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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 27, 2005 10:43 PM. The previous post in this blog was The city that works, for some people. The next post in this blog is Show's over. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

PDC to community: Process this

Well, just as I predicted four months ago (scroll down for first comment). The developer who came in with the best original proposal for the east side of the Burnside Bridge -- the only one who didn't call for big box retail -- had its idea handed off to another developer, who in turn was awarded the project by the snakes at the Portland Development Commission tonight.

Once again, the PDC goes out of its way to do the exact opposite of what the community wants. In this case, the neighborhood beat back the big box proposal, and so I guess they deserved punishment for daring to defy the mighty PDC Mafia.

People rag on me on this blog for being so negative. But tell me, what is there to like about state and local government around here? The PDC is like a cancerous cyst on Portland civic life. Whether Tom Potter has the will and the smarts to save the patient surely remains to be seen.

Comments (63)

Boy that meeting sucked. The Commissioners had already met privately and decided and yet they stayed mum and let folks testify for hours in support of Beam...just to see Matt Hennessee pull out a prepared typed statement, read it declaring OPUS the champ...and BTW ..GOOD for the Central eastside (how would he know?) and tehn call for a vote...and immediately adjourn. Foul!!!
Why have people testify if the vote already taken.

All three developers came to our neighborhood assocation meeting a couple of months ago (Hosford-Abernethy in SE) and Opus was decidedly underwhelming. But they've clearly got the big bucks.

I was at Opus' magnum opus development off I-5 a couple of weeks ago...a half hour of Crate and Barrel and I needed a beer. You could walk to the latest McCormick & Scmicks development there...walking through a sea of parking lot.

We shouldn't be for sale this way, and we need to have more faith in our OWN development community.

-
I don't know how to deal with it in absolute terms such as you term it, Jack. I don't know about "cancerous cyst." Okay, let's say the PDC people and their purposes is a formation whose time is went, and they could jump or be pushed. Something else that does what PDC: The Concept, is supposed to do could come along to replace PDC: The Reality. Or not; don't wait for a replacement, don't plan for one, and put PDC out of our misery -- bang! -- the gavel, the sentence, it's gone.
If PDC is the channel for some force and the channel is cut off, the force is still there seeking to impose. Maybe there are ways to neuter PDC so it is busywork that sidetracks its 'activists,' and occupies them where the public eye can watch them, but they/it can't actually do anything. Potemkin Developmemt Concern, how much would that cost? Is payola that keeps them cutting out cardboard shapes cheaper than having them making mistakes with real bricks and mortar? I don't know. Where there's development there's greed, and there never seems to come along a 'better quality' of greedy.

I don't know if this fits here. I guess sue me if it doesn't. Proposed: A mechanism for resident-driven development. (Maybe that adjective should be 'demand side,' or socialistic.)

Set up a Sim City of PDX, on the internet so everyone can play it. Except it is not a game, it's the real thing. The actual architectures, traffics, populations, laws, revenue streams, etc.; not actual actual, but modelled simulated actual. (I'm not sure what words describe it for people; and I do computer modelling so I use too much shoptalk.)

The working product would let someone vary the 'development' of (their own copy of) PDX, and run the simulation into the future to see how it comes out (their way). I know there are a lot of details in this, but if people opened their knowledge of modern computer power, and the simulations it can do, combined with the internet and 'citizen access' -- I think a lot of details could be assembled and made to work (simulate) with a useful degree of 'realism.' Enough to scratch the itch of all the If-I-Ran-The-World tinhorn posers out here who'd like to try.

Besides, getting it running, updating it, refining it, would be some on-going 'staff' jobs to keep activists busy, away from the gavels of power.

If nothing else it should improve the peripatetic erudite perspicacity in suggestions and criticisms the gadflys are always buzzing around about.
-

O.k., maybe "cancerous cyst" is a little strong.

Maybe.

Negative? Yes.
Cyst? Yes.
Realist? Yes.

If I thought the PDC was benefitting the entire City of Portland, I might support them more. But they seem to focus an awful lot of time and energy on Downtown and the Pearl.

And sure it's easier to revitalize those areas than say, Buckman or St. Johns. But I don't think we need the PDC to revitalize those areas. I think Homer can do it just fine on his own.

So, cancerous cyst? No. But unnecessary tonsils? Yes. The PDC needs to be removed.

-
Yeah, maybe not. 'Out-of-control malignant fatal tumor,' I'll give you.
-

What about the fact that the Beam project would have cost more in public subsidies and was a riskier project overall, trying to cram a ton more office space downtown than the market needs or wants?

Jesus, Jack, you whine about Portland spending money it doesn't have then slam the city for choosing the more fiscally responsible path.

Why don't you just move to Gresham already.

