The People's Republik Of Portland
Keep Portland Weird
When you live across the river in another state - as I do, you see Portland from a different perspective. Nevertheless, the proximity to the River City means I am saturated with Portland news and happenings via radio and television. I've posted several select items here.

The Sinking, Stinking Ship Known As Downtown Portland: Once upon a time we were regulars at downtown events: Broadway in Portland series, concerts at the Schnitz, dinners at downtown's many upscale restaurants.

No more. Camping homeless, aggressive panhandlers with their big dogs, tough-looking street kids, and impossible parking are the primary causes. Thanks, liberal Portland government overlords.

I penned that sentiment over five years ago. And things only gotten worse - something to be expected when nothing is done about a problem. The problems have risen to such a level that businesses are abandoning the sinking ship.

Recently, Columbia Sportswear - an old-line, well-established employer in Portland - is planning to exit downtown Portland "after a series of frightening encounters with the city's homeless population, including car break-ins, human waste dumped by the office's front door and threats to its employees. In an op-ed piece published earlier this month by The Oregonian, Columbia Sportswear President and CEO Tim Boyle said he is concerned he made a mistake when he opened a headquarters for the company's Sorel footwear brand downtown, calling the situation "outrageous and unacceptable." ... Since moving the 50 employees downtown, workers immediately reported being harassed and threatened by homeless individuals near the new offices."

For some small business owners in the City of Roses, the increasing homeless population has already proved to be too much to handle.

Judith Arnell closed her business, Judith Arnell Jewelers, last month after 20 years in Portland. Her decision "came from a mix of panhandling and concerns over the safety of her employees and clients. A few months ago, the store's surveillance cameras caught a man defecating right in front of their doors."

Now you know why people avoid Portland, Oregon at all costs. (posted 11/18/17, permalink)


Reverse Racism: In Oregon, Portland police will no longer maintain a database of suspected gang members, due to concerns that the vast majority of people with the gang label are racial minorities.

"The Portland Police Bureau will end the 20-year practice of issuing gang member designations, which police say can lead to "unintended consequences" and a lifelong stigma even for those who have given up the gang lifestyle. Officials intend to notify the approximately 300 people on the gang list that the bureau will purge all records related to the designations."

This is something you'd find in Bizarro World ... or on 'The Simpsons', where Police Chief Clancy Wiggum comes up with equally stupid ideas: "What the --? This is Wiggum reporting a 3-18: Waking a police officer." Or, answering the phone with, "9-1-1 ... this better be good." Or: "Uh, I have some bad news. Your husband was found DOA. Oh, wait, I mean DWI. I always get those two mixed up. Uh ... why don't you talk to that officer over there? I'm going out to lunch." Or: "Put out an A.P.B. on a donut, believed sprinkled." Or: "Okay, you just bought yourself a 317, pointing out police stupidity ... Or is that a 314? Nah nah, 314 is a dog uh, in, no or is that a 315? ... You're in trouble pal."

Portland city officials and community activists - liberal ones, of course, because there are no conservative community activists in the city - had long urged the bureau to stop attaching the gang designation to criminal suspects, claiming the practice "disproportionately impacted people of color." A review of police data by The Oregonian newspaper found that 81% of the "criminal gang affiliates" in Portland's database were racial or ethnic minorities. Not enough lawless white people, you see.

Incidentally, Portland's newest police chief is appropriately named Danielle Outlaw. She's an African-American, who was formerly deputy police chief of that ... ahem ... upstanding community known as Oakland, California. Chief Outlaw is paid $215,000/year and her goals include "improving relationships with Portland's communities of color, increasing diversity on the 950-member force and embracing equity." Nothing about locking up bad guys was mentioned.

One commenter, Brawny60, wrote, "I'm a member of a loosely organized white gang. Our gang principles are hard work, providing for family and helping the community. Our gang signals are a wave and a smile." Hey, there are some of those in my neighborhood. (posted 9/22/17, permalink)


Big Trouble In Little Utopia: Macy's is closing its down Portland store, once the flagship of the Oregon's Meier & Frank Department Store chain.

