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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Questions about the aerial tram [rim shot]?

Mark your calendar.

Comments (75)

Do we call it "Sam's Hill?"

What's up with OHSU's OIG suddenly announcing that they are moving to SoWhat??? Anyone have info? This is a huge move to relocdate their research and teaching campus to SouthWaterfront.

The tram will happen, Sam is just going to let people vent and then give it money anyways.

I am very dis-heartened by how mush hubris the entire city council is getting.

Come on. Where's the fighting spirit? We've got these bastards, right where we want them. The tram could be just the thing to swing the pendulum a little too far, and bring the corrupt Goldschmidt era to a merciful halt. I think the tram is a textbook case of "Be careful what you wish for."
If I go, my first question will probably be, "What do you fellows plan on doing after you get thrown out of politics?"

We have no idea how many people it will actually transport (even the daily capacity is suspect).

We will never know the full value of all the City's staff and related (but hidden) subsidies.

We don't have any idea what it will cost to operate, or how much ridership subsidy will be required.

Yet, the tram is a done deal: it could fall from the sky and shatter to pieces and the city concil would just call up the Swiss to order another one. Nothing can stop this juggernaut.

We'll remember in November!

Heck, we'll remember in May.

I say hubris, because these projects go on anyways. Randy's PFDR fund is an example - People raised a stink, saw the abuses and in the end nothing gets done.

It's just the Versailles-effect - once the ignorant taxpayers see how wonderful this tram, PGE Park, light rail, convention center or Armory theater is - they'll forgive us for the excess taxation, meanwhile schools are going to be one month a year in a while.

It is the same with every project like this in this popstand of a town - unless you can give me an example of something that got stopped by public outcry.

And why you all bitch, OHSU and the Tram bring OGI and its jobs and opportunities to central Portland. Other then complain, what have you all done?

"""""unless you can give me an example of something that got stopped by public outcry""""

The Alexan tax abatement

""""""OHSU and the Tram bring OGI and its jobs and opportunities to central Portland"""""'

The Tram did nothing of the sort. 20 acres in SoWa was given to OHSU. 100's million in Urban Renewal will be spent.
OHSU hasn't "brought" yet.
They burned through the $200 million Oregon Opportunity money and have a new building on the hill and now their doctors have one in SoWa.
Where do they get the money for a new OGI campus in SoWa? Let me guess a new bond measure?

How does the SoWa plan now work with so many items over budget, not funded and so much of the property never paying property taxes to payback the Urban Renewal?

Steve & other readers of BoJack -

Just curious - any other good uses for that land between the Marquam and the Ross Island? I take it you wouldn't want about a pitch & putt? ;)

I think it's pretty cool that OGI is moving there. I think it is in part because the tram will give OHSU a centralized presence down there. Perhaps not b/c of the tram per se, but definitely it was a factor.

I can recall a time when that land was a Superfund site or some such. I think OHSU is to be commended for making good use of it. Those are going to be real jobs down there. It's better than another suburban office park stretching the limits of the 217 & 26 corridors.

If I were OHSU, I'd take the money from the H'boro land sale and use it to build OGI. If they need to float a bond, so be it. That's how things get financed.

Steve, it's almost as if you're against the success of OHSU. I want them to be a vital part of Portland's economy.

Sirajul - Schnitzer had a development plan 10 years ago for the area, but CoP didnt feel they had enough control.

To be clear - I have nothing against developing this or any area (I may part ways with Mr Bog on this point), I am against the massive tax subsidies while schools, roads, sewers and basic services are left to waste away because we have no money supposedly.

You know, dude, encouraging critical thought in Portland IS doing something, something more important in the long run than making unreasoned promises without considering the whole picture. I tire of hearing people on this blog characterized as "seeing the glass as half-empty" because I think the metaphor is inaccurate. I am reminded of the first day of 7th grade Science class when the teacher had placed what appeared to be a glass of iced water on the front table; it turned out to be a flask containing a chemical compound and plexi-glass cubes. The point that things are not always what they appear to be was driven home to me that day. We will end up paying later for what is not carefully debated today.

Steve S., please tell me you're going to be at the tram meeting next Thurs? Or some others here will ask tough, realistic questions? Amanda, are you going? Hope to hear a good update afterwards, as I'll be out of town that day...

Steve -

Fair enough. Subsidies are one thing and elected officials should be held accountable for them. We'll see what happens in May. But I think it's funny that Potter was elected to supposedly bring power back to the people, and yet he's pretty much enabling the same things to continue to happen...I really haven't seen any change yet. Maybe some light "visioning" but that's about it.

You don't want to do too much "visioning" too early in the will give you the spins.

Nothing done on PFDR? Inaccurate. One of the major problems of money drain in the system is officers and firefighters on disability who are able to work in some fashion, but have no positions open to do so. Some of those positions are now being restored, which will definitely help.

This "popstand of a town" continues to be a national model for doing things right. Go live somewhere else in order to figure out how well things work here.

"""""Steve, it's almost as if you're against the success of OHSU.""""""

Not at all and OHSU did not clean up any brownfields.

