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Wednesday, March 8, 2006


I haven't broken out the old City of Portland B.S. Meter in a while, but the latest developments in the OHSU Medical Group aerial tram scam [rim shot] have got this handy device screaming so shrilly that I can't leave it in the cupboard today. It's got to come out.

Now this week's "town hall" meeting with Commissioner Sam "the Tram" Adams -- you know, the one where all your questions are going to be answered -- has suddenly been postponed to next week. Another mysterious setback for public disclosure and public input on this out-of-control boondoggle. This after two City Council work sessions on the subject were also mysteriously cancelled.

The blizzard of lies surrounding the tram project is so intense that it's hard to see much of anything at this point, but the main mantra that continues to emanate from its proponents is "Time is of the essence -- every day of delay would cost millions." The apparent game plan is to stall the day of reckoning until it's so expensive to cancel the tram that there really is no choice but to go forward.

The political problem for the City Council -- particularly the two members who are running for re-election -- is that every voter with half a brain is onto the game plan. Hello -- fellows? The latest gigantic cost overruns on this project have now been in the papers since February 1. That's five weeks. Since then, you're supposedly negotiating hot and heavy with the Pill Hill crew to see who's going to pay the $15 million shortfall (which will surely be $30 million before the thing is finished). Meanwhile, has construction been stopped? No. Has it even been slowed down? No. Orders for the ridiculous gondolas suspended? No.

In fact, this project is still full-tilt on, even without a clue as to who's going to pay the final tab.

Meanwhile, outraged taxpayers have also gotten wise to the real cost to the city -- and it ain't the $3.5 million figure that keeps being passed around by the professional obfuscators. One commentator on this blog yesterday put the city's cost at more like $18 million:

Even in Commissioner Adams's opinion piece in the O a few weeks back he admits that the Tram in his cost accounting is costing the public $11M: $3.5M in TIF money, $5M given to OHSU in undescribed money from NM [North Macadam] Urban Renewal funds, and $2.5M in reduced permitting/review fees= $11M.

Adams doesn't take into account the land cost of $4M for just the east terminal the taxpayers are giving to the Tram, nor Design Competition cost for the Tram, $1M, or the staff time of PDC, PDOT, for the execution of the cost to build the tram, nor even the PATI Board costs which came from city taxpayers. Larry Brown of PDC doesn't even include the financing costs on the $55M (and rising) Tram cost....

Even at Adam's $11M the public is paying for almost 20% of the tram, while estimated ridership by the general public is estimated to be around 10%, and that is high. If you take into account the other costs mentioned above the taxpayers portion reaches approximately $18M or 33% of tram costs, and that is without the financing costs.

Please, City Council and Oregonian, come clean. The public gets it.

You are so wise, Grasshopper.

The tram is poisoning Portland. A school tax is now an impossibility, in no small part because people are sick of the kind of greasy arrogance that the tram represents. We could have spent that $18 million in so many better ways. In other news, they're going to hold a bake sale to get the police precincts reopened on nights and weekends.

Gentlemen of City Hall, whenever you decide we're worthy to hear the latest spiel you're cooking up on this, it had better be good. You've let this project fester for way longer than you should have. If how to finance it really was and is an open issue, you should have blown the whistle a long time ago -- five weeks ago at the very least -- and stopped work until the money was lined up. You didn't, and we're all waiting to hear why. First you said you were contractually bound to build the tram no matter what -- that turned out to be untrue. Now you stall for weeks and weeks, and it looks like you're going to fall back on "It's too late to turn back now."

But it wasn't too late five weeks ago. And in truth, it still isn't now.

Perhaps the ultimate insult is that while these guys sneak around behind closed doors to get the deal done, public be damned, they smile in your face and talk about "transparency." From Sam the Tram's announcement of the meeting that's now been postponed:

Sam values transparency and open government greatly. In the spirit of open government, he is sponsoring a Public Townhall to discuss the tram project currently under construction at South Waterfont. It is open to all interested members of the community, and everyone is invited to attend.
I think that's what's got my b.s. meter overheating. Mr. Adams, as another wise person posted here recently, please don't urinate on my shoes and tell me it's raining.

