"Tram bad" -- The O
The Oregonian has figured it out: The OHSU Medical Group aerial tram [rim shot] is bad. Mayor Tom Potter's got it, too. All together everybody: Bad, bad, bad. Long story in InPortland today, and a Steve Duin column to boot. How the $15.5 million tram became the $45 million tram, and how Fireman Randy thinks it's going to top out at $60 million. And Randy says no more city money.
This is the same Randy who when running for office said something like "I don't think an aerial tram is the solution to OHSU's transportation problems." But then he voted for it anyway.
Leonard sounds embarrassed. He should be. As should his colleagues from those days, Sten and Saltzman, who are both up for re-election. The docs on Pill Hill took them to the cleaners, just as they take Medicare and Medicaid to the cleaners on a regular basis.
Another interesting aspect of today's coverage: It finally spotlights the revolving door at City Hall, where staffers leave public office and go right to work as employees, partners, or debtors of the very developers they're supposed to be regulating. No rules broken there, apparently.
We need some rules.
Matt Brown, the latest bureaucrat on the career merry-go-round, is still being quoted as a voice of the city government. He's in there saying that the "5,000 good new jobs" justify the financial hole we're digging with the Stairway to Heaven. Even if you believe that coming from the newly designated developer flak, don't I remember the original job figure being 10,000? I guess that was just another estimate, eh?
And weren't they supposed to be biotech jobs? I think that was just an estimate, too.
Overall, it was some decent tram [rim shot] coverage by the O -- albeit three years late. You can be sure it never would have happened if old Randy Gragg were around these days to whisper sweet, sexy planner nonsense into Sandy Rowe's ear. I hope when Gragg's done at Harvard, Homer Williams has a gig for him, too.
Pretty funny that Neil Goldschmidt's name has disappeared from the story. He was the fixer for the whole thing. Guess we can forget about him now -- at least, that's what the governor's office is suggesting.
And still no mention of who's going to pay to operate the tram, which will no doubt be a nightmare to run. I'm sure that's already decided -- my guess is two-thirds Tri-Met and one-third the city, like the streetcar -- but the O can't look that far ahead, I guess. I've been asking the question here for years, but no one's offered an answer, straight or otherwise. And there's no budget I've ever seen.
Speaking of the Ski Lift That Bankrupted the City, I had some correspondence with Amanda Fritz, who's challenging Saltzman for his seat, just before the new year. It clarifies her involvement with the tram from her Planning Commission days. She says she has an alibi. It's interesting stuff, and it merits a post of its own.