Weekender Ride

Comment of the Week: One person’s corporate takeover, another person’s mobility lifeline

Posted by on April 7th, 2017 at 2:24 pm

“Having become chronically homeless, this [Biketown for All] program has empowered and enabled me to be able to enjoy bicycle events that otherwise I would have had a hardship of being able to find a bicycle.”
— Zed

According to the City of Portland, 244 Biketown bikes were vandalized in the past two weeks — rendering nearly a quarter of the entire system out of service. As the City of Portland struggles to get the bikes fixed and back out on the streets (sources say they don’t have enough spare parts on-hand to fix them all) and the police bureau works to track down the suspects, we’ve been following the community response.

The vast majority of people we’ve heard from here on the blog, and on Facebook and Instagram, have expressed anger and outrage. While the Biketown crew is crestfallen (having just recovered from crazy winter snow and ice storms), they must feel good about all the support that has poured in. It seems like most of you think of Biketown as a shared, common good: A sign that it has quickly become a respected pillar of our public transit system.

On that note, one comment in particular stood out to us. It came in yesterday afternoon from a reader named “Zed”:

I too, was one of the many individuals disheartened at a Nike swooped bicycle fleet entering into the city for some time having lived off and on in this city for the last 6 years.

I, too, felt it was a sign of gentrification, rising tides and making the city a place for those tourists who had fat wallets and were barely able to maneuver a bicycle.

However, I recently discovered a program partnership where Biketown has partnered with Community Cycling Center partnered with Biketown to offer the bikes to those who were disenfranchised and not well off (the ‘Biketown for All’ program).

Basically, the program allows individuals from several non-profit agencies (Central City Concern, StreetRoots) to use the bicycles for a $3 monthly fee.

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Having become chronically homeless, this program has empowered and enabled me to be able to enjoy bicycle events that otherwise I would have had a hardship of being able to find a bicycle.

I use the bicycles extensively now thanks to this program and often find myself going for the white version so I am not giving off too much of a tourist vibe.

Do I still cringe at many of the aspects out-of-reach in this new landscape of Portland? Of course. But, I am a lot less angry at Biketown because of the Biketown for All Program which has empowered me to be able to bike 5-8 miles daily.

They would do well to tell this other side of Portland’s story – those given strength-based narratives from this bicycle distribution program.

I’d like to try the yellow bikes, give love to the ride and be free movement of old Portland – but they are mostly at the bottom of the Willamette. So orange becomes the new yellow.

“Orange becomes the new yellow” — a reference to Portland’s original bike-sharing scheme where yellow bikes were simply left out for anyone to use — is an apt mantra for how Portland has changed in the past two decades. Remember in 2004 when anti-corporate activists tossed a Molotov cocktail through the windows of a Starbucks? When that happened, the global coffee chain didn’t enjoy nearly as much support as Biketown did last week.

Maybe this speaks to how Portland has become more accustomed to (or just desensitized to) the slow burn of change in a fast-growing city — or maybe it’s because bicycles have such a life-changing impact on so many people that use them (yes even moreso than coffee). Or maybe it’s a bit of both.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Zed. You’ve won yourself a crisp $5 bill and a few other goodies.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

129 Comments
  • BB April 7, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Seattle’s entire bikeshare fleet was just mothballed, perhaps a source of spare parts there.

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    • Mark Allyn April 8, 2017 at 7:21 am

      Thank you, BB. You beat me to the punch. I was in Seattle last week and I noticed the entire Seattle system was already locked down and waiting to be stripped. I googled and found that they will be put into storage, awaiting another city to buy them. Perhaps you shoud step up to the plate and grab them and integrated them with your fleet.

      Mark Allyn
      Bellingham, Washington
      (Former Portlander)

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  • Justin M April 7, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    I’d forgotten about the Biketown for all program. I’ve actually been pretty surprised by how much of an effort Biketown has made to being a part of the community. They’ve even reached out to our shop to list us on their site as a place that rents bikes. They really are a great addition to Portland. Tho, is there any way they could get people to ride with their saddles higher? It hurts my knees just to look at 90% of these riders.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu April 7, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks Zed for showing an valuable service of Biketown that many, like me, didn’t know about.

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  • John Lascurettes April 7, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    Jonathan, there seems to be a preponderance of people assuming that Biketown is mostly “for tourists”. Could you fish for a statement from them as to the makeup of their customer base?

    Sure seems to me like there’s a lot more locals using the system than many people think (particularly based on the comments of many BP commenters that use the system). I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the majority of rides.

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    • Kyle Banerjee April 8, 2017 at 7:36 am

      Why do people think tourists riding these things is a bad thing? The only possible outcome of making this service less available to tourists and others is greater personal automobile use and reduced use of active modes of transit.

      It’s guaranteed that huge percentage of tourists who currently use Biketown will switch to Uber if the bikes go away even if some can also be counted on opting to get around on loud diesel belching buses.

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      • 9watts April 8, 2017 at 7:44 am

        “Why do people think tourists riding these things is a bad thing?”

        I am not sure anyone went so far as to say it was a ‘bad’ thing, but I do think it is a very different thing than if locals use it. I am not Travel Oregon; I am not interested in tourists coming here, spending money, or in us/Nike spending money to attract them. And I’d be far less interested in this system if it turned out that it was primarily used by tourists than people who live here getting some place.

        “The only possible outcome of making this service less available to tourists and others is greater personal automobile use and reduced use of active modes of transit.”

        Everything is binary with you; static; zero sum, if not A, then B. What if bikeshare attracts *more* tourists? What if in the absence of bikeshare folks pursued a bike rental system (many versions exist though I’m not sure how many of the smart-phone based ones exist here or would be as likely to spring up with bikeshare here. I’m not for or against bikeshare (I’m watching and waiting) but I bristle at your glib conclusions suggesting even if it were for tourists that it is still automatically beneficial because they’d use cars otherwise.

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        • Kyle Banerjee April 8, 2017 at 8:06 am

          If you don’t like outsiders, why do you live in an expensive area that people want to come to? A lot of businesses (and the people who work for them) depend on tourism to get by.

          But hey, you may be onto something. You and your buddies can trash businesses that attract and cater to tourists. That would be a huge section of the waterfront. Make the place less attractive by vandalizing the areas they frequent. Next time, don’t forget the bike services on the waterfront, and be sure to get the tram — that attracts quite a few people. That will make Portland great again!

          It takes serious reality deprivation to imagine that damaging bike share won’t move people who would use the service to autos (Uber, car2go, etc) or that many people will figure out a bike rental system that doesn’t exist and won’t for the foreseeable future.

          In any case, bike share has a very different purpose than bike rental. Pick up and drop off will never be as convenient with a rental bike. There is no way you can reasonably secure one. There is no way to avoid dealing with contracts or issues with damage, cleaning, etc.

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          • Kyle Banerjee April 8, 2017 at 8:11 am

            P.S. Tourists come to see things they can’t see elsewhere, so they’ll keep coming so long as the art gallery, OMSI, and the like are here. Also, convenient transport to the airport is a big deal for tourists so better do something about that too.

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            • 9watts April 8, 2017 at 8:21 am

              What started this little side conversation about tourists, let me recall for you, was your statement: “Why do people think tourists riding these things is a bad thing?”

              You’ve now run all the way to ‘let’s destroy all the infrastructure that has anything to do with attracting or catering to tourists.’ Is that how your mind works?

              Not endorsing tourism as a goal of local spending and policy should be easily distinguished from trashing infrastructure designed to attract this demographic. Your careless comments in this thread imply that I speak for/agree with the Rose City Saboteurs which couldn’t be further from the truth and does no one any good.

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            • bjorn April 9, 2017 at 8:45 am

              you mean like build a light rail train there? Why didn’t someone think of that?

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          • 9watts April 8, 2017 at 8:15 am

            Oh my.

            “If you don’t like outsiders, why do you live in an expensive area that people want to come to?”

            Maybe because my family has been in Portland since the 1840s? As for ‘not liking outsiders’ what is that about? Can we please skip the untoward and sloppy accusations?
            Not interested in attracting tourists and not liking outsiders are two very different things. Tourism spreads inequality the world over and is in fact widely questioned by the visited, including those whose livelihood (now) depends on them.

            “You and your buddies can trash businesses that attract and cater to tourists.”