Call me clueless, but if the project proposals are now almost similar because one applicant got its idea stolen, what's the big deal about who gets the contract?

And, as for the Crate and Barrel slam, professional developers are like lawyers. They represent their client to the best of their ability and within basic professional standards. The builders of Bridgeport Village wanted a stupid suburban mall dressed up with some new urbanist finery (this is Tualatin, after all) and Opus obviously gave it to them.

Hopefully the PDC wants more from Opus on this project, and if Opus is professional, they will deliver.

nearly anything in that spot would be better than what is there now - other than a big box.

FYI, the PDC has 200 employees.

All working to promote the misinformation that development can't happen without huge public subsidies. No matter how prime (South Waterfront) the real estate is.
False and misleading information leads public officials to enter into "public/private partnerships". One after another, devouring an ever greater chunk of property tax revenue otherwise destined for basic services budgets.
That's why nearly all of downtown is in an Urban Renewal District and UR saturation is spreading.
Tax abatement giveaways of monumental proportion exacerbates the ongoing abuse of Urban Renewal subsidies.
Cyst? You bet.
Compare this to your own life. Imagine the desirability of you as a homeowner being allowed to leverage decades worth of your own property taxes to fix up your own house and street. Then after that agreement is made to use public funding, you are also given a ten year tax abatement.

With no plan to win the genuine public benefit, no exit strategy, or plan B when predictions of corresponding public benefit never surface the approach could not be worse. And it is spreading like cancer. One venture chasing another while the fiscal whole becomes weaker by the month.

Whether it is OHSU making baseless predictions, the Convention Center moving towards even bigger losses with CC hotel, or the PDC calling everything in need of public "investment" what some call "negativity" is unavoidable.

The illegitimate nature of public business in this region has created a house of cards.

Every elected official is afraid of being the wreaking ball making the first blow so they all stand around as if there were no weakness at all.

We, the collective public outrage, could easily fix this severe problem if we could get together but when Randy Leonard says, "the people opposed to South Waterfront are the Lars Larson types. The same people working to destroy our public schools", togetherness is fairly difficult.

In the mean time we can all continue bashing each other's politics while the problems get worse.

What about the fact that the Beam project would have cost more in public subsidies and was a riskier project overall, trying to cram a ton more office space downtown than the market needs or wants?

For one thing, be careful about the use of "public subsidies". While the Beam proposal had a gap roughly twice that of the Opus proposal (and then there's GED which far outdid them both in terms of the gap size), the selection of a developer wasn't supposed to have to do just with the gap, because the gap can be filled in any number of ways, not all of which mean "our precious Portland tax money". And, in fact, the PDC itself stated repeatedly that the selection of any given developer was not a commitment to their stated financial gap, would they would try to reduce no matter who was selected.

Call me clueless, but if the project proposals are now almost similar because one applicant got its idea stolen, what's the big deal about who gets the contract?

You obviously haven't read/seen the proposals. Ditching big box did not suddenly make them all the same.

That said, the debate over bigbox in this project was emblematic of something larger. While of course what we want public process to acomplish is developers ceding to the wishes of the community like that, many ofus felt it was far better that we had finally found a developer who got it right from the beginning.

But it wasn't just that Beam never had a bigbox. Their entire proposal, the team they assemebled, and how they spoke with the community all far outpaced Opus and GED in terms of engendering a sense of trust, a sense that Beam "got" the Central Eastside.

GED just ran around on autopilot using lots of jargon and buzzwords, and Opus ran around like a shifty user-car salesman with a PR guy who likes everything to be off the record until and unless he senses that you might agree with him.

can someone tell me plainly what it means that Opus got this contract?
can i expect a crate and barell on the corner of MLK and Burnside, or what?
thanks

-
Steve Schopp summons: We, the collective public outrage, ... if we could get together but when ... "the people ... are the Lars Larson types. The same people working to destroy our public schools", togetherness is fairly difficult.

Yeah, you got that right. The Liars forum is NOT the 'collective public' since he dictates No Contradicting HIM, screens the majority out, and hits the dump button. He sells SHOUTING LIES, he boils blood for more morbid ratings, he profits amoral stinking riches from ad sales, he wore out his welcome. (In fact, never had any. Like the sex predator O'Reilly and the drug-dumb Rash Lamebrain -- legends in their own isolation-booth studio bubble mind.)

Deep-six'd. He's gone. Say good-bye. The weight of his own hate sinks Liars. No, he is not 'together' with the community. Whoever hitched their wagon to his flame fame, mistaking pants-on-fire for a star, can sink with that clinker tied to them. Cut the anchor, Steve, nobody is going to listen to your view from the bottom of hades.

