Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 26

Thread: Portland.....

  1. #1

    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Or.
    Posts
    34

    Portland.....

    First off, I have to tell everyone that i live in Corvallis, Oregon so I do naturally have a bias opinon toward Portland even though I feel that Portland is either the first or second best place to live in the west. From reading many of the opinions here, I notice a bias towards their cities.

    After traveling to many west coast cities, I feel that Portland if not San Fransico is the best place to live in the west. Both places have their downfalls but who is perfect. What these cities do have in common is the culture and "cozy feeling". San Fransico exubes the best of California and Portland posesses the best of the North West. Ive been to Seattle many times and the city is great, but like many cities the streets are way too wide, impersonal, and surrenderd to the all mighty car.

    All in all, Portland is the most under rated city in the US due to its location and size(even though its larger than cities like Kansas CIty) People percive Portland as being just another city; which couldnt be further from the truth. Portlanders are EXTREAMLY obsessed about their city, and they believe they live in the best city in the US; although they may be wrong, it says something about the people.

    As for the critics who bark at the urban growth boundrys effects on housing prices, you really have to question their motives and where they are comming from. Sure housing prices go up, but that was expected to begin with, so like everything in life, there are pros and cons. As for the critics who bark at MAX, they have the same motives and have obviously never been here. Seriously, if max is not working, it simply wouldnt be practical for Portland to extend it like they are doing now and into the future. As for motives: do a search on google for the negitive side effects of Portland planning and on some of those sites youll see endorsments by people who simply want sprawl. (ie-www.demographia.com)

    If you were to do a little research on google, and type in portland like serches, you will find out why Portland is vastly underrated. From the MAX trains to Bill Porter to the coffee to the greatest beer in the US to the sights, smells, and "cozy feeling" you get from walking the streets, you must be there to experience what Portland is all about.
    Last edited by Agcrisco; 27 Dec 2003 at 2:16 AM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,920
    I once spent some time on a real estate site looking at housing in the Portland area. Other than that the lots were generally too small for my taste, I did not find anything objectionable, including the price. In fact, compared to many regions, such as San Francisco, the housing is very affordable. You can get into a decent 1600 square foot, detached home for less than $150,000. That is comparable to here. Portland also offers a good selection of attached homes that are even more affordable.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    City of Low Low Wages!
    Posts
    3,236
    "This message has been brought to you by the Portland Chamber of Commerce."

    Anyhow, I think the deal with Portland is that, except for its progressive planning, it's a fairly unspectacular middle-sized American city. That's why, outside of planning circles, it's understandably below most people's radars.

  4. #4

    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Or.
    Posts
    34
    Originally posted by jordanb
    "This message has been brought to you by the Portland Chamber of Commerce."

    Anyhow, I think the deal with Portland is that, except for its progressive planning, it's a fairly unspectacular middle-sized American city. That's why, outside of planning circles, it's understandably below most people's radars.
    Judging by your statement, it sounds like youve never been here let alone made the effort to walk the streets. What i do agree with is that Portland lacks "a big draw" such as major land marks. "fairly unspectacular" is obviously not what most people think of Portland who have been there. People do have there opinions and those same people would rank Atlanta over Seatlle.


    "it's a fairly unspectacular middle-sized American city."
    Who are you comparing it to?
    Last edited by Agcrisco; 27 Dec 2003 at 4:07 PM.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,920
    Jordan is basically correct. Portland is a nice city, and I have spent enough time there to know. The city has done some things very well, and is as good a place as several other cities of its size. Still, there is nothing particularly distinctive about it. The best thing it has going for it is the beautiful countryside surrounding it, particularly off toward Mt. Hood.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Gale Crater
    Posts
    2,845
    Originally posted by jordanb
    it's a fairly unspectacular middle-sized American city.
    I disagree. I've been to Portland and I believe it is a wonderful place. It's proximity to many outdoor recreational opportunities is great. The downtown is beautiful and is great to go people watching. Lots of cool bars, clubs, and restaurants. Cool bookstores, too. It has an alternative edge that you won't find in many cities of comparable size. I'm in the midwest living in an MSA of about 200,000 people and from my perspective, it is a mecca of wonderful things to see and do.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2003
    Location
    East Coast
    Posts
    713
    Portland seems pretty popular with Cyburbanites. It's tied for fourth place in the "great places" poll on the Cities page, ahead of San Francisco and Toronto.

