Portland is proud of being a livable city. Sure, its streets are crumbling, city buildings are neglected, and its schools are crappy. But don’t worry; it’s a livable city.
A building so ugly that Willamette Week newspaper uses the “ugly” tag for any article that refers to it.
The Antiplanner noted last February that the city’s transportation bureau elected to give up on street paving and repair so that it could fund streetcars. The latest news is that the city isn’t even property maintaining its buildings, including the internationally famous (for being ugly) Portland building. The city has just over half the money it needs to keep this and other city buildings maintained.
Another recent news story revealed that Oregon has the fourth-worst high-school graduation rate in the nation. Just two out of three high school students earn a diploma in four years. Oregon’s record is brought down by Portland schools, where the graduation rate is just 59 percent, which is “well behind those of districts with similar levels of student poverty.”
An even more recent evaluation ranked Oregon’s K-12 system as the tenth worst in the nation. No doubt the dismal performance of Portland’s schools brought the average down.
Some might reply that the city government has little to do with the school district. But it does: all of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent out of tax-increment financing is money taken from schools and other property-tax-dependent districts.
Portland has a new mayor who has historically supported streetcars and TODs over streets and schools. But, who knows? He may just figure out that the city can’t go on spending on Disneyland rides while neglecting funding for basic maintenance and essential services such as schools.