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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

They were warned

When you hear people in Portland city government talking these days about the ludicrous OHSU aerial tram [rim shot], they're quick to tell you how they were lied to by evil people when the whole boondoggle was approved. The precise identity of the evil liar keeps changing -- one day it's Matt Brown, then it's Vic Rhodes, and of course we can all blame it on Neil Goldschmidt, our unique clone of Richard Daley and Roman Polanski, who's probably more responsible for the whole boondoggle than anyone else.

But when you look back to what the neighbors who are going to live under the tram were telling the city four years ago, and even earlier, it's clear that everyone in the picture -- particularly Commissioners Erik Sten and Dan Saltzman, who were around for all the crucial votes and are now up for re-election -- was fully warned.

Cruise on over to this website, which, as of tonight, hasn't been updated since March 2002. Read what the neighbors were screaming about costs and other issues. Here's a good example, but there were many other prescient observations about costs and deception. The neighbors were so right about so many things. But they were dismissed as NIMBYs, and now we've got nearly 20 million bucks already sunk into a black hole that just grows bigger every day.

The city was on full notice of what it was doing. And it was dead wrong. There's still time to pull the plug. Have we learned anything, gentlemen? Or does the Goldschmidt-Katz era live on?

Comments (25)

Anna Griffin is reporting that PATI voted Monday to dissolve, and in last Week's Daily Journal of commerce there is an RFP(Request for Proposals) for Operation of the Areial Tram. The contract Adminstrator is OHSU.

This may be your golden opportunity, folks can form the PATI-CAKE Inc. The Portland Areial Tram Inc-Cost Abatment Klan Entrepeneurs, Using all the work that has been done by these various organizations the business plan to respond to the RFP, could be to retire the TRAM in place to a museum piece like the Maritime Museum in the old boat moored along waterfront park, and rent it to Starbucks to serve as a coffe shop, and run a shuttle to connect the two campuses. Limos for the Docks, lift vans for the patients, and shuttle busses for the common folks.

Here's what I'm wondering:

I take the #8 bus downtown most mornings to switch over to a bus that'll take me back over the Hawthorne Bridge (thanks to our hub and spoke bus system, it's the easiest way to get to where I'm going.) The #8 I'm on ends up at OHSU, and it's usually fairly full & taking on more people as it gets downtown.

In the 5-10 minutes I usually wait for a bus heading over the bridge (I have options, thankfully), I usually see 3-4 *more* number #8 buses - all heading for OHSU. Which means there's already some dedicated mass transit efforts going on serving OHSU. It may not be enough, to be sure - but I'd be curious to know just how OHSU is currently being serviced by TriMet - and why that's still apparently not enough.

All this bluster from Sten, Adams, Leonard, et al is just that--hot air. They are merely conning the citizens and the Oregonian with this "not one more penny" schtick.

They have no intention of backing out of this scam but will continue to pretend that it is a possibility. Just as the Oregonian's editorial board runs articles showing us all the malfeasance that went into the process but then runs editorials telling us that it's too late to stop it. We, the citizens of Portland, are being "played." Again.

The only way to show them we mean business is to elect ANYONE BUT STEN, SALTZMAN, ETC.

You miss the true purpose of large civic projects. It is not to build a tram or a transit mall. It is to spend money. That is the purpose.

If the tram or tranist mall happens to work, that is nice. But it is not the purpose of the project.

Spending money provides the following benefits:
Rewards friends
Rewards campaing doners.
Employs a lot of people who will reward you with their votes at the next election.
Brings in campaign donations.
Provides ribbon cutting photo ops.
Gets media/TV coverage of the above.

By that measure, light rail, the transit mall, the SoWhat and the tram are all SUCCESSES.


"...I'd be curious to know just how OHSU is currently being serviced by TriMet"

Besides the #8 and #68, there are several express buses. TriMet claims the #8 is a frequent service bus but you can wait up to 30 minutes some days when traffic downtown is all backed up. If there is a backup onto the 405 freeway or to the Ross Island Bridge it can take up to 40 minutes to get off the hill. That is not TriMet's fault just poor design of the roads. The buses are usually filled to capacity both ways and there are simply not enough to handle the load presented by OHSU employees, visitors and patients. However, the tram [rim shot] will not solve that particular problem because it will be serving the south waterfront area.

""""However, the tram [rim shot] will not solve that particular problem because it will be serving the south waterfront area."""""

By PDC/TriMet logic that means we need more Trams.

In addition to the Tram cost [rim shot] fiasco, Sam Adams et al. still claiming the Tram [rim shot] was or is the linchpin to $1.9 Billion in development.

That's as valid as claim the Tram is on budget.

It's a remarkable phenomenon IMO.
Just about everyone paying attention knows the real "linchpin" is the massive $1/2 Billion property tax subsidy SoWa is getting.

Yet those words never come out of any commissioners mouth as they continue to spew the snow job about the Tram.

They never mention anything about the first OHSU building being a clinic/health club/office (not research) and won't pay any TriMet taxes, property taxes or business taxes.

