I’ve had some fascinating conversations in the last week about land use (rent, housing, parking), transportation, politics, public lands, and race! Like many, I’m feeling a mix of hope and fear for our communities and country. I’ve been trying to listen and ask more questions. With the holiday season here, the next month is going to fly by. I need to make a conscious effort to keep this Better Portland project going.
What I’m reading this week:
Parking: The price is wrong – this article has an interesting look at Portland handicap placard use and how changing the policy around it freed up parking and abuse of the placards “Spaces occupied by placard users dropped 70%.” “The larger lesson here should be abundantly clear: charging users for something approaching the value of the public space that they are using produces a transportation system that works better for everyone.” –via City Observatory
DO: Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is currently studying parking in five neighborhoods: St Johns, NE 28th, Hollywood, Division, Mississippi. Portland City Council will be discussing NW parking on Dec 22, 2016.
Choosing a Daily Political action – I signed up for several of these daily political action emails/websites this week to see what they recommend. MyCivicWorkout (5-30 minute “workouts” for civic activism), Flippable (winning the country back one seat at a time), and DeedsDigest (Deeds not words). One of the things I found in common when I signed up for these, they’re geared more for folks in red states, but still useful reminders.
DO: Sign up for a daily political action email and see if it’s useful or changes any of your weekly behavior.
City of Portland boosts network with 5.6 miles of newly buffered bike lanes – PBOT used $80,000 that was left over from larger capital projects that came in under budget to upgrade 5.6 miles of bike lanes around Portland for safety upgrades. “Along with new buffers on existing bike lanes, the city has also put the money toward bike-related crossing treatments at major intersections, signage, and new bike lanes where they didn’t exist before.” –via Bike Portland
DO: Have you noticed any of these upgrades? There’s a full list on the link above. Share or reach out to let the city know you like this and want to see more!
Why Protected Bike Lanes Save Lives – “The more physically separate cycling facilities provided, the more cycling levels grow, and in particular, the more women, children, and seniors are willing to cycle.” –via CityLab
We elected a climate denier, so now what? Roll up your sleeves for the outdoors – “It’s going to be a long, hard four years for environmentalists and outdoor advocates. We seriously just put a climate denier in the White House, and now we have to face the consequences.” –via The Morning Fresh
DO: Check out the idea list halfway through article. Give to organizations, start using your social channels for advocacy, make calls etc. GiveGuide has a great roundup of our local environmental nonprofits to support.
10 Ways To Resist Donald Trump: Activists Share Concrete Actions You Can Take Right Now – There have been so many lists, I know, but still a great reminder of small real things we can do. –via Bitch Media
DO: Pick one thing from the list and do it this next week. This last week I tried to focus on diversifying my media.
Rents are plunging in the most expensive markets – Fascinating article about housing market and the new apartment supply. Average rents are actually decreasing year over year, and landlords are piling on the concessions… “Nearly all of the new supply is high end, and it is pressuring the market from the top down.” “None of the razor-thin capitalization rates landlords used a year ago to bamboozle creditors into lending them money make sense anymore. Vacant units make their plight worse. Creditors are getting nervous. But the renting folk, after having their lifeblood squeezed out of them over the past years, will have the option of moving again a year later, with lots of apartments to choose from – or commence tough negotiations with the landlord – to get a better deal in this new phase of Housing Bubble 2.” –via Business Insider
DO: Here in Portland, average rent for a 2 bedroom has actually decreased 4.7% year over year to $1,620. Have you seen any signs of a “Housing Bubble 2”? Think about how another could impact you and your community.
This Week’s Actions: This week, I shared what I’m working on with a few more people, stayed off Facebook (19 days now!), signed up for several “political action” emails and websites, and contacted a few political leaders in Washington.
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” – Nelson Mandela via swissmiss
What are you reading and doing this week?