Interesting news in The Oregonian yesterday that the Portland streetcar -- the public utility that shuttles Pearl District residents from Portland State University to Northwest Trendy-third Avenue -- is now costing city taxpayers $906,000 a year to operate. That's a 50 percent increase over three years, with no end in sight.
City Commissioner Randy Leonard, a regular reader of this blog, questioned whether the property owners who benefit from the streetcar (particularly in the Pearl District) shouldn't be paying more of the city subsidy. But that didn't stop Randy and the rest of their City Council from approving "a $9.9 million contract for a 0.6-mile line extension from Portland State to RiverPlace's cluster of housing and shops along the Willamette River." That will insure that the same guys who own the Pearl (which is largely exempt from property taxes) can also make more money from the tax-subsidized RiverPlace, where they also have properties.
It's the Joe Weston-Homer Williams private streetcar line, paid for by guys like me. I like to watch the streetcar go by when I'm downtown. I get to wave at my money.
I wish Randy would stop making speeches about boondoggles like this and start voting no.
In related news, the East Precinct of the Portland police bureau is hard up for money:
But years of budget cuts have led to a reduction in the number of officers, from 105 in 2001 to 92 today, said East Precinct Commander Cliff Jensen.
"We're on the edge, and I don't see it getting any better soon," Jensen said. "We don't have time for community outreach, or community policing -- which I believe in -- because we're running from call to call.
"It's hard to be 100 percent effective when you don't have enough resources."
Heaven forbid we should have enough cops when we can have streetcars.
Wait 'til we start paying the operating subsidy for the OHSU aerial tram (which will shuttle folks to and from yet another Homer Williams development). At that point, the East Precinct may have to close.
» Quotes of Note. from Parkway Rest Stop
“I like to watch the streetcar go by when I'm downtown. I get to wave at my money.” Cousin Jack complaining about a privately owned streetcar in Portland, which, in large part, is paid for by taxpayers. “I just can't... [Read More]