Privacy for Superman
Tags: amtrak, ck choi building, density, green inc., historical preservation, irvington, land use law prof blog, max, north protland, oregon, paul boudreaux, payphone, portland, seattle, stephen rees, ubc, union station, Vancouver
So my cell phone contract expired about a month ago now, and I thought I’d give life a shot minus the long arm of AT&T. I purchased a Skype number, so as not to fall entirely incommunicado, but my days are largely spent without the luxury of instant telecommunication. Overall, things have gone smoothly, but my lack of a phone has led to a series of revelations. Most apparent is the lack of payphones in Portland, which had me walking all the way to Union Station to make a phone call (a fair walk from where I was located). Perhaps it’s my unhealthy love of noir detective stories, but the death of the payphone is troubling to me.
Sure, wifi will soon make even cell phones irrelevant, so bemoaning the loss of the payphone is a little like denying the extinction of the pterodactyl. Still, there are issues of equitable access to communication to be addressed. Maybe public libraries will have to provide phone services along with basic internet access. Looks like Clark Kent will have to find a new changing room.
Density v. History:
Paul Boudreaux of the Land Use Prof Blog nails down the competition between historical preservation and density, specifically referring to a proposed development in the stately Portland neighborhood of Irvington. I have my own views on this issue, but what is certainly clear is that history and density are not always complements. History is completely subjective and, as any planner will tell you, people love density… in someone else’s neighborhood.
The same conflict between density and historical preservation surrounds a proposed development in North Portland, which is far less well-off than Irvington. It’ll be interesting to monitor how these issues unwind side-by-side.
Folks are excited about the opening of the MAX Green Line here in Portland, and understandably so. I’m more excited about Amtrak’s extended service to BC from Seattle (thanks for the info, Stephen Rees). Maybe it’ll finally be possible to catch a train from Portland to Vancouver.