The search for an open, transparent, interactive, PUBLIC presentation of municipal problems and opportunities and resolutions, our ways and means, in some sort of virtual array, (SimCity in the internet), aboveboard, on the record, fair and true, our best's best efforts, informed and deliberative -- THAT's what we are capable of. We stand on the shoulders of giants, we hold the riches of all humankind, we owe to show we deserve it.

Liars' hate-mongering ain't working for us. Don't need no government secrets. Don't need no FBI Top Secrets. Secrecy is anti-social cyanide. Oops, I mean, cancerous cyst. Whaddaya got, Steve? Bring it.
-

"Steve Schopp summons: We, the collective public outrage, ... if we could get together but when ... "the people ... are the Lars Larson types. The same people working to destroy our public schools", togetherness is fairly difficult."

Tenskwatawa:

You hung your rant on a dishonest representation of what Mr. Schopp said. He said that Randy Leonard lumped all opponents together under the Lars Larson umbrella. He did not say "but when the people are the Lars Larson types." He said, effectively: when they are lumped together that way it destroys some chance for unity.

Maybe you have some other purpose to deliberately foreshortening and altering the meaning of the post in question, but that would elude my grasp, and probably many.

Sally:

Do what I do and just skip over Tentstakes rants.

What if PDC good for? How about Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Pioneer Place, Pioneer Courthouse Square (phase 1 and 2), The Pearl District,The Chinese Garden, Eastbank Esplanade, North Interstate Light Rail, Jamison Square, 8 NW 8th, 20,000 units of affordable housing in a 10 year time frame (that is typically 0-60% MFI....note: 60% MFI is in 40K range depending on family size).
Has anyone seen what is going on up MLK and Lower Burnside? (Say thank you to PDC for Street and Storefront Improvements).
Take a look around and find a cool project in downtown that PDC wasn't somehow a catalyst on and then think about what city of this size is doing any of the above kinds of projects.

Tens,
What are you on.
Go back and re-read my post or take a walk or something.
My point was clearly not what you are responding to. But apparently since I used the name Lars Larson in a Randy Leonard quote you were set off on some wild trip.

I think perhaps you have made my point. You appear to be the perfect example of those who would rather let severe problems fester forever if a remedy means joining with any conservatives.

Here's my line again.
We, the collective public outrage, could easily fix this severe problem if we could get together but when Randy Leonard says, "the people opposed to South Waterfront are the Lars Larson types. The same people working to destroy our public schools", togetherness is fairly difficult.

What I meant by the "collective public outrage" is what we would have if we could put aside the dislike for opposing politics long enough to tackle the problems so many of us agree need tackling.

As far as I can tell you would rather blow my head off than fix anything together.
Bring what?

Yes, Steve, he exactly made your last point from your prior post:

"In the mean time we can all continue bashing each other's politics while the problems get worse.

Your points apparently were perfectly clear, to others and myself, the first go-round.

I hate misquotes, and this one was so unsavorily by design.

B!X writes>>>we had finally found a developer who got it right from the beginning.

Yes. It was not for nothing that Frank pointed to the Crate and Barrel wasteland. There is no builder equally facile in every single style and "genre" of his/her profession. They all have their comfort zones, they all have an inherent concept of "style" and a finishing touch, that they work best in. As, too, they all have the subcontractor contacts that have worked well, in those comfort zones, for all the same reasons.

And, the plans (stolen or not), so far, are just that -- pretty pictures on paper. How far the ultimate development ends from those plans will depend, in a very intrinsic and difficult to quantify way on what kind of "feel" the developer has for the heart of the neighborhood beat.

I was at the HAND meeting with Frank. The OPUS guy? I think B!X's used-car salesman analogy pretty much sums it up... And, even back then it was clear who the PDC handlers were pushing. I was unreasonably optimistic, however, thinking we neighbors might win this one.

I don't feel very optimistic right now... (I read B!X last night, and thought the notion of a drink was right on target...)

Nate-

What is the PDC good for?? How about millions in tax abatement subsidies (where rich people get 10 to 20 year tax abatements so the developers can sell the building (they claim there is a huge need for housing and at the same time insist they need huge tax abatements in order to sell the units). And when those tax dollars don't make it into the General Fund, regular folks have to make up for it with higher property taxes and loss of programs and services. The rich get richer......and WE get screwed.

The Portland Development Corruption has shown an utter disregard for ordinary citizens for years and years. I think getting really cozy with Mayor Katz and her warped plan for Portland (turn it into a little NYC! Or a Seattle!) has engendered a sense of contempt for we regular folks and our ideas for a liveable Portland that works for all income brackets.