Comments (60)

Imagine Sam working a paving crew and an important piece of equipment malfunctions, or heaven forbid was disabled by human error, and is holding up the crew. Asphalt trucks are backing up . . . money is burning . . .

Let's talk about it under the big shade tree. "Grasshopper, tell me the meaning of life, in your own words."

"Jobs." [pause] "They are vital to the economy."

"It is like broken windows. Each new broken window is a new job for the window repair guy. If we double the number of broken windows then we can also create jobs for window repair gals too."

"Grasshopper, you are quite right. Now back to work."

"I am working."

It took a good year for the good folks to agree on the date that the PDC entered into the contract for 3.5 mil. Was it before or after the Council approved it? Was the PDC telling the Council this is the contract or was the PDC inviting the Council to take a bite of the apple? "Who goes first? Lets talk about it under the big shade tree."

But Jack,

Didn't you read City Council Agenda today, Sam and the Mayor are introducing an ordinance to make sure there are not cost overruns NEXT time.


288 Form Internal Advisory Committee to consider how best to inform City Council of potential cost impacts (Resolution introduced by Mayor Potter and Commissioner Adams)

Just in time for.......


Mayor Tom Potter

Bureau of Planning

304 Update and improve land use regulations and procedures through the Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Package 1 (Second Reading Agenda 266; amend Title 33)

THURSDAY, 2:00 PM, MARCH 9, 2006

305 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM – Direct Portland Office of Transportation to begin preliminary engineering on the East Burnside/Couch Couplet (Resolution introduced by Commissioner Adams)

The Burnside/Couch Couplet

This is what gets so dis-heartening how these people we elect exploit us:
- Sam will pay for the tram and Armory Theater with city money guaranteed. He will push for more downtown development at $200M to repave the streets
- Randy will talk a good deal about PFDR and then do nothing while he and Potter collect their checks and stick taxpayers with bills
- Randy/Eric will keep tilting at PGE to keep the faithful stirred up and distracted
- Saltzmann gets a pass because he is not doing anything

The bad thing is after the election, it will be more of the same - Downtown projects get all the money at the expense of the rest of the city and basic services like education/police.

Oh, wait I forgot VoE is going to save all of us.

Y'know, one of the things voted into law with the initiative and referendum was.....recall.

Does anybody know what it would take to recall a city commissioner...or two?

Make sure you note, that it is an INTERNAL not PUBLIC committee to costs.

I believe the reason the public has now turned against school tax proposals is because they think that the city "can always find the money." And, looking at the tram thing, I have to agree. Somehow, regardless of cost, the city will get it done, and will find the money. That's not to say it will be a solution that makes sense, or uses money that we actually have, but nobody doubts that the project will ultimately be funded. The only question is the source. I wish the same logic applied to schools.

Maybe it's time for y'all to consider a bit of direct action. I think Jack is entirely correct; their strategy is to stall while building furiously.

The best way to counter that is to slow down the construction, and an effective way to do that is peaceful and direct protest. Borrow some tactics from the anti-logging crowd: A rally at city hall, pickets blocking the entrance to a work site, a law professor chained to a gate... let the council ignore that.

Surely not all readers here would participate, but I bet there's some readers and a few neighbors who are mad enough to get themselves arrested over this. And surely there's a bunch of folks who would attend an ordinary rally.

How much is stopping this worth to y'all?

(Of course this is easy for me to say, since I'm an out-of-town bystander... I don't feel involved in this enough to make it worth getting arrested over. So, um, good luck. I'll send cookies to the folks in jail.)

C'mon, all together now; "What they do, they smile in your face, all the time trying to take your place..." The Temps

When news of this meeting came down, the crack art department at the Portland Freelancer began a cartoon to run several days before it, announcing it, and ridiculing the transparency angle. Thankfully the Portland Freelancer editorial staff cautioned the art department to wait in case the meeting didn’t happen.
The thing that staggers me is the commissioners' wild confidence in their own ability to spin this. They don’t realize how transparent their little games are, like when children make up a farfetched excuse and think they can sell it to you.
If memory serves, there’s one thing that has changed since this meeting was announced: Erik Sten has gone to a position of no new city money for the tram. Could that be the problem?
Take heart, though. This tram could end these politicians’ careers, and change how things are done in Portland. We already have the name for the movie: “A Scam Too Far.”

