  (b) negative consumption growth (use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without),
                  (c) a shift away from fossil fuels (bike instead of drive, superinsulate so as to reduce the need for heating, for instance)

                  We probably really need a whole heck of a lot of all three, so hearing that population growth is best accommodated by density just doesn’t do it for me. I want to have the larger discussion instead.

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                • soren July 13, 2015 at 8:44 am

                  the usa is a very wealthy nation. we have the resources to create dense and livable cities. comparing portland to lagos nigeria is pure scaremongering.

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                • 9watts July 13, 2015 at 3:31 pm

                  “we have the resources to create dense and livable cities.”

                  We don’t have either the will or the resources to prepare ourselves for the 9.0 earthquake or climate change with the current population. These challenges only get bigger if we invite tens of hundreds of thousands more to join us.

                  “It will also induce a process called liquefaction, whereby seemingly solid ground starts behaving like a liquid, to the detriment of anything on top of it. Fifteen per cent of Seattle is built on liquefiable land, including seventeen day-care centers and the homes of some thirty-four thousand five hundred people. So is Oregon’s critical energy-infrastructure hub, a six-mile stretch of Portland through which flows ninety per cent of the state’s liquid fuel and which houses everything from electrical substations to natural-gas terminals. Together, the sloshing, sliding, and shaking will trigger fires, flooding, pipe failures, dam breaches, and hazardous-material spills. Any one of these second-order disasters could swamp the original earthquake in terms of cost, damage, or casualties—and one of them definitely will. Four to six minutes after the dogs start barking, the shaking will subside. For another few minutes, the region, upended, will continue to fall apart on its own. Then the wave will arrive, and the real destruction will begin.”

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              • katie taylor July 12, 2015 at 12:08 pm

                Another useful analogy: I have four roommates – 2 use the toilet upstairs. 2 use the toilet downstairs. The toilet downstairs is always clogged. Therefore, the obvious answer is for everyone to use the downstairs toilet. The problem has been resolved by density, right?

                My point here is not that density hasn’t been done right in some places (with lots of money in an area substantially built up before cars), but that we are not headed toward doing it right here (see the rest of my post). It’s ridiculous to boost density as a solution when none of the work is being done to accommodate it while retaining the city’s vaunted livability.

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                • rachel b July 12, 2015 at 6:55 pm

                  I love this example. 🙂 With the toilets.

                  I have no idea where to click “reply” to reply to lop, so lop, here’s where I’m doing it. “Beijing is much less environmentally destructive than having all those people sprawled out over a much larger area.”

                  NASA says:
                  “The residents of Beijing and Delhi are not the only ones feeling the effects of Asian air pollution — an unwanted byproduct of coal-fired economic development. The continent’s tainted air is known to cross the Pacific Ocean, adding to homegrown air-quality problems on the U.S. West Coast.

                  But unfortunately, pollution doesn’t just pollute. Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology, both in Pasadena, California, are looking at how Asian pollution is changing weather and climate around the globe. ”


                  From Mother Jones:
                  “Chinese cities, for example, are so toxic that 90 percent of them fail to meet the country’s own pollution standards. But it’s not just China. In terms of air quality, 13 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India. And thirty-one of the world’s 50 most polluted cities are found in China and Southeast Asia (including India), according to the World Health Organization.”


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                • soren July 13, 2015 at 8:50 am

                  “none of the work is being done to accommodate it while retaining the city’s vaunted livability.”

                  do you have any specific evidence that the lloyd district cannot accommodate increased residential density?

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                • lop July 14, 2015 at 7:28 am

                  A better analogy might be one of the downstairs roommates moves out and the other objects to two people moving into that room, even if the extra rent covers the expense of fixing the toilet and keeps everyone else’s rents from increasing, including the upstairs roommates who might bear less of the burden of the extra roommate . You have infrastructure you can’t afford to maintain and rising rents, and you’re objecting to a way to fix both problems because you think it will hurt livability. Which might be true, but then you need an alternative solution. Asking your landlord to not increase your rent/people to stop moving to portland doesn’t seem like the most promising plan, and ignores that without more people you can’t afford the infrastructure and services you enjoy today.

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              • soren July 13, 2015 at 8:35 am

                “Also, it’s rude to tell someone they can move if they don’t like seeing their home turned into a cesspit.”

                if you really believe portland is a cesspit then moving certainly seems like something to consider.