I was at the meeting yesterday afternoon and was sickened by what I saw. Bruce Woods came off like a loutish frat boy, spent his 6 minutes running down Beam and when the timer went off CONTINUED to speak for another 4 or 5 minutes. Unbelieable arrogance. And for what?? A plan that owes all of it's key elements to the original Beam proposal. A speech delivered by a congenital idiot, who disrespected everyone in the room with his behaviour.

Let's face it, Beam should have won the contract hands down. Instead, the PDC allowed everyone to come up with a better proposal in hopes that they could find a way to award one of their buddies. Status quo, for them.

The Boregonian described the PDC as a semi-private agency. That's kind of like saying you're a little bit pregnant. Obviously, allowing a "semi-private" agency to handle public funds and make decisions about the use of them makes for big time corruption. And that is what we see, again and again.

Nate says, """"Take a look around and find a cool project in downtown that PDC wasn't somehow a catalyst""""

Nice try. Truth is the PDC has been a CASH COW.

Doling out subsidies like funny money without any accountability or fiscal constraints.
So much so that we'll never know the true cost of anything you listed.

Tax abatements that are granted by the city of Portland are limited by city code to ten years (with the exception of abatements for non-profits), with no possiblity for extension. Read the city code. The tax abatements that go to rich people in the Pearl are for rehabilitated properties that are designated historic by the State Historic Preservation Office, a state and federal program. These historic abatements last fifteen years and are more extensive (reduce the property taxes to a greater extent) then the City of Portland's tax abatement programs. The great myth of rich people getting tax abatements from the city of Portland (especially in the Pearl) is a disservice to an intelligent discussion of development and in particular housing development in this city. City of Portland tax abatements spurred developement in the Pearl that would not have happened without them. The Pearl is a sucess that only the class warriors could dispute. Developers have to demonstrate the financial necessity of a tax abatement in order to get them, and the developers have demonstrate that the buildings profit will not exceed a certain amount (I think it is 10%). Sure there are plenty of buildings with tax abatement in the Pearl, but there is a lot of affordable housing there too. It just does not "look affordable". Tax abatements are a complex group of incentives for (mostly affordable) housing development. Read city code and learn about the programs, but puhleeze can we stop the rants about rich people in the Pearl getting City of Portland abatements until you read the city code, and look at the issue with the full set of facts.

I was pretty amazed when Don Mazioitti had his discretionery spending limit raised from $50,000 to $500,000!! So he gave himself permission to use funds of up to $500,000 at a time without ANY input from the PDC board. Can you believe it???? These people are criminals. Slimy Snakeoil Salesmen, one and all.

$500,000 discretionary spending is probably in line with any city bureau head.

Well, Marc how do you qualify the tax abatement for the South Waterfront Towers?? They certainly won't qualify as a "rehabilitated properties that are designated as historic by the State Historic Preservation Office".

As a new building, the developer would demonstrate public benefit, affordability for exempted portion of development and project profitiblity under a certain amount. That is the criteria in the city code. I read the code at portlandonline.com. It is only historic properties that do not have an affordability component as a requirement. Have you read the code and looked at which buildings actually have an abatement from the city vs. those that got a state benefit for rich people, or are you making assumptions? The main point I tried to make is the difference between city programs and state programs. Find out what type of abatement the building has, and what the requirement is before you assume rich people are getting abatements. In a mixed income building, only the affordable portion of the building gets the abatement. Again, read the code, get the facts-before you make assumptions.

Then there's the Armory deal. The tram deal. The totem poles. The streetcar. Million after million after million on junk, while beautiful old parks and pools rot, the police stations are closed at night, and the schools lay off literally hundreds of teachers.

If the current state of city services is your idea of "success," just because there's some fat-cat cold-ass skyscraper colony going up in the Pearl District and South Waterfront, I really can't argue with you.

North Interstate Light Rail? The farookin' Chinese Garden??? I rest my case. What utter wastes of public money.

Like the Convention Center. PGE Park. The list goes on and on. Next it will be the Park Blocks. The hotel.

Eventually the house of cards will fall, my friend.

I'm a class warrior. My class is the people who make $100K-150K and pay taxes in this Palookaville. Many of us are outraged. Lake Oswego calls. You "creative class" wunderkind can hang around and serve Pimm's cups to all the Marin County transplants. What a life.

Marc Andres writes The great myth of rich people getting tax abatements from the city of Portland (especially in the Pearl) is a disservice to an intelligent discussion of development and in particular housing development in this city. City of Portland tax abatements spurred developement in the Pearl that would not have happened without them.

Baloney. Soho in New York developed without such inducements. In fact, many properties in OUR Pearl were kept OFF the market for years in anticipation of these eventual subsidies. (Just as the huge parcel held for "future rail development" went undeveloped for DECADES because the taxes for this prime property were kept so low, for artificial reasons.

