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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 14, 2006 1:47 PM. The previous post in this blog was The road to a diploma. The next post in this blog is Do re meme. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Packing the house on Tram Night?

At tonight's "town hall" meeting on the OHSU aerial tram [rim shot], get ready to joust for time with OHSU employees who have been "invited" to give their "unbiased" views of the project. This just in from an anonymous correspondent:

Jack,

Here is the latest from Steve Stadum at OHSU on the aerial tram.

To All OHSU Employees:

The weeks ahead are a critical time for the Portland Aerial Tram, which, as
you know, is crucial to OHSU's future growth. I'd like to take a moment of
your time to direct you to some news and information that you may find
useful:

Last week, Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard gave an interview to
television news in which he said that OHSU misled him about tram costs. I
responded to those baseless allegations with a letter to Commissioner
Leonard, which may also be covered in media stories. I want to assure the
entire OHSU community that all of the information provided by me and other
OHSU representatives to the City Council has always been the most accurate
information available. You can read my letter to Commissioner Leonard at
this link:

http://ozone.ohsu.edu/news/media/response/2006-03-10LTLeonard.pdf

Mayor Tom Potter and Commissioner Sam Adams are holding a public town hall
meeting tonight (March 14) at Portland State University. This town hall will
provide a chance for Portlanders to pose questions about the tram to the
Portland Department of Transportation, which is managing the tram
construction. The full City Council will hold a work session on Thursday at
which they will discuss ways to finance the city's new estimate of tram
construction costs.

Tram construction is moving ahead swiftly and is nearly 40 percent complete.
New pictures show the progress on this website:

http://www.ohsu.edu/ohsuedu/landingpages/tramupdate/

A recent editorial in The Oregonian discussed the current controversy over
tram funding. Here's a link to read it:

http://www.oregonlive.com/search/index.ssf?/base/editorial/114169831040770.xml?oregonian?ede&coll=7

Will somebody from OHSU human resources be there to write down who gets brownie points? Reminds me when we used to attend "public" hearings in Portland on Hanford and found that our time slots had mysteriously been assigned to "concerned citizens" from Richland, Washington. Let's hope our city fathers don't take it that far.

UPDATE, 2:51 p.m.: In case, like me, you're shut out of that OHSU "ozone" website, and you'd like to read Stadum's letter to Leonard, a pdf version of it is here.

Comments (17)

If the tram is such a done deal, as we’ve been told over and over again, why is he sweating the next few "critical" weeks?

These are the weeks when the deal that's been cut in a back room finally gets revealed to the public, and the weeping and gnashing of teeth begin.

Jack, do you have spies everywhere? How do you get this good stuff? Mr. Stadum's letter to Randy is priceless!

I think it is interesting that in the CCs Steven Stadum listed: "Commissioners Sam Adams"

Is there something we don't know? Does Sam "the tram" Adams have multiple personalities?

I can't get on that site to read the letter. I'm not authorized. If somebody can send me the pdf file of the letter as an e-mail attachment, though, I'll post it.

It should be to you soon...

Two people sent it! Thanks. I've posted it here.

Definitely worth a read. I love the various euphemsims for "yo mama."

I think it is interesting that the cut between page 1 and 2 isn't clean. (The pagination changed, and it looks like page one got replaced at some point.)

Don't kid yourself about the folks at OHSU. The tram is not a universally welcomed addition to the "edifice complex" that is the OHSU campus.

Don't forget, the employees are being told that OHSU doesn't have the money to hire adequate staffing and last budgetary session led to a nearly 20% across the board budget cuts, and commenserate layoffs, while they went forward on this white elephant of a boondoogle. OHSU has plenty of money to glorify their big-time gift givers, but not another red cent to bring (or even keep) decent employees, including instructors and researchers.

When asked why they treat their employees so niggardly, while being so profligate on building structures, OHSU administrators just say, "They're different budgets." Now, what sense does it make to build structures you can't adequately equip or staff?

("Medical care? Sure... Go up to OHSU to the nice new sloped glass building. It's a patient care building. Don't expect to see anybody, though, ain't no staff there. But they got a damned nice empty building.")

OHSU is so intent upon it's edifice complex that they have just finished a new patient service wing on the OHSU hospital (which the tram connects to on the uphill side) and rumor has it that they will have to allow several floors to remain unused....because they cannot afford the equipment necessary to professionally equip the patient service departments.

WOW! Ol' commissioner Randy was flat out spanked! I love the fact that every warm body imaginable was also copied. I bet Randy's purple face after reading that letter (and the cc list) was priceless!

My company does a lot of construction up at OHSU, including a lot of work on the new BRB and PCF buildings. I can verify that a few floors in the PCF are just a shell. I assumed they were left empty for future "expansion".

I want to assure the entire OHSU community that all of the information provided by me and other OHSU representatives to the City Council has always been the most accurate information available.

Ah, so much hinges on the meaning of "available."

OK, so everybody agrees the tram project is a mess, but the most important thing is to find someone to blame for the mess?

What about dealing with the most pressing issue first...?

i.e. "Tram construction is moving ahead swiftly and is nearly 40 percent complete.

See, it's still a shell game being played by all the parties.

And guess who loses?

Everytime I see that model with the glass enclosed shelter at the upper end (which does not extend to the building), I keep thinking about the Port of Portland's thoughtful cover to protect the arriving and departing passengers from the rain. Now, new arrivals are greeted with avian guano, rather than rain. I suspect the upper end of the tram will be much the same.

""""Now, what sense does it make to build structures you can't adequately equip or staff?""""

Management fees, far in excess of the cost of construction management can be siphoned off to continue paying high administration compensation while the institution struggles though their perpetual fiscal crisis.

I guess that just depends on what the definition of "available" is?

If nobody hired a competent tram design engineer or developed a bill of materials and labor, then a more accurate cost estimate simply was not available.

See what I mean?

Big Pipe, an engineer, doubtlessly knew it was bogus. But now he's shocked -- shocked! -- that there was nothing but Neil Goldschmidt Hot Air® behind the fake numbers. "Shhhhhhh! Be vewwy quiet -- weah building an aewial twam."


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