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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 30, 2005 9:27 PM. The previous post in this blog was Happy holidays, Lars!. The next post in this blog is An open letter to Bruce Warner. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Oh, to be a fly on the wall

A busy afternoon on old Sam Adams's calendar tomorrow. The Portland city commissioner has a 1:30 with Homer Williams, the city's largest consumer of real estate developer welfare. Civic-minded Homer wants to talk about the Burnside-Couch couplet. There must be some more tens of millions of our tax dollars in that one for him somehow.

Oh, well. He doesn't have Neil the Fixer yanking Vera's chain for him any more. Nor can he whisper sweet tax abatement talk in her ear over dinner at Paley's. These days Homer has to deal with a cup of lukewarm Boyd's in Adams's office. I wish I could be there when the commish looks at his watch about 15 minutes into it.

As if that's not enough of a scene, at 2:30 Sam the Tram gets a visit from one Gianna Lupo. This is the realtor who had the 10 meals on the public tab with then-PDC director Don "the Don" Mazziotti, all purportedly to discuss the emergence of a Little Italy district, perhaps in Old Town.

According to Adams's calendar, Ms. Lupo has "prospective business" she wants to talk about. No doubt.

And at 1 on Friday, lame duck OHSU prez Peter "Kilowatt" Kohler stops by with a posse to "check in" on the aerial tram [rim shot]. That's as in, check in your wallet.

Comments (13)

Of course, if the snow really hits Thursday, the way the Broadcast news has been hyping it, Sam's calendar may be scrapped. One TV guy told me our Transportation Commissioner plans to steal Mary Volm's spotlight and hit the streets to tell us all about the de-icing and plowing plans. Heard him on KXL on my drive home, already . . . Good for him. This is one time when our transportation services -- city, Tri-Met, school bus drivers -- can really shine. Or not. We shall see.

Nothing can top Vera telling the city workers to get their a*ses back to work when there were five inches of ice on the ground and she was being chauffeured around by the cops:

Good times.

This fly hears Homer bring up the Alexan Tax abatement, due to arrive back before the city council for another vote.
Homer who previously lobbied the failed effort is all for the tax abatement ($10 million property tax exemption) for Trammel Crow's new high rise in exchange for the public getting what will only ever exist in Homer's mind.
And in the minds of the PDC staff who also lobbied hard for the break.
The same PDC staff who refuse to complete the State Law required yearly reports on Urban Renewal impacts on basic services.

This fly also hears OHSU's Peter Kohler, who is leaving OHSU soon to join the other makers of deception and schemes, tell Sam how important it is that no disruption occur with either the Tram or his friends' taxless building in SoWa.
He'll be making the pitch about the need for solvency and stability for OHSU because the $200 million Oregon Opportunity is about to dry up, the State funding portion dwindles and his pipe dream deception about a biotech bailout has less than a nano-chance of anything.

Then again they might just talk about some hot new nurses on the hill.

Steve, the Oregon Opportunity Fund is $500 million - $200 million in "private" donations and $300 million in state funding (Oregon Opportunity bonds). OHSU has plenty of dough and can pay for the tram (rim shot) out of its budget. I hope Sam proposes that to Kohler.

"One TV guy told me our Transportation Commissioner plans to steal Mary Volm's spotlight and hit the streets to tell us all about the de-icing and plowing plans." Can anyone tell me why this person even still has a spotlight? I thought she was downsized by the county a few years ago, but whenever there is a local snow event she pops up on the news w/ her bad hair and poor clothing choices. She kind of reminds me of Joan Rivers or Phyllis Diller one of those self made "celebrities". She's got the look, just not the comic timing.

Note that TOM's traditional slam at a moderately successful woman addresses her appearance ("bad hair and clothing choices") instead of her competence. As usual, women have to do more than a man to be thought of as equal: she has to do the job *and* look great.

Yes I agree.
I was playing Kohler's pitch.

However I understood the split to be $200 million public money and a target of $300 million in fundraising. Which last I heard was lagging behind.
What is the current status?
A few months back the nearly completed, Oregon Opportunity funded building on pill hill was some $90 million short of equipping and staffing costs.

Any word on that?

And yes OHSU can certainly pay for their own Tram. But they themselves know it only makes sense for them if others help pay for it's construction and operation. In short their message is,
"Why should we pay for the whole thing, that's stupid"

Kai Jones is correct and I apologize for my gender biased remarks. To succeed in Portland you must be totally mediocre. Fortunately for most men (and the occaisional woman) this comes pretty naturally.

I don't know, TOM

As far as bad hair goes, I can't define it

"...but I know it when I see it"

(with apologies to Justice Potter Stewart)

Oregon Opportunity info from OHSU is available at The site claims $200 million in public funding + $280 million in "private" donations. The Oregon Secretary of State reported the financial impact of the $200 million Oregon Opportunity bonds to be $15.8 million per year for 20 years = $316 million. The current biennial budget includes $32 million to service the debt on the bonds, paid for from the settlement with Big Tobacco, so the original financial impact statement was slightly lower than actual.

My "flybug" tells me that Homer and Kohler will surely discuss the Tram and how "we can't alter the North Macadam Agreement to delay or eliminate the Tram. My "flybug" wants to know if we can't alter an Agreement(gee, thats never been done before, has it?) then how could Homer and others ask for and receive from the City Council last year the alteration/eimination of all"four architectural building standards" for North Macadam? These alteration/eliminations of the Standards allows for even more denser, larger, view blocking, sunlight blocking, denser Greenway imposing buildings than the Agreement allowed for just a year ago. Just visualize the three buildings now going up south of Ross Island Bridge and add ten to twelve more storys to the two building next to the Willamette River and another sixteen storys to the so called OHSU (really a health club and doctor offices owned by the doctors),then compound that image FIFTY SEVEN times, and that is what is possible just in the mid-section of the three parts of the South Waterfront Urban Renewal area (three block wide, eight blocks long). If my memory serves me right I remember that in the Pearl, Homer and others had several Agreements altered, like the Park locations, sizes, who pays for what; and the Bridge Ramp demolition costs, procedure, etc.Agreements can't be altered but we sure can go over budgets.

I seemed to recall in the first year of law school, I learned that agreements are not binding unless there is a "meeting of the minds" on all material terms-such as price.

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