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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 25, 2006 11:11 AM. The previous post in this blog was Quotation of the Month. The next post in this blog is Good for a laugh. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Guess whose fault it is today

"And the Goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities
unto a Land not inhabited." (Leviticus XVI, 22)

First the hideous OHSU aerial tram [rim shot] was Matt Brown's fault. Then it was Vic Rhodes and John Mangan who were to blame. Throw in Dike Dame, too, he's got an interesting "track" record. Yesterday it was the Swiss franc.

It was just a matter of time before the finger of blame turned again. You knew it was coming. Yep, according to Renee Mitchell today, at long last, the truth can now be told. The real villain? Of course. It's this guy.

Comments (27)

Ulterior Portland
In pondering "ulterior motives" this morning I looked up the word "ulterior" in the dictionary.

What I discovered was a description of Portland. (and much of the region's governance)

Ulterior
1) Lying beyond or outside the area of immediate
interest.
2) Lying beyond what is evident or avowed;
especially, concealed intentionally as to
deceive.
3) Occuring later; subsequent

Ordinarily I like Renee Mitchell's columns but my jaw dropped this morning as I read it. I mean... who's water is she carrying here? Sam Adams? Homer Williams? Both of them?

Really a disappointing column from someone who I thought was above the fray.

I agree. I emailed her about that, too. Not that she'll do anything about it, but I asked her to look into Sten's quote about developers working on South Waterfront without the city's management or financial backing and he said, "We have the power to slow this down."

[Disclosure - I am running against Dan Saltzman, just so everyone knows the score] My campaign staff has been plowing into the budget and found the following:

Total City: down 102.5 FTE
Police: down 74.44
Fire: down 3.29
Bureau of Development Services: up 15.31
Citywide projects: up 1 from 2004-05, up 25 from 2003-04, when it was 0

That means that over 75% of the net loss in city staff is from police and fire. And BDS is UP?!

Talk about misplaced priorities...

It was a terribly uninformed column.

  • She basically perpetuates the myth that the Tram [rimshot] was the cornerstone of the SoWa development (she directly links 2 billion in revenue "the city will get to tax BECAUSE OF the OHSU Tram" (emphasis added). This is hogwash.
  • She ignores the loss to city coffers via the property tax abatements.
  • There is no affordable housing in the area. The riverfront greenway has been eviscerated. The re is only one small park. The biotech myth was exploded by a story the O published last year. So much for a "vibrant downtown district that includes affordable housing, parks, ... biotech jobs."

As a former columnist, I am both sickened by and sympathetic to Renee’s work this morning. In my opinion she was mixing what she really thought in with what the powers-that-be want her to say. If you’re a columnist for long enough you do that automatically. The filters are installed and as the columns flow on, you become the filters. Write a column that goes 100% against the editorial position of your paper? I don’t think so. You can call it selling out but most would just call it keeping your job. So I guess her opinion is that the tram project is very, very bad but also that the tram project is very, very good. Thanks for clearing that up.

I'm still trying to figure out why so many characters in this soap opera keep chanting about how the tram *rimshot* will assure the success of the SoWhat development.

C'mon... How many residents (condos, that's where the big bucks are) are going to be using the tram *rimshot* up to the Hill? Minimal.

Why then is this whole project such a "linchpin"? Because OHSU says so, that's why. OHSU only owns four blocks of the whole SoWhat development area; four non-tax producing blocks. The rest of the development area is getting all sorts of tax abatements (For how many years? How depreciated will they be (to lower values) once they actually come on to the tax rolls?. The Schnitzers gave the toxic plot of land just north of the SoWhat district (between the Ross Island and Marquam bridges) to OHSU, so that will now never produce any taxes.

From what I can see, the only thing the private developers get out of the tram *rimshot* is a "gee-whiz, golly" point for the sales pitch. I can't see that it has f**kall to do with the private development portion of the SoWhat development.

What? Are they building a district for rich folks with health problems?