The cause is a combination of general brick-and-mortar retail woes, combined with the fact that fewer shoppers go to downtown Portland anymore. Camping homeless, aggressive panhandlers with their big dogs and impossible parking are the primary causes. Thanks, Lefty Portland government.

In somewhat related news, because of Donald Trump's presidential win, two Portlanders have submitted a petition for a 2018 ballot initiative to have Oregon secede from the United States. On Thursday morning, Jennifer Rollins, a lawyer, and Christian Trejbal, a writer, filed the Oregon Secession Act.

"Oregonian values are no longer the values held by the rest of the United States," Trejbal said over the phone Thursday. Those values? "Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness," Trejbal said, "Plus equality." All viewed though a unicorn-emblazoned, utopian liberal kaleidoscope. (posted 11/15/16, permalink)


Why We Don't Go To Downtown Portland Anymore: Once upon a time we were regulars at downtown events: Broadway in Portland series, concerts at the Schnitz, dinners at downtown's many upscale restaurants. No more. And, we're not alone.

"I am a third generation native and have spent many of my professional years as an attorney working downtown (although I rarely go downtown at night). Last Saturday night, my husband and I were downtown for a wedding. We arrived a bit early to grab a drink. At Portland Prime. The wedding was at Kells.

We were both STUNNED to witness the hordes of aggressive panhandlers / street kids with too many pit bulls to count harassing tourists, making rude and inappropriate comments to us when we would not give money and at one point, blocking our car door. Not surprising, Portland Prime was virtually empty. The tourists in line at Voodoo Donuts looked scared.

Downtown Portland, once the thriving epicenter of the city, is going to hell."

Don't forget to read the comments following the article.

I avoid downtown Portland - day or night - because of ever-shrinking parking opportunities (thank you, MAX Mass-transit Overlords; thank you, People's Republik of Portland Politburo), an excess of disgusting bums and street creeps, insufficient police presence, as well as bicycle terrorists who obey no rules of any sort.

Such an unpleasant atmosphere has inspired us to take our trade elsewhere. (posted 10/17/12, permalink)


A Streetcar Named Disaster: Last week, while chomping down a delicious pizza steak at Philly Bilmos, I was reading an article in Willamette Week about the soon-to-be running Eastside Portland streetcar. What a colossal, predestined failure. The line will lose money - big money - right from the get-go and is already planning to offer abysmal service.

"The streetcar - a mode of transportation already notorious in the Pearl District and Southwest Portland for its sluggish pace and long waits between cars - will run even less frequently on all its routes when the Eastside line opens next month."

Eric Fruits, an adjunct professor in the urban studies department at Portland State University and a longtime critic of streetcar transit, has produced data to show that taking the streetcar is not as fast as walking. "It takes 32 minutes to get from OMSI to Powell’s Books by foot," he said. "It's a virtual tie. But if you're waiting (at a carstop) an average of 8? minutes, the streetcar loses the race. You can get there faster by walking."

On my last visit to Portland's Westside, I had a chance to see ... (more >>>)


A Bridge Too Far ... width-wise, that is. The Sellwood Bridge is a truss bridge that spans the Willamette River in south Portland. Built in 1925, it was the first fixed-span bridge on Oregon's lower Willamette River. The steel and concrete structure is 1,092 feet long and about 28 feet wide.

The bridge has those kinda-charming cast concrete railings seen on many period bridges throughout the U.S. I've modeled such railings on my O-gauge model train layout.

The view south from the bridge is very nice, almost rural. Looking north at night, you can see the lights of downtown Portland. The sidewalks on each side are functional but narrow by today's accomodating-the-morbidly-obese standards. In the 1920s, most XXXXL people were found in freak show tents at carnivals.

Few people walk over the bridge; it's not downtown and there's almost no place worth walking to these days.

Randall O'Toole has written that "the region is planning an expensive replacement bridge that is twice as wide as the existing one but will have no more lanes of traffic. Instead, the additional width is supposed to be for bicycles and pedestrians. The huge cost of that additional width, of course, is borne mainly by people who get around by automobile."

