This Sunday at 1pm, I was in a very unusual place: the Hilton's Grand Ballroom, surrounded by 400 aspiring luxury condo owners and a crew of classy auction workers. Faced with a flopping real estate market, the John Ross condo tower in South Waterfront took the plunge and auctioned off for cut rates the remaining 26 percent of its units that have not sold in five years. South Waterfront is supposed to be Portland's new dense, green neighborhood, but the auction reminds us of the pitfalls involved in constructing dense neighborhoods where none existed before.
If Portland's going to accommodate the 1.1 million people projected to move here by 2050 (without creating massive sprawl), we're going to have to figure out how to do density right. For some perspective on how density is possible, check out this crazy infographic from How We Drive (via BikePortland).