I'd like to see the responsibility for this whole fiasco laid at the door of the person I see as the progenitor of the whole sheebang: Neil Goldschmuck.

C'mon... Hasn't anybody figured out that this whole hallucination (aka "vision") began about the time that Goldschmuck served as chair of the newly gubernatorially appointed board of the newly created "public corporation" that is OHSU?

Yessir... It's my understanding that at the time, our esteemed diddler was the attorney representing the interests of the Schnitzers. Was he also representing the interests of the Zidell concerns? About that time, Kohler (who's name is emblazoned upon innumerable porcelain objects around OHSU) started airing his dreams to the likes of Representative Fireman Randy.

Is this a coincidence? I don't think so. I think it's a glaring conflict of interest.

Renee did miss the "tram" on several points

The correct math on NM is that the taxpayes will be spending over $1/2Billion dollars including financing, over a 20 year period,( $288M and going up and $240M financing) and that still doesn't pay off all the debt. This is over 25% of her projected investments $2B in NM. Where else can you expect the public taxpayers to support ones development to the tune of 25%? Only in Portland. I'm thnking of building a house for $500,000T. I formally request that the City of Portland contribute $125,000 (25%) per NM Agreement principals.

Homer's quote of "the city's investment is not significant" is false. 25%! And he and Renee do not take into account all the increased zoning benefits'changes-height, 6 times increase in density, etc.)

She claims that there will be "a hub of biotech jobs". Does she know that there has not been one biotech job generated. Does she know that PDC's NM 5 year projected budget recently presented at the URAC meeting, of the $61M proposed budget that $18.15M is dedicated to promoting/subsidizing biotech.

Line items: North Macadam Stategic Opportunity Fund-$12,532,000; Business Loan Program-$5,208,000; BioScience Development Strategy-$400,000.

Just these three line items can be used to create these non-existent bio-tech jobs. Talk about "free enterprise" working in NM-a $18.15M subsidy! But, of course greenway, housing, tansportation, park are un or underfunded.

Renee said "the City Council gave a private non profit a leaading role in helping to build the tram." PATI is not really a private non profit. It is a means for the city to get around some legalities and funding restrictions; like the trolley lines have been built with these so-called non-profits in Portland. It is really a taxpayer entity and you are responsible for their failure and debt.

She claims Adams is "making up for lost ground." Remember, Adams was Vera's senior aid for 12 years who could/would/should know about the tram and all the NM issues. There is "no guessing" on Sams part where he says "But I guess that kind of whats happened."

Sam is right about the "incestuous relationships". Thanks for quoting me. And Renee is right; "no one..is above question." But it has been that way for 12 years in regards to NM and the tram. The comments/questions were asked of those who have put us into this position, including the media.

What Portland needs, what Oregon needs more then an Aerial Tram, another Pearl, or an additional professional sport team is ANOTHER STATEWIDE DAILY NEWSPAPER. It's not so much to ask for is it? Imagine the possibilities competition would bring to the newspaper business in Portland? New job opportunities for some real writers, true accountability for The Oregonian, the possibility for some sharp writing instead of this big lump of banality that we have to live with . If for no other reason then to give Phil Stanford a real job the city would be so much richer. This is something that would benefit everyone.

$2 billion. That's how much residential and commercial investment the city will get to tax because of the OHSU tram.

Call the public editor. That's just flat-out wrong.

Very disappointing article. I don't care for most of her drivel anyway, but this is the worst.

My favorite part - she's in the midst of explaining how Adams is so effectively cleaning up this mess and adding accountability when she throws in this gem: "Adams also added more women and the first people of color to the tram's management team."

WTF? Where did THAT come from? And what does that have to do with the price of tea in China??

We can always rely on Ms. Mitchell to make sense of a controversy and give us the truth: Pravda Portland style.

I think her style and tone are similar to many of the other developer agenda boosters and apologists, and are part of the reason the O gets a D+ for coverage of land use and development issues.
Granting spec developers (who undeniably love Portland) the moral high ground, these writers set up straw opposition (finger pointers and nitpickers) and then knock it down.

