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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 3, 2006 2:25 AM. The previous post in this blog was Tell your friends. The next post in this blog is What next, exact change only?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Lateral move

A fond farewell to Matt Brown, the City of Portland transportation bureaucrat who's been spearheading the dopey OHSU Medical Group Aerial Tram project [rimshot]. He's leaving the city for a new job as a project manager for Homer Williams's development company down in California.

Brown's new job description consists of making Williams richer by roping in unsuspecting taxpayer "partners" for his hideous condo tower jungles --

No, wait, that was Brown's old job description in Portland.

For a city that's so hot for "clean money" and lobbyist registration, this is a mildly embarrassing little story, isn't it? When Brown shows back up in the Rose City after a suitable cooling off period, touting the latest boondoggle from the Smoothie on the Segway, I hope Tom Potter and Bruce Warner have the good sense to smile and show him the door.

Comments (22)

Now if Homer could just find something for Erik Sten and Randy Gragg...

I just look at as another developer's lap dog at PDC getting his bone.


Look at the bright side Jack, at least he is not doing Homer's bidding on the City payroll anymore as well as committing taxpayers money.

I can't get a waiver of the cost of getting the Multnomah County tax roll data. My claim that home buyers at speculative pricing with dollars contingent upon owner occupancy should nevertheless be taxed a market values more closely aligned to rent-justified Real Market Values is not primarily in the public interest.

Never mind that I have assembled gobs of cases pertaining to deficiency judgments and related cases pertaining to valuation.

The single political factor is the maximum taxation of home owners, or glorified renters that bought into an actuarial nightmare based their future desire for wealth upon retirement (in a government-wide PacEquities style pyramid).

More and bigger bonds. That is the path to debt slavery, not development. Will the government guarantee the Real Market Valuations to the individual home owners in like fashion to their pledge of the same as collateral to bond buyers?

I apologize for the wasted space of asking this likely very dumb question to the seasoned vets here, but what is the significance of the [rimshot] after every reference to the tram?

I don't like the step up Brown had since July.
He has been running his own consulting firm while working part time for the city.
""""""He gave notice in July that he would quit his job with the city, where he made $77,000 a year, to start his own consulting firm but would remain part time through the end of the year. '''''''

How much time was "part time", how much did he get paid by the city for the "part time" and what clients did he do consulting work for while still working for the city "part time"?

All along the way (SoWhat and Tram) [rim shot] NO ONE was working on behalf of the public. Including all of the various agency staff and the city commissioners.

Every staff hour and public dollar was spent to move the thing forward without regard for any of the concerns, red flags or fatal flaws raised by the public at large.
They call it "public involvement".

"I don't like the step up Brown had since July."

set up

what is the significance of the [rimshot]

Any comedian will tell you: After the punchline of the joke, have the drummer do a rimshot.

I don't know about anyone else, but the smirk on Brown's face in the photo in the O says it all.

I think they should staple this story to the forehead of every aesthetic-whore professor, european design trend groupie, GIS-fetishist, and naive white kid from Wisconsin down at PSU's Urban Planning School. And for that matter, every planning school in the country.

The article makes it clear: This is what your career field is all about. This is who you are. This is who controls you. This is your life. All your ambitions and aesthetic and ideology are shit. Be a ladder climber and go-along to get-along with the big developers like Matt Brown and you'll get recognized and get ahead. Or, don't, and watch your life pass you by while mediocre boondoggle enablers get promoted and you get your nads shoved down your throat by your new boss. This is planning as a career field today. Its "principles" and "ethics" are a joke as in most American career fields and like the Constitution is to our politicians - something to be publicly venerated while privately undermined.


Somebody has issues.

Lose those stars in your eyes, did you? Altrusim isn't dead - it was never alive. Somebody lied to you - probably Bush.

It's hard to tell (not that it matters) whether you're a disillusioned planner, a Randy Leonard victim, or both.

As I sit in my office watching the buildings rise from the Hoodview Building (soon to be renamed the tower view), I think of all the taxpayer money that has and will be going into this project and just can't wait to send in my tax payments to the city and county.

It looks like Brown hasn't missed many meals at either the goverment trough or the developers' bar. Anyone know where the tar and feathers are?

You're right Ron. And remember this... while all that tax money goes to those projects we will soon be asked by the city and county to tax ourselves once again to save the schools.

I'm going to repeat/restate what I said, because ricky's response misses the boat.

The entire planning profession has its roots in our land use and environmental laws. But most planners are not legal practitioners and operate on a need-to-know basis with these laws. Planning also relies on other disciplines like engineering. But few planners are engineers. Therefore, it is necessary for them to make up other credentials, theories, etc to justify the separateness of the academic and professional field of "urban planning".

As Matt Brown proves, and Randy Gragg proved with his departure to Hah-vard, this is all bulls**t. What matters is servicing developers and their political power structure. My point is, it's also part of who they are, it's not something they leave at the office. It is NECESSARY for them to give each other print b***j**s, to front for money while paying lip service to principles and ethics, because it justifies the whole planning enterprise with them as the leader/most holy/most enlightened. Just like Christian conservatives equate monetary success with God's favor no matter how great the fraud, and just like the President equates destroying the Constitution with defending it.