First, it ain't just the Tram.

Swimmer said, """""Make sure you note, that it is an INTERNAL not PUBLIC committee to costs"""""'


But why is this committee even necessary?

What cost overruns?

PDC's Bruce Warner used public agency funds to craft an O commentary outlining how only the Tram is over budget and that everything else is "on track".

Of course this is official maleficence as much of SoWa and other Porkland boondoggles are way over budget as well as underfunded.

I could list them yet again, but until the city is hammered into stopping the spending of additional tax money to snow job the community, blogging has it's limitations.

Especially when the silence is deafening over at BlueOregon, (and other blogs) which could be helping but instead seem to want to prop up the current leadership.
Regardless of political stripes or allegiances, everyone should be on board these urgent and worsening problems.

IMO, Warner and city hall, while attempting to cover everything with a rose colored film, are prepping for another announcement of a Tram cost increase.

While weak and panicked from pressure applied by OHSU and Homer, officials are also finding it nearly impossible to fend off the public heat over mounting costs and city wide instability.

Seeing no choice but to postpone and delay the inevitable deconstruction of the status quo Potter and Adams, et al. are fantasizing about moving beyond what they want us to believe are merely speed bumps.

Wishful thinking is no substitute for leadership?

This has proven to be unworkable, is entirely inadequate and is a recipe for failure.
The replacing of Don Mazziotti, Matt Brown and few others has accomplished less than zero.

It's the projects themselves.

A reckless soup of plans.

Borne from unworkable theories, adopted from "delusions of grandeur'', driven by ulterior motives, poorly thought out, ushered along with wholly unreliable numbers and budgets and impossibly unaffordable and nonsustainable.

And all it will take to get things in shape is a public meeting next week?
Or the week after?

Perhaps we should have our own Porkland Summit at the convention center. I wonder if we could get
public funding for it?

Are we the public?

See what I mean?


Posted by: Tom Civiletti | Mar 7, 2006 9:40:10 AM

Stanford has clearly delineated the battlelines, but the war is far from over. Pay attention, BluOrgs. This is precisely why Eric Sten and some others are so important. They represent a progressive vision for Oregon without selling out to the power structure that wants a cut of every public project.


Are you kidding?

Sten has voted for every project and the power structure.
He even voted for the "power structure" Trammmel Crow Alexan Tax abatement.

Sten has voted for every project and the power structure.
He even voted for the "power structure" Trammmel Crow Alexan Tax abatement.

I think Sten is Portland's version of John McCain--he votes with the leadership 99.99% of the time, but happens to be very clever and noisy about the .01% of the time that he has an incidental disagreement, and for some reason the media sees only the .01% and brands him a "maverick."

Is that the reason you cannot find Sten's C&E's from 2002 on the City Auditor (his pal on the "Clean Money" ordinance)site.
Anyone looking at HIS contibutions from Homer and Goodwin, et.al.?

Oooo... "A tax law professor chained to the gates."

I like the sound of that.

The song "Backstabbers" was by the O'Jays (who are coming to town soon), not the Temps.

"I like the sound of that."

I guess I should have specified voluntarily chained to the gates, though. :-)

"A tax law professor chained to the gates."

Where's the photo shop work up on this?

"A tax law professor chained to the gates."

With this kind of titillation, you're going to have an uphill battle to get that "porn" designation removed.

Just got out of council, where the above mentioned ordinance was heard and voted on.

I think there is a new bumpersticker brewing,

Please pardon my grammer.

"The TRAM Flied, cause someone Lied"

Courtesy of Commissioner Leonard.

Who exactly is running this city? It seems that OHSU, certain developers, and Tri-Met call all the shots.

Sadie asks: Who exactly is running this city? It seems that OHSU, certain developers, and Tri-Met call all the shots.

What? You didn't make it to the last "visioning" session? Where you were told what it is you want?

(Just a note: Don't eat or drink anything at a "visioning" meeting, unless you bring it with you....you don't know what's in that stuff.)