Welcome to Portland - the city that caters to fatties, bicycle terrorists and every other variance from the norm - at your expense. (posted 8/22/12, permalink)


The Truth About Portland: An earnest former resident has carefully explained why he left Paradise.

Excerpt: "The neighbors have turned out to be mostly shrill, judgmental, and dismissive - they are reflexively political on every issue. In Portland, taxpayers and homeowners are held in contempt - even by taxpayers and homeowners. I never understood that.

Plastic bag bans. Mandatory ethanol in the gas (terrible for my mileage, causing me to burn more). Cigarette butts in my grass. Solicitors nagging me all the time (the sign is useless). Normal city life? Sure. The shiny happy Portland image? Heck no.

The Portland and Multnomah governments are an embarrassment. The thought of them representing me is a joke. I give up. We're buying in a smaller community, in another county. Feel free to conduct your social experiment without us."

He continues to work downtown but hopes to change that soon. "For now I still work in the city, but my goal is to remedy that as well. I used to love just being downtown, but no longer. I enjoyed walking through downtown, PSU, Riverplace and using MAX to visit the Zoo area. It just seemed safer.

Now I wouldn't ride MAX at all, and it's neither safe nor enjoyable to walk many places in downtown during the nice months. People have been assaulted in the secured office building where I worked. Folks will move in if you don't constantly patrol."

The various MAX mass transit lines are a disgrace, full of bums and miscreants who ride them to keep warm in the winter or cool in the summer. And pick your pocket. Or scope out possible mugging victims. The tramps on the main MAX line used to hack and cough so badly that I nicknamed it the line The Tuberculosis Trolley. I stopped riding MAX years ago but still read the crime reports.

The earnest former resident adds, "Lasting image: A smug junkie taking a big dump in the rose bushes in the Park Blocks, right in front of the Art Museum. This was mid-day in summer - tourists, grandparents, children everywhere. The police can't do a thing about it." Or won't do anything about it.

He concludes, "Drifters also use the Eastside Esplanade as their bathroom. Another place I used to go frequently, but never go anymore. Occupiers can move in and crap wherever, but if I step off the curb a second early, it would be a big fine - because I can pay."

Amen, brother. Get out while you can. (posted 7/11/12, permalink)


The War On Town Cars: The People's Republik of Portland has continued its war on non-bicycle livery services by forcing limousine and sedan services to charge a $50 minimum for rides to and from the airport and at least 35% more than taxis for trips to any other destination. And these transportation companies cannot pick up customers until at least an hour after the customer calls for a ride.

Last year, two Portland sedan services, TownCar.com and Fiesta Limousine, had the nerve to offer 'Groupons' for service. The city of Portland responded by throwing down six-figure fines on both companies, which then had to nullify the Groupons or go bankrupt as a consequence.

Whenever we fly out of Portland, we use Pacific Executive Town Car Service because we don't want our cars parked at the airport and, at current rates, the cost of riding in a Town Car L is not much more than parking at the airport.

Don't even think about taking a taxi in Portland. Many are cramped (you may end up riding in a Prius or Scion) and we've had too many Russian drivers who barely speak English, can't find anything and drive like morons. (posted 5/28/12, permalink)


Life In Portland 2012:


(posted 4/23/12, permalink)


Only In Portland: Casa Diablo is described as a 'Vegan Strip Club', yet they offer a coupon for a burger and fries combo for lunch.

And the dancer in the Willamette Week ad seems to be wearing thigh-length leather boots. Go figure. (posted 7/6/11, permalink)


Misplaced Adjective: Jack Bojack has written, "A Portland City Hall glossary alert: They're no longer bicyclists, they're 'vulnerable road users'."

Portland's whack job mayor, Sam Adams, "wants to make progress on the 2030 Portland Bicycle Plan, which promises to build nearly 700 miles of new bikeways as part of a bigger plan to reduce greenhouse gases. He wants to get it done now, before the city needs to shift $8 million a year into construction of a new Sellwood Bridge."

