Falling for Hope

A sweet Halloween thing late Friday night.: trick or treating with Jake River and a LARGE group of neighborhood kids, one house was visited where the fellow was surprisingly gleeful to see the crowd. Seems he hadn’t been visited since 2000. Every year he was ready, though, and this year he got to pass out the goodies, in generous handfuls.

Hope has been in my air, lately. There’s clearly a chance to elect a “transformational figure” to quote General Colin Powell. In many ways, it doesn’t matter one’s politics. It’s hard not to become a believer in the human condition, once again, with what seems to be brewing for this Tuesday. I, for one, will be staying up late with friends in NY while digi-camming with Maxine in Oregon.

Hope is in the air, for sure, as we begin to feel like we might even get a building permit for this Vermont Street Project. Seems engineering in Portland is down to barely more than bureaucratic wrangling, although I won’t believe it yet. Maxine says they’re spending so much time on our application because they don’t have anything else to do. Permit applications are down from a high of 20,000 or so in 2005 to less that 4,000 this year.

We’re certainly seeing it in New Energy Works, to be sure. Not in timber frames to cut and raise, thankfully. We’re still flat out, and actually are having another extraordinary year,. But these projects are almost entirely relationship-based projects: word of mouth references, repeat clients like builders and architects, and similar. Our “new acquaintance” line is shorter than we’d like, and I don’t imagine we’re alone. Most of the people in or business are slower than normal, from a little to a lot. Makes us wonder about 2009.

There’s good news for those, like myself, who do want to build now. After the last half dozen years of sometimes double-digit increases, construction costs are going to level and in some areas decrease. We’re already seeing it. Sub contractors are returning phone calls immediately. So there, Portland permitting-nightmare- department, you’re probably just doing me a favor by this unconscionable delay.