Portland Dispatch January 25

The chaos of Portland’s Trump years culminating in the Summer of Soros is taking its toll on real estate values, and the city has plummeted in national desirability rankings

At a Jan. 5 budget meeting for the city’s Bureau of Development Services, economists advising the bureau on the outlook for new construction presented dismal news: Portland has gone from one of the most desirable locations in the country just four years ago to near the bottom of an 80-city ranking.

That ranking was compiled by the Urban Land Institute in a report titled “Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2021.” It shows that a survey of more than 1,300 lenders, investors, developers and other national real estate experts found Portland the third-most desirable real estate market in the nation in 2017. For 2021, it now ranks 66th of 80 cities on the list…

In a Jan. 8 letter to the Portland City Council, eight local business organizations amplified that finding and the grim assessment of two economists who advise BDS. Tom Potiowsky, formerly the state economist and formerly chair of the economics department at Portland State University, said at a recent BDS meeting, according to the letter, that Portland was unique: He could not think of another example of “an area that has so quickly fallen into disfavor.”

Ted Wheeler has a plan to stop the bleeding:

The mayor told each of the four commissioners his top priorities: “livability, homelessness and safety.” Within that, he offered some specifics. He wants Ryan, the city’s point person on housing, to pursue options for reducing people sleeping on the streets, including “additional private sector partnerships, safe camp zones, and increased acquisition of facilities.”

Clearing the homeless from the streets will be tricky, giving antifa another emotional issue and vector of attack. They routinely turn out in numbers to oppose law enforcement “sweeps” of large encampments. In line with that goal Wheeler is asking for Jo Ann Hardesty to speed up her long-developing program to send social workers with and sometimes in place of cops to mental health and domestic calls.

And he wants Hardesty to move aggressively on Portland Street Response, the pilot program aimed at a safer, more effective approach to 911 calls involving Portlanders experiencing homelessness or mental illness. As Oregon Public Broadcasting first reported, Wheeler asked Hardesty to “find ways to move more quickly toward implementation. In particular, I ask that you consider creative staffing models which may be more cost-effective and faster to establish.”

I suspect police have already withdrawn from engaging the homeless and mentally ill; meanwhile Hardesty’s dangerous-sounding idea has lagged behind schedule since before the summer–probably because sending defenseless social workers to dangerous mental health calls sounds great (to some) but proves tricky once you try to implement it.

Beyond those big-picture goals, Wheeler’s fixated on two small-bore goals important to the business interests that supported his reelection: reopening a troubled downtown park and bolstering food carts.

On Jan. 12, Wheeler wrote to his four City Council colleagues—two of whom, Commissioners Carmen Rubio and Mingus Mapps, took office this month while one, Commissioner Dan Ryan, assumed his post in September.

Wheeler has hired popular former mayor Sam Adams to help. The business-friendly aspirational faction, such as it is, now dominates Portland’s city council with three newcomers and Jo Ann Hardesty now the lone radical.

Adams was caught with the proverbial live boy in 2005.

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