These people are telling us what we want to hear and doing what they darn well please. BS meters all over town are shorting out. On the question of who is running the place, I think Bob Caldwell at the big O is a conduit for the powers that be that shouldn't. I have been a longtime animal policy reformer and am irked by a March 2nd editorial in which Caldwell calls the Oregon Humane Society a national leader and "state of the art". Actualy, the new shelter built in the 90s did not include a spay neuter clinic which made it anything but state-of-the-art. There have long been indications of backroom dealings with medical reseachers. And Sharon Harmon has played Alpha dog to the obsequious succession of directors at the county who have had their noses glued to her backside instead of enforcing task force recommendations that cost the county 40K. IMHO, OHSU is one of the players that seems to get its way no matter what.

Does anybody know what it would take to recall a city commissioner...or two?

It would take signatures on recall petitions, said signatures validated by... Oh, wait, never mind.

Todays WWeek

"An accidental $172 million deficit looked bad for the state Department of Human Services. But this looks downright dirty. A state audit last week accused DHS of playing a shell game with $87 million in its budget to avoid spending limits set by the Legislature, which would be a violation of state law."

yeah my jaw dropped at the lack of response, I remember reading about it in the O earlier in the week. If anyone has some additional resources or comments on the DHS fiasco please tell me where I can read about it.

A recent tram-related quote by Erik Sten goes like this: “The political calendar is moving on this one. I just decided I should probably just say what I think.” Just like his other big ideas, he bases his approach on self-serving political moves. Now he’s changed his mind by agreeing to postpone the town hall talks. Which will it be, Erik? Why don’t you take your political job security out of the equation so you can think clearly about just how much of the city’s money you’re wasting? I’m finding hope in Sten’s opponent, Ginny Burdick. She works behind the scenes on priority issues that matter—schools and public safety--without needing a big star painted on her forehead.

Ginny and her West Hills crew would have whistled merrily down the yellow brick road with the tramsters. Her hero and original political mentor, the Goldschmidt, was the prime mover behind the tram.

For a better alternative to Sten, take a look at Dave Lister, who would actually be an independent voice.

For a better alternative to Sten, take a look at Dave Lister, who would actually be an independent voice.

Hear, hear, Jack. Dave's definitely got the talent, moxy, and independence that our City Council sorely needs. I was hoping to be that guy in the Saltzman race, but it didn't pan out that way. Dave needs everyone's attention. At least look at him. Ginny's strategy is to raise at least $400K to make the public financing look bad (because there will be matching funds, making it that much more expensive a program). Dave has no public money and no Gard and Gerber.

He needs Potter-style support. People who are pissed off at the cronyism and want an independent voice for sure. Please check him out.


Vote Donut! Shannon + Rubin for Commissioners!

Jack, because you said so, I checked out Dave Lister's site. I found this nugget.

"In 1995, the Internet boom was on. Any computer geek with some web design tools and an idea for Internet commerce was making a fortune off IPO's, no matter how flawed the business model. Those that weren't making a fortune creating the websites were supporting themselves by day trading on the Internet. The visionary planners saw a future where the average Joe would spend a couple hours a day on the PC in his home office and then catch the light rail to the nearest town center to sip coffee. Telecommuting would replace commuting. The home office would replace the office. Software development and web design would replace scrap metal, steel and auto repair. With some websites offering to deliver you a cola and a VCR tape in twenty minutes, why would you need to venture out? But, as we all know now, the bubble burst. The web designers filed for unemployment, the day traders lost their shirts, and the MBA's filled out job applications at Starbucks and McDonalds."

This is a pretty silly statement of what's happened in the economy over the last few years. Yes, the bubble burst, but the technology has not gone away, and if anything, wifi is more powerful than ever, computers are getting lighter and more powerful. Mobile work is increasing. I haven't been to an "office" in six years, but I'm gainfully employed. And I'm not alone. 45.1 million Americans worked from home according to a survey conducted in the fall of 2005. Yes, I have meetings outside the home with clients, and I travel, but an office? It's a waste of money and nothing but empty overhead.

