I’ll warn you ahead of time. This is off topic. Well, on topic as it is an issue in my life, but it’s not directly about writing and drawing.
I currently live in a suburb of Portland called West Linn. Nice enough place. I’ve been here for around 5 years now. I’m not a ‘local’ nor am I a stranger. Local politics and governance is dominated and often controlled by developers. Or people who work for developers, or people who work for people who work for developers. They complain if the city dare raise the fees to build (ignoring the cost the city takes on yearly by said developers building miles of roads and endless tracks of homes). This is nothing new. I have lived in quite a few different American cities. Rural, suburban and urban. Developers have the most riding on the property issues so it’s natural they end up driving the political and cultural land use views. After all, making money off developing land may be the least complicated method for currency accrual. And as Oregon doesn’t really offer a lot of other paths to riches, (cutting trees is up there too) it’s very popular.
Anyway, I live near a lovely piece of open land that would be best described as multi-use. As in, it’s open to use for different things. It’s not paved over, it’s not a giant skateboard park or cement basketball courts. People fly kites, fly RF airplanes, walk dogs, children run, play Lacrosse games, have concerts in the summer, birds of all sorts feed and rest there. It’s pretty special to have this ‘undesigned’ piece of property that hasn’t been carved into a particular thing.
But the city wants to build on it. They traded it for some other land from the school district, I think, though I can’t keep up with all the different maneuvers. But they want to build a new police department on it – and an aquatic center and a courthouse, or something else. I think it changes depending on who is talking to whom. To get it annexed it seems to have been sold as something for everyone, but of course it won’t be. Not compared to an actual open, multi-use piece of undeveloped land.
And pouring concrete creates jobs. So I can see that too. Aside from the obvious issues (like why put a police department so far from major city roads, and stuck on a hilltop that is often closed in winter storms) it’s sad that no one seems to be consideirng the value of that land on the quality of life issues they love to crow about up here.
I lived many years in Los Angeles. And everyone loves to hate on LA. But here they are in Oregon building roads and filling every empty lot with more stuff. They won’t be happy until they are Los Angeles. There are many reasons LA is LA. But one thing to remember is that development and property are big business. The wealthiest people in Los Angeles got that way from property and development, not by making movies. So you think the folks up here want to let some quality of life issues stand in the way of making bank? Don’t get me wrong. They have done some smart stuff at the county and state level. They are forcing dense housing, creating an urban zone. They still have a fetish for single family homes, but in time that will fade. You have to build up at some point.
But I also find it hard to believe that there’s not another piece of property in the city that would work for their Police-Aquatic Center-Court House building. Something that’s not currently an open piece of, basically, parkland without the beloved concrete and pavement (which needs constant upkeep, maintenance and graffiti removal). Or why the city wouldn’t have planned for this years ago, and taken a look at where a police department would best serve the community. But considering that West Linn is now best known for having its Mayor forced to resign because she lied about her college degree (she didn’t have one) maybe this isn’t a surprise.
Here’s a picture of the park I took a few days ago.
And here’s the artist rendering of what the new structure in West Linn will look like.
(Just a joke. syd mead production art for Bladerunner)
I think quality of life issues are most often ignored when there are dollars to be made. So I don’t expect the fact that the city population voted against selling bonds to build said Police-Aquatic Center-Court House- Chuck-E-Cheeses will stop the powers that be from getting done what they want. Developers make money only when the develop. So if I stay here as long as I lived in LA at some point I won’t be able to tell the difference. But some folks will have bigger bank accounts thanks to the never ending need to build,build, build. All the while telling me why they hate Los Angeles. Which is, at its core, just one big suburb. Just keep building roads and it will end fine, I’m sure.
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