  8. #8

    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Or.
    Posts
    34
    I dont know what people are saying that theyve been to portland and say the only thing going for it is the countryside. Thats hilarious. Anyone who says theyve visited and say the only good thing going for it is the surrounding is smoking something. Maybe you havent heard the news of forbes magazine naming it the number one city to live in; i suppose theyre on crack. A city being named number one by a cridible magazine obviously is not a run of the mill city with nothing special about it lol.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,920
    Originally posted by Agcrisco
    I dont know what people are saying that theyve been to portland and say the only thing going for it is the countryside. Thats hilarious. Anyone who says theyve visited and say the only good thing going for it is the surrounding is smoking something. Maybe you havent heard the news of forbes magazine naming it the number one city to live in; i suppose theyre on crack. A city being named number one by a cridible magazine obviously is not a run of the mill city with nothing special about it lol.
    ???

    You have not been around here enough to learn the protocols of life on Cyburbia. This is not the type of board where people lauch into personal attacks. Rather, they respond to comments in an intelligent manner. You might also take the time to proofread and use good Engrish.

    I would encourage you to read the posts. In mine, for instance, I said that the best thing Portland has going for it is its surroundings. That is very different than saying that it is the only thing. In my opinion, the best attribute of the Portland region is its natural beauty.

    In my post I also stated that Portland has done a number of things well. Guess what? So have many other cities. I have lived in five states and traveled extensively to many cities, from Tampa to Seattle and Los Angeles to Boston. Most have some characteristics that stand out compared to their peers, but in the balance, no single city stands out. There are a cluster of "average" cities, and some better, some worse. That is why if you do read more than one magazine, you will find that Gainesville, Madison, Austin, Santa Fe, Minneapolis and a dozen or more cities have all been named the "best" city in which to live.

    Is Portland the best large city in the west? Possibly. I like it better than San Francisco or Seattle. Then again, Spokane has made some tremendous improvements over the past several years, and might give Portland a fair running. We could add Vancouver, BC into the mix and have a real challenge. They are all good cities, but in balance, have a mix of good qualities that more-or-less equals out. No single one stands out from the others, of for that matter, from good cities in other parts of the US or the world.

  10. #10
    Member octa girl's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    electric ocean
    Posts
    20
    dodging the tension.

    portland is a great city - it is like a comfy living room. Many of the bars and restaurants invest much energy in making the spaces comfortable and unique. I think that is very telling of the portland mentality. the neighborhoods are quite cozy as well.

    Portland and San Francisco were both very successful in evading the robert mosses highway development attack. I think that plays a large part in making their neighborhoods great.

    That being said portland lacks diversity. Non-whites live mostly in a small corner of the city. This is where San Francisco pulls ahead in the race for best city of the west in my mind. San Francisco is one of the most diverse cities in the nation - topped only by a few including near by oakland. Additionally San Franciscans have more humor and sass, than the average portlandite.

    It is great to love the city you live in, or live near, as the case may be. However, as cardinal pointed out, it is more productive to talk about why your city is great and where it needs improvement.

    Where does portland need improvement?

  11. #11

    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Or.
    Posts
    34
    Originally posted by Cardinal
    ???

    You have not been around here enough to learn the protocols of life on Cyburbia. This is not the type of board where people lauch into personal attacks. Rather, they respond to comments in an intelligent manner. You might also take the time to proofread and use good Engrish.

    Where are the personal attacks?

    I wasnt aware i was writing a college paper. The purpose of a forum is to share ones thoughts and to possibly come to a common ground. Im not going to lay down to other users throwing out non-sence.

    portland lacks "a single big draw" such as the warf of san fran or the space needle of seattle. (its hard to find but its in one of the origional posts of mine)

  12. #12
    Member octa girl's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    electric ocean
    Posts
    20
    i think fisherman's warf, and maybe also the space needle, functions mostly as a tourism booster. In the time that I lived in San Francisco, I can honestly say that fisherman's warf only existed on my mental map when I had visiting relatives that liked touristy activities.

    I don't really see a major tourist belt as a welcome addition to portland. Although last time I was visiting I was surprised by the feel of the riverfront in the near southwest. It was almost boardwalk like. It seemed much more touristy than I remember portland from when I lived there years ago.