            Can we skip the wild ad hominems please? I have never and do not condone trashing businesses that cater to tourists. But your need to tar me with that brush speaks volumes about your style of argument.

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            • Kyle Banerjee April 8, 2017 at 8:47 am

              Ahh — a real “native Oregonian.” You do realize the entire history of this area?

              I’m sure the role your family played was all positive and made sure people who were on your family’s property before your family arrived were treated well and that their dealings with nonwhite settlers were equally positive. I can see why you feel like you have greater ownership of the area than the rest of us and feel justified in discouraging others from coming

              Where do you get that tourism spreads inequality? And if you believe that, why do you believe that bike rental should even exist. Who on earth except a tourist would rent a bike? Seriously?

              Are you unaware that public money is spent specifically to attract tourists? We’re talking money with no services whatsoever attached. BTW, Portland attracted over 9 million person overnight trips, spent 5.1 billion directly, and brought in almost a quarter billion in tax revenue. I’m sure it would be better if that went away. https://www.travelportland.com/about-us/visitor-statistics-research/

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              • 9watts April 8, 2017 at 11:11 am

                “I can see why you feel like you have greater ownership of the area than the rest of us and feel justified in discouraging others from coming”

                We were talking about tourism. You exhibit a habit here of shifting the conversation to personal slights rather than sticking to the subject, the argument. I never said anything about feelings of greater ownership.

                As for the billions that tourists bring here, I’m not at all impressed or persuaded that this is an unqualified good thing. Casinos, landfills, hospitals, prisons, are also all ways to bring money into a town or area, and many jurisdictions also pursue them. So?
                What good are those billions if we have no decent infrastructure, gentrification, inequality, spiraling homelessness, etc.?

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              • TonyT
                TonyT April 8, 2017 at 11:23 am

                You asked 9watts why they live here and 9watts answered. There’s no reason to assume that they aren’t also quite aware of OUR complex and often genocidal roots or that they feel entitled to some “greater ownership” status. Smearing a concern about tourism as being about outsiders is a pretty blatant strawman. Portland wasn’t always an expensive tourist destination and those who have issues with that shouldn’t be just told to leave.

                Seems to me that the person implying that the other person who lives here should leave is the one feeling entitled to ownership.

                Specific topics aside, this “If you hate it, why do you live here?” argument takes a variety of forms and is hardly ever helpful. It’s quite often leveled at people on the left in the form of “love it or leave it.” I remember it well during the run-up to the Iraq war.

                People are entitled to have opinions, positive or negative, and seek change based on those opinions. Responding to those you disagree with with “then why don’t you leave” contributes nothing and ultimately welcomes others to level the same at you. “Have issues with people who disagree with you on a website? Why don’t you leave?” Childish.

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              • 9watts April 8, 2017 at 11:24 am

                “why do you believe that bike rental should even exist.”

                We were talking about two prevalent, courted, celebrated arrangements: corporate sponsorship & tourism. Bikeshare (as imagined up thread) overlaps both; bike rentals of the sort I’ve experienced here only one.

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              • Kyle Banerjee April 9, 2017 at 10:54 am

                My comments were a bit mean, and for that I apologize. The reason I said what I did is that I’m personally frustrated with an attitude I repeatedly encounter that there are people here who made Oregon what it is and others are invaders that mess things up. You can live here decades and never be seen as legitimate as some kid who just happened to be born here.

                People invoke history as justification for making it difficult for making others unwelcome with laws and practices but the reality is what we call Oregon is very young. People alive right now have met individuals who personally helped drive the original inhabitants off their land, set things up for themselves, and declared it their birthright to maintain that new status quo.

                Portland is one of the least diverse cities in the nation by design. That will continue until different people with different ideas come. What people consider tradition here reflects a tiny slice of history that followed huge change that a group of people brought. So I’m unclear why anyone should get to stop the clock simply because it benefits them.

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              • 9watts April 9, 2017 at 11:09 am

                you on April 8, 2017 at 7:36 am:
                “Why do people think tourists riding these things is a bad thing?

                you on April April 9, 2017 at 10:54 am:
                “…why anyone should get to stop the clock?”

                you’re seriously drifting, man. Are we still talking about tourists?

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              • Kyle Banerjee April 9, 2017 at 11:47 am

                You don’t have to discuss anything you don’t want to.

                Truth be told, I also find tourists to be a nuisance — but I feel the same about novice cyclists. I specifically choose paths and destinations to avoid both.

                However, I believe everyone belongs and that we should welcome anyone who wants to see what we have. I think ideas and programs should be judged on their impact rather than the source.

                In the case at hand, if a corporation helps bring about bike share you can rent for $12/mo (BTW, tourists pay 30 times more — $12/day), it should not be resisted if that same idea would have been celebrated if it came from any other source.

                That’s a bargain that no other mechanism will touch. To resist a program that provides a benefit few other cities enjoy on ideological grounds is to cut our nose to spite our faces and will discourage others from even attempting progress.

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              • 9watts April 9, 2017 at 11:58 am

                “To resist a program that provides a benefit few other cities enjoy on ideological grounds is to cut our nose to spite our faces ”

                I can’t tell if you’re talking to me (I think so) or the RCS (not sure). But I was objecting to the corporate sponsorship dimension, not bike share.

                This is a multidimensional subject and it would be more interesting if we could discuss it as such rather than having to keep dealing with your – ‘if you don’t like the whole package you must sympathize with the RCS.’

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              • Kyle Banerjee April 9, 2017 at 12:29 pm

                What would you suggest as better than the corporate sponsorship since we seem unable to get it off the ground any other way? And how is this sort of corporate sponsorship worse than public transport covered with so much branding you can’t even see the vehicles?

                I think the anticorporate vibe sets us back by undermining progress in areas where interests overlap. Whether we like it or not, most people like the corporate thing. People actually pay money to wear logo merchandise, and if having Nike back this gets more people riding, that’s a good thing.

                The more bikes we get on the road, the more normal it becomes. Once it gets normal enough, it becomes much easier to attract proper funding.

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              • 9watts April 9, 2017 at 12:36 pm

                “What would you suggest as better than the corporate sponsorship”

                Me, personally? I would not consider corporate sponsorship from the get-go. If we can’t fund it another way (Kiel here had some ideas a while back that looked promising and maybe a lot cheaper) then maybe it isn’t meant to be. But I’m not demanding everyone else see it that way.

                “People actually pay money to wear logo merchandise, and if having Nike back this gets more people riding, that’s a good thing.”

                I hope we can agree to disagree on that one. The fact that (some) people wear corporate logos isn’t a good enough reason to bring corporate sponsorship into transportation policy or the White House.

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              • Kyle Banerjee April 9, 2017 at 1:20 pm

                9watts
                “What would you suggest as better than the corporate sponsorship”
                Me, personally? I would not consider corporate sponsorship from the get-go. If we can’t fund it another way (Kiel here had some ideas a while back that looked promising and maybe a lot cheaper) then maybe it isn’t meant to be. But I’m not demanding everyone else see it that way.
                “People actually pay money to wear logo merchandise, and if having Nike back this gets more people riding, that’s a good thing.”
                I hope we can agree to disagree on that one. The fact that (some) people wear corporate logos isn’t a good enough reason to bring corporate sponsorship into transportation policy or the White House.

                This is the point we disagree on.

                Progress often depends on compromises we’d prefer not to make. People tend to say no to things they don’t understand and bike share would be one of those things.

                Much better IMO to get it in place, get people using it, and fix issues done for expediency such as corporate sponsorship when we have the capability. This seems like something we could wean people off over time through gradual adjustments in fees or other funding mechanisms.

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              • Monkeysee April 9, 2017 at 1:52 pm

                Your are bringing too heavy an argument for 9 in regards to common sense.
                Keep it up.
                As one making their livelihood in a trade greatly attached to tourism, I vote for a 35% reduction in Portland residents across the board no matter their origin while gaining a 75% spike in tourism annually. My tips will increase exponentially.

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              • OregonJelly April 11, 2017 at 4:57 pm

                Why are you so determined to use this thread to prove what a d!ck you are? I’m surprised to see so many people cheering your baseless assumptions and hostility.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy April 10, 2017 at 10:39 am

          “Tourists” generally has a negative connotation, especially in Portland.

