Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hillsdale Terrace plan slammed

Ray Hallberg, a former Housing Authority of Portland commissioner, nailed it today in the Oregonian in an opinion piece about the wasteful, bureaucracy-driven plan to raze and replace the Hillsdale Terrace housing project in our neighborhood.

Hallberg's words, and those who have comment on-line, echo my own at last week's Hillsdale Neighborhood Association. Throwing $40.5 million at an demeaning, isolated ghetto-like site is an outrageous waste of taxpayer money and an insult to the poor.

At the HNA meeting, I ended up on the short end of a 10-to-2 vote. Five folks abstained. I wish Hallberg had attended the meeting. He might have at least persuaded the abstainers to get off the fence and vote.

Earlier in the day the Portland City Council made matters worse. Not only did the commissioners back the cock-eyed plan, they kicked in $5 million to the ill-conceived project.

Hallberg goes me one better in his column. Rather than build another housing project elsewhere in Hillsdale, as I recommended, Hallberg believes the money is best spent on Section 8 housing. As Hallberg explains, the program "allows qualified low-income clients to find suitable private housing in neighborhoods of their choice."

My hope is that they would find Hillsdale suitable.

P.S. Some of Hallberg's numbers are wrong, but the thrust of his argument is right. The proposed project is for 120 units, not 100. And the cost per unit is closer to $200,000, not $400,000.

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