    But I think that having no specific social center, is what makes the neighborhoods of portland so great. They have fairly vibrant commercial corridors that are unique and can fulfill the needs of the residents. It does make the city less friendly to tourists - because the goods of the city are hidden in the nooks and crannies, but it makes the city an incredible joy to live in.

  13. #13

    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Solano County, California
    Posts
    6,468
    From another West Coaster:

    I like Portland a lot. I would honestly say that it DOES stand out above the average middle-sized metropolitan area. There are only a scant handful of American cities of that size with the strong downtown, walkable neighrbohoods, huge open space resources, river walk, etc. Most mid-sized American cities are far behind Portland in preserving and enhancing these urban characteristics. And, I would say that is the key. Portland, unlike almost any mid-sized "middle class" American city that is not primarily a college town, has decided to be a CITY, to emphasize the urban.

    That said, I still prefer the Bay Area, for many of the reasons mentioned above. I found Portland's suburbs woefully uninspiring when compared to many Bay Area towns. I prefer the architectural vernacular in SF (Portland is another "'midwestern city transplanted to the west coast" in feeling-to me) I like the sense of chaos and diveristy in SF, and I prefer the natural landscape and climate (although its not easy to say that as I look out the window now and it looks like it is midnight, the rainclouds are so dark). San Francisco is not always the easiest or most pleasant metropolitan area, but it remains, to me (an obsessive "city hiker") absolutely fascinating. I hope we as a metro area can get our act together

  14. #14

    Registered
    May 1997
    Location
    Williston, VT
    Posts
    1,371
    I've said it before in reply to some of Rich Carson's critique's of the city and its planning, but I will record a vote for Portland as one of the best, if not the best, cities in the country. Some of the 'burbs are uninspiring, as BKM suggests, but while some individual Bay Area 'burbs are the best I have seen anywhere, I have to say that on average they are just an uninspiring as the ones around Portland.

  15. #15

    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Or.
    Posts
    34
    As you can see, Portland is hardly an average city by the posts you see here. If you were to actually walk any street in Portland, youll see what makes it so great. Like I said, anyone in their right mind can see this. If Portland is so ordanary, why is it criticly aclaimed by many to be such a great city? Its not just the planning; if it was, people wouldnt stay there.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    City of Low Low Wages!
    Posts
    3,236
    I wasn't talking about the built environment when I said it was an average city. For planners, that's very important, but the average person might say "Portland is such a pretty city!" and not give it any more thought.

    Historically and economically, though, Portland is unspectacular.

    Stop anyone on the street outside the Pac Northwest and ask them what they think of Portland Oregon. Most people would be hard-pressed to come up with anything about it. Ask them about St. Louis or Miami or New Orleans and they'd probably be able to at least fill a paragraph, even though those cities are smaller than Portland.

    For planners, Portland is pretty important because it has very progressive planning and a great downtown, but beyond that, it is just another city.

  17. #17

    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Or.
    Posts
    34
    Originally posted by jordanb


    Historically and economically, though, Portland is unspectacular.

    For a mid-size city, Portland has plenty of history, such as the Skidmore and surrounding districts which are near the waterfront and around pioneer square.(If youve ever seen the "made in oregon" neon sign, thats where old town is located) portland was fortunate enough to realize that tearing down historical buildings was bad during the 60s and saved a considerable proportion of the city as opposed to what other american cities were doing at the time. (and they still are fighting to save buildings in the name of historic preservation thanks to vera katz)

