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Saturday, June 18, 2005

Under the rug

A while back, a commenter here pointed out that the Portland Development Commission's $94,000-a-year "organizational development manager" (since suspended while her conduct is being investigated) was also running a side business as some sort of management consultant. The commenter provided a link to the website of the business, known as Inhance, run by the manager, Tracy M. Smith.

Just noodling around tonight, less than a week later, I see that the site is suddenly gone. Aw. She doesn't know about archive.org, I guess. Nice try, though.

Comments (15)

Give me a break. I know you think it's fascinating, but come on. This feeding frenzy on PDC is getting old...

The current "frenzy" is noteworthy, but I have been highly critical and very watchful of the PDC on this blog for well over a year. It's really more of a "reading frenzy," which you're free to stop participating in at any time, of course.

I actually think public corruption is very important. And as far as the PDC version of it goes, it ain't over yet, according to "the Don." And it won't be over here until we have lots of new faces and some real reform.

Perhaps you should try Randy Gragg's column for something you'll enjoy more.

Is there a public agency in Portland that HASN'T had a scandal in the last 10 years?

The DMV had one. Ditto the Water Bureau, the PDC, the Portland School District, . . .

Who's next?

My guess: Tri-Met.

Don't forget, at the state level, we also had Saif and the Lottery.

Blah Blah,

The feeding frenzy is the corrupt and unethical feeding on our tax dollars via the near total lack of genuine oversight and a perpetual campaign of misinformation by multiple public agencies.
Randy Gragg is good little helper in that regard.
He referred to the citizenry raising the fatal flaws in the proposed Tram as "anti-tram extremism".
Try to imagine how a person becomes an anti-tram extremists.

I have no idea what Tracy Smith's side business involves. Although I notice she appears to have other government agencies as clients.

I did however accurately predict that her web site would disappear, so I made sure the entire thing was downloaded right after it was first revealed here on the bog.

TriMet of course is among the cabal of the scandalous and like other agencies more than few people have enriched themselves along TriMet's way. Within the agency and grotesquely so when it reaches a Goldschmidt-Imeson-Carter consultants, and Bechtel level.

All wrapped in the quasi-legal policy minutia of public-private partnerships.

What also kills me is the high level of pay for many of the middle management public employees. I mean what exactly did the Tracy Smith work day produce for the PDC which justified her $94,000 salary?

All we ever get is a title and BS with no real description of what here day or job produced.
Or how about PDC's
"Nancy M. McClain, who managed contract compliance, stepped down after nearly two years as finance director at the city's redevelopment arm, said Martha Richmond, a spokeswoman.
McClain, who earns $126,875 annually, could not be reached for comment Friday."

Come on. $126,875 ???
That's some serious bucks. And we know there wasn't a high level of compliance goin on round there.

Both those insignificant jobs pay more than the governor and there are countless others just like them everwhere a busybody like me turns.

I know people in the private sector who are on that pay grade and their duties are tremendous and productive. I find it hard to believe a product/service/function of equal caliber is coming from many of the cushy jobs like Tracy and Nancy had.

Tri-met is a good guess; I would like to see the Oregon State Bar come under serious scrutiny, but that probably will only happen in a novel by Anonymous.

From his picture, I think I have seen Randy Gragg lurking around downtown. I note what he considers sage advice given by the keynote speaker at the recent International Federation for Housing and Planning conference: "You need to focus on asset-based planning; focusing on strengths rather than solving problems". This is the same wisdom I have been hearing from various official sources throughout the state for years. Urban planning is actually all about solving urban problems, and if we don't define them well, we have a poor chance of solving them. I think this "sage" jargon is just a way to prolong the inevitable collapse of the myth that Portland is a great urban leader instead of a corrupt machine town. It's like if someone went to a doctor bleeding to death from a wound and the doctor said "we aren't going to solve your problem, we are going to focus on your strengths: great build, great eyesight!". Nothing would be gained in the long run. It is usually easier to face problems before they get worse, but I think the problems here are already pretty harrowing. My cousin, a journalist in Dublin says when they finally do come to a head, the headline will be "Oregonized Crime".