You have to have SOME faith that builders can build and developers develop without having everyone in the City subsidizing them. PDC has a role to play...but they need oversight that's been sorely lacking. It really isn't free money they spend so freely.

Jack, the money for the projects you list come with restrictions on them. Do not get your apples and oranges confused. You can not spend federal transportation funds, Tax Increment Financing or HUD money on schools and police. It is illegal. It is not just a big pot of money that is spent on fancy buildings for rich people instead of schools and police. We would not get the federal transportation money for light rail if we did not have light rail, for instance. Should we just not apply for the federal transportation funds and let some other city get them because our schools are in the crapper?

Check your urban renewal history, SOHO (and a hell of a lot of NYC, Times Square particularly) had massive federal aid as a historic area. It would not have happened as quickly or to the same extent without that aid. Where did you get the idea SOHO did not get federal funds? They were integral in SOHO's rennaisance.

Here we go, the "colors of money" again. I've been through this several times with various City Hall apologists. Here -- read it. One out of every five dollars I pay to the city in property taxes goes to the bullsh*t. When that ends, I'll stop complaining about it.

Totem poles.

The Pearl Arts Foundation paid for the totem poles. You should tell them to give the money to schools and police.

"puhleeze can we stop the rants about rich people in the Pearl getting City of Portland abatements until you read the city code, and look at the issue with the full set of facts."

Uh, no.Who do you work for? What affordable housing? I have read many, many adverts for very expensive condos in the Pearl that advertise their tax abatement as a selling feature. Yes, these would be "fancy buildings for rich people."

The Pearl is an abomination. My grandmother's old house is now a duplexed condo in Northwest. But Northwest, while redone, is still Portland. The Pearl is not Portland. It is created out of whole cloth and a lot of public dollars. The whole cloth we can't object to; the public dollars, you bet.

Who is it you work for again?

I hate the Pearl. Not just because of the reeking money of it, or the public money under it, but because it does not reflect or represent what was once a neat town, even the monied part of it. What you've built is an abomination, and there was no shortage of it where it belonged in another state.

Shame.

I work for a design and marketing company that is based in Portland. Who do you work for? Again, my point is that the $800,000 condo with a tax abatement is a state and federal program. Not a city program. Read my previous posts. Read the city code. Get educated. Respond with and to the facts. The Pearl is emblematic of a growing, vibrant city. Change happens. The Oregonian had an article last month on affordable housing in the Pearl, the point being "it is there, it is in the mix, it does not "look affordable".

Check your urban renewal history, SOHO (and a hell of a lot of NYC, Times Square particularly) had massive federal aid as a historic area. It would not have happened as quickly or to the same extent without that aid. Where did you get the idea SOHO did not get federal funds? They were integral in SOHO's rennaisance.

Soho initially developed organically, creative space and artist lofts carved out of an industrial area, and often in violation of City Code...not just the absence of subsidy. Throw a bunch of redevelopment money into the mix, and Soho turns into a great place to buy expensive shoes, the artists priced out as they have been out of the Pearl.

Times Square...you've GOT to be kidding me. The vibrant Great White Way transformed into an outdoor mall, a disneyfied replica of what was once the heart of the City.

Back to Opus...why subsidize outside capital and the export of those profits out of state when we could be developing our OWN development community?

The Pearl is emblematic in spades of the Californication of a once nice big town. The only "affordable" housing I found was subsidized for people making $35K a year, because baby that's "low income" in the Pearl.

I read your posts. I remember the district when it was warehouses. I'm not believing you over my own "lying" eyes.

SOHO started using tax abatements in the 60's. It is a case study in public subsidy for development. Times Square "the vibrant great white way"? From the late 60's until Disney moved in and renovated the New Amsterdam, it was a squalor of porn and crime run by the mafia. So many of the opinions here are based on emotion and just plain wrong "facts". Totem Poles paid for with your tax dollars, millionaire lofts in the Pearl getting city tax abatements, SOHO revitalized without public subsidy, Times Square going from a great, safe place to corporate Potter Town, Federal transportation dollars that should go to schools. Sally, I am still waiting to hear where you work? Or would you rather not say? Or are you too busy moarning that national shrine that is your grandmothers house being turned into a condo for rich new media Creative Classers?

Sorry to interrupt, but I'm missing one point - How do we justify the property tax abatement for these new residences whose residents will require these (necessary) services that we cannot afford? Even with the property taxes of several hundred a month (like we pay on the eastside), transplants still buy here all the time and are thrilled with how inexpensive real estate is.

Read for meaning, Marc. I wasn't mourning the changes in my grandmother's house at all, nor the grocery a block over that my uncle started that is now a (viva!) Trader Joe's. As much as Northwest Portland has changed, it is still Portland.

