Tokyo is so dense a city that commercial spaces are even squeezed into the arches that support commuter trains. As I read yet another story about how Portland's pro-density policy encourages property owners to tear down older houses (often rentals) and replace them with newer (owner-occupied) townhouses, I pondered what the city and TriMet will do with the space underneath the new rail/bike bridge that connects the South Waterfront to OMSI. At that point Anatole France's famous line came to mind: "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread." (That last bit is not often enforced against people who run hedge funds.)
Hence the Laquedem Plan to honor Anatole France. It occurs to me that the Tillikum Crossing project gives us a striking opportunity to achieve several goals at once, if we construct affordable housing underneath -- not next to, but underneath -- its western approach. We can meet a need with housing that is convenient to transit and walking distance from downtown and the inner east side. We can give that part of the city a more international flavor. We can provide an opportunity for the city and the South Waterfront developers to keep their broken promises to provide affordable, working-class housing in the area. The land is cheap -- free, really -- and services are all available. A wag with Isaac's sense of humor might name the housing project "Anatolia." The literary among us could take that as a reference to the Anatole France quotation about living under bridges. The commercially minded might take the name to refer to an area that is part of a larger turkey.