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Portland is a PR machine for light rail & streetcar

Here are Some Facts About Portland Oregon          

“It must always be remembered how cost-effectiveness works in the public sector: the cost IS the benefit.” - author unknown




False Promises: The Smart Growth Lies



False Promises



· High Density will reduce traffic congestion.

· High Density will reduce cost.

· High Density will reduce your commute time.

· High Density will give us affordable housing

· High Density will let you walk to the store to get a quart of milk




· Mass transit saves energy

· Mass transit reduces pollution

· Mass transit saves time

· Mass transit saves money

· If we become more like Europe, people will switch from cars to transit.

· Automobiles are massive subsidised. (They aren't, transit is.)

· Light rail causes development.

· Light rail is safer than cars

· A single light rail line can carry as many people as a ten lane freeway

· False Claim: GM Destroyed the Streetcar Industry

Density increases socail interactions

Transit is easier for the elderly than driving






· People want high density   

· People desire a 5 story apartment building on the nearest main street

· Transit Oriented Developments reduce congestion in the neighborhood.

· People desire a skinny house down the block.




True Facts



· Over $20 million in property taxes are abated to encourage development? (Annual figure)

· Over $60 million in urban renewal area property taxes are kept in the UR districts while the rest of the city has to pay for their basic services? (Annual figure)

· light rail has a death rate 2 1/2 times higher than cars.

· Streetcar costs are 6 1/2 times the cost of driving]

· Only where land is expensive, does higher density make economic sense. That is why Portland HAS to give subsidies

- Myths of Obesity and Millennials: Suburbs don’t make you fat & millenials are NOT moving to cities

· Portland is starting to subsidize housing for people who make more than the median family income

· Portland is cutting back police due to lack of money.

· Portland usually has one of the higher unemployment rates in the country (search for portland)

Oregon usually has one of the higher unemployment rates

· Portland is losing housing affordability.

· Portland’s Metro is selling land to developers below its real value to encourage development


· Portland recently had the nation's worst increase in traffic congestion?

· Portland almost had the shortest school year in the country.

· Major employers are leaving the city

· The downtown economy is heavily subsidized with tax dollars from the rest of the city

· The school enrollment in the Portland School District declines while the suburban districts can hardly keep up with enrollment growth


· High Density will reduce pollution.


Trimet likes to brag about their tremendous increase in ridership, but compared to population growth, they gained only 1% over the last full decade for which census data is available (1990-2000). At that rate they will have half of us out of our cars in only 500 years. There is a strong correlation between income level and transit use (people tend to get a car as soon as they can afford one) and our strong surge in immigrants may be the sole reason for Trimet's market share gain


You should also note that their reported ridership numbers are deceptive. They are boardings, not people, so if you transfer to get to work, you count as two boardings each way for a total of four boardings in one round trip to work and back.




False Claims  



Planner’s Beliefs