The Pearl is not. The Pearl is California moved lock stock and very rich barrels in. And I don't much care which public monies subsidized this condo, shopping & eating mecca for the nouveau riche, nouveau Portlandian snob set.

It doesn't fit. It doesn't have the look or the feel or the people. As bad as traffic has gotten in Portland, it still seemed a special Pearl moment when I had to jump off a sidewalk there to avoid getting hit by a Porsche Cayenne.

The Pearl is Porsche Cayenne country.

First off Marc, are you Homer or the PDC designated damage control clown?

The city has to approve all tax abatements and there is great flexibility in qualifying for them. Especially when it comes to Transit Oriented Developments.

And quit blaming the state and feds.

All of the massive urban renewal spending is City
business.
What a snow job you have bought and/or help peddle.
You say
"""""Jack, the money for the projects you list come with restrictions on them.""""

That's a hoot. You mean sort of like the restrictions on federal gas taxes having to be used for transportation yet the city used $10 million on the Eastbank Esplanade?
Sort of like Urban Renewal District money must be spent in the district yet creative ways divert dollars?
Abusing UR by making nearly all of downtown Urban Renewal is the problem.
The frozen property taxes in all urban renewal districts also freezes funding for basic services including schools.

Yes, Urban Renewal has become "a big pot of money that is spent on fancy buildings for rich people instead of schools and police."
And then tax abatements inside an urban renewal district undermines the Urban Renewal plan.

You got all the Metro slogans too. """Should we just not apply for the federal transportation funds"""""

Urban Renewal has become a fraud. Devouring much while delivering little if any public benefit.
What qualifies as affordable housing is a scheme as well.

In South Waterfront, where """city leaders hope to use subsidies and urban renewal money to create a high-rise neighborhood and biotech hub,,,,

The planned tower, The Alexan is expected to apply for tax abatements.
Affordable housing is one of the schemes to grant this big pot of money for a fancy building.
The city made the requirement a little tougher in September but still only 15 % of the units need to be affordable for a two-person family, with an income of $43,450.
Meaning a four person family, a couple with two kids, with far more earnings and even higher rents.
This Tower with some 340 units will have a few built, (and/or located) to the "affordable" rent scale and the rest will be expensive units with high rents.
If the abatement is approved ,,,,nearly all the value of the $66 million Alexan building would be exempt from property taxes for 10 years.
The PDC says there is also a Transit Oriented Development credit which contributes to the full exemption.
This means that we must kill Metro's phony TOD program as well as PDC and UR abuse
The arrangement which grants this 10 year tax abatement calls for none of the property tax giveaway to go towards rents at all. They simply locate/build and finish out a few units to fit the lower rent and the $1.5 million per year in property taxes will go right into the building owners/developers pocket.
The transit orientation requires nothing.

What a deal for the public, police and our schools.

For ten years this building will not be paying back the Urban Renewal subsidy it got when built and for twenty or more it won't be paying for it's own public services let alone it's share of the cities.

From the late 60's until Disney moved in and renovated the New Amsterdam, it was a squalor of porn and crime run by the mafia. So many of the opinions here are based on emotions and not just plain wrong "facts."

In 1969 --I think that constitutes the late 60's-- I lived at the Hotel Holland (now gone) on 42nd street a block west of the Great White Way (also now gone). There was a greek deli on the corner (gone) a local pizza place (gone) and, of course, lots of cheap double features. Some porno, sure, but mostly just regular movies. New Yorkers on the streets, enjoying their city. I worked swing shift at the post office, and, at 2:30 in the morning when I got off, there was street life. Real restaurants. Local shops where you knew the people there. ("Controlled by the mafia? Good grief...talk about emotion and not facts. The Catholic Archdiocese owned more buildings with porno shops then anybody.)

What's happened to Times Square, is not so different than the Pearl...CULTURAL CLEAR CUTTING. We install a chain-restaurant P.F. Chang's...when we've an amazing local Asian community, and Chinatown blocks away? (Same as Opus putting a P.F. Chang in Bridgeport Village...in fact ALL the restaurants there will be parts of chains.)

Homogonization is good for milk...not so good for communities. And NOT good for small, local businesses. Not good for Portland. It's all about soul (to quote my fellow Long Islander Billy Joel).

The development of Soho is about the illegal transformation of warehouses into lofts and galleries. I don't know what you're talking about, when you talk about "public subsidies" but this ex New Yorker knows you haven't a clue about what Times Square was...and what it is today. My daughter lives in Brooklyn --artists don't live in Soho these days, can't afford it-- and New Yorkers sure don't go to Times Square anymore. What would they go there for? The Hard Rock Cafe?

Marc Andres would you please start a blog. I get tired of hearing the same old arguments from Jack and Co.