"This is intended to save lives and reduce injuries among the city's growing number of vulnerable road users," Adams told the Oregonian.

With all the cracks, potholes and failing bridge infrastructure in Portland, it's the roads that are 'vulnerable'. (posted 5-27-11, permalink)


Another Reason To Stay Out Of Portland: The Portland City Council has adopted a policy that discourages the use of personal scented products in the city workplace.

Portland, OR employees must now follow rules that ask them "not to use personal scented products in the workplace" if their intent is to emit certain fragrances, such as perfumes and colognes. The rules offer protections to "employees who are sensitive to fragrances."

'Portland: It's different here.'

Yeah, it reeks of BO. (posted 2-28-11, permalink)


The Rest Of The Story: A close terror call in Portland, Oregon was thwarted when the FBI prevented a Somali jihadist from blowing up a crowd at a 'holiday tree lighting' celebration.

Five years ago, Portland became the first city in the nation to withdraw from the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Then-Mayor Tom Potter and the city council voted to withdraw its two police officers from the federal task force. Potter cited "the potential for trespasses against civil liberties and an inability to oversee Portland officers who would be deputized as federal agents." Plus, it was another slap at George Bush, who is reviled in Portland. The Bushes privately refer to the city as 'Little Beirut'.

This time, the FBI kept city officials out of the loop. Blissfully-uninformed City Commissioner Nick Fish took his wife and children to the tree-lighting ceremony.

A few blocks away, Susan Gage - managing editor of The Oregonian, quickly scrubbed its website of comments of "religious intolerance and personal attacks" regarding the Islamic terrorist incident. Of course, previous personal attacks on George Bush and Sarah Palin as well as intolerant barbs posted by the area's mouthy atheist and secular humanist community about non-Muslim religions remained posted in mint, original condition throughout the site.

Portland's political correctness almost got 12,000 people killed. Thankfully, the FBI was on the job. (posted 11-29-10, permalink)


Moving Toys: As regular readers know, I have a fondness for toys. I still have some of my old childhood dimestore cars and trucks. Even now, I'm still on the lookout for neat additions to my model vehicle collection.

Sherlock automotive blogging

One of my favorite shops is Finnegan's Toys in downtown Portland. Unfortunately, I haven't been there in a while because of ever-shrinking parking opportunities (thank you, MAX Mass-transit Overlords; thank you, People's Republik of Portland Politburo), an excess of disgusting bums and street creeps, insufficient police presence, as well as bicycle terrorists who obey no rules of any sort.

Such an unpleasant atmosphere has inspired us to take our trade to shopper-friendly locations outside Portland, OR.

Good news, though. Finnegan's, the Northwest's largest independent toy store (locally owned and operated for over thirty years), has opened a second 2,000 sq.ft. shop in Bridgeport Village, south of Portland. No bums, decent parking, few bicycles - I'll have to plan a visit soon. (posted 11-15-10, permalink)


Please Show No Snow: Portland Transportation Maintenance Operations employees and equipment will be mobilized and participate in a "dry run" event on October 28 to "insure that winter snow and ice plans are understood and complete."

"The media are advised to arrive at 10:30 a.m. for video opportunities. Trucks fitted with chains, plows, and sanders will be run through an inspection station."

Oregon's Tri-Met has an abysmal record when it comes to handling snow and ice. I criticized them for their big troubles during the minor ice storm of January 2005 as well as for the Max line's frozen switches in December 2008.

transportation blog

When I was growing up in Philadelphia, the local transit company could handle all kinds of snow and ice. The good old days were sometimes the best. (posted 10-27-10, permalink)


Who Said Mass Transit Is Clean? On Monday, a contractor for the latest Portland streetcar expansion blocked a pipe, dumping 1,400 gallons of raw sewage into the Willamette River.

