The Economy: what does it mean for Portland?
I'm not an economist, but I do read the news, and it sounds like we're headed for, if not already in, the toilet. So when I hear all these grand plans for the North Pearl or Goodman's parking lots or SOWA (or excited comments here about "-- maybe a new tallest???") I've started rolling my eyes and taking a deep breath. I'd like to know what people who actually know something about economics think we're in for and, more specifically, what it means for development here. Is the North Pearl doomed to remain just a plan in someone's drawer for the next ten years? Will SOWA remain mostly dirt and heavy industry? Will we be ruefully laughing at the naivete of our city-wide streetcar plan in five years? Will the anticipated 500,000 new residents stay at home in cheaper places like Tulsa, leaving our grand plans for accommodation of a growing population obsolete?
I'm probably more paranoid than most - I lived in Russia in the 90's and saw the ruble go from ~100/$ to 5500/$ over the course of two years, so when the dollar goes from $1.40/euro (four months ago) to $1.57/euro (today), I start to get nervous. The scale of decline is different of course - for now, at least.
On the other hand, this whole country has been in a funk since 9/11 - I've read that vast majorities of the population thinks that we're due for some major catastrophe - and maybe that's coloring all these news reports lately.
Well? Where does this leave us?