Saturday, June 5, 2010

Miniature Portland, No - Miniature LA, Sí

Posted By on Sat, Jun 5, 2010 at 8:52 PM

On Wednesday The Bulletin printed an “In My View” piece by Greg Macpherson, a member of the state Land Conservation and Development Commission, defending the state’s land use laws and the LCDC’s decision to send Bend’s proposed Urban Growth Boundary expansion back for a do-over.

This morning The Bulletin printed Macpherson’s piece again – not because they liked it so much, but because they wanted to sneer at it in an editorial.

Calling Macpherson’s article (which, to me, seemed extremely polite and even-tempered) an “insulting lecture,” the editorial insinuated – hell, it pretty much said outright – that McPherson is engaged in political pandering to those eeeeee-vil libruls on the west side of the Cascades who want Bend to become “a miniature version of Portland.”

“Once a politician, always a politician,” the editorial says, going on to note that Macpherson used to be the state representative for “tony Lake Oswego” (oooh, he must be an elitist!) and ran unsuccessfully for attorney general in 2008.

“Sooner or later,” the editorial continues, Macpherson is “likely to run for statewide office again. And when he does, he can now say he used his tenure on the LCDC to defend the integrity of Oregon’s land use system against an assault by the wayward people of Bend. It’s possible, in other words, that Macpherson’s patronizing little lecture was intended largely to impress future voters in Portland.”

It evidently never occurred to the sages on The Bulletin’s editorial board that Macpherson might be defending the state’s land use system because he believes in it; no, anybody who disagrees with The Bulletin must have impure motives for doing so.

“We suppose it’s Macpherson’s prerogative to use his LCDC seat as a political platform, but it does call his objectivity into question,” the editorial concludes. “Does he really intend to apply the law even-handedly to Bend’s proposal, or is his judgment hopelessly clouded by his apparent desire to score political points? Officials and residents of Bend shouldn’t have to wonder. If Macpherson cares about the integrity of the state’s land use system, he should recuse himself from all future decisions regarding Bend’s UGB.”

Note the exquisite circularity of the logic here: The Bulletin’s editorial writers think Macpherson should decline to take part in any decisions about Bend’s UGB because of his “apparent desire to score political points” with Portlanders – a desire which is apparent only to The Bulletin’s editorial writers.

Today’s editorial claims that the city approved the over-inflated and ill-advised UGB expansion because “most people who live here” wanted it that way; following state land use rules would force Bendites to live cheek-by-jowl in a miniature Portland (complete with “snout houses” and gangsters, one imagines).

I don't recall any local polls being taken on the UGB expansion, but maybe The Bulletin has access to some secret polling data; I don’t know. I do know that when I talk with ordinary folks around here, they all agree the UGB expansion is far too big and mostly in the wrong places.

And while people in Bend might not want their town to become a “miniature version of Portland,” they’ve been very vocal for many years about not wanting it to become a sprawling mess like Phoenix or Los Angeles either.

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