I wrote about about the boondoggle that is the Portland streetcar system last month. (posted 8-11-2010, permalink)


Wrong Side Of The Tracks: For as long as I can remember, Northwest Portland has been the artsy and gay district. It is a pleasant section of town filled with mature tree cover, trendy restaurants, galleries and small shops. Parking has always been at a premium due to skinny streets and a plethora of visitors.

joe sherlock transportation blogSeveral years ago, Portland decided to run a streetcar line through the narrow NW streets. The streetcar swings west from the Pearl District on NW Northrup St., then south on NW 23rd, passing Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital. Then it turns east on NW Lovejoy, heading back to the Pearl and, eventually, Portland State University.

During a recent hospital visit, I had a chance to see the chaos wrought by Portland's mass transit obsession. The track makes very wide swings, knocking out a bunch of parking at every quarter turn. Every trolley stop has a shelter and landing, eliminating even more parking spaces. The streets are narrow and the trolley takes up more than half the street. Why the track radius is so large in difficult to understand; while the Skoda streetcars are quite long - 66 feet, they are double articulated and should be able to navigate extremely tight-radius curves.

During our entire time in the area, including exposure at peak commuting hours, I never saw an actual streetcar. I had the same experience when we last visited the Pearl District. It makes me wonder if TriMet actually runs any of the damn things or if they laid track just to screw up parking in an attempt to further the agency's anti-car agenda.

The old ... (more >>>) (posted 7-12-10)


Export Market: Light rail exports crime to new neighborhoods.

The Clackamas County (OR) sheriff has said he's concerned the new Portland MAX line is dropping off "more than passengers at Clackamas Town Center; it's dropping off crime too. In the five months since the MAX Green line first arrived, Sheriff Craig Roberts says crime in the surrounding area is up 32% this year and calls for service are up 56% compared to 2009."

I remember when Gresham was a nice, sleepy little town east of Portland. Then TriMet came along and killed the neighborhood.

Before the light-rail line opened ... (more >>>) (posted 6-11-10)


Joe Sherlock car blogBicycle Terrorist Incident: Oregon, particularly Portland, is chock full of arrogant bicyclists who repeatedly trample the rights of others. Earlier this week, my wife and I were leaving Emanuel Hospital and had to cross N. Vancouver Avenue - a three-lane one-way street with a bike lane - in order to get to our car.

In Oregon, pedestrians have the right of way but we always stop and look first for safety's sake. When there was a break in traffic, we began to cross. A group of bicyclists at least ten car lengths away properly braked - except for one aggressive, self-absorbed bozo who actually sped up and recklessly blew by, coming within a few feet of us.

The one car stopped at the crosswalk happened to be a Portland Police unit. My wife and I simultaneously looked at the officer and pointed at the bicycle jerk. As soon as we cleared the intersection, he snapped on the overhead lights and floored his Crown Vicky, catching the cyclist within two blocks.

When we drove past a few minutes later, the officer was giving a ticket to the cretin.

Thanks to the Portland police, justice has been served. A win for the good guys. (posted 5-26-10, permalink)


Rough Rails: Randal O'Toole has written: "Previous transportation revolutions - steamboats, railroads, electric streetcars, automobiles - have all increased mobility by reducing the costs of travel. But advocates of rail transit and high-speed rail do not want to increase mobility. Instead, they merely want to substitute their favored forms of travel for existing mobility."

Light rail, Amtrak and high-speed rail (existing systems and proposed ones) "are not creating new mobility, they are merely substituting inconvenient, high-cost mobility for low-cost mobility that is faster and more convenient. That is a fundamentally absurd goal and rail advocates should be ashamed of themselves for promoting it."

In a related story, I recently drove across the TriMet Max tracks at 11th and Holladay near the Lloyd Center Doubletree Hotel and the condition of the track crossing was bone-jarringly awful. TriMet and the city of Portland seem to be in no hurry to fix ... wait, I'm reminded of the famous Lily Tomlin line, "We don't care. We don't have to. We're the phone company." (posted 4-26-10, permalink)


Another Reason ... why I never go to downtown Portland anymore. From a city pamphlet found on the windshield of a legally parked vehicle titled 'Re-Parking/Meter Feeding', the recipient observed that the notice "helpfully explained that I should not return to the same "block face" until three hours has elapsed.

