Friday, May 6, 2011

The false promises of "urban renewal" (Jack Bog's Blog)

I rarely find significant differences between myself and Jack Bog's Blog. And, it is doubtful that we could be more in agreement on "urban renewal" as practiced by PDC in Portland. His link to "California's Secret Government" in his post is an excellent reference. The similarities between California's RDA (Renewal Development Agency) is nearly identical to Portland's PDC (Portland Development Commission.)

It is important to know who is responsible for the California's Secret Government." Their "About CJ" page reeks with "urban renewal" credentials. Checkout their contributing editors - see the right hand column. Thus, this is not a "hit piece" on urban renewal in California - it is more about how it has gone astray - so too in Portland.

"In theory, RDAs spearhead blight removal. In fact, they divert billions of dollars from traditional services, such as schools, parks, and firefighting; use eminent domain to seize property for favored developers; and run up California’s [Portland's] debt to pay those developers to construct projects of dubious public value, such as stadiums and big-box stores. Most Californians [Portlanders] have long been unaware that these agencies exist."

Take a peek at the Oregonian's "marquee development projects that haven't gotten off the ground." It is a list, all but one, that involves PDC via tax increment financing - use of property taxes for non-traditional services to pay for projects designed and allocated by the "secret government" PDC. Its the tip of the iceberg of the irrational diversion of tax dollars without even the pretense of accountability to the citizens of Portland. Commissioners appointed by the Mayor of Portland that rubber stamps the college school boy fantasies.

Look - I am in sitting in the choir that they are preaching to. I highly recommend the read - it is worth the while you spend.