Reporters naturally gravitate toward the side of those who see the big picture, the intellectually credible; they don't want to waste time on "nitpickers and fingerpointers".

It's a kind of psychological manipulation: the press doesn't seem to realize that this kind of opinion writing is designed to keep it AWAY from the big picture and its many nuances, as well as key facts.


Hey S. Renee,
What about that $5 million pedestrian and bicycle bridge over I-5?

Wouldn't you know it folks. It's 300% over budget.
Checking PDC's North Macadam Urban Renewal Area - Project Revenues and Expenditure Summary
http://www.pdc.us/pdf/dev_serv/pubs/dev_macadam_report.pdf
Pedestrian/Bike Improvements:
Pedestrian Crossing Over I-5 @ Gibbs/Gains- $1,636,858

I guess no one was watching?

While your're there folks check that table which contains the whole budget for SoWa (formerly North Macadam)

You'll note the $264 million in projects (since increased to $288 million)
And the last row, "debt service" (the only one not totaled by staff), adds up to another $160 million.
$448 million budgeted for the first 20 years with more millions and years needed to retire the indebtedness. All property taxes.

Ummmmm. $488 million? U.S.? Dollars? That's REAL money. Was the entire amount approved by the City Council, or did some of it only require PDC approval?

Is it too late to subject the $488 million to vote? Maybe we could put that on the ballot with Voter Owned Elections, on an "either/or" basis. If so, VOE has my full support (not because I expect it to improve the candidate pool; rather, it's much cheaper than $488 million. Dollars.

I buy the Oregonian for "Get Fuzzy" and the ads. (And the latter justification is decreasing weekly). That's it. Skip over the rest. Your day will be better for it, as verified this week.

Mr. T - With signatures from 5% of the electorate, you can refer revenue bonds to the ballot. Since the City website does not list any bonds for SoWa, these have probably not been issued yet. Here's the link : www.portlandonline.com/omf/index.cfm?c=28113
For those interested in challenging urban renewal projects, state law provides a mechanism.

Renee writes for herself and her ed/pub bosses....not unlike another columnist, ala Nicholas....fluffy niceties nuanced with empty PC accents. Nothing in it for the readers whatsoever. How the O justifies paying these toadies is beyond me.

"not unlike another columnist, ala Nicholas....fluffy niceties nuanced with empty PC accents."

You got that right. You can add Shawn Levy to that list as well. The Oregonian had and still has one of the best authorities on Cinema in Ted Maher but never uses him, and got rid of one of the last true newsmen in this country with Phil Stanford. The whole paper is so full of insipid writing that you could probably replace them w/ software that anyone could operate just type in the basic who,what,where,why,etc and it could be formatted into a story, or outsource the writing to someone in New Delhi. The whole paper only exists to sell ad space.

"The whole paper only exists to sell ad space."

tom:

All newspapers exist to sell ad space. That is their primary purpose. The "news and features" content is merely there to get the members of the public to pick it up (and thence see the ads). That's why sensationalism trumps exacting reporting. It sells more newspapers, which generates more ad revenue.

Selling ad space is a papers primary source of income but I think their purpose and responsibility is to help keep the public informed. To illuminate dark places and dark purposes. If The States most powerful newspaper was doing that I think there might have been some different outcomes to some of the events we discuss in this forum. Portland could use a paper with a more enlightened sense of purpose but unfortunately it's just one enterprise of a huge national paper network that can see no further then the bottom line and our community suffers because of that indifference. I just wish that while we were going to hell in a hand truck we had something interesting to read on the trip.

They will only illuminate dark places and dark purposes if it doesn't significantly decrease ad revenue.

Of course, there's more than one place to generate ad revenue, but publications which gore their advertisers quickly get a reputation within the business community as being "unreliable".

I'd love to see a decent competitor to the bOregonian, but then I remember we used to have not just one, but two. The _Oregon Journal_ and the _Portland Reporter_. The bOregonian drove the _Reporter_ out of business and then bought the _Journal_. Besides, it is now owned by a huge corporate conglomeration...it's not locally owned.