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      • Adam April 8, 2017 at 9:38 am

        I also think if tourists come to Portland, ride bikes, and love it, as many of them seem to do judging from the smiles on their faces, they may even take that love of cycling back to their home city or country, and start biking there too.

        I’m not thrilled by the Nike logos everywhere either, but that’s just the world we live in.

        I like to instead view the positive elements of the program – the biggest being the Biketown Program has the biggest potential to be that “gateway drug” to cycling that gets ppl out of their cars, that city planners worldwide desperately want to harness but never can.

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    • bjorn April 8, 2017 at 3:15 pm

      Over 2700 people have purchased annual accounts. I think more of the rides are being made by people who live in portland than by tourists.

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  • John April 7, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    Our first Starbucks in 2004? Not so much… the Pioneer Courthouse square location opened in 1989. Many other followed that.

    However, your comment did make me nostalgic for the Red & Black Cafe (was very near the Division Starbucks Molotov incident).

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  • 9watts April 7, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    “Maybe this speaks to how Portland has become more accustomed to (or just desensitized to) the slow burn of change in a fast-growing city — or maybe it’s because bicycles have such a life-changing impact on so many people that use them (yes even moreso than coffee). Or maybe it’s a bit of both.”

    I think there is another possibility.
    21st Century Multinational Corporations know that without their brand intact—a good reputation—they are finished. This inspires all sorts of feel-good spinoffs, philanthropic ventures. The efforts are often successful, even inspired. The problem is that the underlying motivation isn’t humanitarian but public relations. If Nike or Apple or any of a hundred multinationals were interested in doing good they could start by letting their workers unionize, pay them decent wages, stop outsourcing to low wage countries with lax environmental regulations, and the list goes on nearly forever.

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  • B. Carfree April 7, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    It’s a small thing, but Motivate is also going to run the (tiny) bikeshare program coming to Eugene. They have committed to making memberships in either city work in both, although there will be some fee adjustments. It’s kind of nice to see this portion of the transit system do a bit of integration where possible.

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  • Karl Dickman April 7, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    I will concede that I don’t like corporate sponsorships. If I were the dictator of the world, they would not exist. However, we don’t live in that world. In the real world, Oregonians passed Measures 5, 47, and 50, which limit the property taxes available to invest in needed infrastructure, including bike share and other bike facilities. A statewide balanced budget requirement further limits potential funding for infrastructure investments. So we’re left with begging Nike to brand our bike share with their swoosh. If you don’t like this state of affairs, you’re more likely to fix them by campaigning to overturn Measures 5, 47, and 50 than by cutting a few spokes and spraying some paint.

    The City of Portland has a helpful summary of their revenue streams and the limitations thereon at their website: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/cbo/article/18178

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    • 9watts April 8, 2017 at 7:49 am

      “So we’re left with begging Nike to brand our bike share with their swoosh.”

      You really think those are our only two options?

      Then there is the question I wrote in my bikeportland post on this subject: what about the possibility that by habitually running to Nike (and achieving a widely celebrated deal) we are undermining the prospects of returning to a system in which we raise the kind of revenue required to have decent infrastructure through the ‘normal’ channels?

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      • Karl Dickman April 8, 2017 at 4:28 pm

        Not 2 options, 4.
        1. Tax revenue.
        2. Budget cuts in other services.
        3. Non-tax revenue (e.g. Nike sponsorship).
        4. Do not build.

        Option 1 is an extremely difficult political lift. Options 2 and 4 hurt people. Option 3 annoys me aesthetically, but it at least got a system up and running.

        “What about the possibility that by habitually running to Nike we are undermining the prospects of returning to a system in which we raise the kind of revenue required to have decent infrastructure through the ‘normal’ channels?”
        This seems very unlikely indeed as it is contradicted by much political science. People are loss averse. They need to have concrete experience with something to support it politically. Without that, the fear of losing X dollars out of every paycheck is a more powerful motivator than the hope that bike share is useful. Once you have the system up and running, loss aversion works the other way, because you have a constituency of users willing to fight to preserve the concrete benefits they receive.

        I am also confused “habitually running to Nike.” Are there other infrastructure investments in Portland that have been funded by a Nike sponsorship?

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        • 9watts April 8, 2017 at 5:03 pm

          My phrase ‘habitually running to Nike’ was shorthand for our society’s penchant for constant fund raising from preschool on. Fundraising (hitting up businesses or corporations for contributions) is so ingrained, so pervasive, we hardly even notice it. Not all societies are so addicted to fund raising.

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        • wsbob April 10, 2017 at 9:28 am

          Advertising, is part of life in the U.S., under our mainly capitalism based socio-economic society. People set up independent or corporate businesses, and we as citizens, use our money to buy things we need, from them. Essentially, it’s our 10 million dollars that Nike has contributed to Portland’s bike share…money we paid the company for shoes and other sportswear and sports gear. Nike didn’t have to pitch in that 10 mil, but it’s highly incentivized to do it.

          Under what socio-economic system, is a society not going to have some advertising? In countries where people live under communism, it seems they tend to be overwhelmed with big government propaganda posters instead of swoosh and soup posters. We’re doing better in the U.S., I think.

          We manage to get at least some restraint on advertising, but maybe not enough in some areas. Many years ago, imposition of conventional billboard sign messaging, and business signage in our area, Beaverton and Portland, had gotten way out of control. Lots more of them than now, and in the case of business signs, much bigger and taller. They had become, if nothing else more serious, an eyesore. Cities actually adopted ordinances to scale them back.

          One source of advertising irritant I feel may be of concern are those digital billboards. Within the last several months, two of them have come to Canyon Rd out in Beaverton (just looked at the map…actually, the section of Canyon, all the way west to 108th, that the digital billboards are on, appears not to be in Beaverton city limits, but are instead in either Portland or the county.). They each have two sides, so there’s effectively four billboards.

          They’re very bright in comparison to conventional overhead lit billboards, and they display a bunch of ads, each changing after a number of seconds. Kind of like television. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised at all, if these billboards could broadcast video of a quality that would look similar to a tv image. Alongside roads and highways, these type of moving image displays seem to hold the potential for being very distracting to people driving.

          I’m not saying I think the people that went out and damaged Portland’s biketown bike share, should go out and destroy digital billboards: they should not do that. But we as a society do have need of putting some limits on the degree to which advertising is imposed upon the public. The digital billboards may be one form of advertising that poses a problem that should be dealt with. I know Portland struggled some years back, to get rid of the couple of billboards in southwest. To no avail it seems.

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    • Matt S. April 10, 2017 at 7:08 am

      Nike is about getting people active, sponsoring athletes, etc.. I’m glad it’s them and not Wells Fargo, Target or Walmart. Plus, they’re a homegrown company. Sure, the CEO may not be such a pleasant man to have tea with, but he sure throws this money around. Maybe not for altruistic motives, but nonetheless the money does have impact. I play basketball on a Nike sponsored court, run on a track and field partially sponsored by Nike, ride a bike sponsored by Nike — all while wearing Nike shoes and apparel.

      The corporate sponsorship could be way worse…

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      • 9watts April 10, 2017 at 8:19 am

        In other contexts we refer to this kind of internalization of the values of the powerful, the aggressor, the agents of state violence as Stockholm Syndrome.

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        • Matt S. April 10, 2017 at 12:41 pm

          I take offense to this sir and I don’t think you play very nicely on this forum.

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          • 9watts April 10, 2017 at 1:08 pm

            I am sorry you took offense. I do wish to play nicely here and everywhere.
            Can you elaborate why you think the Stockholm Syndrome concept applied to the rather thoroughgoing degree of branding you experience and endorse is untoward?

            This from wikipedia:
            “Victims of the formal definition of Stockholm syndrome develop “positive feelings toward their captors and sympathy for their causes and goals, and negative feelings toward the police or authorities”.[4] These symptoms often follow freed victims back into their previously ordinary lives.”

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            • Matt S. April 11, 2017 at 8:42 am

              I don’t see Nike as a captor. I know many people with livelihoods attached to Nike. Plus, millions of people run and play basketball everyday and need shoes and apparel to participate. I don’t find it very comfortable to play in Goodwill cut-off jeans and free warn converse found on the street corner.

