Dear Mayor Wheeler and Portland Commissioners,
Someone on Oregonlive.com said Portland rents have doubled in the last 5 years. To me, this is prima facia evidence we are children of darkness. Is there a right to turn housing into a speculative pot of gold?
Years ago I said to people in Eugene that the whole country was squeezing into Portland. For a variety of reasons, people are no longer living near the Mississippi River but are concentrated on the coasts. Thus the US is becoming a giant dust bowl with people populating the coasts. State failure and market failure are the proximate causes since people would mostly stay put if they were not upended by economic dislocations.
The state should protect the social peace. Nevertheless, the neoliberal regime only protects owners and capital. I am translating a German article from Freitag.de that grapples with the rising rents in Berlin and ways out of the crisis.
A political solution is necessary. 1) The federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program has created 3 million units. 2) A non-profit or cooperative housing sector is necessary since private developers cannot or will not build inexpensive or affordable housing. 3) SRO-hotels with shared kitchens and shared bathrooms are ecologically sensible, promote a sense of community and are worlds better than warehouses or prisons. 4) The Vancouver BC model of community centers and refurbished hotels is different from the SF-condo model. The Biltmore on 6th and NW Everett operated by Central City Concern is a good example of a viable SRO. On another subject, The Collective at 4th and Harrison seems to be the mother-of-all-office buildings and a boondoggle to make other boondoggles tolerable. Why not change the name to "The Hocus Pocus" or "The Ryan-McConnell Overkill"?
After 40 years of neoliberal trickle-down economic mythology with tax favors showered on corporations and redistribution from bottom to top, the time is right for redistribution from top to bottom. States and cities must resist the myths and fairy-tales of the Trumpian tax plan that could lead to $2 trillion or $7 trillion in tax shortfalls over the next ten years. Inequality hurts, Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz has emphasized in articles and books. Without the social contract, we become wolves to each other and head for a gloomy Orwellian future of corporate feudalism.
I look forward to your comments. My website offers over 800 translated articles on the economic crisis. Openculture.com gives us 1150 free movies (including the 9-minute video "Alice in Wonderland" from 1913!). Grin.com, a Munich publisher, has 187K books with reading samples. A whole universe opens up! Enjoy the feast! Surely it is time to abandon resignation and provinciality and think more of sharing, solidarity, counter-measures and future imperatives.
Thanks for your time and attention.