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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 23, 2006 8:58 AM. The previous post in this blog was Fixing the plumbing. The next post in this blog is Why plumbers don't blog much. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

"And my heart will go on and on"

Well, some heads finally rolled on the OHSU aerial tram [rim shot]. There's a new manager, and a couple of people have quit the board of directors of the private company that calls all the shots. Among the resignees are developer Dike Dame (now there's a name), who's one of those on the fat end of the cash cow in the SoWhat district.

The personnel changes are a nice gesture, but in a way they just further cement the city's commitment to the tram. "It's a bright, shining new day, with new managers, so let's move forward." I hope Fireman Randy digs in on his vow that there will be no new city money committed to that thing -- and that he can come up with two other votes on the City Council to back him up on that.

It doesn't matter who's managing the tram, it's a boondoggle of the highest order.

Comments (12)

Thanks for staying on this issue. It seems like the proposed Burnside/Couch project needs similar attention.

Now there's a name, indeed:

City officials say they also did not know that Williams' partner in the South Waterfront venture, Thorndike "Dike" Dame, had been convicted of bank fraud in 1988. Nor were they aware that Williams had been banned from any management or oversight role at federally insured savings and loans.

Oregonian, October 24, 2003

Jack, I keep asking about security concerns in light of recent terrorist threats. Has the council or anyone else involved even spent a nanosecond thinking about that? I mean for 150 bucks-an-hour they should cover stuff like this.
This process is so dysfunctional. It's like a family afraid to discuss taboo subjects, while the people at the top go on, drunk with their visionary powers. All I can say is, "Help! I've been tramatized!"

Jack, Steve, Godfry, et al.:

OK, so if the Mall Revitalization is a massive waste, how do a humble blogger and his followers make a big stink of it? Tiananmen Square-style protest, laying in front of the bulldozers? LTE campaigns to Oregonian and Tribune? Buddhist Monk style self-combustion? Seriously, what can we do to raise the level of outrage? I'm in. I'll march, write, call, cajole, whatever.

Give me an idea, and I'll get rolling on it. sorry for the cross-post, but I didn't want this to get lost in an aging thread.

Don Smith

"Buddhist Monk style self-combustion?"

I thought Jack P--k tried that already.

No State Attorney General investigation?

The how about insisting on the same type of "...city-led investigation..." manned by skeptics. After all, as Commissioner E. Sten states, "You want a skeptic to look at something you're skeptical of." (The Oregonian, Monday, Jan 23, 2005, Portland could require PGE to cut rates).

Don, Good Question. We spent over 15 years on epostulating NM issues before available hearings, committees, Council, bds., etc. Didn't gain much. So the question becomes, "Is Marching the answer?". Many are hoping that NM and the Tram issues can be used as a civic lesson and maybe the politicians, gov. staff, etc. will change their mind-sets enough that just listening to citizens might be worthwhile.

The media is also important part. How do you get their attention, and reporting the valid points, reverse view points on the issues? Figure that out.

As Shadow and others are suggesting, ask for a State AG investigation for the Tram. This would be a precedent that could help the Mall issue, and others like the Convention Hotel, Burnside, Height, etc. issues.

Also, ask Commissioner Sten why he isn't requesting a State AG investigation since he's said, "You want a skeptic to look at something you're skeptical of.". Eric, Leonard, Potter, Adams have all said they are skeptical of the Tram-concerned about the costs, etc. Adam has recently requested PDC (the fox) to investigate the costs of the tram. Why not an independent investigation like they want for PGE, or better yet a "skeptic review? They are the advocates for the tram. Having the PATI bd leader leave the team doesn't solve the problem.

Having the PATI bd leader leave the team doesn't solve the problem. --Jerry

I couldn't agree more. So, I know that Anna Griffin has been watching this blog and reporting on the tram [rimshot], so maybe she'll see this and give us some insight as to how to get our anger in the press. (Anna, are you there?)

I'll post to the City Hall blog, too, but this train has got to get derailed, pardon the pun. At least slowed down...

But once again, it seems that the decisions have been made before the citizens said word one...

If Anna Griffin is watching and wants to report something why not that the PDC is not following State law.
Yearly reports on the impacts of Urban Renewal are required by state law.

Portland, unlike other municipalities, is not providing these reports.

Why haven't newspapers reported this?
Commissioner Sam said on a weekend radio show that he knew nothing about it.
Here we go again.
Run amok Urban renewal spending and the city council isn't aware that impact to basic services reports are required by State Law.
The only place I have seen it is on this local blog.
http://bojack.org/mt-arc/002543.html

That "apology" lacks a lot.

Like what's he doing promising that the project will be well managed in the future? About the only thing I can see that can be done to manage it well is to scrub the project entirely. Or, get the city out of it entirely. If OHSU needs it, then let them pay for it. If the SoWhat developers need it as a "linchpin" for the successful development, then they ought to foot the costs and donate it as a tax write-off. Wouldn't that be thoughtful?

I think serious consideration of the project and reasonable alternatives would augur for upgrading the existing OHSU campus shuttle line with buses that have more room, run more regularly, are reliable and have been set up (complete with fold down, or up, tables like in airlines) for wi-fi internet access and decent coffee. At considerably less cost than $45 million buckaroos.

YES, get the City out of paying for the building and future tram costs all together!

Look at it this way. The tram in almost it's whole length is above and/or on public right-of-way. (You own it). This has enormous value-almost a mile of right-of-way. The west terminal land on SW Gibbs by itself (60 ft x 300 ft) has value of at least $3.5M. (The Storage Co. block for the Moody Park sold for $7.2M recently) Add this to the guessimate of $4M for the rest of the right-of-way under the Tram line and that makes for $7.5M the Portland taxpayers are funding for the Tram.

Add in the State of Oregon's (thats US again)site for the center tram tower at a cost of $1M. Again we, the citizens have been gracious.

If I as a private citizen/business person (with no "connections" to city hall) asked the city to give me the right-of-way for a tram, say from City Hall to the Pearl, they would certainly charge me royally for it; if they would even give it to me)

Since OHSU/PDC states that OHSU will be using at least 85% +- of the tram, assuming the tram cost at %50M, that means the Portland citizens public share of the tram cost is $7.5M. Wow! We're home free. Plus the Oregon citizen's $1M share. We more than contributed our fair share.

Now, let OHSU build it, own it, operate it, maintain it, etc. and charge me $5 to ride it; like they do up to Victoria Peak in Hong Kong on their venicular, or $1.50 on Quebec City's venicular.

I think Porland's citizens might accept this compromise and we can begin to talk about building heights and density om NM and citywide.

And don't forget that PGE, Q'West, cable companies, etc. might want to get in on this train of thought since they pay the City good size fees for the utilities in public-right-of-ways. Why don't they get off scot-free like OHSU? Lets mix it up, here. Just trying to be fair.

Sorry, I meant the "east terminal" not the west. Excuse the spelling, too.


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