              Maybe that’s the problem. These kids should just forgo sports altogether to uphold their parent’s out of touch ideological views — ‘our kids’ shoes are vegan and all natural!’ Yeah, but that hemp is GMO… That synthetic leather is petroleum based… That recycled rubber had to come from somewhere…

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              • 9watts April 11, 2017 at 11:59 am

                Thank you for your reply. I appreciate understanding better where you’re coming from. My response would be to ask if you think people had less fun (playing, sports, exercise) before Nike? Would be likely to have less fun, or be less predisposed to after multinational corporations have blown away?

                “These kids should just forgo sports altogether to uphold their parent’s out of touch ideological views”

                Is that really the alternative? Seems kind of mean too, if we’re keeping score.

                I guess to me the question worth asking is if we can’t imagine a happy, fulfilled, healthy, vibrant life without Nike* what does that say about us?

                *[given the sum of the regrettable and I don’t think disputed ways it has conducted itself across the globe over the past few decades]

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              • Matt S. April 12, 2017 at 11:50 am

                You’re right, that wasn’t very nice and I’m sorry. And I agree, Nike has done some terrible things over the years and if my memory serves me correctly, they’ve done some shady things to provide cover.

                And you’re right again. The branding has worked on me. I do find the bright orange bikes with nike swooshes kind of cool. I grew up wearing my Jordan’s with pride. I suppose you can say I’m a little brain washed. Thank you for challenging me.

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              • wsbob April 12, 2017 at 1:19 pm

                Nike innovation starting with Phil Knight, did great things to help inspire people to run. Some of whom likely would never have much considered running if they felt they couldn’t rely on the likelihood of getting a good shoe that would actually let running be a comfortable sports activity to engage in. There is potentially a parallel in the bike design being used for Portland’s bike share.

                For certain, there is already considerable appeal in the visual design of biketown bikes. From a functional standpoint, actually pedaling the bikes around, it sounds to me like the bikes are…let me just politely say, modest in performance…slow and sluggish. Possibly though, Nike’s design engineers could help on that count, if the opportunity happens to arise.

                Efforts to try to demonize nike for being a corporation, implying that company strategy has conspired to abuse and exploit people, brainwash them into having a love for the product they wouldn’t otherwise care about, seem bizarre to me. Shoes the company has designed and produced, have been hugely popular, even when the company was a dinky corporation. Initially, much by word of mouth, I think. What the company produces today, still seem to be very much loved.

                Fact; it’s not uncommon for corporations, big ones, to make mistakes, get into muddy territory. People as individuals do it too, but the ramifications mostly are a bigger deal when a big corporation gets into, or makes a mess of things. I think it’s important though, to keep a distinction clear between the good things corporations and businesses do, and the bad things they do, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

                Despite attendant personal gain, Nike did a good thing for people in creating excellent running shoes for people. The company has done a good thing for people in sponsoring Portland’s biketown bike share system, possibly interesting people in riding, that wouldn’t have otherwise considered riding.

                The anti-corporate advertising, public coercion protest, doesn’t have much strength of argument, despite the drama of destruction some of them inflicted upon the public. Would the people objecting to nike’s colors and logo splashed all over the bikes and the bike system have not thought to register an objection, if the bikes were visually designed instead…no logos at all and all yellow, green, gray, etc…with the company of course, still kicking down the 10 mil? I wonder. It sounds to me like they’re happy to take the money.

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              • 9watts April 13, 2017 at 9:14 am

                “I think it’s important though, to keep a distinction clear between the good things corporations and businesses do, and the bad things they do, whether intentionally or unintentionally.”

                How about taking your own advice. Care to tot up the good and the bad? As for unintentional bad things… seems like kind of a stretch given the sustained and decades-old efforts to pressure Nike into doing the right thing.

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              • wsbob April 14, 2017 at 7:24 pm

                “…our kids’ shoes are vegan and all natural!’ Yeah, but that hemp is GMO… That synthetic leather is petroleum based …” matt s

                For people that can wear vegan shoes, more power to them. If it’s the plastic that nike and other brand sports shoes seem to be universally interested in, I’ll pass. Tried a number of them, and my feet don’t seem to like them. Leather makes for shoe uppers, seems best for my feet. Petroleum based soles work better than leather for wet weather like we have here in Oregon.

                Big deal, nike is a corporation, albeit, a big corporation. Lots of big businesses are corporations…even small businesses can be corporations. Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, all are most likely corporations. Even small local bike related companies like Rapha, and Portland Design Works, may be corporations. Would the vandals have given their destructive treatment to a Portland bike share system underwritten by Trek?

                Right off hand, names of companies that remained private, long after they grew to be very big, don’t come to mind, but I believe there have been many that did so. The corporation system came about because it subjects businesses to less risk of failing. And to the individuals running and employed by corporate business. In theory at least.

                It’s fine for people to say they want a different business system…more accountable and less dominating, if people find those are big objections. Say it, if that’s what’s on your mind. Just busting stuff up, leaves a murky message.

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      • meh April 10, 2017 at 8:33 am

        You do know that Phil is no longer the CEO. He’s throwing HIS money around, not the company’s.

        The CEO who is throwing the company’s money around it Mark Parker

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        • Matt S. April 11, 2017 at 8:44 am

          Thank you for the Google info.

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  • Mike Quigley April 8, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Time to mothball Biketown. Repair ’em and they will be vandalized again.

    Portland, you’re way out of your bicycling league.

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    • Ktaylor April 8, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Thanks for summing this up so nicely, tony t. Portland wasn’t a big, expensive tourist town until very recently. Kyle, think of the reaction of people like 9watts (and me) as more like what your reaction would be if someone came and rearranged your living room while you were out at the store and then wouldn’t let you back into it to use the vastly changed amenities (who needs these family photo albums? Pitch ’em out!) unless you paid them a lot of money. And this happened to all your friends and family too, and all the businesses you loved that made your neighborhood feel like home, and most of them had to leave. Wouldn’t you be just a little bummed out? Sure, this has happened throughout history to better people than me, but it still sucks. It sucks. It just sucks.

      I am delighted to have biketown! It’s a great addition to our transit system, and the wobbly non-cyclists who use them in droves during the summer really slow down auto traffic downtown.

      I’m not delighted to have tourists. I don’t like having my home fetishized and turned into a cartoon for the benefit of dilettantes. Call me crazy…

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      • soren April 8, 2017 at 5:27 pm

        “but it still sucks. It sucks. It just sucks.”

        i don’t pine for old portland given its history of exclusion, socioeconomic/ethnic cleansing, and redlining. in fact, i feel schadenfreude when it comes to people mourning the loss of old portland.

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        • 9watts April 8, 2017 at 5:38 pm

          That kind of broad brush dismissal is completely unhelpful. As if what you derisively call Old Portland were some monolithic racist backwater. Can’t it be possible to hold both a critical view of the past and simultaneously be sympathetic to those presently pushed aside or nostalgic even? You seem to think that those who hanker for the past are by definition landed gentry, and the ones whose cause you champion in the present recently immigrated renters. But Portland has always had both. I’d submit that rapid change is hardly ever good for the majority.

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          • Middle of the Road Guy April 10, 2017 at 10:44 am

            For once I agree with you.

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        • K Taylor April 8, 2017 at 6:34 pm

          I’m confused – – so you like it better now that most of the black people have been pushed out of North Portland? Now that poor people can’t afford to live here anymore? Your line of reasoning just doesn’t follow. I could understand it (and probably enjoy the schadenfreude a little myself) if what had happened was that low-income black and Latino and Vietnamese and Laotian people had all somehow managed to push white people out of the city and take over. I would still be sad to lose my home, but at least that would be kind of cool.

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          • soren April 9, 2017 at 12:36 pm

            “that most of the black people have been pushed out of North Portland?”

            “old portland” did those things, k taylor. imo, your response is the epitome of cognitive dissonance.

            i see signs of hope in new portland. chloe eudaly was selected by an electorate that is fed up with institutionalized housing inequity. moreover, rent regulation, tenants rights, and luxury housing taxes are now within the overton window of political discussion in portland. hopefully we can begin to tear down the policies that excluded and oppressed lower income people, people of color, and renters.

            when tenants organize, they win.

            “some monolithic racist backwater”

            it was/is a racist backwater but my comment was also direct at the monolithic capitalism that underpins housing exclusion in portland (e.g. neighborhood preservation).