I question their recipe for success and am against lousy planning and wasteful boondoggles funded by basic services monies through the abuse of Urban Renewal TIF.

It's all well and good that OHSU wants to move OGI to SoWa but that is hardly the case they used to push the Tram and SoWa UR funding.
And just because they "announce" the move does not make it so, well planned or viable.

The proceeds from the sale of the current OGI site will be used to "feed an endowment for OGI. School officials hope to sell the land as soon as fall then lease space back for research and classes while they plan OGI's space."

That's a red flag to me.
Suppose OHSU needs to use those proceeds for operating revenue or for rising Tram cost?

They have been shooting craps that a biotech research expansion would be generating revenue.
Is it? Was that potential real?
This latest episode may be another crap shoot to cover up the previous bad roll.

Who's checking the prudence? No one.

We may be witnessing the "private" OHSU making reckless decisions and at the end of the day OHSU may conveniently morph into a fully "public" entity demanding a massive public bailout. In which the timing could not be worse for other city and regional needs.

Along with the many other aspects we have witnessed over the past five years this entire OHSU-SoWa-PDC venture continues to wreak despite the fresh paint in today's paper.

Or, Steve, the OGI move to South Waterfront, the OHSU expansion to SoWa, and the tram could all turn out to be good things for Portland. And it might turn out that OHSU knows more about the future of biotech and how to run its business affairs than you do. And it might turn out that the Portland City Council cares more about, and knows more about, the economic and cultural well-being of Portland than you do. In any case, I don't expect you to change or tire of your tune.

Sirajul and others: Several times on this blog and others there has been discussion of how there has been over four major proposed developments for the NM area in the past 15 years; particularily for the site where OGI is proposed to move to. Again, the taxpayers of Portland have lost 15 years of property taxes and other, due to the fact that City, PDC, etc. wanted to play developer. If you studied the recent past history of NM I think you wouldn't be making your comment. Yes, development on Scnitzs site is wanted by most-it would be nice if it contributed to the NM tax hole. A pitch and putt would contribute more to the tax base and provide a recreational green space while we wait for a greenway and usable park clear until the years 2015 and later. OGI will be nice, but not paying any taxes. But we'll try to look at the whole picture, and that is what concerns some of us that have been involved in NM for 15 years of meetings. The unfunded items in NM for just the next 5 years exceed over $l00M (actually much higher when transportation costs included).

""""""And it might turn out that OHSU knows more about the future of biotech and how to run its business affairs than you do.""""""""

I totally agree. That's why I have used their own biotech czar's words, independent reports and studies and various publications. Because I want the truth.
""""""""And it might turn out that the Portland City Council cares more about, and knows more about, the economic and cultural well-being of Portland than you do.""""""

"Cares more" ? Now that's heartwarming. Is that why Potter and Sten voted for the Alexan Tax abatement? Is that why the Council sits idle as the PDC fails to provide yearly UR impact reports as required by State law?
Do you think we have a lot of "economic well being" going on around here?
Suppose we are indeed witnessing one reckless boondoggle after another as more people are observing every day? Are we all to shut up and wait for the train wreck? If that were the case the Alexan tax abatement would have been an unanimous yes vote.

One more thought and I'll take a break.

I can see it now

About a 6 months into OGI leasing space back out in Hillsboro OHSU will not even be close to accomplishing a new SoWa campus. They will have spent the proceeds from the Hillsboro sale, have no money for the new campus, realized no additional revenue from biotech expansion, be still on the hook for their share of the Tram while using it little and their general operating fund will be starved.
SoWa will be starved for cash to finish the public improvements and the PDC's Urban Renewal will have reached additional maximum indebtedness.
OHSU/OGI currently has a fully functioning campus they own. If they are in fiscal trouble, panicked and are selling it in hopes of buying time that should be found out by our elected officials.

This is all entirely possible folks.
This is Portland where things are "done not so right" like PGE park etc.

And no one will take any responsibility for any of it.
OHSU's head Peter Kohler is about to leave
and remember this was all born from Goldschmidt and his cronies.

This is no time for rose colored glasses or yellow brick roads.

Wow, Steve.

I take it your assets are all stockpiled in gold and you're waiting for the revolution to come with a loaded shotgun and several weeks worth of provisions?

Let's evaluate the situation in a few years. I'm betting the same people complaining about the non-viability of SoWa now will then complain that the district is too crowded/successful/etc.

In the meantime, given the demographics of the area, it would seem pretty foolish to think that there's going to be LESS demand for health care in the future rather than MORE.

Also - Steve - seen the unemployment rate for the Portland area recently? 5.1%. Not great, but not where it was a few years ago either.

Let's evaluate the situation in a few years. I'm betting the same people complaining about the non-viability of SoWa now will then complain that the district is too crowded/successful/etc.

That will never happen. Given how much we Portland taxpayers have paid and will pay for that thing, it could never produce the amount of public benefit that would constitute a fair return on investment.