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                • katie taylor July 14, 2015 at 10:38 am

                  ‘Not wanting to see turned into’ is different than ‘is.’ I also didn’t say Portland is Lagos or Beijing. There’s a lot of selective reading going on here, which makes for an unsatisfying argument. Also, don’t have time to dig up specific infrastructure issues in Lloyd District, but you can look them up yourself if you’re really interested. I’d start with PBOT, BES and PWB’s unfunded backlogs of repair and maintenance projects. This can be found in their capital improvement plans.

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                • soren July 14, 2015 at 11:59 am

                  “PBOT, BES and PWB’s unfunded backlogs of repair and maintenance”

                  a goalpost move.

                  and for the record, i enthusiastically support funding of safety improvements and essential maintenance via increased taxation of businesses and citizens who can afford to pay.

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  • Doug Klotz July 9, 2015 at 12:15 am

    I assume that Hassalo on Eighth and Oregon Square owners will lobby for the bike/ped bridge over I-84, like I heard the owner of two industrial blocks on the south side of 84 lobby for it today at City Council.

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    • maccoinnich July 9, 2015 at 1:11 am

      That guy was really eloquent. It was great to hear someone who would be so directly affected by the 7th Ave bridge speaking so strongly in favor of it.

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  • Rod Brake July 9, 2015 at 8:15 am

    I appreciate this coverage and the understanding of the connection between urban development and alternative transportation. What many forget when they see all the bike infrastructure in places like Amsterdam and Copenhagen is that a big part of what makes those places work for bikes is that a lot of people live close to lots of destinations (aka “density”). There is a lot of demonizing of new development. New development in close-in, high-demand locations is always going to be expensive, but stopping this development won’t make things less expensive overall. In the long run, more development (and people) living in central Portland will do a lot more to make Portland a bike and walking oriented place than will naked bike rides.

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  • Mark July 9, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Thanks, Michael. Since I work in the Lloyd District and live close by, and might eventually live in the District, your series is of great interest to me. To those that live and/or work in the Lloyd District now, I encourage you to provide GoLloyd with ideas for active transportation improvements, suggestions for change, etc. There are also activities that we (volunteers) always need help with. You can also participate in GoLloyd’s bicycle and pedestrian committees and have a voice that way.

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  • chris July 9, 2015 at 8:55 am

    In addition to replacing the movie theater with apartments, I want them to do the same withe the mall. I live in the gulch next door, and I have no use for that thing. Turn it into a neighborhood instead of a destination and cut-through area for suburbanites.

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    • rick July 9, 2015 at 9:37 am

      Yes indeed.

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      • Bjorn July 9, 2015 at 9:45 am

        I have a feeling that with that many new residents the feel and mix of stores in the mall is probably going to change significantly in the next couple years.

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    • Anne Hawley July 9, 2015 at 6:49 pm

      I would SO vote for that if we were voting. Lloyd Center’s design is dated, and its presence in the neighborhood had been a blight since the 80s. Shopping malls in general are entirely of the 20th century, and have no place in a 21st century cityscape.

      I’d hope that, at a bare minimum, the rehab plans would include restoring at least one street through the center of that mass: 11th or 12th. For every time I’ve actually shopped in Lloyd Center in the last ten years, I’ve biked around it hundreds. It’s in the way of city life.

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  • PdxMark July 9, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Almost all the harsh critiques in this comment thread are over the idea of sponsorship rather than the substance of the article. If there were supported attacks that showed errors in the reasoning of the article, great. But there aren’t. This article warrants alot of discussion about whether and how Lloyd could get to where it might, as described in the article. Instead we’re trap in a silly loop of rants about the ideal of journalistic purity and assumed bias absent any evidence of it. Come on People… Let’s get on the real topic here.

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    • Brendan Treacy July 9, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      Totally agree. I for one though this article was inspirational and original. The whole thing that gets me excited about this blog is the idea of transformation. Changing from a city with a great biking community to a city that puts bikes on an even footing with cars in my lifetime would be amazing and this project seems like the kind of step it’ll take us to get there.

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  • rick July 9, 2015 at 9:36 am

    What a change.