            “definition landed gentry”

            the landed gentry have been running this city for a long time, 9watts. i want to change that.

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            • K Taylor April 9, 2017 at 9:04 pm

              Your optimism is greater than mine, Soren.

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            • SE Rider April 10, 2017 at 2:02 pm

              let’s be honest Chloe Eudaly was elected because voters were voting against Steve Novick.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty April 10, 2017 at 2:36 pm

                She’s fired the chiefs of two bureaus under her control (ONI and BDS). I’m sure she’s got something big planned!

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            • rachel b April 10, 2017 at 4:32 pm

              This was a primarily working class town. Not a lot of “landed gentry” ’til recently.

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              • soren April 10, 2017 at 9:02 pm

                meh. when i moved here two decades ago inner portland was already a frothing cesspool of real estate speculation — much of it by locals.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty April 10, 2017 at 9:21 pm

                in 1996, some houses were hitting ridiculous prices like $200K. The landed gentry spent their time counting sacks of silver.

                In 2016, those same houses are selling for $500K.

                That’s a huge increase over 20 years. But now a house can appreciate that much overnight if it is first demolished.

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        • K Taylor April 8, 2017 at 6:43 pm

          Also, 9Watts is right – your response here is sort of like waiting for someone to say they miss their dead mother to get up on your soapbox and decry the institution of motherhood.

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      • Kyle Banerjee April 9, 2017 at 12:08 pm

        Ktaylor
        Thanks for summing this up so nicely, tony t. Portland wasn’t a big, expensive tourist town until very recently. Kyle, think of the reaction of people like 9watts (and me) as more like what your reaction would be if someone came and rearranged your living room while you were out at the store and then wouldn’t let you back into it to use the vastly changed amenities (who needs these family photo albums? Pitch ’em out!) unless you paid them a lot of money. And this happened to all your friends and family too, and all the businesses you loved that made your neighborhood feel like home, and most of them had to leave. Wouldn’t you be just a little bummed out? Sure, this has happened throughout history to better people than me, but it still sucks. It sucks. It just sucks.
        I am delighted to have biketown! It’s a great addition to our transit system, and the wobbly non-cyclists who use them in droves during the summer really slow down auto traffic downtown.
        I’m not delighted to have tourists. I don’t like having my home fetishized and turned into a cartoon for the benefit of dilettantes. Call me crazy…

        I get that. But it’s no cakewalk for anyone.

        I doubt I’ll ever be able to own a place here even though I’ve been working for over 30 years (I’ve only been in PDX for 5). I know for certain that if something works out, there’s no way it will be in one of those neighborhoods everyone likes so much. So while I appreciate that people like how they’re set up and don’t want to see that change, I also don’t think it’s right for others to be denied a chance at that. I’ll have to leave eventually for the simple reason that I can only be here as long as I hold a good job.

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        • 9watts April 9, 2017 at 12:33 pm

          “So while I appreciate that people like how they’re set up and don’t want to see that change, I also don’t think it’s right for others to be denied a chance at that”

          That sounds nice, sure. But how many others? 10,000, 100,000, 1,000,000? Everything is finite. If another 100,000 want to live on Hawthorne it won’t be Hawthorne anymore but Hongkong. Hongkong may be a nice place, but what would be the point?

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          • Kyle Banerjee April 9, 2017 at 1:10 pm

            It’s a complicated question. I don’t know what the solution is, but I don’t think it’s to create a gated community for those and their descendants lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.

            Change occurs whether we like it or not. Some is good, and some is not so good. Even if I didn’t have an issue with the insane costs here, I’d probably leave eventually anyway because I also like the things people are concerned about losing and have no interest in living in a concrete and steel wasteland.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty April 10, 2017 at 11:28 am

              There are a range of options between “gated community” and Hong Kong. I believe growth will slow when housing costs reach equilibrium with the other west coast cities that are becoming part of a unified housing market, thanks to technology and cheap airfares.

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        • K Taylor April 9, 2017 at 1:20 pm

          Sure, everyone has a right to want to live in a small, friendly city – but if everyone decides to pile into the same small, friendly city, the place just gets destroyed. Portland didn’t just pop into existence fully formed – we made it. We made this thing that everybody suddenly decided was the promised land and that everyone piled into and destroyed. If you made something that took a great deal of time, work, commitment and money, wouldn’t you feel like it belonged to you more than it does to the person who showed up and immediately claimed a share of it without doing any of the work?

          I’m in the same boat as you – I could be completely priced out of this place at some point. I’m already planning for it. When I talk about what we had here 10-15 years ago and earlier, I’m not complaining about all my unearned riches that equally deserving newcomers are trying to take away from me – I’m mourning a lost loved one. It is like a person I loved was killed and replaced with an android that repeats over and over as catchphrases a few things that person used to say that actually meant something when the person was alive. If you moved here five years ago, you never knew that person – I can understand your not missing them – but do you really not get what that’s like? I was born here. This place shaped me, just like my family did. That’s different than deciding to move to a place as an adult.

          I’m not trying to just be mean here. Soon, I’ll be a newcomer in another town – probably one where my money will go further – and everyone who was already there when people like me started showing up will hate me, and I will totally not blame them.

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          • Kyle Banerjee April 9, 2017 at 1:36 pm

            I understand the dynamic.

            I grew up in a rural area. When we came, there were only 4 houses on the entire road. Our house is on a lake that was full of fish and the surrounding fields and forests had loads of wildlife.

            Now there are a bunch of houses. The forests are mostly gone and so is the wildlife. The noises and smells I used to love are gone and the lake no longer freezes because runoff from the houses and chemicals warm the water and prevent things from growing. People think of it as being in the sticks since it’s still not in a town, but it’s a depressing suburb to my eyes.

            I totally agree that development should not occur willy nilly. But we all are new at some point and every tradition was novel at some point. Change is inevitable and the question is how to manage it.

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            • 9watts April 9, 2017 at 1:54 pm

              “I totally agree that development should not occur willy nilly.”

              Some common ground – I’m glad we stuck it out!

              “Change is inevitable and the question is how to manage it.”

              I think we can dig a little deeper. If we concede that population growth, corporate sponsorship, gentrification, moving on are all givens, inevitable, forces of nature, then no one wins. I come from a place where these various forces can be interrogated, problematized, parsed. We can ask ourselves whether the net results are beneficial or not, and if we think not, we can do something about them, together. Not lording it over the less well positioned but in concert.
              To spell this out seems almost absurd, but so many folks here post as if this were not so, as if we can’t actually do anything about all this, or if we could it would invariably turn out racist or elitist or something else untoward. There seems to be a collective sense that all of this is happening to us and we’re just spectators. What an uninspiring vision.

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              • K Taylor April 9, 2017 at 2:50 pm

                Hear, hear!

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            • K Taylor April 9, 2017 at 2:39 pm

              Augh – that is so upsetting! 🙁 Very sorry about your beautiful home, Kyle.

              Here’s the weird thing – – Portland has changed and changed and changed since I was a kid, and has rolled pretty gracefully with all that change. I’m grateful for the people who came here in the 1990s and saved the historic buildings – – one thing you couldn’t say for Portlanders pre-1990s is that we gave much of a rat’s ass about historic architecture. Many beautiful buildings were torn down and replaced with parking lots in the ’70s and ’80s – – even in the ’90s we lost the glorious Fox Theatre to the ugly glass tower known as Fox Plaza. Ironically, we’re right back there again – property is too valuable for historic architecture to be preserved, and we’re seeing more and more demolitions happening that would have been inconceivable a few years ago.

              What we have with Portland is the first ever internet-spawned mass migration into a city. In no way is it for a city to grow this fast. Good cities take planning, and when your leadership and agencies have to spend all their time in reactive mode, you can’t plan. We have an entirely new problem to solve with Portland, and we’re doing bupkus to solve it.

              I’m pretty sure it’s too late to make Portland livable and affordable again. The question I have is how do we keep this from happening to Madison and Kansas City and PIttburgh? The dream of living in a smallish, affordable city should be achievable – but to achieve it, a way has to be found to keep small, affordable cities small and affordable. I can’t think how you’d do that without placing limits on development and managing the number of people who can emigrate at one time.

