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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Perhaps the worm has turned

Encouraging signs in today's Trib story on the aerial tram [rim shot]:

A well-connected land-use consultant, who would speak only off the record for fear of retribution, said political posturing over the tram is contributing to "growing concern" among developers "about doing business with the city."

Adams says he's not worried: "Reputable developers have nothing to fear from partnering with the city if they make a good-faith effort to be accountable and honest."

That may be a bigger "if" than some of the current players on the Portland scene can handle. I hope Adams means it. The fact that he even said it indicates to me that the Vera Katz era at City Hall may be over.

Now if we could just leave Saturday Market alone...

Comments (16)

I didn't see any mention that the public has nothing to fear from these continued partnerships if the city starts making a good-faith effort to be accountable and honest.

I'll be looking for a sign that has started.

Commissioner Adams told me he is looking into the PDC's failure to complete yearly Urban Renewal impact reports as required by State Law.

If the PDC is forced to provide what State Law requires that would be a very clear sign.

Of course it would need to be reported in the newspapers. Journalists?????

The only place I have seen it is on this blog.

Doesn't that quote sound kind of Karl Rove-esque: An off the record statement, warning the city not to stop the tram or else developers won't work in Portland anymore.

I don't know, maybe I'm reading too much into this.

Steve, you and I have made that point enough.

Justin, I think the developers are smart enough not to threaten the mayor. Just looking at the guy should tell them that he's not the kind who will stand for that.

Thanks for the post, Jack. That's the first I've read about the "hand shape" tram car. What was PATI smoking when its board thought that one up? Gee, the neighbors don't want a tram car overhead, so let's make it look like a hand!! Well, Yule Brenner is dead and Charlton Heston is a spokesman for the NRA, so maybe nobody will remember The Ten Commandments! If the Jews in the neighborhood start smearing lambs blood on their doors, we can dye the Willamette red once a year (kinda like the Chicago River thing at St. Patricks Day) and turn it into a civic celebration! That won't do much for the citizens of Egyptian descent, but hey, there ain't many of them down there anyway.

"political posturing"??

And these are business interests? The same ones who say they support public schools but don't want to pay for them because they think the school districts does not manage the money properly?

This project, at current count, is FOUR HUNDRED PERCENT over projections. Heads have got to roll.

And yet this is "political posturing"? You'd think they'd say something like "We're pleased to see the City bring fiscal responsibility to the forefront."

"That's the first I've read about the "hand shape" tram car."

I had to go back and read the Trib story to understand this one and now I'm real confused. The word used in the trib story is 'hand shaped' tram car which I read as 'shaped by hand' or a unique design just for this project rather then 'off the rack' type tram, but now I wonder if the architect is talking about a tram shaped like a hand which I can't even imagine what that would look like. Please, Please let it be a tram shaped like a hand, because every day this story just gets stranger and stranger and this little Portland Passion Play is changing from an Ibsenian political tragedy, to a farce, and now to a Ionesco like work of theatre of the absurd. You just can't create anything stranger then the truth. I hope Matt Groening is paying attention to all this because this could make a great Simpsons episode.

Certainly the hand should have the middle finger extended to the Lair Hill neighborhood over which it will pass.

Heh...Ain't that the truth?

First, I'd like to point out a oxymoron used by Sam...."reputable developers". If they were "reputable", they wouldn't _need_ to partner with the city. They would work to be within the city's land-use laws, finance their own projects and not have any need for public subsidies in the form of tax incentives.

Whatever happened to the "market" that all these free marketeers have been screaming about for all these decades?

Then, the quote which raised my ire in the _Tribune_ was the one by Homer Williams..."In this environment, to try to do South Waterfront would be extraordinarily difficult...but my concern is for the city. You can't have people devote their lives, and then just step on them."


Mr. Williams, you and yours have persistantly stepped on the lives of others without any qualms whatsoever. You and yours rode roughshod over the concerns of the adjoining neighborhoods. You and yours willfully withheld the actual costs of the project from not only the public, but those involved to represent the public in the effort. Your little project to line your pockets at public expense has, is and probably will continue to "step on" many things that folks in this city have devoted their lives to. All for you and yours' big little self-aggrandizing, high-visibility, white elephant.


Oh... P.S.

If it's so damned difficult, Homer, why not just pack it up now and take it to someplace else that has way too much municipal revenue backed up in their city accounts?

Tram Car: It is shaped like a football. Now play with that image.Go Seahawks-gee I knew we were a secondary city to Seattle, we even have their logos down here. And I'm okay with being "Second City"

I wonder if there are any "vision" sketch ups or foam models with a tram shaped like a hand. I imagine like the hand of Portlandia, outstretched with the good Doctors, Developers, and City Council members in the palm, being transported safely through the air by the grace of our fair matriarch.

Just the other day, I returned home on I-5 and came down the Terwilliger curves to that glorious entry to the valley of our fair city, cradeled in magestic, snow capped mountains. All I could focus on was the SoWa towers going up. From that perspective, shared by thens of thousands of people each day as they enter Portand from I-5 N, much of the skyline around the Lloyd Center buildings and part of the Convention Center towers is blocked out. The view of the Ross Island Bridge span is gone. A big hand hovering up and down the hill with people riding in its palm would definitely help matters.

How about a hand-shaped tram with a great big rubber glove stretched over the top!

This may be a little uncomfortable, Portland. Just take a deep breath, and exhale.

I bet the OTR source was Matt Brown, carrying some water for his boss. In this respect I agree with Justin M above. There is minor discord now between the politicians and the developers because the politicians are starting to take some heat and Sam's move was a preemptive strike to call off the lap dogs in the media. The lines got crossed and it didn't work and now the politicians are trying to pass the buck onto the developers. The OTR source is just fronting and trying to pass the buck back onto the politicians...essentially reasoning that if they'd just shut up and stonewall, the whole thing would blow over. Sounds like a Brownie position, no?

If you read the article, it's convenient like that: He talks to the reporter off the record, says "this conversation never happened" in order to convey the message from Homer to the politicians, then emails on the record to give himself deniability.

And the Trib, does a nice CYA job of muddying the waters, by putting "Says" before the only Brown quote without a certain source, a sentence that looks a lot like one you would type. Do you talk that wordily? Most people don't.

The OTR quote has a very Charlie Hales or Neil Goldschmidt ring to it, with a vague "any of your adversaries might have said it" quality.

Might have even been one of Homer's plebes.


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