RE: “City: Proposed $258.4 Million Housing Bond Amounts to 1,300 Units” [Blogtown, June 28]. “The City of Portland now has another figure to attach to the $258.4 million housing bond city council will almost certainly put before voters this November: 1,300,” wrote Dirk VanderHart. “That’s the approximate number of affordable housing units those millions would hope to create or preserve,” VanderHart continued. “Nearly half of the units the city hopes to create or preserve are for ultra-low-income Portlanders... making 30 percent of the city’s median family income (MFI) or less. For a family of four, that’s a maximum of $22,000 per year. The remaining units would be affordable to people making at most 60 percent of the MFI—$43,980 for a family of four.”
1,300 units?! Preserved units?! Only 600 of the households at or below 30 percent of the MFI?! A pittance for those in need of truly affordable housing.
Guess what you pay back bonds with? New tax revenue. Where is that going to come from? If it’s property owners, then that cost will be passed along to renters. If it’s the general populace, it’s coming from your paycheck. Both of those are fine, of course, as long as you’re willing to also accept the accompanying results.
Or we could significantly liberalize the zoning laws and promote new market-rate construction that will increase the supply of housing stock, thus putting downward pressure on prices across the board. But we wouldn’t want our precious weird Portland to “change,” so I guess it’s back to the drawing board while the situation continues to get worse.
RE: “Why Is It So Damn Tough to Open a New Restaurant in Portland” [Feature, June 29], Andrea Damewood’s story about how labor shortages and high rents have strangled Portland’s food scene. “Ten years ago,” Damewood wrote, “a creative chef could launch her dream with $50,000 and elbow grease. Today, it’s going to cost at least $200,000 to even think about hanging a sign.”
All these new, wannabe restaurateurs are complaining because they are moving to established areas that were once shitholes and wondering why the prices are higher than they used to be. They are higher because the place is not a shithole anymore. Here’s an idea: Find your own up-and-coming shithole.
Open on Foster. Open on SE 72nd by Mt. Scott Park. Open in Lents. Open in downtown Milwaukie. Open on Woodstock—east of 52nd. Do some demographic trends searches, do real estate searches, and monitor local business journals—find some promising spots.
Please don’t let restaurant owners who don’t understand Capitalism 101 get away with lazy arguments like “labor shortage.” If there is a shortage of line cooks/restaurant staff, basic economics says you have to offer higher wages in order to lure workers away from current jobs. My guess is that restaurant owners simply want workers to take the low wage on offer and make patrons deal with the wait times. Those who won’t pay higher wages will go under, and that’s probably what they deserve.
Keynes Kush OG
RE: “The BFG: Just Like E.T., But Bigger!” [Film, June 29], Ned Lannamann’s review of Steven Spielberg’s latest, in which Lannamann wrote that the film’s titular big friendly giant regularly lets out “tremendous, uh, 'whizzpoppers’” and added that the best scene features “whizzpopping corgis.”
Based on this information, I shall see this film. (Although I will not share this information with my friends who are planning to come with me, as they are tender souls and not as committed to fart humor.)
RE: “In Swiss Army Man, Dano and Radcliffe Are Best Friends Forever” [Film, June 29], Megan Burbank’s review of the new film starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe—the latter of which, “working hard to quash your beloved associations of Harry Potter, portrays a farting corpse.”
I shall have a double feature with The BFG, and my flatulence dreams will be complete.
Here at the Mercury, we aim to make dreams come true. And so, catbot—inspired by your determination, and touched by your devotion—we’re giving you the Mercury’s letter of the week prize. Enjoy your two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater. Your dreams await.
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