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              • K Taylor April 9, 2017 at 2:52 pm

                Augh – internet brain. I meant “In no way is it natural for a city to grow this fast.”

                And re: Portland rolling well with change, I meant, of course, until the recent juggernaut.

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              • Kyle Banerjee April 9, 2017 at 3:49 pm

                I’ve had some interesting conversations with people about living here.

                One thing I find surprising is that people actually want to live in some of these suburbia type places — one of my coworkers was telling me how great Beaverton was. If I wanted to live in a place like that, there are a million options in the midwest where you can have exactly the same thing for way cheaper.

                Growth must be managed. As much as I whine about it, it’s something I think Oregon does well compared to other areas. If you must err, way better on the side of caution than to just open the floodgates because once you scrеw some things up, you can’t undo them.

                Ironically, 20 years ago I specifically swore I’d never live in Portland — a view I held until I actually came (long story). I thought it was way too crowded, way too expensive, and the traffic was insane.

                The only reason I see things differently is that traffic doesn’t affect me and getting to real wilderness is surprisingly easy. And many of the things that drive me nuts about Portland are actually the best part.

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              • wsbob April 9, 2017 at 6:04 pm

                “…One thing I find surprising is that people actually want to live in some of these suburbia type places — one of my coworkers was telling me how great Beaverton was. …” bannerjee

                Smart of you not to want to live in Beaverton. ‘Terribly boring, ugly place, smells bad, too much traffic.’ Spread the word…we really don’t need anymore people deciding Beaverton is a great place to live. As it is, property values and housing costs already are rising to the point poor people have a hard time affording a modest place to live.

                The ‘urban growth boundary’, as helpful in regulating development as that land planning, has been, is not able to keep people from being priced out of their homes and their city. The lure of catering to development, keeps eating up more open land…and near to city open land, is one of the things many people like about living in Beaverton. It’s quieter out here, has more light, and smells better than in high density living ares of Portland, like Downtown, or the Pearl.

                This idea some people from Portland seem to have, that infill by way of knocking down the city’s great single family dwelling architectural heritage and replacing them all, or a big portion of them with multi-story housing or concrete towers, as a means of somehow keeping housing in Portland affordable, is a major stretch of hopeful imagination.

                I suppose from a societal standpoint on the basis of fairness, we can’t do it, but just to keep housing affordable for people, we really do need some means of closing the door on people whose arrival from elsewhere would raise costs to the point of which they’re not affordable, in addition to continuing the methodical destruction of open land for development.

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              • Kyle Banerjee April 10, 2017 at 11:17 am

                The urban growth boundary is a double edged sword. It plays an important role in preventing endless sprawl but it also contributes to much higher housing costs.

                What I find interesting is that I hear some people live here because it’s relatively cheap and they can telecommute to their jobs located in super expensive places.

                For people whose jobs allow them to telecommute from virtually anywhere, I’m not sure why you’d want to come here. Sure, we have good access to things, but unless you really love the urban thing, you could have the same access living much more cheaply not that far away. If more jobs allow telecommuting, it could spread the people around more sensibly.

                BTW, on the subject of towns being for sale — there’s one in Oregon that you can pick up cheap. $3.85 million buys it buildings and all. This is not a joke. http://www.opb.org/news/article/oregon-tiller-town-sale-life/

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          • Kyle Banerjee April 9, 2017 at 2:01 pm

            One thing I fundamentally don’t understand about prices here is how it’s possible that so many people can pay them.

            House prices are such that it would take forever to pay it off on a normal working stiff’s salary even if 100% could be dedicated to payments (i.e. zero interest, zero taxes, zero for food and other expenses).

            How normal people can deal with this stuff unless they have an exceptionally high salary or some outside source of equity is beyond me.

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            • 9watts April 9, 2017 at 2:07 pm

              Inequality, 1%, that sort of thing. I have a hard time understanding it myself even though I know this to be so. A few people in this country have profited handsomely while most people have lost out.

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            • K Taylor April 9, 2017 at 2:48 pm

              There are still people paying mortgages they took out before 2014, when the roof blew off the housing market. The fact that I own a place and my mortgage is about half what an apartment would cost is the only reason I can afford to stay. Also, it helps not to have a car or kids. The terrifying thing is that in 2012, my mortgage was about what it would cost for a comparable apartment. So in just 4 and a half years, rent for this type of place has doubled. Who with a normal income can roll with that?

              A lot of the people moving here have tech jobs ($$$) or trust funds, and up until very recently, Portland housing was cheap in comparison to CA and NYC, where a lot of our emigrants have come from. Taxes are also lower and less comprehensive than in CA. A lot of people can work remotely now, so they may be making higher NYC or SF wages and living in Portland, where it is still somewhat cheaper for them.

              I am with you – it’s appalling. Pretty soon a lot of people who are scraping by now are not going to be able to manage anymore.

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            • Matt S. April 10, 2017 at 7:47 am

              Most young professionals (30s and 40s) that I know which live west of 39th and north of Burnside have very strong dual incomes (100k plus). They’ve all gone to college, have low student loan debt, have less than two children, and have been provided some kind of assistance from family to front the down payment on their home.

              When economists talk about a global, highly specialized economy, it’s a city like Portland they’re talking about. Portland is a city where you move away from and become highly skilled in something (nursing, dental hygiene, engineering, coding, law enforcement, etc.) and then move back to. Portland is full of neighborhoods, especially close in with second and third time homebuyers capable of the down payments, high mortgages and property taxes.

              And most of my friends could care less about the services around them (coffee shops, boutiques, and bars). They live here because of the access to the outdoors, mild climate, and how friendly people are. Portland just happens to be where the good jobs are in Oregon.

              I say, dine in, drink in, and you can live in Portland. All the services around us are just fluff. Don’t get me wrong I love live entertainment — a show or a play now and then!

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          • SE Rider April 10, 2017 at 2:07 pm

            “I was born here. This place shaped me, just like my family did.”

            I think you would be hard pressed to find a city in America that today doesn’t look different from what it did 20, 30, or 40 years ago. Portland’s not special in that regard. Time waits for no man.

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            • rachel b April 10, 2017 at 4:23 pm

              K Taylor mentioned she’s no stranger to change, living here. I don’t think K would argue with you that change is inevitable. The point she’s making is that this RECENT change has been of a different and more aggressive, disruptive sort than any previous change (which tended, in the past, to be more organic). I can second that.

              Incidentally, I find myself repeating this explanation again and again to people here who seem to think I (who hold the same general view as K) don’t understand what change is, or how to handle it. Just a little exasperating.

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            • KTaylor April 10, 2017 at 6:35 pm

              Yes – what rachel b said (thank you!). Why is it so hard to grasp the difference between a natural pace of change and the rapid erasure that has happened here over the past 10 years? It’s really not the same. Here are a few things I’m glad have changed in my time here:

              1) I no longer live in a house with two rusted out cars in the front yard, a big pile of trash and huge Norway rats in the basement that my brothers shot at with bb guns (this is where I grew up).

              2) The Springwater Corridor! The Eastbank Esplanade! The Max trains! A ped/bike/transit bridge over the Willamette! All kinds of things have been built during my lifetime that have been huge improvements. I’m also grateful for the newcomers who arrived in the ’90s and started renovating and preserving the historic buildings Portlanders tended to yank down so we could have more parking.

              3) What Film Action has done with the Hollywood Theater. Again, without newcomers, I’m not sure Hollywood Theater would still be here. Tom Moyer almost yanked it down in the ’80s, but he needed money, so he sold it to Norman Lear, and when Act III went out of business, Film Action got it.

              4) Bike infrastructure in the city! Ability to cross more than one bridge over the Willamette on a bike!

              Things I hated, but rolled with:

              1) All the second-hand bookstores dying off except for Powell’s.

              2) Henry Thiele’s, Rose’s and Quality Pie all going the way of the Dodo – I can recognize their time had come, but I miss them.

              3) People driving up housing prices by moving here from CA in the ’90s. That wave of emigration happened at a much more natural pace and in much more manageable numbers. People invested in the community and helped shape and evolve it gradually.

              4) People driving up housing prices by moving here from everywhere in the early 2000s. Again, at that point, the influx was still happening at a manageable pace, and the people coming here weren’t, by and large, rich. They came here because they liked Portland and wanted to help build on what was here, not to wipe what was here off the map and replace it with something ‘better.’

