The Tram That Would Not Die
Just as I thought, speculation that the OHSU Medical Group aerial tram [rim shot] is on its last legs was greatly exaggerated. Our correspondent, Butterbean*, closely followed the press event in the SoWhat district this morning, and he reports that it was just a p.r. spiel from the promoters of the emerging Condo Towers Amidst the Contamination.
Oh, and I swear, I am not making this up, Sharon Kitzhaber, the ex-guv's ex-wife, is the new SoWhat ambassador to the condo-buying public. Sing with me, people: "It's a small world, after all...." Not to disrespect "Louie, Louie," but that annoying Disney classic ought to be the theme song of Portland. They definitely need to have it going 24/7 on the Muzak system at the SoWhat "discovery center." ("Honey? I just discovered that my wallet is missing!")
Meanwhile, the City Council tram "work session" originally scheduled for tomorrow got pushed back a week, but apparently it's full steam ahead now that the mayor is back from his CIA mission to Taiwan. It sounds like Sam "the Tram" Adams and some others on the council (they're there for now, at least) are going to come up with more "urban renewal" (a.k.a. Average Joe property tax) revenues to throw at the tram, currently budgeted at $55 million, up from the original liars' budget of about one-fourth that. Suit yourself, guys, we'll see two of you at the ballot box very soon.
And did you catch how the negative polls that killed the school tax had disgruntled voters complaining about the tram? Note to Mayor Potter: If you want to save the schools, first you'll have to kill the tram. More study committees and a couple of road trips to Salem (BTW, stay out of the Chinese restaurants down there) won't be enough with the Most Irresponsible Public Works Project Ever staring voters in the face.
Meanwhile, OHSU is actively advertising for a new tram operator, now that Mike Lindberg's nonprofit corporation, which was supposed to get the gig, is being folded up in irrelevance (or was that disgrace?). The request for proposals is here, according to a reliable source. There's all kinds of interesting tram stuff in there (and in the form contract), including the proposal that the tram operator will take out $15 million of liabililty insurance, which will also cover OHSU and the city.
And the Pill Hill types are still eagerly talking with the city about which of them will actually do what, once this monstrosity is supposedly up and "running." Says OHSU:
Pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding between OHSU and PDOT [Portland Department of Transportation], OHSU and PDOT have agreed that they will work together collaboratively on tram operations. OHSU will serve as the lead agency in issuing a Request for Proposals for a Tram Operator, selecting a Tram Operator, negotiating a contract with the Tram Operator, and supervising the Tram Operator's performance, all with the input and concurrence of PDOT. OHSU and the Portland City Council will formalize this relationship in an Intergovernmental Agreement that is currently being negotiated and is subject to approval. References to OHSU herein refer to OHSU acting as the lead agency. OHSU's authority to negotiate and/or contract for Tram Operations is subject to the Intergovernmental Agreement referred to above.They say they want someone with "demonstrated experience in aerial passenger ropeway operations." Hmmm, that's either a ski resort owner or the Klan, no?
Prospective bidders, if you really want this one, let me give you some advice: Hire one of the good old boys' wives.
* - Not his real name. He uses "Butterbean" only to escape assault while incarcerated.