While on the subject of Steve Duin rants, he's also launched two at Blazers owner Paul Allen on account of the latter's placing his Portland real estate company, the Oregon Arena Corp., in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Duin chides the billionaire for playing deadbeat on the mortgage on the Rose Garden arena -- a mortgage held by a large teachers' and college professors' pension fund. (The same sentiment was voiced here a couple of months ago.)
Duin overlooked the latest scoop on this debacle, though -- the part where Portland taxpayers take one in the shorts. It turns out that, as part of the bankruptcy, Allen's company may wind up walking away from its contractual obligation to operate the city-owned Memorial Coliseum. The Coliseum, which hosts lesser events and has run seriously in the red ever since the Rose Garden opened next door, could conceivably be handed back to the city to operate. There it would join the city's money-bleeding PGE Park and the chronically empty (but heavily mortgaged and taxpayer-financed) Convention Center for the historic Trifecta of Bad Economic Development Deals, engineered by our illustrious mayor and her former economic development aide.
A decade ago, when Allen originally got the deal from the city that allowed him to build the Rose Garden, many questioned whether he was getting too sweet a deal. One answer to the critics was, "At least he'll run the Coliseum for us."
Well, now he could well be walking away from that commitment, too. "The rich are different from you and me." Thank heaven.