I was recently asked for feedback by a self-described “conservative libertarian” colleague of mine on a guest op-ed for the right-leaning Cascade Policy Institute (CPI). Happily, I agreed, delving into the piece, and replyied on the article itself (which may still be pending moderation). The op-ed was penned by John Glennon, a research associate at CPI. Like me, John is a native of the Midwest. He is also a senior at Indiana University, Bloomington. It should be noted that while CPI has opposed certain ‘green’ energy and transit projects, they were allies in attacking the wasteful Columbia River Crossing boondoggle.
John Glennon: I am not a native Portlander; but the summer I have spent here has given me some interesting insights into the culture of the city, the Pacific Northwest, and the West Coast. Working at Cascade Policy Institute has provided me with a different view of the city from what is experienced by most visitors. Many come to the city to experience the virtues of intensive urban planning. Portland is known around the country as a liberal stronghold that promotes public transportation, cycling, and conservation of land through strict adherence to the line drawn around the metropolitan area known as the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB). At Cascade, my work is to do research on these policies and make recommendations for alternative policies that promote economic freedom, which are usually in direct opposition to the methods used by Portland planners to create their vision for the future of the Portland area.
Hart Noecker: As far as the assertion that the UGB prevents “economic freedom”, I disagree. Portland – like all cities – functions as a capital growth machine. City governments are in the business of real estate. Charlie Hales especially is a developer’s best friend, and he’s lobbied for many large construction projects that totally outsize surrounding homes, pissing off existing members of the community in the process.