Sunday, November 11, 2012

Old Town continues its degeneration

Maybe in a birds of a feather scenario - Old Town continues to attract and accumulate social services that no other neighborhood would permit. [Mobile shower service for homeless people finds new base in Old TownPortland women's shelter to open 70 beds].

It is not that the services are not necessary or fail in purpose - it is that Old Town has become the neighborhood that has thrown open its doors to everything that other neighborhoods will not accept. This despite that the city's tax revenue has been spent to urban renew the area. PDC even paid some of the initial condo purchasers to move there. Over $4 million was borrowed to revitalize the streets in Old Town. Urban renewal funds borrowed and expended in Old Town will not ever be repaid by tax revenue in Old Town.

It cannot come as a surprise that other neighborhoods have taken a 'not in my backyard' attitude. That can be attributed to the fact that Old Town is a path of least resistance. It can't come as a surprise either that Old Town is a high crime area especially for drug trafficking.

It has been easy for the accumulation to occur in spite of a Vision Plan for Old Town Chinatown. And the city even had a policy that prohibited such accumulation. But, the leaders in Old Town found it easy to look the other way welcoming all on broad. The Vision Plans were just a facade - a means of acquiring public funds for those providing social services. [Old Town Chinatown Vision Plans. Part 1Part 2Part 32003 Update].

Yet Old Town Chinatown continues to see itself as a neighborhood. What a waste. It is a waste especially since the planning for Old Town envisioned a balance encompassing social services, low income housing and work force/middle class housing into a neighborhood, i.e., where people and families live and where supportive businesses develop.

And it cannot come as a surprise either that the neighborhood leaders that led Old Town to inhibited growth did not live in Old Town and were for the most part members of the non-profits that have shaped Old Town for themselves. Little has changed in the leadership. Clever though these non-profit management people - drawing fairly decent salaries insuring that their neighborhood will never have their businesses located there.

Old Town - continuing blight.