    Originally posted by jordanb


    Stop anyone on the street outside the Pac Northwest and ask them what they think of Portland Oregon. Most people would be hard-pressed to come up with anything about it. Ask them about St. Louis or Miami or New Orleans and they'd probably be able to at least fill a paragraph, even though those cities are smaller than Portland.
    This is some of the reasoning behind the post. All i know about saint louis is the spirit of saint louis and the arch and that isnt much(the rest of down town st. louis in terrible shape and among the highest gang population in america) Alot can be said of the other cities(all i know are the symbols and some culture) The reason why they dont know about Portland is the location, and because you dont know about portland dosent make it unspectacular( plenty of information about the citiy on the web). And the reason why i dont know much about those citys is because i live in the northwest cluster. The location of Portland and dont forget Seattle, is not ideal when youre talking about the above(being knowlege). The northwest is its own cluster. The way people view and what they know of cities is naturally bias toward the heavier populations. Much like there is an "east cost bias" when college teams are ranked. (these are random thoughts so bare with me) I do agree with you, on the other hand, because someone does not know something about portland dosent mean were not an impressive city.
    Last edited by Agcrisco; 30 Dec 2003 at 4:49 AM.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2002
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,653
    I'm interested to see what the future holds for Portland. Its popularity and quality of life might attract thousands of new residents in the future and I wonder if it can prevent becoming like Seattle (from what people say about Seattle). Portland does have a great vibe about it, and I wonder if it can maintain that on a larger scale.

    Keep in mind that you're comparing Portland to other western cities while others come from parts of the country where walkable downtowns and loads of history are a given.

    That said, I really want to see Seattle and Vancouver someday.

  19. #19

    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Solano County, California
    Posts
    6,468

    Defending my Bay Area comment :)

    but while some individual Bay Area 'burbs are the best I have seen anywhere, I have to say that on average they are just an uninspiring as the ones around Portland.
    I'm not sure I would agree totally with you, here. There are a LOT of Bay Area suburbs with significant individual character you just don't find in many western cities. Almost every Penninsula and Marin County town has a pedestrian-friendly downtown. I expected to see that more in Portland. They are trying, but it just wasn't there yet. Sign controls? Nonexistent in most older suburbs.

    There is certainly characterless sprawl in the Bay Area, and high land prices, government fees, and population demand means that our new mid-market housing is frankly the absolute minimum in design However, overall, compared to, say, the suburbs of Denver (ugh!) or even most Seattle suburbs (I was quite disappointed. Kirkland, for example, ain't no Sausalito, no matter what the Chamber of Commerce and the million dollar real estate prices claim)

    I don't want to descend into a Skyscraper page-style battle, so...

  20. #20

    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Or.
    Posts
    34
    Portland is adiment about the way it builds in the city. Theyre constructing housing styles much that of the successfull pearl district. The city is currently constructing a waterfront district consisting of housing much like the pearl district. Its incorperated with OHSU's bio-tech industry. Im not sure what exactly the investment is, but its around $12 billion. It consists of numerous highrises. Theres information and renderings on the web.

    South waterfront plan
    Last edited by Agcrisco; 30 Dec 2003 at 11:02 PM.

  21. #21
    Portland is a tremendious place. I was so impressed with it - all the things going on from the top flight restaurants, nightclubs, shopping, etc. I would say there isn't a big time tourist trap draw but what it does have in terms of attractions are nice. to me, Portland is a very vibrant place! its a great place for sure, not just planning wise.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian nuovorecord's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    444
    Great conversation...here's my $0.02.

    I'm a native, so I'm biased towards Portland. But I would agree with a lot of what has been said by those who take a more neutral opinion of the city. Portland is an acquired taste. Many people who move here get sick of it because it doesn't have the pace of SoCal or the glamour of NY or professional sports teams or too much rain, traffic, etc. In many ways, it's like a big town, rather than a true city. It's very unpretenious...people wear Levi's and Birkenstocks to the symphony. It does have a rich history, but probably no more so than any other city in America. Frankly, what makes Portland such a great place to live is not what it has or is, but what it is trying to become.

    For the last thirty years or more, Portland's been heading down a different path than most American cities. We drew a fence around the urban area to protect our farmlands and natural spaces. That forced development to occur in a much different...and controversial...manner. Former Gov. Tom McCall said it best. "Oregonians only hate two things; sprawl and density." There's a lot of infighting over how much land to develop and what uses should go in what areas. But I think it's preferable to have the long discussions and fights, rather than to allow development to occur in a manner similar to other places.

    Economically, we're struggling right now. More than any other part of the state, Portland suffered the brunt of the recession, but is showing signs of recovery. We still haven't found the right model for sustainable economic growth as evidenced by the recent "Silicon Forest" clear-cut. Our tax system is a mess. Public schools are on the ropes and reeling. But I feel that if the city continues to work hard on fixing these problems, it will continue to be an attractive and viable place to live and work.