Jack makes good points, but he is usually as one sided as Lars, and fails to mention the cities rationale for doing something.

What it boils down to, is Jack and Co. do not want Portland to change. They want it to remain the same sleepy burb it was in the 70's and 80's.

Unfortunately, that's impossible. You have to accomodate for growth and I think Portland is doing a pretty good job. Also, I grew up off of 18th and Alberta in North Portland during the 80's. And the revitalization in that neighborhood is fantastic. PDC dollars are helping revitalize what once was a drug and gang infested neighborhood. (Of course, revitalization didn't solve the problem, it just sent the problems to Gresham).

Anyway, there are always two sides to every story. And so it's nice to hear your point of view, Marc. I hope you post here often.

What it boils down to, is Jack and Co. do not want Portland to change. They want it to remain the same sleepy burb it was in the 70's and 80's.

That is so untrue. I'm all for change. Making something out of the bombed-out warehouses in the Pearl District was great. Using that as an excuse to build huge, ugly tax-subsidized condo towers is not.

Fixing up Alberta, Interstate, inner east Burnside -- all great moves, and what "urban renewal" is supposed to be about. The South Waterfront skyscraper canyon and aerial tram abomination are not.

Also, at some point, even the good projects are too expensive. This city is skimping on basic services while it invests in toys. At some point, there's a real issue of priorities.

Then there's all that public money being doled out to private contractors -- a recipe for corruption. That can't be eliminated entirely, but the conflicts of interest in Portland have been so transparent as to be truly alarming.

I got here in '78. A lot of good transpired between then and '95. Since then, not so much.

Justin you have been buying the snow job.
Portland and the region have NOT at all done a good job accommodating growth.
In fact just the opposite has occurred and at great expense.
Even today in the O is an additional report on the fallacy.

Vesta drops deal at MLK site
http://www.oregonlive.com/business/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/business/1114768778282060.xml&coll=7

Just another deal which even grew heat from urban renewal advisory
committee members.
"Other Development Commission projects on MLK also have languished because of problems finding tenants and growing construction costs, Warwick said. The commission owns seven properties along a two-mile stretch. "

PDC buys up properties, pulling them immediately off the tax rolls, (taking school money away) cooks up deals to pour millions more into them, arranges low interest loans other UR subsidies, helps to assure tax abatements and wheels and deals an unmeasured outcome which Nate then declares a good investment. It's a fiscal cancer.
The downtown Red Lion was bought and taken off the tax roles and $1 million in annual taxes stopped.
In the paper today is also the report the now $40 million dollar Tram was approved. (It will be closer to $50 million with land and cost of money included).
The story says "no general fund money will be used". That is a LIE. Urban Renewal money will be used (also only part of the Tram is in an Urban Renewal District)
That means that none of the district property taxes coming from the normal 3% annual increase (from any of the property within any of the districts) will go to the general fund as it would without the districts.
So no, general fund money will not be used. That's because it is diverted before it gets there.

Back to growth.
Our region has failed miserable to accommodate growth in every conceivable way and those who have failed us lie each and everyday about what they have done and are doing.
In affordable and low income housing, transportation, industrial land, freight/commerce mobility, job creation, public services funding, our Port you name it. And all things point to things getting much worse before getting.

"What it boils down to, is Jack and Co. do not want Portland to change. They want it to remain the same sleepy burb it was in the 70's and 80's."

What Jack said. And I clearly said I was not against change. It's the type of change we are talking about, not whether there should be any at all.

I know that Portland is thrilled to have gotten rid of the likes of me and substituted two rich Californians.

But do know that is what you are doing and embracing. Onward!

There's a time and a place for everything. When city core services are failing, when rgular income families (and I DON'T mean $40,000 per annum) can't live in the inner cities, when all of the new growth comes with the huge price tags attached- that's not the time to be giving away millions of tax abatements.

There's a reason so any people are against gentrificatin. And that is because when all of that gussying up goes on, out go the regular people, just ekeing out financially. We don't all make $40K +.
And don;t be fooled by those "affordable units" the PDC boasts about. That usually works out to 2-5 units priced at $650 a month or so. Personally, as a bona fide low-income person, I could not afford to live in one of those units. Of course, I wouldn't want to.

Justin, if you feel that Jack's blog is so negative, then STOP reading and posting here. Is someone holding a gun to your head and forcing you to read this blog?? I sincerely doubt it. Personally, I get sick of reading all of the whining about "negativity" and crap you and others post. If you can't stand the heat , get OUT of the kitchen.

Jack, I think you do this community a huge service by bringing up these issues.

"Justin, if you feel that Jack's blog is so negative, then STOP reading and posting here. Is someone holding a gun to your head and forcing you to read this blog??"
Isn't that like saying "if Portland has become such a terrible city, why don't you move"?

