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Sustainability Real Estate & Transportation: Bonus-> Cascadia Rail


Meeting Details:

Next meeting: Apr 12th: 7:30 Central



  • Faster Headlines

  • Portland Airport

  • To make Real Estate more Sustainable, look at transportation

  • Cascadia Rail Meeting Rescheduled


Faster Headlines

Business Insider

Cato Institute

Los Angeles Daily News - Opinion

The Sun



Simple Flying


From the Captain

To make real estate more sustainable, look at transportation

When cities were planned out in the '60s, '70s & '80s; transportation was thought of separately. Essentially the zoning board planned the city and then tossed it over to the department of transportation to figure out how to get people between residential neighborhoods, shopping districts, and offices. Where once someone walked everyday to the grocery store, people now had to then get in their cars and drive to the grocery store to fill up their minivan with groceries for the week. Then the rest of the week would make multiple trips to ever present strip malls with their big box stores.

Then of course today we take our oversized SUVs to Costco where a month supply of groceries, clothing, and liquor can be be purchased, but that is a different story.

Did you catch the theme in what happened. What was once a zero green house emissions activity, now requires multiple trips in a large, CO2 producing vehicles. Where once everyone lived in walk able cities, it is simply not possible to exist in most communities today without a vehicle.

Yes, you may say that electric vehicles are a supposed solution green house gas emissions. However, why have CO2 emissions from transportation increase after the introduction of the Tesla S model then? Something is missing.

The truth is, sustainability in real estate is not necessarily through solar energy and gray water techniques. Rather, it is through reducing the need for transportation by more efficient design. No longer needing to take a car for shopping, or for the office is a start. But imagine if these new communities are not only more sustainable, but faster and more modern. That is what is called High Speed Transportation Development.


Cascadia Rail Part 2: Portland International Airport

For the Cascadia Rail Project, the team is now learning about the airports, airlines, and major transportation infrastructure of the corridor. Last week we discussed – Seattle Tacoma Airport, or SEA-TAC for short. This week is about Portland International (refereed to as "PDX" by locals)

At 4.6 miles, PDX is about the same size as Minneapolis/ St. Paul airport. In 2019, they handled 92,682 flights and nearly 9.789 million passengers, which makes PDX larger than SEA-TAC land wise, but handles only 40% of the volume of SEA-TAC (24.9 millions passengers in 2019). For comparison, Minneapolis/St. Paul is about the same size land wise, but handles 19.2 million passengers and 184,181 flights...which makes MSP about twice as busy as PDX while being the same zie.

Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air are the predominant carrier, with 37% of the flights, followed by Southwest's 17.5% market share, and Delta 11.8%, and United at 9.2%. The largest market out of PDX is Los Angeles, with Seattle being the 2nd largest market of 675,000 passenger sin 2019.

Unlike major airports such as San Francisco, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, and Atlanta; PDX has had several airlines start up hubs only to close them down. Back in the 1980s United was the largest airline at the airport, and even flew a flight to Tokyo (although only once a week). Then Delta set up PDX as an hub for its Asian flights to Tokyo and Seoul. However, when Delta merged with Northwest (who had a hub in Seattle) Delta shut down their PDX hub. Leaving Alaska as a predominate carrier.

An interesting note is that San Francisco is the 3rd largest destination out of PDX, which is likely United grabbing passengers and flying them over their San Francisco hub.

In the Portland to Seattle market Amtrak is a player. Portland saw 585,344 passengers on its Cascadia service, north to Seattle and down to Eugene. However, Eugene service is questionable with no trains operating in 2020, and even in 2019 eleven "trains" that Amtrak sells, only 4 were actually operated by true trains (the other 7 were buses).

Even then, Amtrak service is from PDX Union Station, which is in downtown Portland, with the airport being 10 miles away. There is a light rail between the airport and downtown, but is a 45 minutes ride, which would make connections between the airport and station not necessarily competitive to flying.

The good news is that there is a high amount of public transit use already, and the region is growing. So the political will is there for high speed rail in Portland, and the airport has extra capacity, which may be a solution to relieving SEA-TACs congestion.

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