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Portland expensive? Not if youre prudent

Letters to the editor
by: Christopher Onstott Josh Bryan looks at the South Waterfront from his condo in the John Ross Building, where the high cost of living in Portland is more evident than ever. Letter writers respond to a recent report that it costs more to live in Portland than in other cities.

This report is utterly fantastic and unbelievable (Report: It costs more to live here, Dec. 23). Of course, if you insist on living in a McMansion and having dozens of automobiles, it is 'expensive' in metro Portland.

We came to Portland with the express desire to retire on our Social Security income. We have a nice townhouse (rented) and moderate living expenses. We don't drive, so that expense is gone.

Maybe if more Portland residents lived a more moderate lifestyle and were content with what they have, they wouldn't be complaining about expense. However, that's not the American dream, is it?

Samuel R. Ganczaruk

Northeast Portland

Encouraging jobs is the answer

I found Jim Redden's front page story 'Report: It costs more to live here' (Dec. 23) interesting, but surely providing nothing we don't already know.

It is more than evident to those who live in this city and state that our wages are below the national average, and that everything costs more than in other metropolitan areas in the country. Thus, Oregon is stuck with a high unemployment percentage (above) 10 percent - or greater if you figure everyone who has dropped out of the job market, having given up on looking for a job.

Now that we have a new governor in office, he faces many daunting challenges, from balancing a state budget that is out of whack to creating job growth that will get our citizens back to work, earning good wages so they can pay taxes necessary to keep government functioning. Working three jobs at minimum wage will not cut it.

The old days of spending, spending, spending are over and tough choices will have to be made to spend no more than you take in, or continue to face mounting deficits that will result in increasing taxes on those who work.

The first thing that the incoming governor and the mayor of Portland must do is to find ways of creating jobs. That is one of the biggest challenges of 2011. Oregon and Portland in particular have a lousy reputation for being unfriendly to business. The business climate in this state and city reflects one of many reasons why so many people are out of work. Taxing businesses excessively certainly will not encourage them to do business here or to expand their businesses. Why should they settle here when they can go to other cities or states that will give them incentives to stay, or at the very least expand what they already have?

Personally, (I believe) our entire tax structure stinks in this city and state, and now we are paying the price for it. And like the federal tax structure, our state tax structure needs a major overhaul to encourage business to come to Oregon and Portland to create jobs, while at the same time providing our citizens more money in their pockets to purchase items to help the economy remain strong and give businesses a reason for staying here.

Louis H. Bowerman

Southeast Portland

City difficult to leave behind

It is not easy to leave a city you love. Many of us contemplating moving from Portland have lived here a long time and are very invested in our communities.

I am just an average Jo trying to pay the mortgage and taxes, make sure my kid gets a decent education and save for retirement. Unfortunately, Portland's high taxes and service fees are making my modest American dream unattainable. The article, 'Report: It costs more to live here' (Dec. 23), put some statistics behind what I already knew in my gut. But breaking up is hard to do.

Jane McFarland

Northeast Portland

Poor leadership has its price

Portland's leadership quality and costly land development policies may be contributing to its dismal affordability (Report: It costs more to live here, Dec. 23).

Marvin Lee McConoughey

Corvallis

Portland too nice to be cheap

I'm always amused by the Portland Business Alliance's hand wringing about us not having enough well-paying jobs in Portland, a condition often used as an excuse to run roughshod over good zoning practices and to provide subsidies to businesses to remain, relocate or increase investment here (Report: It costs more to live here, Dec. 23).

The reason it costs more than the national average to live in Portland and the reason wages lag the national average are the same: People want to live here, because Portland is the nicest city in the continental United States.

People want to live here, driving up demand for housing, and hence its price. People want to live here, hence driving up the supply of labor and driving down wages.

We can bring in more well-paying jobs, and the extra money will only drive up the demand for housing, increasing its price, leaving us all where we were.

Brian A. Cobb

Northwest Portland

Portland breeds underachievement

Multnomah County is so messed up because of its dependence on federal and state subsidies, which are wasted on debilitating public projects like the proposed Portland-Milwaukie light-rail project (Report: It costs more to live here, Dec. 23).

If Portland were more a 'fend for yourself' community, it would force its citizens to reach for achievement instead of underachievement via a federal government handout.

Then there's the albatross called Metro government, which restricts development to just a few areas in a state (while) 96 percent of the land sits undeveloped, growing nothing more than moss and tumbleweed.

Aging farmers sit captive to the 'green' nuts in Multnomah County who think they should have rights over other people's property - property they seldom even drive past.

And along comes the Portland Public School district, aiming to spike property taxes this year. And this spike will go to fund mostly the renovation of a few select high schools. What's worse, these high schools are among some of worst performing schools in the district and the nation.

Such rewarding of failure is another insane part of Portland's several decade-long governance.

Bob Clark

Southeast Portland

Taxes just add to the cost

(Report: It costs more to live here, Dec. 23) Heap on top of that the propensity for Multnomah County residents to approve just about every tax that comes down the pike, and you have an untenable situation.

Rob Callan

Wilsonville