YAWN.
holy mackerel, you folks are crazy.
will someone just please tell me what i can expect at the Burnside briedgehead?
just some thoughts on what OPUS or whomever wants to put there. will it be a Home Depot, a local grower's market, a Boom-Boom East 2, or a homeless shelter?
please forgive my ignorance.

NO Marc- It isn't like saying if Portland is such a bad city why don't you move?? If that is what I meant, that is what I would have said. I must say, I do wonder how long you've been om P-town.

Hey Jack
Can you include me as an automatic e-mail recipient of all your Burnside Bridgehead blogs? I get the Portland Communique-google blog alert, but somehow I don't get any alerts from your site.
I tried to access your site just now with the following: http://www.jjack.org and it didn't want to cooperate. I'll try it without the http and see what happens?
Loved your comments about the "decision" of the PDC Commission hearing. Makes me wonder what they(the PDC C. has been listening for if they don't hear us.
VTY,
Michael Whitmore, KNA

Lily, I was born in Portland in 1961. Have lived here all but 4 college years. I am still waiting to here where you work. You ask me so many personal details about myself, and yet you are so secretive? I have to wonder why.

Er, I don't think she wants to tell you. So that's enough of that, o.k.?

Do you people even care that PDC finaced a criminally insane group home next to a grade school in SE? Of course you don't! SICK!

Jack, I just think that it is interesting that someone wants to know where I work and how long I have lived here. The assumption is that I moved here recently and work for the city or Homer. I guess that it inconceiveable to her that someone could have lived here their whole lige (except for college) and actually like most of the development that is happening here. So that's enough of trying to impune me as an out of towner or in the pockets of Homer, ok? Or is it just alright to ask those kinds of questions of poster that do not agree with you? Clearly you have a double standard for the way people interact with each other here. Why is it not okay for me to ask her the same question that she asked me, and to get an answer?

Actually Marc- If you bother to go back and READ the thread, you will see that Sally asked you were you worked. And I asked you how long you've been in Portland, NOT where you live. Jeez. Read for CONTENT.

Right, Lily. You tell him to read for content; I told him to read for meaning. LOL. I asked him who he worked for and you asked him where he lived. And we were hardly the only choking and spitting back at his overeager enthusiasm for the Pearl.

Read and reread as required, Marc, when you're trying to pinpoint your location in a new message board.

I'm declining to answer your question because it isn't relevant, and mine to you was. You could have declined as well, though your answer was relevant.

Still refuse to answer the same question I did, I wonder what you are hiding.

Here we go, the "colors of money" again. I've been through this several times with various City Hall apologists. Here -- read it. One out of every five dollars I pay to the city in property taxes goes to the bullsh*t. When that ends, I'll stop complaining about it.

Well, we never did settle this entirely. It's brain-achingly dense, because it gets tied into idiotic ballot measures which changed how URAs were funded and so necessitated a citywide special levy to makeup for the losses some URAs were going to suffer because of the changes.

so i can assume no one has any idea what will eventually go in at the Burnside site, right? oh, hey, Sally, where do you bank? (maybe that'll get me a response...)

Switzerland, yak, Switzerland. ;=)

My question to Mr. Andres may have been impatient and rude, but there was a point to it. Tit strictly for tat is just so, um, gradeschool.

Sally-

Actually I only asked "Marc" how long he had lived in Portland. Nothing else. It drives me crazy when people read something entirely different than what I actually wrote. He does seem very touchy, doesn't he?

-
Sally -- Maybe ... purpose to deliberately foreshortening and altering the meaning of the post in question...[at April 28, 2005 02:19 PM]

My point was Steve Schopp's opposition seems based solely on WHO said the quoted material, not WHAT the quoted material said. Since the content of the quote was not false, therefore not opposable. (He don't like Him, which rots his reasoning into rant. I don't like Liars, and rotted down the same rant hole.)

Molly, You got me to thinking. You, and a swarm who said the same thing, in other places, on the same day. (Maybe was the aspects.) I stepped back. I looked things over. I saw some of my wrongs. I thought I owed some apology. So, I'm sorry for my offense.
-

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» Opus Northwest Gets Burnside Bridgehead from The One True b!X's PORTLAND COMMUNIQUE
The staff summarized their report. The developers made their final pitches. The public once again had their time to testify. And after more than two hours, the Portland Development Commission unanimously voted to select Opus Northwest as the preferred ... [Read More]

» The question's not who was in his pocket, but what from Isaac Laquedem
The decision of the Portland Development Commission to award the Burnside Bridgehead project to Opus Northwest has sparked a lot of comment and criticism. [Read More]


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