Everything is damage control, CYA, and PR to prop up the illegitimate as legitimate.

As the whole thing repeats itself with wholesale
opposition to the Transit Mall the snow job and illegitimacy is mushrooming out of control.

Jack -
Why all the crying??? The democrats are merely doing what all you blue-staters always want; spend more money raise more taxes!

Oh yeah, I forgot, city government is non-partisan (wink, wink, nod, nod).


Have you been reading something on "populism?"

I am a little puzzled by the lack of discussion of a surety agreement from the contractor to the blob otherwise known as OHSU/CoP, whatever it is.

If there were some sanity in the bidding process then we might be discussing the parameters of a surety agreement that was (should have been) obtained by Kiewit.

Lewis+Jorge+Construction+Management%2C+Inc.+v+Pomona+Unified+School+District and the pdf here.

We need more audits by the folks that literally wrote the book on getting extras, in the interest of populism, or is that supposed to be in the interest of value engineering . . . value social engineering. It must be sort of like peddling KiwiWit "Slooping . . . It’s as easy as eating a soft-boiled egg."

If you are referring to the Sam Adams editorial in the Oregonian last week, I, too, thought he was writing things that have been proven false on this blog. It seemed like he was playing to the crowd that doesn't know the facts, and just ignoring reality. It seemed like spin. He did say he still thinks the tram's a good idea, at which point I said to myself, "At least he's standing by the tram" and a song parody was born:
Stand By Your Tram

Sometime’s it’s hard to be Sam Adams, thinking oh so highly of your self, and then this wretched tram, destroys your future plans, and puts the mayor’s job on the shelf.
But if you waiver you’ll look stupid, and so you swear you love the tram,
But if you really loved it, you’d keep trying to fund it, which is why your statement’s just a sham.
Stand by your tram, give it two towers to cling to, And lots of patients riding when nights are cold and lonely.
Stand by your tram, and show the world you love it, Keep funding all the costs you can,
Stand By Your Tram!

Seems to me that the biggest, most expensive "civic projects" these days are mostly red-state inventions—Iraq being the leading example. But, hell, it don't matter—our grandkids are gonna pay for 'em, and what with eBay getting so big, they're gonna be loaded!

Libertas, certainly not in neon blue Portland, where it's "Blue" thinking that is killing this city.

Mediocrity is killing this city.

Bill, that's absolutely brilliant. But now, thanks to you, I have that scene from The Blues Brothers stuck in my head. Should make for an interesting afternoon.

Thank you, Chris. One of my proudest moments as a screenwriter was hearing that John Landis had discussed my work. He liked one idea okay, but let’s just say you liked the song more.

The CoP now has 12,000 acres and approximately $3.2 BILLION of assessed value in their Urban Renewal "increment".

That's 3.2 BILLION in assessed value NOT getting taxes for schools and other basic services.

The PDC and city are covering this up.

$3.2 Billion X $5.00/1000 for schools = $16 million in diverted school funding this one 05-06 fiscal year alone in the CoP.

County wide it grows. I don't have Mult. Co numbers.

Clackamas County has $1.34 BILLION of assessed value in their UR increment which is diverting $25 million this year away from basic services, of which $6.7 million is from school funding.

Clackams county is about to spend $23 million in UR borrowed funding to help expand Clackamas Town Center.

Portland is about to ramp up their UR borrowing and spending.

Apparently no one is going to say or do anything about it.

YESH. Real people in real life with real experience -- Jack, f'rinstance -- spoke early often and loud against the aerial damn. [dim blot]

But, noo-o-o-o. Real people, like all the subjects in the Great State of Stickeldoom, are to be programmed and not heard.

Simply keep in the back of your mind that The Oregonian newspaper is the causal agent of, in this case taxes wasted in tram, [shim slot], before that the ice rink inanity in the living room, before that the Civic Stadium shysters' scam, before that the Oregon Guards' Excellent Iraq Adventure (which turns out costs subscriber / taxpayer money AND subscriber / taxpayer lives -- oo-oo, a lot of living survivors didn't like that), before that the 2K coronation of Bush the Imbecile, before that putting lipstick and mascara on Portlandia to snare sugar-daddy Enron to en-fraud PGE shares to make a killing with, and before that covering up for Goldicurls ... right in the middle of his forehead, for when he was bad he was very very bad....

I mean, running down the rap sheet is not the point; the point is the enemy of Portland progressivism is the Republickin' wrapper that toilet paper's the household thoughts of Stickeldoom subjects -- you and me and Liars and whoever torched Ft. Clatsop and whoever torched the Oakridge Ranger Station and whoever lynches effigies on the Capitol steps and whoever's consorting Loren Parks. We, his peeps.

And as the daily four-bit wool-gathering goes on, it is we, his sheeps, alternately fleeced or sacrificed, depending on the blood-drive's bottom line.

Just saying, keep in mind the issue-tissue paper can wipe out the good citizens' richness. And if the destitution furies us to destroy the average or better politicians we have, we remain stuck in the briny Stickel pickle where the public servants aren't the cause of the malcontent's communication constipation -- the newspaper is.