When I read Randy Gragg and the Oregonian and the boosters I think of Portland as a shining beacon for the urban future of humanity.

When I read your blog and most of your commenters, I think I'm living in some film noir movie from 1951 starring Robert Mitchum and Ava Gardner.

The truth, as always, is somewhere in between.

Hey Schopp (and Bog) here's a prediction for you.

20 years after it's built the Tram you so despise will be a Portland landmark, a sign of a city doing the right things and overcoming the small-minded narrow-minded nonsense you two are peddling on this issue. Sort of like Pioneer Courthouse Square and Waterfront Park, only better.

But by then you'll be on to the next scandalous public works project. Perhaps by then we'll be talking about what a waste it is to put the I-5 freeway in a tunnel from Lair Hill to the Rose Garden, and turn the Marquam Bridge into Portland's Ponte Vecchio.

One more thing: I agree with everyone else except commenter # 1 that PDC needs a major housecleaning. I don't necessarily share the anti-public sector frenzy reflected in the Schopp comment, especially on a day where news from Lattice Semiconductor indicates that private sector bigwigs steal from their shareholders just as much or more. But, by all means, clean it up.

However, I get the impression that some on this blog are using the flaws of the messenger to shoot the message. THAT I don't agree with.

Gordo: Providence R.I., a corrupt machine town, used that machine to redevelop downtown, using improperly bid contracts. I think we are in a multiplex theater, watching several films at once. I love movies in their place, but we are supposed to be living and participating in community life.

Also, I agree the private sector can screw up just as much as the public. I would like to see an honest public conversation on what the proper function of government should be. I like the concept of a free market, but with all the mergers and aquisitions of the last few decades, don't think we really have one. We need govt. reg/enforcement of anti-trust laws to have any semblamce of a free market, imho.

Also, I agree the private sector can screw up just as much as the public. I would like to see an honest public conversation on what the proper function of government should be. I like the concept of a free market, but with all the mergers and aquisitions of the last few decades, don't think we really have one. We need govt. reg/enforcement of anti-trust laws to have any semblamce of a free market, imho.


The problem with your thinking is it relies upon impression or a feeling about the issue. Whereas I have gathered an abundance of real information which says it is highly improbable that anything of the sort will be happening.

What the heck is your prediction based upon? The same void that the city uses?

Why would the Tram be a landmark versus a tarnish? What is it for?

A "sign of a city doing the right things" is comical.

It's not me peddling nonsense, it's reality as measured by real numbers which the PDC, et al, NEVER define on a bottom line.

You may feel good about what is happening but you are without the benefit of any homework. Duped by the planners, suckered by Vera and naive beyond belief.

The perceived "narrow-mindedness" you talk about could easily be corrected with simple explanations and justifications by those pushing the Tram etc.

But they do no such thing. Along with failing to legitimize other policies such as the risky walk down the biotech plank it is all snow job and your eyes are wide shut.

The policies today do not resemble in any way shape or form the very fundamental accomplishments such as Pioneer Courthouse Square and Waterfront Park. And they certainly are not better. In fact they are devouring the very revenue which would otherwise be delivering more of those basic benefits. You can't recognize BS when you see it.

Burying the freeway is Vera loony tunes which should be so far down a priority list no one would ever read it.

But that's the problem around here. A total lack of priorities.

It's not me who is anti-public. It is the public agencies like PDC who are on an anti-public roll.

There are far more flaws in the message than there are in the messengers.

You just don't have the foggiest idea what the real message is.

It sure aint the one spoken by the PDC, Portland planners or you.

The PDC situation is even more ludicrous than previously described. Did you know that they already have (or had) an internal audit group that should have been looking at contracting issues? Not only that, the Portland City Auditor's Office, headed by Gary Blackmer, has authority to audit the PDC. The City Auditor's Office can do thorough "performance audits" that would address most, if not all, of the questions and concerns many of the posters to this fine blog have had. Fireman Randy knows this but has kept silent about it for some reason. So, why did PDC hire Talbot Karvola to do a performance audit when it already had two other, and probably cheaper options to look at the issues? Could it be that the officials there didn't really want any independent audit work done?

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