              I’m sure there are a lot more, but I think that’s enough.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty April 10, 2017 at 6:40 pm

                I recently heard someone preface a public statement with “If we want to grow into a _real_ city, we need to…”

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              • KTaylor April 10, 2017 at 7:06 pm

                _real_city. Ugh.

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              • rachel b April 10, 2017 at 7:52 pm

                The biggest irony is that we’re being turned more and more into a fake city. A “real city” would be an outgrowth of what existed–not this giant, fake-forced makeover.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. April 11, 2017 at 9:48 am

        You do realize this is the same argument that extremist nationalists make when they talk of outsiders ruining “their” country and pining for the “old days” when their country was great, right?

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty April 11, 2017 at 10:21 am

          Fascists also talk about building more housing “for the poor”.

          That someone distasteful used an argument that sounds a little like yours doesn’t invalidate it.

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        • KTaylor April 11, 2017 at 2:08 pm

          You could just as easily say that the opposite argument is what Manifest Destiny types say when they displace native populations and wipe out their cultures. That would be an equally reasonable comparison.

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          • soren April 14, 2017 at 9:20 pm

            i assume you are willing to see your income and savings decimated in order to fund reparations. i certainly am.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty April 15, 2017 at 12:10 am

              Reparations for what?

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            • Ktaylor April 15, 2017 at 7:21 am

              Huh? I was responding to a ridiculously overblown comparison with an equally ridiculously overblown comparison. If you follow the (not serious, at least on my part) analogy, what you’re saying is that I deserve reparations from the person who moved here from California last year.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu April 8, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Tourists don’t compete for housing, don’t compete for jobs, help support many local businesses, and bring lots of revenue to Portland.

    It wasn’t that long ago that Portland’s unemployment rate was over 10%. Yes, housing was cheap and traffic was light. If you preferred it that way, just wait a few years. The economy is cyclical and Portland’s is especially so.

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    • Ktaylor April 9, 2017 at 9:45 am

      The most recent job numbers show a drop in leisure and hospitality jobs. The stronger sectors are finance and construction.

      What about airbnb? That’s been a strong contributor to unavailable/unaffordable housing. Also, tourists only support some businesses – usually the really impractical ones. I’m glad for those businesses that they’re getting revenue, but if you live in a city, it’s not that great when the drugstore or shoe repair or laundromat goes out of business and in its place you get a quirky crafts or cupcake shop. For what it’s worth, I’d be a lot more jazzed about tourists if we had a sales tax.

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      • rachel b April 10, 2017 at 4:29 pm

        Hear, hear on the sales tax! So aggravating we’ve lost out on all that money…

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    • Jim April 9, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      Tourists do very much compete for housing. I know numerous people who used to have permanent tenants but now air B&B rooms. I’m not making a general anti-tourist statement, just pointing out that part is very incorrect.

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      • 9watts April 9, 2017 at 7:51 pm

        I forgot about that (rather recent) new twist. Thanks for the reminder.

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    • rachel b April 10, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      Tourism’s high on the hog for pretty much the whole world right now, but it’s horribly destructive. Barcelona’s just one place that’s had it and is establishing restrictions:

      http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/tourist-go-home-why-youre-no-longer-welcome-in-spain/news-story/4febc459dcd721f25bc113eab6c509e5

      Note the graffiti in the one photo: “Tourist go home. Refugees welcome.” I can second that sentiment.

      Oregon’s natural spaces are being destroyed by tourism and overuse. Here’s a good write-up. The Salem Statesman Journal has also written some compelling stories on this subject.

      https://theringer.com/instagram-geotagging-ruining-parks-f65b529d5e28

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      • KTaylor April 10, 2017 at 6:02 pm

        Fascinating…and horrifying. Thanks, rachel b!

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      • KTaylor April 10, 2017 at 6:12 pm

        “The resources we have are finite, it’s logical that there should be a finite number of people coming,”

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      • 9watts April 10, 2017 at 9:20 pm

        That piece about Oregon’s once special places being overrun was – interesting. The author struggles mightily to square the circle. She predictably ends up backing herself into the Leave No Trace corner, failing to realize that you can love a place to death even with conscientious visitors. Although no one in that long piece was willing to say it, there are simply too many of us. With an exponentially growing population, encouraging people to go off season, or midweek, or not to post so many Instagram photos once they get there is merely kicking the can down the road. We’ll just ruin it in ten years rather than five. And this: “Oregon markets the living crap out of its natural assets,” doesn’t help, as folks interviewed for the piece recognize.

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        • Kyle Banerjee April 11, 2017 at 2:36 pm

          The trick is if there are too many people, access must be managed. The basic mechanisms are what they do for Multnomah Falls or Crater Lake where bazillions of people are kept in a controlled area and having a limited number of permits that correspond with what the areas can safely sustain.

          Both mechanisms play an important role. There needs to be a way for enough people to experience certain things to raise and maintain the consciousness to protect the rest.

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      • soren April 11, 2017 at 11:21 am

        as a bright-green environmentalist i also believe people should stop using/destroying natural space. one of the best ways to preserve habitat and limit environmental destruction is to increase the height and depth of urban buildings, dismantle suburbs/exurbs, urbanized agriculture, and severely limit access to wilderness.

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        • 9watts April 11, 2017 at 11:29 am

          “one of the best ways to preserve habitat and limit environmental destruction is to increase the height and depth of urban buildings”

          Do you have any sources for that claim?

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            • 9watts April 13, 2017 at 10:24 pm

              Your statement which I asked you about above asserted that density ‘preserv[ed] habitat and limit[ed] environmental destruction’ yet the papers you linked to aren’t about that at all.

              Those amusing citations including by folks I know well are about carbon emissions as a function of urban density, and even at that there’s hardly a clear signal as evidenced by a quote from the fourth paper you cited:
              “Population density exhibits a weak but positive correlation with household carbon footprints (HCF) until a density threshold is met, after which range, mean, and standard deviation of HCF decline.”

              Density is merely a ratio; it doesn’t help us keep the remaining fossil fuels in the ground, but instead gives you a false sense that we’re somehow gaining on the problem by living on the third floor. If we all lived in dense cities at the consumption levels we now count on we’d still be in overshoot, ruin everything.

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              • soren April 14, 2017 at 8:26 am

                are you really challenging the direct link between increased urbanization (e.g. growth of suburbs) and habitat destruction and/or loss of biodiversity?

                When a minimum of 1000 people per
                1.6 km2 reside in a contiguous area with at least 50,000
                people, the area is classified by the US Bureau of the Census
                as urban (Edmondson 1991). Urbanization endangers
                species by replacing habitat directly and by depleting
                resources needed to support urban economies. The diversity
                of effects on species is reflected in the aforementioned
                preponderance of associations with other endangerment
                causes. Next to agriculture, urbanization is the most ubiquitous
                threat, endangering 275 species in 31 states and
                Puerto Rico. Sixty-one species are endangered in California,
                64 in Florida, and 26 in Texas—three of the most
                rapidly urbanizing states.

                https://www.steadystate.org/wp-content/uploads/Czech_et_al_Economic_Causes_of_Endangerment.pdf

                depopulating suburban and exurban areas by concentrating people in urban centers would facilitate a significant decrease in infrastructure- and transportation-associated land-use. it’s a no brainer.

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              • 9watts April 14, 2017 at 8:46 am

                “are you really challenging the direct link between increased urbanization (e.g. growth of suburbs) and habitat destruction and/or loss of biodiversity?”

                Now you’ve switched topics again. Lamenting the growth of suburbs is not the same thing as the pro-density claims you were making upthread. Let me redirect your attention back to your original statement:
                “one of the best ways to preserve habitat and limit environmental destruction is to increase the height and depth of urban buildings”

                This only (might) work with a stable population and no in-migration, neither of which obtain around these parts. You’re conflating a static redistribution of a given population with the dynamics of an exponentially growing population. The implications of those two scenarios are very different. Were you somehow to persuade current residents of the metro area to abandon their suburbs, raze those buildings, and then move into newly constructed high-rises in town—with no in-migration—your claims might have validity, but I think you’d have to agree we are pretty far from that sort of logic.