    So, do I think Portland is the greatest city in America? Uh, no. In the spirit of John Cusack in "Hi Fidelity", here's my Top Five North American Cities list:

    1. Vancouver, BC
    2. New York
    3. Portland
    4. Boston
    5. San Francisco
    "There's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed by what's right with America." - Bill Clinton.

  23. #23
    BANNED Patrick the Planner's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    New Brighton, MN
    Posts
    12
    Uh,

    Do I even dare? I lived in the greater planning mecca that is Portland. I won't comment here on the UGB, but if there is a thread started (or one I haven't found yet), you may see my views on this.

    Anyway, for two years (while studying planning no less!) I lived in Portland. First off of Hawthorne, then in Irvington, then finally settled in Concordia where I spent my free time at McMennemen's Kennedy School drinking Terminator Stout.

    Best beer/coffee/wine in the USA? Without a doubt.
    Cozy streets with decent amount of attention to design? Yes.

    Of course, there is quite a bit of decent, progressive, and innovative planning done elsewhere with lower P.R. budgets, which when traveling and living in other cities, becomes apparent.

    Portlanders remind me of my pals from Milwaukee who admit to their fine metro area being over shadowed by the Big City not too far away (Chicago).

    Planning in Portland is done well;
    Civic promotion/boosterism is done even better.

  24. #24
    Member japrovo's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    103
    Originally posted by Patrick the Planner

    Of course, there is quite a bit of decent, progressive, and innovative planning done elsewhere with lower P.R. budgets,
    I agree that great things are happening elsewhere. The question that leads me to ask is how you get attention for that work?

    I known the press has beat a path to Portland, and there is no shortage of planners, politicians and (gasp) academics who have been happy to encourage that, but read some history and I don't mean in Planning Magazine. Nobody here set out to build a planning model for the nation---everything was and is about solving local problems.

    The national rep creates some interesting feedback into the local planning framework and the city probably gets more than its fair share of visiting delegations seeking inspriation. That said, I would argue that the hunger in the press for models is the culprit, not any Portland PR machine.

  25. #25
    Member simulcra's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Chitown
    Posts
    126
    hm... my $.02

    @agcrisco
    forbes' ranking for portland as #1? are you sure it isn't money/cnn? anyway, forbes (atleast this year), puts portland in the lower half of the pile, and it ain't on money/cnn's list.

    even then, the methodology that both use to rank their cities is sketchy at best. especially with money/cnn (who actually did list portland one year), since they have an annoying habit at looking at statistics and creating causal relationships that just don't exist. (chicago, for example, gets a huge bump onto its list because it's a big city that had positive population growth; what they fail to realize is that alot of this growth came from immigration for cheap labor; white/black flight into suburbs and elsewhere is still prominent, so a population increase is hardly a deciding factor for popularity)

    and i think it would help a bit if you lowered your enthusiasm a few notches, because right now anyone who has a different opinion about portland gets facts and biases tossed at them. people are entitled to their opinions, even if any amount of "facts" and self-opinions frustratingly don't seem to appeal to them.

    @anyone
    personally, i think portland has huge potential to be a great city (and not just a big town), and a city that knows how to do it well. while many other people i know seem to have an austin frenzy, i tend to be very pessimistic in austin's outlook since it's in texas country (anti-tax; despite DART and Houston's light rail still very pro-asphalt; anti-planning), so i see in austin's future a massive sprawling landscape with a small square-mile yuppie-fied downtown. portland, on the other hand, while it may not be a big draw for many people (you'll be hardpressed to convince me otherwise agcrisco; if you mention northwest to anyone, they think seattle, portland is just one of those other rainy/coffee cities; not that i'm saying it's unpopular, its massive population growth speaks otherwise) seems to be doing things right with redevelopment and with a mixture of varying densities and urban flavors.

+ Reply to thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

More at Cyburbia

  1. Portland, OR
    Cities and Places
    Replies: 11
    Last post: 09 Sep 2013, 9:25 PM
  2. Only in Portland
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 0
    Last post: 26 Jul 2013, 4:15 PM
  3. Hello from Portland
    Introduce Yourself
    Replies: 13
    Last post: 16 Mar 2007, 5:24 AM
  4. Portland here I come!
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 5
    Last post: 28 Jul 2005, 1:15 PM
  5. Replies: 8
    Last post: 02 Jan 2005, 9:09 PM