You've been around awhile Godfrey. I remember the Portland Reporter when I was in grade school. I thought I read recently in an article in one of the labor papers that The Portland Reporter was started by striking writers from the Oregonian during a very long strike against the paper that ended up with the union being busted at The Oregonian. After The Oregon Journal was bought out by The Oregonian it still did function as an 'alternate' Democratic paper to The Oregonians Republican paper for years even though it was produced on a different floor in The Oregonian Building. The Oregonian doesn't need to care about reducing ad revenue because it's the only game in town and has always known it. When I was majoring in journalism at PSU back in 72'I heard a story from one of our Teachers (who was a photographer with the The big O) that the paper ran in its editorial section a satiric piece from a National writer that made fun of Used Car Salesman and the local Auto Dealer Association demanded an apology or they would pull their ads from the paper. They did, for a few days, but came back because where else could they advertise? This same teacher wanted The Oregonian to stop running ads from triple XXX movie theatres in the paper and went in with his trusty little Leica into one of the 'Live Sex Shows' going on at I think what was then called the Paris Theatre an old vaudville house just off of Burnside. He supplied proof to the Editiors of what disgusting acts were going on and The Oregonian then refused to take ads from all the Porno Movie Houses which in the early 70's pretty much owned all of 3rd Ave. This boycott of Portlands Sex Industry from advertising in The Oregonian went on for years and was a boon to the Willamette Week when it started up. The Oregonian though has softened its position somewhat and w/ the home video market the old Porno Theatres are gone so it's not much of a source of income anymore. Memories.

Somtimes it is local government entities that try to intimidate ; a reporter mentioned that to me at a land use hearing on Gateway UR once. Another time,in the early 90s, after I sued Multnomah County Animal Control on behalf of a homeless man and his dog,a special writer did a really nice story on the case -about how that dog was the man's link back to normalcy and how reckless the county was when it came to finding the facts in the matter. The writer later told me someone from MCAC called his editor, bawling him out for making the county "look bad". Some Fourth Estate.

I was flabbergasted to read Renee's column on the tram as well. I expected more from her. As for the "O", I only buy it for the crossword puzzles. Consistantly uneven biased "reporting" coupled with a complete disregard for the finer nuances of grammer and syntax make it an embarassment to Portland.

"You've been around awhile Godfrey."

Just a bit. Since 1958, when I moved here at age five from eastern Oregon. PSU in '72, eh? I was there '73 - '76. If you stayed on past '72, we probably crossed paths.

What you say about _The Reporter_ is true. We were a _Reporter_ household because my father was a union supporter.

At times over the years, the bOregonian has had opportunities to be discriminating with regards to print ads, but not on an ongoing basis. By doing so, they have provided an entre to new competitors like the _WW_. Additionally, they've had considerable competition from the likes of neighbhorhood shoppers, radio and, of course, visual media. These alternatives each have their own set of problems in terms of advertisers and the bOregonian has certainly maintained a monopolistic stance with regards to a great deal of print advertising (the "Big Fish in the Pond" attitude). I've always wondered how they've managed to skirt around "restraint of trade" accusations. I assume it is because there were "adequate" alternatives.

Godfrey we are the same age, and we were also a 'union family' as well because we got the Portland Reporter. I remember there was a lot of 'Packy' coverage back then about the Zoo's first baby elephant born in captivity. I went to PSU from 71-75 so we probably did cross paths.

Zoo?
How about a reminder of recent "Zoo" activities.

Metro Zoo management launders $800,000.00 in gate fees to the Zoo Foundation and has them re-donate it back to the Zoo. They evade $53,000.00 in Metro taxes and skirt around spending guidelines for gate monies.

They get caught, say ooops, shift things around and all is forgotten.

Money laundering and tax evasion with no consequences and no accountability.

Anyone wonder why the agencies around here are so emboldened to conduct any sort of shady business?


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Road Work

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Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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