Hmmm... While I think ?land of statewide importance? is fine, I?m afraid I get to be the cynical one today. My biggest concern is the 1,000,000 person growth forecast and making rather questionable decisions based on it.
Please explain to me just how do we expect this growth to be realized by 2025? We don?t have the working class brick apartment forests that east coast and mid-west cities do. Our working class neighborhoods are subjects of arguments over ?gentrification? while environmentally minded folks scream about too much commuting. They are symptoms of the wall this 1,000,000 number will hit: we have no new affordable housing for the working class within responsible range of the jobs they need.
We have an extreme unwillingness to build affordable housing upwards (multi-story) to allow real people a chance to live close within our limited urban space. This means that matching people, transportation, and employment will make any decision, however well intentioned, moot when election season comes around and voters can force land use laws to change again.
We keep playing the ?last man in? game, saying in effect, ?now that I?m in the lifeboat, we can leave everyone else behind to sink.? In less caustic terms, we are here and things shouldn?t be allowed to get any worse, but we shouldn?t have to give anything up to provide that. Well, if the forecast is right, we are either all going to be crammed into the same boat or a lot of folks will look for something better that isn?t overloaded and ready to sink.
So lets pretend for a minute that we can find living wage work for an additional 500,000 folks, where do we think they are going to live (along with their 500,000 dependents)?
The point is that without adequate affordable housing for working class earners within realistic commute range of living wage employment, one of two things is exceptionally likely to happen:
a) the growth estimates will prove overblown and things won?t really change much in my community (or the entire Willamette valley, for that matter), no matter what the land use laws are, or
b) the population explosion within relative commute range will force urban gentrification and suburban sprawl around the valley (I know it will also impact the other side of the ditch as well, but they aren?t under Oregon?s land use laws) with growing public pressure blowing any land use restriction out of the water at the ballot box.
I suspect it will be ?a? rather than the alternative, because I don?t see the industrial base or services industry being able to keep enough folks working to afford home and shelter for their families. No significant increase in demand means no real impetus for change.
Added: Now for the fun part, any bets on whether the conversation on air will be even close to what I read the questions to mean? I'm personally guessing I have less than a 50% chance, but that's based on history, not on how I read the topic... ;|
posted 4 years, 9 months ago
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