Density, growth to change Milwaukie's character?
Several months ago at a Milwaukie Neighborhood Association meeting, the city liaison asked all present what drew them to the city initially. Almost without fail the answer was 'the small town feel,' or 'the friendly, unhurried pace,' or words to that effect.
Remember our old line 'They want Manhattan, but we want Mayberry?' Well, stand back, Opie, that little house you shared with Aunt Bea is about to be crunched by a bulldozer. Metro is back to free us from our nonchalant ways and lead us into the realm of forced togetherness.
I hate to use the phrase 'in Metro's lust for density' because it really, really irritates a lot of bureaucrats and politicians; that being said, in Metro's lust for density and their unwavering goal to pack us in like sardines by 2040, or 2030, or whenever, they fail to realize that all of Portland's satellite towns are not the same.
One size does not fit all. Milwaukie is basically a built-out city, and cannot overnight be converted into an Orenco Station without creating serious livability problems. In every case existing infrastructure must be taken into consideration and all development geared to existing downtown and comprehensive plans.
Transit Oriented Developments (TODs) are exactly what Milwaukie doesn't need, because they sacrifice common-sense necessities like parking in order to tailor the city to their Orwellian, smart-growth dreams.
To add to this happy mix, TriMet is pushing light rail into town as hard as they can. Gee, you'd think they'd won an election somewhere in the last ten years. They haven't, they're just very clever at juggling tax-payer's money and assets and convincing the public that they've been empowered to do so. The latest media blitz is a sight to behold: I almost got on board one of those things the other day without thinking.
The problem is that Milwaukie's downtown is only seven blocks long and two blocks wide, and light rail is not a good fit. Rail advocates claim that its footprint is very narrow and will have little negative effect on the city. They're ignoring the fact that the rail leaves a wake, and not just a ripple effect but huge waves of crime and deteriorating neighborhoods, certainly not a basis upon which to build our city's future.
As citizens we have only one course of action in the face of this negative encroachment: we must be vocal in our communications with our elected officials and Metro. We cannot allow Milwaukie to be a congested sacrifice to the gods of social engineering.