The fact that their hypocrisy destroys the enterprise (namely, in planning, a system of laws accountable to representatives) is lost on them. The Tony Pierce quote above fits planners, too.

Dave, remember this: after PDC/PDOT Matt Brown spearheaded the "so called" transportation planning for North Macadam (beside being the Tram manager), which has very little funding for solutions that won/t hardly make a dent in the estimated future increase of 48,000 vehicle trips/day (as guessimated by Matt) generated from NM, look for a more severe "choke point" in our four main north/south transportation routes for the state that goes through NM. It will be even worse than the I-5 Columbia River crossing. Then watch the city ask the taxpayers to pay for traffic solutions in 15-20 years after the NM developers have made their money and left.

But will there be any traffic solutions in those future years, at least what we can afford? This is Portlands, Metros planning.

And speaking of Metro, there never was any representative from Metro-staff or Bd-that ever commmented in public (and any documents I have read on NM) that addressed NM. Nothing on tranportation from a region-wise basis; nothing on building in a flood zone with 350 ft high building in the Willamette Greeway right up to the river (where are the environmentalist?); the filling of the NM area with fill from 3 ft to 9 ft in height; the negative affect to other transportation plans adopted by Metro affecting Clackamas Co., Lake Oswego/West Linn, Southwest Portland, etc,; the noncompliance with City, Metro, and State Greenway regulations that Metro should have questioned; the list goes on.

Addition: Jack, your're right, it is an "embarrassing story" when the city is (not) for clean money. It is obvious that the developers and Williams are concerned about the "story", why else would they state in the "O" that Matt won't be working in Portland right at this moment, but in LA and Vegas. They know this smells. And why would Homer have a Portland planner instead of a LA or Vegas planner with connections working those cities. You need "connections" in both of those cities. That means Matt is really the "Portland Connection" as Homer somewhat indicated when he said sometime in the near future, perhaps as this cools down, Matt would be working on NM again. But, heh, this is typical Portland operacion, nothing illegal.

I was kind of wondering why it is that if anyone puts in any kind of housing development, store, etc., they have to jump through all sorts of hoops to provide environmental protections, and to provide for the increase in traffic, so on and so forth, and yet PDC etc. can break many of their own rules with impunity.
If I ride my horse in the woods the state doesn't even want me to let the animal drink from a stream, I have to carry a colapsible bucket and cart the water to the horse, and yet the city of Portland can dump thousands of gallons of raw sewage into the Willamette river every year. And they wonder why the people in rural/suburban areas look askance at Portland....

Amen, JoanneR. One set of rules for them, another set for everyone else.

And more specifically, even though the merits of the rules for everyone else may change, at least they are legitimate and politically accountable. Nonenforcement occurs when the planners see something in it for themselves. This occurs quite often because only big developers can afford to develop. If you can't pay to play (i.e., are a member of the general public), then you are the enemy. You are a threat to the big developers who can offer the planners something they want (power, money, etc). You are literally competition. Your independence and economic viability is a threat. Nonenforcement is a way the planners give competitive advantage in return for personal and departmental favors.

What is really embarrasing is that the squeaky clean veneer players try to pass off on the public. Oregon isn't clean, historically or presently. Don't know if anyone caught David Bragdon's advice to the "big look" land use task force a few weeks before Christmas. He is advising that it ignore history. Ignore the backroom deals and land scams that have been going on from territorial days until modern times. In was pleased to see the O editorializing in favor of the Tryon Life Commnunity Farm, but amused that at the notion that it could be a tourist attraction. Then I started thinking about a business venture: a good old boy spec developer rip-off tour. I am sure many out there could help me come up with sites of interest. Already I know about sites of developer intimidation: farm animal poisoning in Molalla,phony meth labs in Tigard and Portland. Misuse of fiduciary status and the bankruptcy and probate courts( Dunthorpe Village), Developer bribing of decisionmakers with super lucrative real estate deal (West Linn), Misuse of Family Abuse Prevention Act(woman with friend in high places marries guy she's know 5 weeks, moves into his house from where he conducts his business, gets a restraining order against him barring him from the house with help from her friends,transfers his real property holdings into her name, forging his signature (Her friends on the bench upheld this in the divorce proceedings that ensued (Columbia County). Too much of this stuff goes on in this state. People are reluctant to talk about it because of fear of retaliation, but they ought to be speaking up and calling for independent outside investigations. Our AG's office is too full of "players" to be much good.

You probably read this already, but congrats to Mr Mazziotti landing on his feet with Harsch Investment (used to own SoWa.)

Harsh still owns a big chunk of North Macadam, they just took a big tax write off on a portion of the property given to OHSU. OHSU new property just happens to still have contamination. Plus Schnitzer (Harsh) still has several "controls" on the property they gave to OHSU. A question arises that when someone "gives" property for a tax write-off, is it legal to have "controls-rights" benefiting the giver that definitely will have monetary value to the remaining adjacent property?

Please let me correct the above post. Harsh Investments (and other companies) family is the brother to the Schnitzer Steel family (and other companies). The Scnitzer Steel family has the North Macadam site.


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Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
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Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
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Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
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Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
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L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
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Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
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Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
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Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
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Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
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Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
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Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
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La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
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Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
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Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
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Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
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Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
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C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
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William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
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Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
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Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
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Anthony Holden - Big Deal
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