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson July 9, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    A couple three more points that need to be made about the transformation of the Lloyd District: in the 90’s along with the introduction of paid parking, the Lloyd TMA (now Go Lloyd!), along with TriMet and key employers, began offering heavily subsidized transit passes to area employees. Most of the City, most of America, has free parking and paid transit; hence the common mode split in favor of the former. Flip those to paid parking and reduced fee transit and look what happens! Its easy to do, if you have the political guts to do it.
    2nd point: MAX began running through the district in 1986, stopping at 7th Avenue, but the 4 block area that’s now the Hassalo project remained a giant parking lot for decades, until right around the time it was announced Portland Streetcar showed up with a stop on 7th. What is it about Streetcar and dense urban form in Portland’s Central City? They seem to go together.
    Last, for the naysayers, surely you are not favoring blocks and blocks of parking lots in the middle of a city? Repurposing of vacant lots and parking lots on Williams, Division and especially in Lloyd District for living, working and playing is long overdue!
    Michael, keep of the great work! (and let’s get that 7th Avenue bridge built!)

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    • Dan July 10, 2015 at 7:21 am

      Go Lloyd! also offers individual bike lockers at a reasonable rate of $15 a month. They are a critical factor in my commute.

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  • Rich Fox July 9, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    I live a few blocks north of the Lloyd district, and I’m really looking forward to part 3 of this series, which focuses on on potential future bikeways. Maybe that should be part 2 ; )

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  • BikeSlobPDX July 9, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    I lived in San Diego 20 yrs ago, and when they put a new freeway through the middle of town (below grade), they capped a couple of entire blocks and put a park on it. Imagine that over I-84 between 7th and 9th!

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  • Mark July 9, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Michael – Will your future articles include updates on the N/NE Quadrant Plan? I thought the lid over I-5 was an intriguing idea. http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/52841

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  • mh July 9, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    The most intriguing thing to me, as an ex-employee in Kaiser’s building, is the 3-year-old plan for developing their various land-banked lots.

    I didn’t look at it closely enough to tell, but I hope the disintegrating garage adjacent to KPB is included, as well as the massive lot across Multnomah, and even the Grand Dental block. A dental office could easily be a tenant in a tower. The officially land-banked park on the south side of the garage block never quite feels public, so it would not be a great loss.

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  • jon July 9, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    Everyone likes to bad mouth developers and paint them out as evil but it is developers who are building us a more bike friendly city. Almost all of it benefits biking by adding more density, urban residents and services in bike-able areas. Land Use goes hand in hand with Transportation.

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  • Kathy July 10, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    I work in the Lloyd District and live in Kerns. My 6th floor west-facing cubicle window looks out on the future “Oregon Square Park.” When they start developing it, I will have to endure possibly YEARS of construction noise and when they are done, I will have my currently awesome view of the Convention Center and downtown completely blocked. But you know what? I CANNOT WAIT! (I’m totally serious, not sarcastic at all!) I get a FRONT ROW CENTER seat to seeing the redevelopment of the Lloyd District!! This is seriously awesome and exciting! This area is DESPERATE for something, anything, to come in and save it from total boredom. Parking lots, movie theaters, sad little chain restaurants, a mall. Its location and proximity to MAX make it PRIME for development. I’m so glad this is finally happening!! And I’m so very excited that I get to witness it all unfold. I can’t wait to tell people 10 years from now how sad this area used to be, just as I tell people how sad Division was when I lived there in the late 90’s. Right now, I can’t get ANY of my friends to come meet me for lunch because they all work downtown and there are so many more options over there and the Lloyd is well – THE LLOYD. No one thinks of this place as anything special. I bet come 5 years from now, people will be emailing me asking to meet me for lunch at the cool new place that just opened in the Lloyd. I have high expectations, developers, please don’t let me down!

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  • Kevin Wagoner July 10, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Thanks for covering this! I’m excited to read more. I’ve worked in the area since 2008. I mostly commute by bike from SW portland, but do also drive enough. I’m totally excited about the changes I’ve seen accelerating over the last couple of years!

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  • CPJC July 15, 2015 at 11:35 am

    It would be great if this development took off…but so far they have not announced a single retail tenant for the development…based on a recent article they had “letters of intent” but no signed contract/committed tenant doing a build out.

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  • 9watts July 15, 2015 at 11:46 am
    • 9watts July 15, 2015 at 11:47 am

      wrong thread. sorry.

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