Sirajul, Richard, et al -

One thing I don't understand... I'm hearing you say things to the effect of "they know what they're doing" and "let's just give it a shot and reevaluate later". But you gotta remember, it's not like we don't already have a history of f-ups here of mind-boogling scope. PGE Park? A money pit. The Pearl? Beautiful neighborhood but at an incredible cost to the rest of us. The Transmit Mall? Transit experts expressing their views that the idea is "insanity" (and yes, that's a quote). Light rail? Continues to be built against the wishes of the voters. Water Dept Software? Still a mess. DMV computer system? Millions pissed into a hole.

And these are the same people who we're now supposed to trust as they give away tax subsidies that will do nothing but cause additional tax stress on the rest of us. And meanwhile, worthy programs will remain underfunded. And schools will complain about lack of money. And the Mult Co jail (I forget the name off-hand) will remain closed. And property criminals will continue to be matrix'd out.

And remember, the SoWhat district isn't an area that is ONLY being developed now because of the city's wonderful partnerships. It could have been developed and contributing to the tax rolls 10 years ago.

As for the other gentlemen's comment that Portland is known nationally as a place that "does things right".... all I can tell you is that during my frequent trips around the country, Portland is becoming a laughing stock. I'm not making that up.

Rampant property crime, underfunded jails, a homeless camp, purposely increasing traffic congestion, back room politics attempting to legalize gay marriage against the wishes of voters, business flight and high unemployment... all these things look like insanity to people I talk to in other cities.

Here's a great example of the type of short-sighted thinking that we see here.... Remember a few years ago, when the Port basically gave away that huge dry dock? I believe it was the largest dry dock on the west coast. And then the new owner promptly sold it and moved it to the Caribbean to the consternation of city officials. Well, guess who comes calling a few weeks ago... that company that wanted to scrap those SF ships somewhere in Oregon. And the Gov says, "only in dry dock" because we don't want to contaminate our water. But of course, that's no longer an option, because we gave the dry dock away. Nice.

How about the stories where the city buys property at market value, spends money to refurbish, and then sells to a favored developer at a fraction of what they paid? Is that "doing things right??"

Sorry for the rant, but I see this beautiful city with officials that are out of control and way over their head. And I can't begin to imagine the thinking behind the idea that we should just trust them and see how it all comes out.

""""""In the meantime, given the demographics of the area, it would seem pretty foolish to think that there's going to be LESS demand for health care in the future rather than MORE.""""""""

huh? Who's the fool thinking that?

Yeah there will be more demand for health care.

That's why hospitals are bing built every where.

But did you know that at the same time OHSU is "expanding" they are cutting back on providing community health care?

I was talking biotech research here. Not health care. If you don't know the width and depth of the national and growing global competition in this industry go search the web.

Don't be surprised when you find a sea of competition and little about OHSU.

I just searched this site:
Search results for: OHSU
You have searched for "OHSU" - any of the words , in Bioentrepreneur
Sorry no results were found. Please search again.

People are already complaining about SoWa eventually being overcrowded because PDOT and the PDC have no plan to accomodate the added traffic resulting from this "plan".
Some plan huh?

Well, then, that settles it. There's clearly a population here who have decided in advance that the promise of SoWa is dooooooooooomed. That even if all the benefits happen, that it will never pay off.

I'm sorry, that's called "stacking the deck." Larry, I travel frequently across the country as well. And among the people I talk to, Portland is viewed with great admiration. Everyone I know looks forward to visiting, and would move there if circumstances allowed. I guess we must just travel in different circles.

All I know is, I'd rather hang with my crowd that believes in what Portland is becoming and the potential of what Portland can be rather than dwell in some hazy ideal past that never was.

Not all the things you mention are, in the opinion of many, "f-ups." Some of us see, for instance, the transit mall, light rail and the pearl district as very positive attributes of Portland. I think SoWa will be a net positive as well, though cost concerns are legitimate. PGE Park didn't turn out as well as hoped, but it's hardly a money pit by large-city standards; refurbishing it was a risk worth taking. Water billing system was a genuine mess, I'll grant you that. I believe we have to blame the DMV problems on the state, not the city. At least some of the blame for underfunded schools, jails and other basic social obligations has to be pinned on the voters, who have been convinced by right-wing and libertarian pundits and politicians, and by their own selfish instincts, that they are over-taxed no matter how little they pay.

All in all, I think Portland is becoming a better, not a worse place, and I've lived here most of my forty-some years. And I think this group of city council members is doing a basically good job.

Sorry to interrupt. Please return to your mockery of "Opie" and "tram [rimshot]." Y'all were on such a roll.

Hey Sirajul and Richard,
You should join the convention center hotel fan club.

I'm sure your confidence will be appreciated.

No matter what you are thinking or feeling about the light rail Transit Mall it will be a cataclysmic failure.
And with so many red flags making it fatally flawed it is virtually guaranteed.

Steve -

I love how your pattern of argument insinuates that because we're not violently opposed to everything the city does, that we must be sycophants for any wild eyed hare the city puts forth.

Anyway... I want you to put forth some hard metrics. What constitutes failure/success for SoWa? For the Transit Mall? For anything?