The nature of work is changing. It is becoming more knowledge based instead of materials-based. (Manufacturing is now about 10% of non-farm payrolls)

Offices will remain important to large organizations, but not as vital as they used to be. I'm not sure what Dave's point was in writing this, but it's a pretty ignorant statement to be making and belies a fundamental disconnect with what is happening in the economy.

So, is he really qualified to run Portland?

Sorry for the long post.


I think the commentary Dave's making is that all these people staked EVERYthing on the "New Economy" and many lost EVERYthing. Obviously, the technology has no gone away, and our lives are now immensely different (I say better for the most part) because of it. However, with all the complaining about McJobs that we hear daily, I don't think his commentary is a fundamental disconnect at all.

He's pointing out that in the whole "It's the New Economy, Stupid" hubbub, planners had grand schemes for Oregon, but reality hasn't allowed those to pan out. Even in the face of the popped bubble, planners haven't changed their plan. They've just demanded more money for it.

I think Dave's right on.

But thanks for checking in on Dave's site.

I'll let Dave respond if he wants to. Loosely in his defense, I'll note that many predictions of the "paperless office," widespread telecommuting, and similar techno miracles proved to be greatly exaggerated.

Thank you all for the comments.

I would urge everyone to read the column in its entirety.

I was questioning the wisdom of laying down a development plan based on the economic realities of 1994, and not revisiting the assumptions to see if they were holding true.

I think telecommuting is great. It allows my company to support a real-time, retail point of sales system all over the Northwest. But it doesn't work for everyone.

Even if you do all your purchasing on the internet, someone, in a warehouse, has to pack your order. Someone, on a loading dock, has to put your order on a truck. Someone, in a delivery van, has to drive your order to the delivery point.

It takes people, buildings, fuel and asphalt to make that happen. In my opinion, the planners weren't thinking about that in 1994.

Hi all,

I'll chime in on behalf of the denizens of the new economy. Y'all are aware that there's a VERY vibrant scene in Portland, right? The megacorporations and the chip fab buildings may have been a visible starting point, but there's a lot going on that isn't immediately obvious. There's the OSDL out in Beaverton, the Eclipse branch office here, Linus Torvalds (read: guy who created Linux) lives here, groups like GoTo+Play (local Flash developers with international reputations)....just a couple off the top of my head.

Quit knockin' the new economy. It's providing a good living for a lot of us, and it's continuing to do well in Portland.

Oh yeah, the tram. Build it. Maybe manage the PR and the budget and the process better, but make it happen. Every once in a while, maybe some expensive things are worth doing, and the potholes can be filled another day.

Don Smith: Whom do you support in the Saltzman race? It can be one candidate or more than one. Just curious.

Eric Miller: You post from the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District (208.151.246.***)? And you're there at 10:31 at night? Some new economy.

hey Jack, according to Whois it looks like Easystreet is getting creative with DSL static IP allocations; I'm quite comfortably sitting at home in SE PDX.

'Course, instead of doing reverse lookups on IPs to verify my bona fides, you could always check the link I'm leaving as I comment...

Dave -

Thanks for the reply. Was the internet boom really going in 1994?

The whole column is pretty logically shoddy, in my opinion. I went back to the 1995 Metro document and here's what it says about telecommuting and technology:

"New telecommunications and information technologies are upon us, but their effects on quality of life and urban form are not yet known.
There almost certainly will be a change in the ways we use fossil fuels in the next 50 years.
Our sense of region likely will change as technology and the economy change."

It also says:

"Our educational system includes both English literacy and foreign languages, an understanding of evolving information technology and the ability to engage national and international opportunities at home, in the community and on the job."

I'm not quite sure what you disagree with in here, Dave. It certainly doesn't predict that everyone will telecommute, nor does it say that fossil fuel use will not be necessary - it just says that it will change.

Your words indicate you're being flip about the planning process and the economy as a whole. That's hardly what I want from my elected officials.

Your words indicate you're being flip about the planning process and the economy as a whole. That's hardly what I want from my elected officials.

You apparently prefer the current style of city government -- outright lies alternating with flashes of gross incompetence.

Yes, Jack, you got me! ;)

Seriously, come on - why can't I ask Dave to defend what he writes? If I think his writing is shoddy, and he wants my vote, can't I question him?