Hmmm... RFP for operating the Tram?

Uh... How about Oaks Park? They seem to have the requisite experience.

Or, going with current trends, we could just outsource it to an Indian firm...like Bophal Investments. That outta help operate it a bit better than the Keystone Kops in Kouncil.

IF, and I hope it is a distant and unlikely "if", it is built, has anybody considered what it will be named? Of late, it's been those underwriting the major costs... How about "The Katz'n'Jammer"?

Or, "Docs Gettin' High".

Or, if Dike comes through with more bucks to make it happen, we could call it the "Dame Tram".

"Homer's Folly", with Homer Simpson emblazoned on the side of each tram car, eating donuts?

Or "Goldschmuck's Wet Dream".

Here's a proposal for tram operation: Don't.

Betsy mused: "...I'd be curious to know just how OHSU is currently being serviced by TriMet"

Sadie answered: "Besides the #8 and #68, there are several express buses. TriMet claims the #8 is a frequent service bus but you can wait up to 30 minutes some days when traffic downtown is all backed up. If there is a backup onto the 405 freeway or to the Ross Island Bridge it can take up to 40 minutes to get off the hill. That is not TriMet's fault just poor design of the roads. The buses are usually filled to capacity both ways and there are simply not enough to handle the load presented by OHSU employees, visitors and patients. However, the tram [rim shot] will not solve that particular problem because it will be serving the south waterfront area."

There are currently six Tri-Met bus lines serving the Pill Hill OHSU campus. The #8 Marquam Hill is the most consistant and frequent. It serves the Hill during regular transit hours, at less than 15 minute intervals during rush hour and about 20 minute intervals during off-rush-hour travel. The #68X Collins Circle is an express bus that serves Pill Hill to Goose Hollow during peak periods (and a slight bit more). The #61X Beaverton TC, #64X Tigard TC, #65X Barbur Blvd. TC, and the #66X Hollywood TC are all express buses which serve Pill Hill during rush hours only (inbound to OHSU from their various destinations in the morning, outbound from OHSU to their various destinations in the late afternoon/early evening). These express lines have very limited runs.

That said, the parking problem on Pill Hill still remains one of the most persistant problems of the immediate area's development. When more research space is built on Pill Hill (just now completing the new Research Building) or new clinics or hospital space (one which should be completed with the tram *rimshot*), new demands are placed upon the already overstrained parking situation. (Remember now, doctors, medical researchers and surgical nurses all think that their presence at the drop of a hat is highly important...so much so that they demand a designated parking spot just for them.)

Ergo, the push to move some of this off-hill. The clinics are the first step. Yes, they hoped to divert some of the traffic going to Pill Hill by moving it to the SoWhat. But they also expected to remove some of the pressure by having those who could commute to SoWhat (with all it's new parking and acres upon acres of tainted Schnitzer surface to expand upon) and then take the tram *rimshot* to their jobs on the Hill.

My first look at the tram proposal by OHSU, they were promoting this. I pointed out that it would most likely NOT address the problem on the Hill, thanks to a new research center and a new patient care wing on the hospital, but I put my money on the whole project creating a new traffic/parking problem down next to the river...in SoWhat.

That's my guess, and I'm sticking to it.

Hey Tenskwatawa,
Before you wipe your eyes with the toilet paper you were talking about, remember this city has been nothing but left leaning since I can remember. All I hear is you and other people blaming all the problems over the past 20 to 30 years on the right. Get over it. The problem with Portland is that it is the left who have been making all the money decisions about how Portland is to be. LOOK AT WHAT WE HAVE NOW. A little tilt to the right might bring a different prespective and balance, but we know that won't happen around here. The right is evil. The right is evil. Keep saying it over and over and you'll start to beleive it. The right is evil That's all I'm trying to say......

Oh, man, a tilt to the right? I feel like my physical safety is in danger—all the left-wing gun owners I know practice good hunters' safety skills.

A thought on those who continue to pissily argue left/right: People who can only see in two colors (blue/red) and only have two directions (left/right) of movement to follow would normally be considered disabled/handicapped in the real world. And this truth is no different in the political world. As long as you decry over-simplified versions of each other's stances, you will look like simpletons of the sort straight off of Jerry Springer.

The terms "liberal" and "conservative" have been so poorly misused, abused and hidden behind that they are virtually useless as conveyors of meaning. If you can't see that yet, than do some serious research. If you want to argue politics--more power to you! But if you want to argue over who's caricature is more grotesque-- that aint politics. Thats marketing. Find a marketing blog and wallow in the bullshit that resides there.

argon: inert gas

Nuff said.


Oh Miss Betsy-

Rich doctors wouldn't be caught DEAD riding buses (#8's or otherwise).

And to everybody else- with regards to all this blue/red, right/left bouhaha: Portland has been a very corrupt city since it's inception, no matter what the political affiliations of the powers that be. It's the "good ole boy" scenario at it's worst.

Argon: "... if you want to argue over who's caricature is more grotesque-- that aint politics. Thats marketing."

You're absolutely correct. Thank you for saying it.

Now go run for office! :-)

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