Saturday, June 30, 2012

Planner visits Vegas, isn't horrified

Bellagio fountains. Image: author

It’s Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nevada - 11:30pm in front of the Bellagio fountains, to be exact. It’s still a toasty 90 degrees after a daytime high in the mid-100s. My wife and I are standing near the intersection of two ten-lane roads packed with cars – Las Vegas and Flamingo boulevards, arguably the “100% intersection” of the entire region. We’re not alone. In fact, I can think of only one other place in America where I’ve seen this many people on a sidewalk without a special event taking place. That would be Times Square. Clearly my preconceptions about Vegas are a bit off.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Where should affordable housing go?

A family member of mine who works at a non-profit affordable housing consultancy in Portland was understandably irritated at The Oregonian’s Sunday feature story, “Subsidizing Segregation: Taxpayer money meant to create affordable and desirable housing for the poor and people of color instead pushes them into the metro area’s worst neighborhoods.”

Patton Park Apartments. Photo: Reach CDC
I agree that the article has a pejorative tone, and deemphasizes any success stories or positive sides of the issue. Hundreds of housing professionals work tirelessly to provide decent places to live for our region’s less well-off. Far beyond tilting up four walls and a roof, our region’s housing agencies have created remarkable communities with state-of-the-art design and amenities. I’ve seen the quality first-hand during tours of North/Northeast Portland’s Patton Park and Shaver Green Apartments.