Despite Praise, Portland Has Room for Improvement

Portland, Oregon, is held high on a pedestal for innovative urban planning and development. But the city has its drawbacks and needs to face them, writes Aaron M. Renn.
January 20, 2010, 7am PST | Nate Berg
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Renn highlights many of the aspects that make Portland a model city in the U.S., and identifies some of the ways the city is impossible to duplicate.

"[T]hough Portland can't be copied, it can be an inspiration. Many of its ideas can and have been adopted elsewhere. Whether most cities succeed in reclaiming their urban cores is not yet known, but it's a fight worth fighting. Without Portland, we might not be even trying.

However, in one way Portland today is very unlike that younger Chicago: economically. As low-cost haven next to troubled California, with fantastic natural amenities and resources, a burgeoning talent pool, a small underclass, a comparative lack of the legacy problems of other cities and a high degree of civic consensus, Portland should be an economic juggernaut -- but isn't."

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Published on Sunday, January 17, 2010 in The Oregonian
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