                “depopulating suburban and exurban areas by concentrating people in urban centers would facilitate a significant decrease in infrastructure- and transportation-associated land-use. it’s a no brainer.”

                What is a no-brainer? How do you propose persuading those living in the suburbs to do this? With a growing population even that fantasy is no guarantee of anything. The problem you lament is made up of
                (a) population growth,
                (b) consumption levels,
                (c) land use patterns,
                and a whole lot more. To claim that building up is going to achieve X or prevent Y is much too simplistic.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty April 14, 2017 at 10:19 am

                Urbanizing a rural population is one thing; transferring an already urban population from one urban area to another is quite different. Building more apartment towers will, perversely, increase the pressure on Oregon farmland and forest area by increasing the number of people in Oregon, many of whom are not going to want to stay in an apartment forever. They will want to have a family, which, for many, means a house.

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              • soren April 14, 2017 at 1:34 pm

                How do you propose persuading those living in the suburbs to do this?

                A good start would be to eliminate or reduce land-use, tax, and design subsidies for low-density single family housing, eliminate or reduce funding subsidies for suburban (and exurban) infrastructure/roads, and incentivize the construction of affordable housing (especially family housing) in the urban core.

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              • soren April 14, 2017 at 1:54 pm

                Building more apartment towers will, perversely, increase the pressure on Oregon farmland and forest area by increasing the number of people in Oregon

                (1) people are *already* moving to this area and i see no reason why more dense and affordable housing will have a major impact on this trend. if anything, more inclusionary/public housing (especially if it bypasses design guidelines) could make portland’s bougie neighborhoods less attractive to wealthy non-natives. a luxury housing sales tax would be a *terrific* source of revenue for my vision*.
                (2) portland’s lower-income resident/tenant exclusion zones displace people to suburbs and exurban areas to the detriment of social cohesion, our health, the environment, and our economy.
                (3) i also care about farmland and forest area outside of oregon.

                *http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/02/15/vancouver-average-house-price-january-2017_n_14775268.html
                Vancouver’s Average House Price Drops By Nearly One-Fifth.
                Evidence suggests that, though the decline began before B.C. introduced a foreign buyer tax last August, the tax had an immediate depressing effect on home sales.

                http://i.huffpost.com/gen/5103858/thumbs/o-HOUSE-PRICES-CANADA-570.jpg

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty April 14, 2017 at 2:04 pm

                Temporarily slowing the growth of housing prices (which is the best the “build build build” paradigm can offer) will only induce more people to relocate here, just as building bigger highways induces more people to drive. All the affordable housing that will be destroyed in the process will only accelerate increasing price pressure on the low end, achieving exactly the opposite of your stated goals.

                It is really not up to Portland to protect farmland in California and elsewhere by providing housing for everyone, everywhere. I find that idea teetering on the border of the ridiculous and the insane.

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              • 9watts April 14, 2017 at 2:07 pm

                Hello, Kitty and I agree!

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty April 11, 2017 at 11:31 am

          In other words, invite more people to the region and reduce opportunities for informal greenspace in the city.

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          • 9watts April 11, 2017 at 11:38 am

            Yeah this sort of speculation & conjecture is only modestly helpful since we all know that exponential growth in population without any concomitant collapse in consumer expectations is going to exert ever greater pressure on everything both within the city and without. Density is a ratio, and as such no solution to anything that doesn’t explicitly identify a cap.

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            • Kyle Banerjee April 11, 2017 at 3:58 pm

              On the other hand, you can’t legislate away reality.

              If you really want to see crazy prices, a hard cap would be just the ticket.

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              • 9watts April 11, 2017 at 4:16 pm

                You are omitting the larger context, conversation, debate about population growth. A discussion about the pros and cons, what we lose now by pretending the issue doesn’t concern us, is too difficult, or all the other permutations. The Rockefeller Commission did just this in 1972. It makes for an interesting read today. Without that, a local cap could easily have the effect you mention, but I wasn’t suggesting anything that unilateral of myopic.

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          • soren April 13, 2017 at 1:34 pm

            building up and/or down increases the opportunity for green space in a city. the reasons should be obvious.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty April 13, 2017 at 2:03 pm

              I can point to several instances of reduced greenspace on Division as a result of building up. Can you point to any examples of how intensifying development increased greenspace there?

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            • soren April 14, 2017 at 8:32 am
              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty April 14, 2017 at 2:21 pm

                These are great conceptual ideas, but what matters is what actually gets built. Which is, more often than not, something with more concrete and less greenery, and is less affordable (and, in the case of commercial properties, generally more sterile) than what it replaced*.

                * Construction in parking lots excluded, of course.

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        • wsbob April 14, 2017 at 6:52 pm

          “…one of the best ways to preserve habitat and limit environmental destruction is to increase the height and depth of urban buildings, …” soren

          Do people really want to live in densely populated urban areas comprised of towers? Concrete and glass towers creating dark canyons. Wealthy people that can afford luxury tower condos as a second or third home, might live in such places part of the year, or for vacation trips to the city. A common, long held dream for many people having to live full time in the city, is to get good enough jobs so they can save enough money to flee..to the suburbs of stand alone single family dwellings with their own yard and garden.

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    • GlowBoy April 11, 2017 at 7:25 am

      And a big contributor to that 10% unemployment rate was NOT tourists, but people continually streaming into the city to live, even without a job – or any clue about the economic situation.

      I often – often – run into people here in Minneapolis who are thinking seriously about moving to Portland or Seattle because they seem like great places to live. Sometimes they’ve visited as a tourist and found it dreamy, sometimes they’ve just heard great things and are deciding to move sight-unseen. But almost every time, they’re close to pulling the trigger without having done any research into the cost of living or the job market. Their jaws drop when I tell them what apartments cost, what the job market has been like long term, or the kind of commute they’ll endure to get from a home they can afford to a job that pays well. They’ve been figuring they’ll just move (from one of the highest income-to-cost ratios of any metro area) and things will work out, without any real clue.

      I think more than tourists, you can blame things on steady influx of newcomers who don’t give a thought to economic reality when they move to Portland. That includes both those who arrive without employment – keeping the unemployment rate perennially high – and those who arrive with enough money they pay $700k cash for two-bedroom houses and daily trips to the cupcake shop.

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      • K Taylor April 12, 2017 at 8:04 am

        Well stated.

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  • Michael from Arlington VA April 9, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Looking at this from afar, this conversation seems . . . remarkable.

    Doesn’t Portland’s bikeshare have a mission statement of some kind? I find it doubtful that it doesn’t mention service to visitors to your city (which is somewhat different than tourists, I would suggest). https://www.capitalbikeshare.com/partners – four of the five jurisdictions that are sponsors of Capital Bikeshare mention visitors in their abbreviated statements of support.

    Bikeshare generates large quantities of data about its use, which is usually made publicly available. Anyway, more than 3/4 of the ridership here is by registered users, not “casual” short term registrants (which would include most of your visitors/tourists).

    Many people who visit other cities are not tourists, they are traveling on business (or for a conference, etc.). In my own case when I travel to Boston, I plan my hotel around their bikeshare because I can easily stay in a less expensive place and also have the pleasure of bicycle travel in a different town. Same with Paris. I can’t see why this would be a bad thing. This isn’t a use case that would map to some local business that rents bicycles to more typical tourist visitors.

    In general though my remarks are leaving aside how awful it seems that people would vandalize publicly owned bicycles “to hurt the man.” Maybe Nike paid for them, but Nike doesn’t own them now. The city – and people – of Portland own them. How unbelievably stupid.

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  • Champs April 9, 2017 at 9:49 am

    I’m surprised by the continued ambivalence toward the bike share system’s sponsorship. You’d think this was the first step toward Portlanders riding giant billboards to see a games at branded sports arenas.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going for a ride. You’ll never guess who makes my vinyl bags with a shield reflector!

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    • Matt S. April 10, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Probably someone whom has worked for Columbia, Nike, or any other countless outdoor company here in the metro region. Or by whom which studied these companies in college before founding their own company.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu April 9, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    That accounts for only about 2,000 units. A drop in the bucket.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty April 10, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      That a lot of units!

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  • Joe April 11, 2017 at 9:18 am

    awesome Zed is a rad dude, love the bike culture in Portland 🙂

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