Not sure what to make of this. Is it customary to post these things on vehicles that have nearly used up their allotted parking time? Is the subliminal message here 'Please Shop at Clackamas Town Center'?" (posted 4-23-10, permalink)


Thirst War: In Cascade Locks (a small Oregon town on the Columbia River), where unemployment is at 18% and high school students have to be bussed 25 miles to the closest school because the local one closed this year due to lack of tax base, Nestle wants to build a bottled water plant.

The residents are all for it - the plant would create construction jobs and 50 permanent positions making it instantly the city's biggest employer. The company would also become the city's biggest taxpayer generating close to $1 million for little Cascade Locks.

But Portland environmental groups are upset and want the evil plant stopped. You know ... that Portland, Oregon - a city which never saw a bioswale, bike path, homeless camp or streetcar that it didn't like.

Greenies are disturbed because ... (more >>>) (posted 4-14-10)


Only In Oregon: Last week, the giant Holiday (nee Christmas) Tree arrived at Pioneer Square in downtown Portland. The Douglas Fir, donated by Stimson Lumber Company, will stand undressed until the day after Thanksgiving, when it will be decorated with 15,000 energy efficient LED lights.

The huge 75-foot evergreen was escorted by Santa who arrived in a Prius. (posted 11-16-09, permalink)


How Slums Begin: A plan to increase the number of bikeways throughout Portland, OR has some downtown business owners worried that it'll drive even more people away. Many retailers pointed out the current exodus underway from downtown and they worry about the future of downtown if businesses don't feel like they can survive.

The owners of Flowers by Dorcas said the plan reaffirms their decision to relocate out of downtown. "As a matter of fact one of the reasons we are moving is our customers complain with the lack of parking, the gridlock, and the construction. They don't come downtown anymore," said co-owner Gerhard Watzig.

When we first moved to this area 20 years ago, my wife and I frequently drove over the bridge to Portland to shop, dine or go to the theater. We spent several thousand dollars per year patronizing Portland establishments, mostly in the downtown area. I haven't been to downtown Portland once this year.

Ever-shrinking parking opportunities (thank you, MAX Mass-transit Overlords; thank you, People's Republik of Portland Politburo), an excess of disgusting bums and street creeps, insufficient police presence, as well as bicycle terrorists who obey no rules of any sort have inspired us to take our trade elsewhere.

joe sherlock autoblog

About the only Portland thing worth seeing is this and I've already been there.

Actions have consequences ... in this case, monetary ones. (posted 10-21-09, permalink)


What Recession? Last Friday, we stopped at the outlet stores on I-5 in Woodburn, OR (just south of Portland). The stores were jammed. And people were carrying multiple shopping bags, so these weren't just unemployed lookee-loos.

The Coach Factory Store had so many rail-thin, stylish young Asian girls shopping, I ran back outside and looked for a sign.

Sherlock car blog

(posted 7-27-2009, permalink)


Sustain This: The sheer moonbattery of Portland and much of the state of Oregon has been revealed once again. The state plans to borrow $80 million to construct a 13-story Portland building described as "a self-sustaining structure producing no net carbon emissions and putting no demands on the community's water and sewer systems."

Jack Bogdanski has written, "I guess the water fountains will dispense rainwater collected on the roof and all the sewage created by the building's occupants will be packed out each evening by workers biking home."

Maybe they'll employ chronically-constipated people to make the bricks. (posted 7-17-09, permalink)


End Of An Era: McCormick & Schmick's has closed its original downtown Portland restaurant at Southwest First Avenue and Oak Street.

The 9,400-square-foot restaurant, along the MAX light-rail tracks south of the Skidmore Fountain (aka - Skidrow Fountain), would have celebrated its 30th anniversary later this summer and was well-known for the powerful, old-school cocktails mixed at its dark-paneled wood and brick bar and the sparkling white tablecloths in the dining room.

My plastics company used to have its Portland office within walking distance of McCormick & Schmick's. It was a fine place to dine; the wait staff was always professional.

