For those of you keeping score at home, there are a couple of very interesting developments to report in the OHSU aerial tram debacle [rim shot]. Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams, who's had his authority over the project seriously watered down over the past week or two, was quoted in the Trib the other day confirmng what I've been questioning on this blog for a while now:
Although the city has signed an agreement with OHSU and the property owners to build the tram, Adams says the city attorney's office has advised him that the city does not have to put any more money into the project.
"If the other parties in this project don't come up with the money to finish it, the city is not required to complete it at a loss," Adams said.
Hear, hear! And so if the city puts in a single penny of additional property tax dollars, it's not because it has to. It's because the current commissioners want to. (They'll call the money "urban renewal funds," but look on your property tax bill, folks -- there it is.)
Fascinating. Not another penny, gentlemen!
(Today the Ojumps on the story and acts like it's new. It isn't, but the Trib sure underplayed it.)
Smells like one heck of a lawsuit is imminent. And without a steady flow of fat checks, the construction crews aren't going to keep building the thing. Meanwhile, delay will just keep adding to the cost. What a mess. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch.
Meanwhile, the PDC has designated one of its own to take the reins of the city's "negotiation" with OHSU and the SoWhat developers on who's going to pay the latest huge tram cost overrun. Given Adams's comments, I doubt that there's much to negotiate, but the new PDC "special projects" maestro is the agency's economic development director, Bob Alexander.