More blight arrives in the Hillsdale Town Center
We have wires, barrel-sized transformers, defunct wireless cones and now — what?
Cell phone antennae of course. After I took this photo, workers attached a large equipment box the size of a three-drawer filing cabinet to the pole.
Of course, each of the several cell phone companies has to have its very own antenna.
Call it antenna envy.
Our Hillsdale commercial center is what Metro, the Portland-area regional government, has designated a “Town Center.”
Hence “the Hillsdale Town Center.”
The idea is to make the Town Centers pedestrian-friendly so that people walk to shops, schools and buses and leave their polluting cars at home.
Several of us believe that making our Town Center pedestrian-friendly involves making it attractive to walk around in. Actual sidewalks would be nice too.
We have street trees, although I noticed today that the one next to the new antenna-ized utility pole looks seriously stressed.
And some of us have actually had the audacity to propose undergrounding the utilities. No more poles, wires, transformers and, yes, cell phone antennae. The powers that be manage to bury all this stuff downtown, in South Waterfront and in the Lloyd and Pearl districts.
Why not here?
Could it have something to do with politics?
I’ve worked on and off for 15 years on the undergrounding issue. I used to joke that my goal was to see utilities in the Town Center undergrounded before I’m undergrounded.
It’s a joke no longer.
The “City that Works” needs to start working on undergrounding. A decade ago some of us, representing varied interests, including the utilities, suggested that fees should be placed on new technologies like cell phones (they were new back then). If they used the public right-of-way, they ponied up to mitigate the blight. The revenues would pay for undergrounding in Town Centers like Hillsdale.
Vera Katz was mayor at the time we made our report with its funding proposal. She assured us our suggesting would not gather dust on a shelf.
But that is exactly where it is today. While the dust gathers, the antennae and overhead wire blight spread throughout the City. And my own personal undergrounding becomes more real with each passing year.
On a brighter note. Clearly Hillsdale's pigeons are pleased with things the way they are.