Do I think the city has made some mistakes? Yes. Who am I going to vote for in May? I honestly don't know yet. Would I prefer that the city take the realities of business into account more often when making decisions? Yes. Does that mean I feel that the city is being run into the ground? NO!

I believe Portland has a lot of creative energy inside of it - both in its citizens and in its future. That is what I love about it. I am glad it is filled with such people who actually have some optimism and the will to get things done - as opposed to sitting back and calling everything a "cataclysmic failure." That is the easiest thing in the world to do and it requires no hard thought about how the region will grow and evolve over time.

I notice that when you ran for office Steve, you said Metro gave us "the highest unemployment in the country." Now that it's more in line with the national averages, is that Metro's success as well? (Of course not, but you see how ridiculous that argument is)

And with that, I bid good night (before Jack bans me anyway)

Whether or not any current project goes well or poorly, the way this tram was sold with “guesstimates” disguised as real numbers, was an unacceptable way to run a lemonade stand, much less a world-class city.

I love an optimist! Sirajul, you are a positive-thinking optimist and that's nice.

Here are some thoughts for you to ponder and questions for you to answer for yourself:

What is success?

What is "getting things done?"

Do you prefer to see individuals succeed in getting things done in business endeavors?

Or do you prefer to see public officials with no business experience spending other people's money on business endeavors with little or no chance of success? (My definition of success: annual project income is sufficient to pay off debt and operating costs with a little left over.)

Does taking other people's money for public officials' own pet projects (that you cite as evidence of their "optimism") justified, in your opinion? Just asking.

A question for all: I'm confused about OGI and OHSU - I thought OGI and PSU merged to do computer science and nanotech-related work.
Maybe OGI broke itself up into two divisions and sold itself to both PSU and OHSU? Can one of the people in this discussion group with long memories and great Internet search talent help me out?

Final thought: I thought Downtown Portland UR projects were intended to attract the 'creative class." Has that changed? I didn't think SoWhat was in Downtown Portland. Are these UR projects now aimed at 'biotech research and jobs?' Or at attracting rich DINKs (Dual income, no kids)?

P.S. OHSU's timing is fabulous. Hasn't the commercial real estate market slowed down quite a bit recently?

"This "popstand of a town" continues to be a national model for doing things right."

I'll clarify by that comment I meant that there is no accurate financial planning and most financing is the lets get a couple of bucks to turn a spade and now we can't stop so we need $10M. Moreover, most of the deals center around either Homer or Gerding/Edlen or whoever Sam is having lunch with this week. So maybe I mis-spoke and should have said banana republic.

In addition, most of the architecture is very derivative (especially of Vancouver BC or maybe communist Eastern Europe planning), I was hoping for something more creative in use of space.


OHSU absorbed OGI. They then alienated the research team that was working on the computer modelling of genes by demanding that they lay off most of their support staff. However, since the team had built a great deal of comradarie through their work together, they refused. Rather than submit to what they felt were unreasonable dictates from the OHSU administration, the took their grant and their staff and went to PSU, where they were welcomed.

Yet another well-advised business decision at OHSU. (NOT!)

I'll be there next Thursday night. I had to negotiate changes in my shift to do so, but I'll be there.

By the way...

Moving OGI to SoWhat will just exacerbate the potential traffic and parking problems. They will make reverse commuters into regular commuters and add to the traffic congestion that will be created down by the river, without addressing any of the traffic and parking problems on Pill Hill.

The area between the two bridges will not generate any property taxes unless OHSU, which now owns the whole shebang thanks to the gift of the toxic land to OHSU. It is now, and will remain, as long as it is OHSU land, as non-tax revenue generating.

And, yes, it's still toxic.

This is the kind of garbage that pushes these boondoggles through public officials.

just remember as you go forward with this project, the tram provides a key transportation link for the only research institution in the region, for the largest employer in the city and a key engine for our regional economy in the 21st century.
The OGI branch of OSHU will be relocating to South Waterfront, adding another piece to the puzzle.
TIF resources are used throughout the city to finance projects that spur economic development and add jobs and housing. The payback comes when URA's are closed and the wider community gets its money from an enhanced taxbase. The return on the City's investment in the Tram is probably one of highest returns on investment, ever.
PS on that subject, I think it is time to close out Central Eastside URA and get that area back on the tax rolls.

Posted by: Lenny Anderson | Mar 1, 2006 10:07:15 AM


If OHSU liquidates the West Campus, or sells off part of the Schnitzer gift, they could probably come up with the cash to finish the tram. *rimshot* *cymbalcrash* could never produce the amount of public benefit that would constitute a fair return on investment.

But it will have one kick-ass Subway shop. That'll make it worth the trip right there. That and the "Go By Tram" sign.


It is a matter of perspective.

Picture a family, or still-childless couple, that recently purchased a home on borrowed dollars at 100,000 over its' real investment value and living paycheck-to-paycheck being demanded to cough up tax dollars, at the margin.

