About

I am a graduate student studying architecture at the University of Oregon in Portland. I have lived in Portland since 2002 and have a deep interest in its development and evolution. My intention with Building Portland is to explore the issues and trends that are shaping our city. In writing this blog I hope to force myself to more deeply explore idea and more fully develop theories on the city than I would otherwise. I also hope to connect with others interested in the process that shape Portland and share what I know, and hopefully learn from them.

You can contact me at pwalchtaylor@gmail.com

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2 thoughts on “About

  1. I enjoy reading your blog. I feel like I know a little more about what is happening in Portland from an insider’s perspective and not just what I read in the headlines. One topic that you might want to explore is how government spending (all forms of government subsidies) changes the marketplace for better or worse. What does the construction of subsidized low-income housing do to existing privately-owned affordable housing? Does the government pick winners and losers when some projects and firms get tax breaks or concessions to build what the government wants, while others must compete in the marketplace? What does government activity in development do to satisfy customer demand? Or does the wishes of the public play into government decision-making much, if at all? And finally, how has government regulations Affected the price of construction in general, and housing in particular? My daughter was an architect (until 2008) and I always thought that architects were divorced from the realities of the financial aspect of what they were designing – at least the big picture, and most definately if the job was for project funded in some part by the public. Anyway, great thoughts and info here to keep me coming back to see what else is new and what other issues you might tackle.

    PS: the blog would be a lot more readable if you proofread the copy before you hit the upload button. I’m just glad everyone can’t see all my typing errors.

    • Thank you for your comments. The issues you raise are very interesting ones, especially here in Portland. On the one hand the city charges what many developers and property owners consider exorbitant development charges while on the other hand it dishes out subsidies and tax breaks for projects in urban renewal area, for multi-family projects in certain portions of the city and other reasons. If often seems very market distorting to me. In many ways this is small scale version of a large scale problem in our society. People in the know can work the system and make their projects pencil out while small player and people trying to get into development are confronted with an arcane set of programs to negotiate. While I am no libertarian, the system could be made far more straightforward and simple. Lower development charges could be coupled with fewer government subsidies making it easier for people trying to develop their land. This is a topic our mayoral and city council candidates should have a frank discussion about. Lately there has been a wider conversation about the tradeoffs involved in Portland’s urban renewal program and it would be great to see it expanded to cover some of these other issues.

      Thank you also for highlighting my slothful attitude towards proof reading. I will try to improve.

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