City Commissioner Dan Saltzman's designs on a "green tourism of an entirely different sort" in Portland never stood a chance.

Saltzman—the Portland City Council member most averse to new pot regulations the city enacted last month—came into yet another hearing on those regulations this afternoon with a quixotic notion: In a city bent on spacing its pot shops by at least 1,000 feet, why not open up the downtown core to many, many more?

"I don't think the saturation issue really applies to the Central City like it applies to some neighborhoods," Saltzman explained to his colleagues. "We should be encouraging competition. We will have people coming here from other cities who want to appreciate what we’ve done here in Oregon."

Saltzman's proposal came in the form of an amendment he wanted to attach to city regulations hustled through on September 30. It would have eliminated the 1,000-foot buffer many pot shops must abide by, but only for the Lloyd Center and segments of downtown between I-405 and the river.

The amendment was clearly doomed early on. Council members are typically willing to "second" any flippant amendment a commissioner can dream up, just to get it on the table for discussion. But when Mayor Charlie Hales asked colleagues if there was a second for Saltzman's "Green Light District"? Crickets. The mayor had to second it himself after a brief and very awkward silence.

Pot industry representatives liked Saltzman's plan, but it ran into opposition from the Portland Business Alliance's Lynnae Berg, who intoned that downtown businesses don't know what this cannabis age holds, and want more time to investigate.

"People had questions like, 'What would this look like in my building, my block, in my area downtown?'" Berg said.

There were concerns, too, from substance abuse prevention types—who decided to provide statistics showing that pot was extremely accessible to teens under prohibition as reasoning for limiting legal purchase points.

Mostly, though, city commissioners just firmly believe that marijuana businesses need to be constrained within the city. Among a list of "values" Commissioner Amanda Fritz reeled off at the top of the hearing was: "We wanted to reduce saturation."

So Saltzman's proposal went down in flames, four votes to one.

In fact, cannabis entrepreneurs may face steeper odds setting up shop downtown than just the city's 1,000-foot rule. Portland attorney Sam Grosz told the city council that many of the large institutional investors that own property downtown won't lease to pot businesses. Those investors typically have mortgages on their property, Grosz explained, and mortgage lenders don't take well to property uses that break federal law.

Saltzman claimed it was all the more reason to pass his amendment. No dice.

There was some progress—finally—on the city's pot policy today. By expanding protections for existing dispensary owners, who've feared they could be pushed out of business under city rules, the city council appears to have finally found loose industry approval for its marijuana licensing program. Crucially, those existing dispensaries also have a painless path toward abandoning medical sales and selling recreational pot, which most plan to do. (It's a big question what this means for the medical marijuana patients everyone loves to say need access to cheap medicine.)

The council voted on a package of amendments that appear cleared for final passage next week. In the bargain, it earned kudos from new Oregon Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, who co-chaired a legislative committee on pot laws this year.

"Government is not in business of protecting small businesses from the natural forces of the market, and yes there will be a shakedown," Burdick said, not bothering to explain that last bit. "But on the other hand we have to navigate very carefully so we don’t punish people who have played by the rules."