The perceived good that the good folks want us to see is a burden that is borne by others. The Auditor and the DA will look upon folks as criminals if they fail to cough up the dough that the good folks sought to extract based on some perceived general good. If it is instead a special gift to excuse some entrepreneur from the burden of risk then it is perfectly fair to make the good folks that are trying to do good to face at least as much scrutiny as the Auditor and the DA would apply to the little family that is pondering if it makes sense to have a kid in an admittedly reckless anti-kid public policy environment.

The mere existence of some perceived noble goal is not the end of the inquiry, but only the start of a process that puts a matter on the docket. Whereupon public policy choices are made. Shall we discourage folks from having kids? That is the question I see.

Perhaps I am wrong to redirect the focus, as my dad passed away yesterday and I am just communicating a purely personal concern. Tell me I am wrong to demnd that my government should care about the general community rather than some special interest.

That's exactly the issue, Ron.

Ron, I am sorry for your loss.

But there's a lot of talk on this site about how public officials ignore the "general community" and serve "special interests."

If the "general community" were really as outraged as you all seem to be, wouldn't:

a) politicians bend over backwards to serve the "general community" to seek the most votes
b) people run for elected office vowing to toss out the politicians who were consistently denying the "general community" and their wishes?

Now, people who have positions that you oppose all seem to keep getting elected when they run, despite all the massive public outrage you guys claim is out there. Why is that?

Yes, I know Steve ran for Metro Council, but he lost. That should tell you how popular his ideas were. That is to say, they aren't.

I have heard this message on the board before, but I'll say it again - if you don't like what's happening, vote to change it. Run people for office or support like-minded candidates for office.

The fact that the "West Hills folks" couldn't get a ballot measure on the ballot should tell you they're not as all powerful as some who comment here think they are. I think if there were really a groundswell against Portland, there would be more candidates running to try and reverse the tide.

But there aren't.

I happen to think Sten will lose, but he'll be replaced by Ginny. That is just what my gut tells me. For some, that will be an improvement. For others, more of the same. We'll see about Amanda Fritz v. Saltzman - I'm a little skeptical she can win, but we'll see.


I hear that Pablo Escobar was popular among some folks. He must have been a good man.

Sirajul said
"""""Yes, I know Steve ran for Metro Council, but he lost. That should tell you how popular his ideas were. That is to say, they aren't"""""""

Is that what it means?

I lost by a few hundred votes out of 32,000, against an entrenched incumbent, who outspent me
4 times over and had every other entrenched politician and every newspaper endorse him.

You are simply, dishonest, part of the problem and you bring nothing but boiler plate propaganda we can get from all the usual agencies.

steve, don't politicians and newspapers reflect "popularity," even in part? To say that you were unanimously opposed in those circles sounds like agreeing that your platform was not popular...enough, at least.

To clarify the comment I made about "doing things right"--certainly opinions among people vary depending on who you talk to. I was thinking more along the lines of institutionally. For instance, here is just one recent example of a city paper looking at their downtown, then looking at ours, and saying Man, I sure wish WE could do that! I also remember from my days living in Richmond VA (a town about as far away from Portland in most ways as you can get) that a delegation was sent to Portland to view issues of transport and regional cooperation. They came back positively GLOWING about how things worked here, especially the cooperation between city and suburb. The kicker was when participants were asked whether it could work in Richmond. They all said,"oh, LORD no!" The consensus was that people there would have to completely change their mind set in order to make it work.


PS--recent maps I have seen from the City that designate the "downtown core" have included SoWa.


I have Ron on one hand comparing a notorious drug lord to someone who runs for and wins elective office, and implicating me in due course to Escobar himself. Sweet debating tactic, Ron. Jack, is that worth a ban? I'd say that violates the comments policy in terms of personal slander. Or at least allow me to play the "Hitler" card if its allowed.

On the other hand I have Steve decrying how organs which reflect mass opinion opposed his policies - yet somehow, Steve's positions couldn't even warrant a majority of voters to the booth for him.

Steve, if I trust your numbers, you must have gotten just shy of 16,000 votes. So you'd think there'd be more than 16,000 angry people within that district. Why didn't more people vote for you? There are tens of thousands of eligible voters within that Metro District. If you're right, why didn't more join the fray? It was certainly easy enough for them to do so. Or did nasty politicians and newspapers brainwash everyone with their evil gamma rays?

But no, rather than answer those questions, you'd rather call me dishonest.

This is too easy...

"JOHN SCHNEIDER chairs the Alliance for Regional Transit, which leads groups of Cincinnatians to Portland several times a year to tour the light rail and streetcar systems there. He is a property investor who lives downtown and occasionally writes about transportation issues."

Gee 'loadedt,' it sounds like the author has a very vested interest in Urban Renewal and Mass Transit.

Maybe you can try and find an objective article next time.

Sirajul: I don't mean to get involved in your nasty battle with Steve. but I have to comment on your "organs refect mass opinion" . "Organs" being the newspapers, TV, etc., I sure don't find "organs' reflecting the 61% on the voters on M37 or the Oregonians editorial opinions about North Macadam, or the Tram. I could easily continue the list. Your comment is gross generalization. Sorry.


