Monday, March 1, 2010

PDC move – understandable

I have seen nothing more in the news media about the potential Portland Development Commission's move out of Old Town. It makes economic sense for the developers. But I wonder how the 180 plus employees feel about a move?

Old Town is a safe part of the city – meaning that personal security is not at risk. One can walk around Old Town at virtually any time of the day or night without incident, although there is a fear factor that is hard to ignore.

There are the occasional disturbed that one feels the need to avoid, although I have never seen any actually cause harm to another. There is little to no panhandling in Old Town. But, the drug dealers often pose problems especially when they nearly block the sidewalk. And, while there are the county housed sexual predators, they seem to be safely out of the way.

Suffice to say that while Old Town might in fact be safe, the perception is that it is not safe. It is often not an inviting environment. Charitably - it is a cheap part of downtown that development has essentially ignored.

Would it be an enticing work environment? I would say not given the environs. Furthermore, options for lunch time eating are few. Places to sit outside and soak in the sun are virtually non-existent. Yes the waterfront is not far, but it is far enough and it is nearly inaccessible. At this very moment I can't think of one positive work environment factor, except the transit system.

I am not going to run down the list of Old Town inadequacies of Old Town. But Old Town is not a neighborhood for residents with discretionary income or for employees like those of PDC. Old Town might well be the last place I would want to spend my workday.

While I still maintain that PDC move would economically devastate Old Town, it seems more and more like an inevitable and rational move. And maybe the neighborhood doesn't care. There doesn't seem to be any groundswell of opposition from the neighborhood organizations.

I took a peek at the Old Town Neighborhood minutes from their last meeting and the issues are those of 6 years ago when I moved to Old Town. But, interesting is that there was not one word about a PDC move. Maybe the reality has sunk in.

The neighborhood gets the neighborhood it deserves.

© 2010

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