Ever-shrinking parking opportunities near the restaurant ... (more >>>)


automobile blog"Free Is A Very Good Price": If you've spent any time in the Willamette Valley in the past 40 years, you'll remember Tom Peterson, the Portland-based appliance and furniture retailer. Tom's wacky commercials were a fixture on KPTV channel 12's Saturday night wrestling and on late night television.

Who can forget crew-cut Tom, knocking on the inside of your TV screen at 1:00 am: "Wake up! Wake up!" The man with the trademark smile frequently offered giveaways, adding: "Free is a very good price."

Tom later sold an alarm clock in the shape of a television set with his face in the middle and his voice as the alarm, saying: "Wake up! Wake up to a happy day!" He also offered free crew-cuts at his main store.

In 1964 - his first year in business, Peterson had revenues of $300,000. By 1989, he was moving $30 million worth of merchandise per year. But his ill-advised purchase of a chain of auto stereo stores led to bankruptcy in 1991.

He then reopened a single store with his wife: 'Tom Peterson's (and Gloria's Too!)'.

Faced with ... (more >>>) (posted 4-10-09)


Little Trouble In Big Utopia: The New York Times considers Portland, Oregon to be the face of the recession. "Portland, a metropolitan area of 2.2 million people, affords an ideal window onto the spiral of fear and diminished expectations assailing the economy. The area has long attracted investment and talented minds with its curbs on urban sprawl, thriving culinary scene and life in proximity to the Pacific Coast and the snow-capped peaks of the Cascades."

In recent months, Portland "has devolved into a symbol of much that is wrong." Housing prices have fallen more than 14 percent since May 2007. Foreclosures more than tripled last year. The unemployment rate for the metro area surged from 4.8 percent at the end of 2007 to 9.8 percent in January 2009.

As the global recession tightens, Portland's docks are "a snapshot of diminishing fortunes. On a recent day, parking lots at the port were full of 30,000 automobiles that had been shipped in from Japan and South Korea, yet sat unclaimed by dealerships as sales plummeted. As trade slows, so does business for Greenbrier Companies, an Oregon-based manufacturer of rail cars."

Powell's Books, largest bookstore in North America, has postponed its planned $5 million expansion. Owner Michael Powell said, "It's going to take a period of time to recover. Whether it's 2 years or 10 years I don't know, but I don't think its going to be quick. People are nervous."

"The problem is trying to get qualified people to borrow." remarked Raymond P. Davis, president and chief executive of Umpqua Bank. Oh, yeah? This is the same Umpqua Bank which refused to assume several hundred on-time and performing business loans when it took over the Bank of Clark County in January, telling many qualified customers to take a hike.

Poor little Portland - compared with some other areas of the country, it is skating through this recession. I'm sure that people in, say, Detroit - which has an unemployment rate of over 13% or Southern California, where home prices in the area are 40-60% off peak, were seething when reading The Times article - if anyone in those areas could afford to buy the paper.

Portland blogger Brandon Hartley quipped: "It seems like just yesterday they were making this city out to be a utopia. But I guess every would-be Atlantis has to take on water at some point." (posted 4-8-09, permalink)


sherlock automotive blogCycle Of Insanity: Recently-introduced Oregon House Bill 2690 would allow bicyclists to blow through stop signs with impunity.

Democratic Rep. Jules Bailey, one of the chief backers of the bill, described it as a way to promote bicycling - and therefore, the local economy, the environment, and good public health, etc. "He also owned up that it's pretty darn hard to stop and start when he's riding to downtown Portland in the rain, loaded with a laptop, work binders and saddlebags." Aw. Poor baby.

This is why, whenever I travel to Portland, I bring my own bottled H2O. I don't know what the hell they put in Portland's water but I'm not drinking it.

There are a lot of arrogant bicyclists in Portland who already ignore traffic laws. Now they'll do so even more. This cloud may have a silver lining; the crazy daredevil cyclists will all die horribly in traffic accidents and only the safe bicycle enthusiasts - those who respect the rules of the road - will remain. (posted 3-25-09, permalink)


Icebound: According to news reports, service on Portland's TriMet MAX light rail lines was disrupted most of the Sunday because of frozen switches. Don't those idiots know how to run a rail system?