""""""On the other hand I have Steve decrying how organs which reflect mass opinion""""""

Is that what they do? Like when they support the Tram?
Or the Alexan Tax abatement?
Your game is old as you divert away from the realities of UR and the rampant boondoggles around here.
You can talk all day about "my positions" and my small attempt to break into the cabal but it changes nothing about the facts I raise about the PDC, Urban Renewal and the planning schemes.

""""But no, rather than answer those questions, you'd rather call me dishonest.""""""

What questions did I not answer.

What is your real name?

Do you work for the PDC some other agancy?

Steve -

Why didn't you just say "Your papers, please."

Yes, if you want to believe it, I work for PDC. Or should I say, they work for me. I have little puppet strings and all the organs of government and media move to my tune. It's a pretty good game I've got going here, and you're messing it up. So I'm getting into a petty fight with you on a weblog comment thread so that you won't notice my "planning ninjas" sneaking up behind you...ever so quietly...careful now...don't bump the's all going according to plan...

The main question you did not answer: why couldn't more people be bothered to vote for you? Clearly, you have a way of rallying folks to your side. I have a feeling you're going to put "Don't forget the Alexan Tax Abatement!" on your tombstone.

In reality, I am just a curious citizen. I don't have any skin in the game, as it were. Believe it if you want.

"""""The main question you did not answer: why couldn't more people be bothered to vote for you?""""""

I don't know where you are going with all of this silliness but it should be obvious.

I wasn't quite able to reach enough people.
So what.
Do I need to explain to you how a campaign reaches people?

What is your point in asking?

I think you haven't followed these issues and don't know enough about them to understand the magnitude of the problems.

So therefore I must be me making things up or something?

If you have anything of substance I would be glad to respond further.

Here's the classic PDC building purchase and resale deal which Jack predicts will happen with some of the Mult. County properties.

Problems of Abundance

You can still get a good deal on real estate. At least if you’re cozy with the Portland Development Commission. Just ask Eric Saito, president of Group Mackenzie. The lucky businessman just closed a deal to purchase the Holman Building on the central eastside from PDC. PDC spent $1.3 million on the old warehouse and then spent another $700,000 in remodeling efforts that brought new tenants for the ground floor. Saito was, conveniently, in need of new office space after his company’s land in the South Waterfront development area was rezoned, upping its market price. Even more conveniently, Saito headed the PDC committee that did the rezoning. Then, proving that good deals are still out there in the hot Oregon market, Saito bought the Holman Building for $400,000. Good for him, but bad for the taxpayers, who by our math, lost at least $1.6 million

Chris Mc--
I'm not sure how one spins the comparison of development in Cincy to PDX, but no matter. Objective analysis of transit-oriented development is what you want?

No sweat. Go to Chapter 17.

Don't get mad at me, Steve, if the voters don't appreciate your talents, thoughts and ideas. I wish you luck in your next campaign.

One would think, though, if your ideas had enough support, though, that votes would flow to them naturally. Guess most of us voters aren't fit to be in your company or smart enough to understand these things like you.

Excellent way to reach voters, FYI, talking down to them and telling them they're stupid. You never know who's reading this and living in that district.

LoadedT - that report won't be considered objective because it didn't come from a libertarian or right wing think tank. They are the only objective source allowed to pontificate on transit, don't you know.


There are many poignant examples of judges and politicians who, at great personal sacrifice, strove to create a better community in the face of overwhelming odds. The money from certain international trading activities empowered some folks to develop deep loyalties (dependencies) among the locals, by doing many good things, but always prioritize self-preservation above all else. The value of gifts can be overrated, in the long term.

Today, the authority to issue limitless revenue bonds based on the wishful thinking of dreamers is like the injection of cocaine dollars into a community. The public debt, by whatever creative public financing scheme, is no less destructive here than is the injection of cocaine dollars in Colombia.

I did like my courses on the Economics of Developing Countries, and the like. It should be required that anyone advocating development at least find some nutshell series on the matter, with a strong emphasis on skepticism of folks bearing gifts. I trust that even one populist leader from a country adjoining Colombia could zero in on at least a few notions from an academic treatment of developmental economics. At least he would see debt as a dependency thing. He would also see that debt to a foreign country at least has the potential for unified remedy. Here, however, we have public debt plus private debt (homes and education etc) plus surprisingly disparate tax burdens and disparate distributions of gifts that no one can see straight nor present a unified response.

Some economists like to study bubbles, as they are exciting. I like to study the structural stuff in policy formation that tend to make politics more or less volatile. I do thank you for illuminating how volatile the present system is here in little old Portland today, at least from your perspective. That gives me hope that the implosion phase might be coming soon.

There is no single body here (at Jack's living room), rather it is like some weird cast from a Star Trek series, with individual quirks that make it sometimes lively. It is those quirks that make it fun.

The situation is not all that dire as we can in a single vote effectively do a reboot (disincorporate the city) with a penalty of being starved of the injection of new debt from the outside for a period of five years, which I would not find too disagreeable, and we can start with a clean slate amongst ourselves . . . so long as Multnomah County and the state go along.

Simmer down and you might be able to enjoy the ride.



What is this jibberish you are playing with.

