The relation of land use to transportation was in the air last week. On different threads, from different starting points, last week saw many conversations arrive at a discussion about density, what is needed to have a transit network that works well enough, for enough people, in enough areas, that it can replace car trips—and if that is even feasible.
There were a lot of strong comments. I wish I could just bundle them. My favorite ones noticed that there seems to be a disconnect between this site’s heartfelt debates about the density/transportation conundrum and what our elected leaders are actually doing.
And it’s more than just debate and talk, Portland eats volunteer time, and the time of city employees too, on its plethora of advisory committees whose advice frequently winds up on a shelf collecting dust. What gives?
This pithy comment from Watts captured the absurdity and frustration of the present moment. Plus, and this is a once-in-decade-phenomena, Fred, Damien and Prioritarian all seemed to agree with him. Think about that!
Watts’s head-in-hand comment came in response to our post about the 2024 legislative session. In particular, about a bill that is afloat to weaken the urban growth boundary established by Oregon’s signature land-use accomplishment, the 1973 Senate Bill 100.
Here’s what he had to say:
HB 4048: The last thing we need is to make it easier to expand the UGB. Between Portland and the state, there seems to be a real fever to roll back environmental regulations around where and what you can build. It seems to be one of the few things Democrats and Republicans can agree on.
Thank you Watts for this, and all your comments. You can read Watts in the context of other regular commenters actually agreeing with him here.