Just because I question Dave's words doesn't mean I am saying my vote is automatically going to the people he opposes.

I would do the same to Erik or Sam if they came on this board to ask for our votes.

Hey, it's all just late-night political jousting on the internet -- no blood, no foul.

You won't find Messrs. Sten and Adams here. Too real.

you could always check the link I'm leaving as I comment...

I like the part about "We provide consulting services to businesses, government, media agencies, and non-profit organizations."

I think "what you want from your elected officials" is a paycheck.

Well, that was rude. You managed to professionally denigrate me and question my integrity with just one flippant sentence.

We do public-sector work because we believe in it. I also volunteer as a board member with the neighborhood association, volunteer with the local business association, am a member of the City Club, teach at PSU as adjunct (read: ten bucks an hour faculty) and mentor interns for non-profits. Saying I'm only in it for the money is grossly insulting, I'm earning at least 30K less a year than I would at a salaried private sector gig.

Public sector contracting is a lot more hassle than private sector, but somehow I still would rather do good community-building web work in the public sector rather than build another "clubababyseal.com" site in the private sector.

I don't know you personally, Jack, but one of your former students (a friend of mine) spoke very highly of you as a warm and funny person. That persona isn't exactly shining through on your blog here...

You're right, that was rude. Sorry.

When you argue local politics with me over the internet, it may be a little difficult to see my warm and funny side.

We all want a better Portland. You want a tram, I want the potholes filled. Nothing personal.

I think that Eric's comments bring up an important point to ponder.

First since it is election season, we should break out the video of Robert Redford's "The Candidate" and watch it again.

Erics comments are that Dave Lister's writing being "shoddy" most technically oriented folks struggle with producing eloquent pose and spelling, as some your commenters have pointed out in fun.

I have never met Mr. Lister and a suburbanite so will not vote in the City Election, but I would rather have "shoddy writing" telling me in the candidates own words what he thinks, than a spin doctored piece in perfect english. Don't kid your self these other candidates are "handled" somen by the best money can buy. Many of them by bright young people freshly graduated from prestegious universities with very little life experience that have been recruited and run through campaign "Boot Camps" like the one sposored by our Governors PAC a couple years ago on the PSU campus, who look to James Carval and his wife as their role model.

They have perfect English; they know sociology inside and out, up until WW's Jaquiss set the record strait, looking at Goldschmidt as an icon.

The small local races are their training ground. That's also how many politicians are born as well, X-PAC and Sten come to mind.

Though I think Sten may be beginning to have some of his own ideas and that is why the West Hill's crowd is so anxious to get rid of him. Like Phil Keisling, who came to the same conclusion and is now working on the open primary issue, realizeing the hammerlock the two parties have on who can even run for office, I think Eric would benefit from some time working at a job that produces something is is part of the real economy, not subsidized one.

To each their own, Swimmer.

Eric: that's quite a career dichotomy you've got there.


A). Use your web design skills for peaceful utopian "do-something-important" governments and non-profits (and join CITY CLUB, yippeeee!), or

B) Build another 'Clubababyseal.Com" site in the private sector.

Not much room for debate there. The whole damn private sector is just out there killing baby seals. Cause that's all they do?

Perhaps you're working in the non-profit sector for reasons that were not of your choosing.

Frankly, I'm surprised PSU would let you teach macrame with such an immature world view. There are plenty of meaningful careers in the private sector; government has a long record of "baby seal" like ineptitude and destruction.

"Was the internet boom really going in 1994?"

That much-hyped watershed event which kicked off the boom, the Netscape IPO, happened in August of '95. But I remember that it was apparent to computer geeks that a boom would be coming (if the stars and venture capitalists aligned correctly) long before it was apparent to the general public. (I know that I heard about the Netscape IPO the day after it was announced, which was 3-6 months before the event... and there were rumors circulating well before that. And I was not especially well-connected among geeks.) Given his technical background, I have little doubt that Lister could have seen the boom coming by late '94, although the planners might be another story.

So yeah, it's a reasonable statement he made. If it's off, it's probably not off by more than a year.

"Y'all are aware that there's a VERY vibrant scene in Portland, right?"