"""""Don't get mad at me, Steve, if the voters don't appreciate your talents, thoughts and ideas.""""""""""

Is that what you perceive in this little exchange? You haven't brought anything.
To get mad at or anything else.
Are you simply adrift while running on empty?

""""""'One would think, though, if your ideas had enough support, though, that votes would flow to them naturally.""""""""

So none of the information regarding Urban Renewal, sweeet deals for developers, the Tram,
the PDC et al is anythig but "my ideas".

Now that's classic. You can't debate any of them so you punt them all as "my ideas".

You're right that is "easy".

Lazy and weak as well.

"""""Guess most of us voters aren't fit to be in your company or smart enough to understand these things like you""""""""""

Another weak juvenile method to avoid the obvious severe problems that have nothing to do with "my ideas".

""""Excellant way to reach voters, FYI, talking down to them and telling them they're stupid. You never know who's reading this and living in that district""""""

Of course that play follows.

I'm not running for anything and have no plans to. I'm free as can be to speak my mind and
If I was speaking down to you I'll let the readers decide for themselves if you deserve it.

I don't just call people stupid.

I do my homework, have great sources, and do not hold back from using what I find.

Your attempt to disparage a messanger here is a frequent tool used by the status quo around here.
The list of names of people (who defend the crap around here)who have used that is very long.

There are plenty of readers here, and elsewhere, who recognize it.

Why don't you tell us something you know of (or think of) besides me.

Because I really don't care and I'll bet no one else does either.

Since you know so little about me you might make better points on something else.

Perhaps about that Alexan 10 year tax abatement that almost passed the city council.


I've been no big fan of the dollars thrown at SoWa and the Tram. I am more interested in seeing some attention paid to, for instance, the Gateway district, which serves middle and lower income residents and is just withering away.

All that aside, I think we have to admit that getting OGI to move to SoWa has to be a net plus. It will bring regular commuters (yes with traffic issues) to the district, who will want to buy lunch and dinner, with ride the tram [rimshot] to OHSU to consult with researchers (and not just to commute from their cars to their jobs), and will generally bring a daily vitality to the area.

Again, I am not a SoWa fan, but relocation of OGI is a coup for supporters of the area.


Would the political dynamics of pumping, and pimping, dollars change if Portland implemented a new policy based condition applicable to all affordable housing (HUD-related) that limited City cooperation to cooperatively owned facilities such that after the loans -- the interest payment subsidies to bank lenders to carry on their carry trades -- are paid off that the structures became the property, free and clear, of the former residents?

Today's class of renters would, in twenty to thirty years, become owners. Instead, as is practiced here in Portland, such renters will instead be perpetual renters, and the owners perpetual owners. It might be a stretch to look out 30 years, but give it a try. Rest assured that some folks are doing just that.

The banks, though, get their payoff immediately . . . how's that for "workin" the system (or shall I say streets), and they have even worked out an exception to the standard practice for bank owners of denial of the privilege of limiting personal liability so that they too can act like Paul Allen in rough times -- transferring risk to the general public. See ORS 706 through 717.

Federal interest rate subsidies to banks are poison, not a cure. The same goes for state interest rate subsidies.

--The Wild Economist

Sigh...Steve. I hope I never meet you in real life. You're depressing.

Well, I don't think Steve is depressing at all. I think he's quite refreshing after all the yes-men and yes-women who have salavered at the heels of our misguided civic leadership as they pursue their "visions", even when those "visions" turn out to be nightmarish hallucinations.

And I don't even agree with Steve all the time.

In all too many of these processes, I've seen slavish devotion to some half-fast, half-baked visionary projects without much in the way of critical assessment. Even when there is critical assessment, it usually comes from outside the existing political power structure and is consequently discounted as "unimportant" or "uninformed". I'm personally sick of it.

We need more people like Steve. People who care and are willing to speak out, ask the difficult questions, and point out the claims that just don't make sense.

Steve: what would it take to get you qualified to run for City Auditor?

I don't know if you all knew that Sam "The Tram" Adams was going to be acting as a bartender at Holman's Bar & Grill tonight, I'm not sure of what time.

But while on Mark & Dave (1190 KEX) he said that the special drink for the night was going to be the "Tram Slam" which he would tell you costs $3.95, but by the time he makes it and gives it to you the cost would be $15.95. I couldn't believe that he said that on the air.

