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Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Sometimes, living in Portland, it's hard to believe one's eyes and ears. I'm flabbergasted to see that the city is still pursuing an expensive, disruptive plan for a Euro-style "reunification" of the North and South Park Blocks. Mayor Vera Katz held a big party outside the Brasserie Montmartre bistro yesterday to unveil her revised "vision."

Let's see. When last I heard, the "reunification" plan was being pushed by Neil Goldschmidt and Tom Moyer. That's as in, the disgraced former governor / statutory rapist, and the fellow who's currently under indictment, charged with felony campaign finance fraud in the current mayoral election. And I seem to remember reading that Mr. Goldschmidt and his cronies own at least one of the properties whose value will greatly increase if the millions of dollars in public money are spent as planned on the "improvements" in the area. Not to mention that Mr. Goldschmidt's long-time lieutenant runs the Portland Development Commission, through which all the public money would be funneled.

Mayor Katz seems to think that since they're no longer talking about demolishing buildings, somehow people will fail to see whose pockets are being lined. Maybe she actually fails to see that herself, I don't know.

But in any other town, you would expect the local government to back off for a while, under the circumstances. Not in Portland. We put the Gold back in Goldschmidt, and we do it with pride.

As I say, it's breathtaking.

Comments (9)

Jack: No mention of Gragg. You must be getting soft.

My two cents: I don't see why this is necessary, or why its something Katz is wasting her time on. I'm all for developing Portland, but I don't understand the need for this project. Doesn't Katz have Condos to build in the Pearl. And could we stay away from projects introduced by sex offenders.

Of course, the group setup by Goldschmidt and Moyer doesn't like this version (tho Mayor himself, obviously, is involved) and Gragg ended his column on this suggesting that in the future our question will be "was it big enough?" (because Gragg seems to think that only big development is good development).

This plan is actually rather remarkably modest in almost every respect, if people will bother to take the time to read the design proposal.

Remember.....Vera...wanted to cap I-405 too.....

What Gragg probably hasn't done is look at the PDC budget. My guess is that there isn't enough money coming in for a bigger project. As a downstate dweller, all I can say is that Portland is getting the govt and the development it deserves. I just wish we didn't have to pick up the pieces!

Regardless of the public pockets and private parts into which Mr. Goldschmidt has been reaching, as far as Mr. Moyer is concerned, he's giving the handouts to the city and not the other way around -- $5 million, according to the article.

So Moyer gives the City a $5 million "donation" plus $1 million for the park construction and he receives a nice new parking garage and (I'm guessing) all the revenue it generates.

So it this pseudo-European pipe dream pans out, that parking garage could end up making a tidy little sum...but come on, he's such an altruist (gag!).

As for Mother Vera and her chosen group of boot-lickers (aka "The Godfather" - ie Mazziotti, Gil Kelley, et al), this is another feeble attempt at a "legacy"...or in Kelley's case, something to pad the resume.

I wouldn't go so far as to say he's an altruist -- it's hard to get rich while practicing perfect altruism -- but as I understand the proposal, he is putting up the money to buy the block from its private owner and would pay the cost to build the garage -- the city isn't building the garage for him. He would presumably need a city permit to connect the garage to the Fox Tower garage(which is also underground) by going underneath Park Avenue, but I haven't seen anything suggesting that the City is subsidizing the garage project.

If the prosecutors are right, he's still a fraud artist.

Sounds like there's a whole bunch of scummy guys running around the project - but I don't think that argues that the project itself is a bad idea. I, for one, would love to see the Park Blocks unified... Seems quite a blight to have allowed (years ago) a handful of buildings to drop themselves into those Park Blocks.

Maybe it's a sign of the obvious goodness of the project (and it's resulting momentum) that the rapacious profiteers are gathering, hoping to scrape a few nickels out of it.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Incredible:

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