Monday, April 19, 2010

Keep Portland Precious?

From last week's Economist, an editorial about whether Portland, Oregon's success as a environmentally-friendly, dense, bikable community can be replicated, or whether it is unique.

The locals, in fact, enjoy feeling odd: “Keep Portland weird”, say bumper stickers on the city’s cars, which all seem to be hybrid-electric vehicles. “Keep Portland sanctimonious,” mumble a few contrarians, while others savour the irony that Portland had to steal the slogan from Austin, Texas. But on the whole, Portlanders not only love their city but believe that it is, and ought to be, a model for the rest of America.


I'm a Portland transplant; I attended Lewis & Clark College and lived there for eight years post-undergrad.  There are some things I miss about Portland, and many things I admire about its transformation as a city.  However, when folks here in Athens hold up Portland as a paragon and model, I get a little itchy.  I hate to sound like an old-timer, but the house we bought for $65,000 in 1992 is now easily is now worth four times that.  The neighborhood grocery store has been replaced by Whole Foods, and the local restaurants and repair shops are now upscale eateries and boutiques.  The city may be more desirable, but it feels more elitist.  Is it possible to have one without the other?

Jamie Baker Roskie


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Density, Development, Housing, Planning, Sprawl | Permalink

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