For another good laugh read PDC's Bruce Warner in today's O.
Under way, on track in South Waterfront
Friday, March 03, 2006

Use the link for the commentary

Warner left out a few minor details like:
borrowing millions from other UR districts,
the first park costing $7 million more than the budget (just for the land),
the first park will be only grass because it's not funded,
the greenway isn't funded,
some of the streets aren't funded,
major intersections for added traffic aren't funded,
Taxpayers will be paying $1/2 Billion from property taxes during the first 20 years alone just for SoWa,
11 other districts do the same with N. Interstate UR district diverting P taxes from 3744 acres of North Portland.
this year alone UR diverts $62 million from schools and other basic services,
the SoWa UR district has been diverting property taxes away from 409 acres of SW Portland since 1999 and spending it on less than 50 acres in the first phase of the SoWa 130 acre plan.
Yet Bruce tells the public,
"The South Waterfront urban renewal plan is being done with tax-increment financing, a mechanism that uses tax revenues from new development"
From the "new development"????
That's slick.
Perhaps it is too depressing for Surajul to think the PDC would mislead the public.
The affordable housing is also not funded,
the PGE high power lines tower move cost tripled,
the ped/bike I-5 bridge cost went from $1.6 million to $5 million,
the free streets (all had to be raised 8 feet for flood), free sidewalks, free sewers, water and other infrastructure for the private developers are all over budget.
But Warner, in an effort to reassure and comfort the public says,
"The city's plan is moving precisely the way urban renewal is supposed to.
"That's the plan. It's on track."

Surajul, did you help him write that?

And don't be afraid to meet meet me some day.
I'm a happy guy.

You probably have to live in the city and be a CPA or something?

I don't know about running for something again anyway.


Gary Blackmer is not a CPA.

Gary Blackmer is not a CPA.""""""""

Ok here's an idea.
Gary could simply hire me as a consultant.
A little bit of curiosity, skepticism and the right questions aimed around town and the remnants of Goldschmidt's cabal would come fully dislodged.

How much power does the auditors office have anyway?

I've wondered for some time why not a single one of the local agencies or politicians don't hire at least one person who is skeptical and analytical to provide the questions they seemingly never think of.
Chronic avoidance can;t be good.

What power? Lots.

Elected office gives lots of elbow room, as you know.

The optional eligibility criterion of Certified Internal Auditor is met by membership in a private outfit in Florida and is a facially invalid limitation. It just needs to be declared so by a court.

The folks opposing public campaign financing have already lawyered-up with the top dog on civil liberties, so he can't be there to save Mr. Blackmer from the impending doom of his own position if indeed he refuses to list me, and perhaps you, as a candidate who has filed for office.

If no CPA files then it could get interesting.

Just file.

Was your comment directed to me? I can't figure out how.
I'm just probing here to see if the opponents will admit to at least one bit of good news for SoWa, the OGI relocation.
Tram [rimshot] aside, SoWa development is going ahead, so at this point I have to look for some silver linings.

But I know that's not the style of some.


see immediately preceding comment by steve

but it is surely open to all

The only limit is really whether a filing is "spurious."

If you had a team of 40 paid staff members, could you keep them busy digging up dirt? Would you think of your role as the investigatory arm of the DA and FBI and SEC all rolled into one?

I might add:

If Gary files and I get my declaration of invalidity of the limitation regarding Certified Internal Auditor I will insist upon application of the notion of judicial estoppel to prevent Gary himself from obtaining the benefit of a court order that his name too appear on the ballot. I would be running unopposed. I do believe in candor rather than tactical silence. What say Gary?

Who's actions are spurious?

All he has to do is put my little name on the ballot. It is his choice.


Most would agree that at least superficially the OGI move looks good.

But whoa is there ever more to look at.

Since OHSU merged with or aquired OGI apprently OGI has been weakened with it's mission altered and revenue halved.

As I wrote before there are scenarios which do not spell wisdom regarding this move, the selling of the Hillsboro site and crap shooting that a new campus as envisiooned will grow in SoWa.

One only needs to read Bruce Warner's piece in the O yesterday to grasp the extent of distortion and misrepresentation these SoWa entities will use.
OHSU's recent news spawns far more concern and questions than it answers.

If the OGI move is "good news", and not another panicked crap shoot, it will take much more than a press release declaring so to know.

There is no substitute for a genuine business plan and one has yet to surface at SoWa.

Far from it.

The fractured incremental adressing of the many critical issues have never found themselves on any table, all at once, by anyone, resulting in a total obscuring of what is happening.

Got a mailing from the PSU School of Urban Affairs today: Homer and Dike are going to be awarded "Urban Pioneer" awards May 2 at the Hilton.

Oh, the OGI stuff is just a "big move" bit of political wankering to get us all to believe that they're actually going to build something down there.

The whole thing is, of course a huge smokescreen: I have it on good word (wink wink, nudge nudge) that the whole South Waterfront deal is just so they can get the developers to get 'em to build GIANT FLOATING PARKING LOTS in the Willametter River - accessed by a new bridge to the Ross Island Recreation Center - that they can then take the Tram up to their normal jobs, which will all be on top 'o the hill.

In all seriousness, however - and this is very very interesting - is what OHSU plans to do with OGI:

the plan is to move OGI to the new 'Schnitzer Campus' - a 'typical college campus' like layout to be built between the Marquam & Ross Island bridge - architecture unknown so far; but OGI definitely isn't going in a shiny new building near the tram...

thought you guys would want to know...

"Schnitzer Campus?"

I'd think they'd need to move the Center for Research in Occupational and Environmental Toxicology down there first. It would give them something practical to do.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
MarchigĂĽe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
GascĂłn, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
MarchigĂĽe, 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
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
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
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria DermoČ—t - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
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
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
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
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
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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