Eric, most of the examples you cite are in the Portland metro area, not in Portland itself. If you're going to successfully argue that the "new economy" has been good for the City of Portland, you'll probably want to include examples that are actually, you know, in Portland.

(For what it's worth, I agree that the tech sector has been good to the area. But given that the subject of the "new economy" came up whilst people were discussing a Portland City Council candidate, and one of the major longstanding economic issues for the city is corporate flight to suburbia, the distinction is more than a little relevant.)

As for the tram, I'll just say this: it would be a lot easier to figure out if that particular expensive project is worth doing if anyone knew how expensive it will be and who will be paying for the cost overruns. :-) You might be right, but there is not yet sufficient data to support that conclusion.


alot of the backlash about tram is not actually about the tram itself,(although for alot of people it is) My main concerns about the tram have been the process in which it developed and futher grows out of control, the only thing in the process that could possibly be worse is giving the construction contract to hallibuton.
This entire mess has shown some true colors for the faces of City Gov.

Don Smith: Whom do you support in the Saltzman race? It can be one candidate or more than one. Just curious.

Jack, at this point, I'm unsure. But since the City Club has narrowed it down, I guess I'll be picking between Dan and Amanda.

Seriously, there's only Sharon in the race that I think I can support. Everyone's running on basics first, which is such a no-brainer that NOT running on that would be odd. But Sharon's positions on the issues are mostly in keeping with my own. I will be throwing my considerable political heft (approximately 4.2 ounces) behind her. I greatly respect her tenacity on the St. John's issue, but would like to know more about her stance on other issues.

She's the only candidate, as far as I can tell, who opposes the city's Master Planning agenda. Amanda's obviously active on the tram, and has been active in the neighborhoods, but I don't believe she's against the high-density, high-congestion, we-don't-care-if-trucks-can-get-through-or-not attitude that the planners have. I'm on the Killingsworth corridor, and I'm distressed about the plan they have for that. K-worth is a major E-W arterial on the East side, and they're going to gum it up fierce.

So, there you have it. Sharon.

Having just recovered my sight after a brief glimpse of the blinding light of Eric Miller's righteous self-beatification in his last comment, I offer the following:


You're a martyr for the cause? Great! That immunizes you from scrutiny and skepticism about your motivations? I don't think so. If y'all (jeez) come to this blog and post a comment including " Oh yeah, the tram. Build it. Maybe manage the PR and the budget and the process better, but make it happen. Every once in a while, maybe some expensive things are worth doing, and the potholes can be filled another day. and don't expect some blowback, you're naive at best. Save your indignation for people who care.


I notice that in your recitation of reasons why you're entitled to be offended by Jack's comment, you neglect to mention the pertinent subject of whether or not you, or your firm, have any direct or indirect financial interest in the tram project. Given the above quote, I would infer that your first protestation in response would address that issue.

I'm going to let this go, 'cept for one clarification: We held one City of Portland contract in 2001. We do not currently do work for the city, nor are we currently bidding on city work, nor are we working on the tram project or with any of the parties affiliated with the tram project.

Hugs for everyone.

And Jack: thanks.

Where was the post where some schmuck said this is a "conservative blog"? I thought it was this thread, but now I can't find it. I was laughing so hard, I closed the window.

I'll have two of whatever he's drinking ("he said, nodding towards the guy who thinks bojack's is conservative"). I'm tired of feeling like I'm the only conservative left on the planet.

Seems tram cost overruns have overshadowed the the fact that the tram does not solve a traffic problem caused by the high density development of the North Macadam District.

CTLH's original objection to the tram was based on an expected neighborhood transportation/traffic problem caused by the fast-tracking of the SoWa development. The tram did/does not now solve the traffic problem programmed by the NMD. The NMD is being constructed on the back of an existing neighborhood with no consideration of its density impact on areas outside of the urban renewal district.

PDOT expects a lot of traffic to the NMD to travel down Hwy 43/Macadam Boulevard. They state it will come from SE Clackamas County, West Linn, and the southwest Portland. ( I know, so who believes PDOT now?) The traffic that was Downtown bound was expected to avoid the gridlocked NMD Macadam/Bancroft intersection entering the NMD by going through the narrow CTLH neighborhood. That's just inbound. Consider the the outbound traffic congestion. Also note:to get around this, PDOT changed the definition of congestion to legitimize greater congestion. They called it "adding a side hour."

