Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In No Particular Order


In "The End Of The Parking Meter" (Slate magazine), T that we can thank Oklahoma City for being the first city ever to install a parking meter. Rising parking enforcement problems prompted the introduction of the highly-functional and highly-despised device. 75 years ago.

This bit caught my eye: "[...] a survey found that at any given time, 80 percent of the city's spots were occupied by employees of downtown businesses—the very same businesses complaining that lack of parking was driving away shoppers."

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, Bendites?

But parking meters drive away customer, too. Vanderbilt writes that,
Eugene, Oregon, recently removed parking meters and will go back to chalk-based enforcement, echoing that old refrain that parking meters drive away business; the city's parking manager observed, "we are counting on downtown businesses to police their own, as employee parking on street will make or break the program." Good luck with that.
(I am not sure about the construction of that first sentence. The semicolon bothers me -- it doesn't provide a sufficiently smooth transition between the two clauses, more of a speed bump, actually. There's probably nothing that can be done about it.)

Anyway, Jack says parking meters never class up a street and that Bend should just keep on doing what it's been doing, however inefficient it is. Think of it as a jobs program for Diamond Parking if you have to. The curbside version of privatized prisons. Like hiring Xe Services (né "Blackwater") to do your dirty work. Whatever.

More Vague Slogans, No Hard Answers!

Mrs Elliott will be out of town for a few days, baby-sitting her grandchildren so her son and daughter-in-law can enjoy an anniversary trip to the Sandwich (or "Hawaiian" as they are called these days) islands . Watching the weather forecast on Z-21 Monday she became frustrated. "Every time I leave town, the weather is gorgeous. Just look at this prediction for Vacaville," she pointed at her laptop's screen. "Rain. This sucks."

She is certain that all the beautiful leaves will have fallen off the trees by the time she returns.

"Don't leave town so often," I suggested.

She gave me the irritated look devoted grandmothers reserve for those who don't understand grandmotherly love for little grand-urchins.

West side has no traffic lights. Not a single one, near as I can determine. I called the city and learned that the passing of the controversial West Side Traffic Signal and Cowboy Hats (Remember the Pueblo!) Act* in 1998 led to an unexpected spurt of traffic roundabout growth and wannabe buckaroo ticketing on the west side.

"It's a misdemeanor for grown men to wear cowboy hats in public or for anyone to install a traffic light over there," said a city factotum, adding that "The west side is the best side. Go Ducks."

I'm not certain how to feel about this. On the one hand, it makes the west side looser feeling, less regimented. Groovier. On the other hand . . . hell, there is no other hand. Traffic signals suck. Go Ducks.

I began a new food plan three weeks ago. This, to knock a few pounds off from my hefty self. I am working with nutritionist Gina Bailey who is managing my meal plan. I've dropped 7-1/2 lbs of unattractive fat and have added 1-1/2 lbs of lean macho man muscle mass, a net loss of 6 lbs. That's 2 lbs per week. She has me eating five or six small meals per day, each with no more than 240 calories. By eating frequently enough to avoid low blood sugar I've not been hungry in the least.

The new house going up on the lot behind us has much of its noisy work completed, but the racket is not yet over because the city is tearing up the undeveloped dirt-and-stone road in front of that new house to install sewage and/or storm drains. Although this is the only house so far on the roadway, the city is either obliged, or figures it makes sense, to send guys with big, heavy, hydraulics-laden yellow-painted machines to just fucking rip a ditch right down the middle of the road, and in that ditch install pipes and pre-formed concrete chambers with turrets at the top that have round openings the exact size of manhole covers.

It's noisy work. Sounds of roaring diesels, backup beepers, and the thud-thud-thud of big boulders being broken into smaller ones.

But the guys building the house and the guys working for the city have carefully avoided making noise before 7 a.m.

I appreciate that.

Back in the Old Country we had a noisy neighbor, a pre-school located right below our bedroom window. They were zoned "provisional" and had to be careful not to annoy the neighbors in the early morning, but it was difficult for them to muffle the sound of screaming children and loud parents saying good-bye to their kids as they dropped them off.

We understood the school's problems, they were sympathetic to our irritation; they did what they could, and we tried not to be too dickish.

* "NUISANCES SUBJECT TO ABATEMENT", Bend Code Title XIII, Chapter 13.20.002 "Unattractive Nuisances". Look it up.


  1. A more fitting bumper sticker might be:
    "Chris Dudley, At Least He's Not Kitzhaber!"
    "Kitzhaber, He Had His Chance, And Fucked It Up!"
    "You Want Experience? Look Where It Got Us With Kulongoski!"

  2. We've got plenty of traffic signals (and four-way stops) on the unfashionable Eastside, along with big-box stores, strip malls, hideous Soviet-style apartment housing and assorted other crap. Only two roundabouts that I'm aware of.

    Somewhere, somehow our city "leaders" tacitly decided that the Eastside was going to be a sacrifice zone and all the good stuff would go on the Westside. I'm not sure when this happened but it was sometime after 1985, when I moved here, because at that time, believe it or not, the Eastside was considered more desirable (because the sawmills were still operating).

    I suspect the decision had to do with the fact that Brooks Resources (corporate scion of Brooks Scanlon) owned (and owns) a shitload of land on the Westside, having bought it cheap for timber way back when.

  3. "There's probably nothing that can be done about it."

    You're right, there is no way to save that sentence. The problem is that the phrase "echoing that old refrain that parking meters drive away business" isn't attached to anything; it's just floating around in the middle. Who or what is doing the "echoing"? It's impossible to figure out. If I was the copy editor I would've just deleted that phrase.

  4. Anonymous, how about ...

    "You Want an Empty Suit? Remember George W. Bush?"

  5. I would love to know how, when and by whom it was decided that the Eastside would get all the crap -- not only all the traffic signals and four-way stops, but all the big-box stores, strip malls, hideous housing developments, Stalin-style apartment complexes, etc., etc. -- while the "fashionable Westside" got all the good stuff.

    The decision was made sometime after 1985 because, believe it or not, when I moved here then it was the Eastside that was considered more desirable, because the Westside still had noisy, smoke-spewing sawmills.

  6. "I would love to know how, when and by whom it was decided that the Eastside would get all the crap..."

    Probably because that's where the main traffic corridors are. Your highway 97 and 20 kind of things.

  7. Highway 97 is what most people consider the boundary between Bend's East and West. It does not run through the Eastside.

    I suspect (but can't prove) that the big reason the Westside got the good development and preferential treatment from the city was that Brooks Resources (development company that is the corporate descendant of Brooks Scanlon) owned (and still owns) a lot of land there that it picked up cheap for timber back in the day.

    BTW the Westside does have traffic signals if you consider downtown part of the Westside, which most people do.

  8. I wonder whether the railroad tracks marked the original division between the west and east sides. I also recall reading somewhere that Division street was a line of demarcation, thus its name. The postal service has their own system and a survey of east-west streets noting where their addresses change from west to east might be informative.

    I need a grant to complete this study.

    I guess I considered the Westside as that area on the west side of the river. I stand corrected. But I'm happy to include downtown and Old Bend in the category.


------------ Facebook update page widget added 3/2012 --------------
------------ ends facebook update page widget -------------