Cox suggests that stringent growth regulations by Portland Metro, the three county planning body, cause the region to lose jobs and residents to its neighbors. While Multnomah County, the core of the Portland metro region, lost 20,000 jobs between 2001 and 2009, nearby Clark County, which has less stringent land use regulations and lower housing prices, added 13,000.
Cox also argues that the city is over-investing in transit at the expense of roadways, spending $5 billion on new light rail and bus systems over the past 25 years even as telecommuting is on the rise. In 2009, nearly as many residents worked from home as commuted on public transit.
'A higher cost of living driven by policies that have kept prices 40% higher than before the housing bubble (adjusted for household incomes), and increasing traffic congestion make Portland's three county area less competitive and nearby alternatives more attractive,' writes Cox.