FYI: PDC's Adopted 5-year Business Plan, FY 2000-2001 through 2004-2005 show maps of other Portland urban renewal districts to have between 18 - 117 traffic portals to an expanding grid system. The NMD has two, maybe now three, portals to accommodate the most crowded community planned for Portland.

The tram does nothing to alleviate this problem and may even conrtibute to increased congestion functioning in its role as a "Postcard Attraction."

Shadow is correct that the tram does nothing for the traffic problems of NM, and will probably magnify the future traffic problems.

First, there is still only two portals to/from NM; Bancroft and RiverPlace. The midpoint connection to Sheridan St. will only dump traffic directly into CTLH neighborhood with no clear connection and is not a "portal".

Secondly, the additional 48,000 trips per day projected by PDOT (Matt Brown's figure, dumping onto Macadam-so consider if that is really a good projection because he was off on the tram price by six fold-$8.5M to $55M and climbing)is a three year old figure. The overall planning assumptions for NM has changed considerably: the number of housing units projected has increased dramatically from the last model used for traffic analysis, plus OGI moving into NM hasn't been analysed in the traffic modeling. Traffic counts should be higher than the old modeling.

Third, OHSU has requested over 1200 surface parking spaces on its Schnitz donation, plus it has several hundred parking spaces underground in its Health Club being built now, plus a future parking structure west of the projected Park. This will make NM a parking lot for OHSU employees that will be using the tram, and that will be adding additional traffic trips to NM. This was not in the NM Urban Renewal Plans adopted by Council. The tram and its associated parking will actually increase the traffic loads for NM, and the tram has nothing to do with helping the traffic chaos of NM.

NEWS: As stated in several blogs before: what will the City, OHSU, LID owners, PDC cook up next to find money to help out the tram money shortfall but allow the City Council to claim
"the taxpayers share is only $3.5M"? Add this to the growing list of backroom dealings.

As reported by Nigel Jaquiss of WW on Feb 15th, the PDC is going to allow public entities (OHSU) to reduce their interest rates on their LID at the top of pill hill for a savings of $2.5M or greater. PDC loves to loan out money at rates lower than they have to pay to acquire it, just like their property deals.

Add this to the already $18M of taxpayer contributions to the tram, and now were up to $21.5M: 35% of the tram costs. There will be more of these "backroom benefits" as the substantuated rumors keep coming in.

When the North Macadam Framework Steering Committe was formed back in the '90's, its purpose was to design/plan a "neighborhood."

Does anyone have a definition of "neighborhood?"

And does NMD or the SoWa fit that definition?

I believe the NMD, SoWa and even the Pearl, after the tax abatements run out, will be better classified as "Golden Ghettos."

Eric Miller at March 9, 2006 02:44 PM We do not currently do work for the city, nor are we currently bidding on city work, nor are we working on the tram project or with any of the parties affiliated with the tram project.

JK: (Eirc Miller's link is to this site) From http://www.squishymedia.com/projects.php:
Recent consulting engagements
* Quango
* The Asterix Group
* Curiosity Group
* Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA)
* City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
* Intel
* Sonetics Corporation
* Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU)
. . .


Jim, your research is appreciated. It is nice to know the source of comments of NM and the tram. Many of us who make critical comments about different elements of NM/Tram are not opposed to the development of the area, but of the process it has undergone, and the total disregard of the comments that have been made throughout the past decade of the planning. It has now become obvious that past "comments" were on target, and the ones we make today are timely, but will they be heeded? Please listen planners, design commission, planning commission, city council and PDC.

Jim, your research is appreciated. It is nice to know the source of comments of NM and the tram. Many of us who make critical comments about different elements of NM/Tram are not opposed to the development of the area, but of the process it has undergone, and the total disregard of the comments that have been made throughout the past decade of the planning. It has now become obvious that past "comments" were on target, and the ones we make today are timely, but will they be heeded? Please listen planners, design commission, planning commission, city council and PDC.


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