This week, Anthony Effinger and I are talking about his cover story, “The Death List”—which I realize sounds maybe more nefarious than it needs to. The death lists we’re unpacking are not about actual, biological death, but are lists passed between investors, concerned with the state of Portland’s rapidly emptying skyline.
On the concrete below, a homeless crisis spirals. In the clouds above, acres of climate-controlled buildings stand vacant because they are worth less than their debt. What in the free-market fuckery is happening? Maybe Anthony can make it make sense. OMG, Anthony, please make it make sense.
Portland is, or was, a marvel of city planning. Efficient public transit, super walkable, dense downtown. But now, with a shift from 9-to-5 cubicle clockwatching to work-from-home as the norm, those plans kinda go up in smoke—unless the city pivots from a commercial downtown to one that embraces residences instead. Right? Is that wild or totally freaking obvious?