Railroads have been de-icing switches for over a century - first with smudge pots, later with mini-flame throwers. Now, there are anti-icing agents available for track switches which can be applied as a pre-treatment before it snows. Used on plates, points, throw rods, stands and flangeways, it puts a barrier coating on the metal. Falling or blowing snow melts on contact.

But ... it's the People's Republik of Portland, ya know ... so TriMet probably uses something like a hemp, hummus, tofu and green tea mix, hoping for an eventual - but all-natural - exothermic reaction to occur. (posted 12-22-08, permalink)


Car Sighting: Last week, while in the People's Republik of Portland, I spotted a second-generation Scion xB taxi in black and white cab livery parked outside the Red Lion Hotel at Lloyd Center. I wondered if the rear leg room was decent enough for taxi use - after all, the wheelbase is only 102 inches and the car is less than 170 inches long. (posted 11-19-08, permalink)


Horny People Have Rights Too: Last week, there was much local television coverage about a Stars Cabaret, a self-described "gentlemen's club" featuring nude dancers. The club's latest branch is scheduled to open in the now-closed Out of the Blues restaurant site in Tualatin, just south of Portland.

Oregon is a staunch Blue state and no doubt many of the neighborhood protesters are of Democratic persuasion, that party of individual rights and unfettered freedom of expression. It is difficult to understand how a group that advocates gay marriage is having such a hissy fit over a bit of naked dancing behind closed doors? "How will I explain this to my children?" exclaimed one neighbor.

Aha! A book for children is exactly what's needed. Joining such liberal children's tomes as 'Heather Has Two Mommies' and 'Daddy's Roommate' will be 'Poppa Buys A Lap Dance'.

Problem solved; crisis averted. (posted 9-22-08, permalink)


Only People In The Portland Metro Area Will Get This: Last week, a family's pet goat broke loose and wandered the Oregon streets, finally boarding a TriMet bus. (If you want details of this news story, Google it.)

The bus driver didn't react immediately because, at first, she thought that it was just another resident of Dignity Village. (posted 6-9-08, permalink)


Field Trip: Last week, my wife and I visited the new IKEA store in Portland. Everything sold there has strange names: Flerkorn, Hampen, Gøsa Vila, Nøresund, Ektørp, Lersta, Bjørk, Granat, Kulla. It all sounds like the Swedish Pig Latin used by The Muppets' Chef. Do Swedish visitors to the U.S. go to an IKEA store just to get a good laugh?

Sherlock blog

We had lunch in the cafeteria. My wife had salmon. I had the Swedish meatballs which were very tasty and drank a can of made-in-Sweden Pear Cider. I shoulda stuck to water. Or Diet Coke.

IKEA is owned by Ingvar Kamprad; he is a Swedish billionaire but drives a 15 year-old old Volvo 240GL. Looking out the cafeteria window, I saw two Volvo beaters (a fairly common sight in hippie-filled Oregon) cruising IKEA's parking lot and exclaimed, "Look! There's the head of IKEA." (posted 11-7-07, permalink)


copyright 2007-17 - Joseph M. Sherlock - All applicable rights reserved


Disclaimer

The facts presented in this blog are based on my best guesses and my substantially faulty geezer memory. The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and are protected by the U.S. Constitution. Probably.

Spelling, punctuation and syntax errors are cheerfully repaired when I find them; grudgingly fixed when you do.

If I have slandered any brands of automobiles, either expressly or inadvertently, they're most likely crap cars and deserve it. Automobile manufacturers should be aware that they always have the option of trying to change my mind by providing me with vehicles to test drive.

If I have slandered any people or corporations in this blog, either expressly or inadvertently, they should buy me strong drinks (and an expensive meal) and try to prove to me that they're not the jerks I've portrayed them to be. If you're buying, I'm willing to listen.

Don't be shy - try a bribe. It might help.


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