This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 13, 2006 4:47 AM. The previous post in this blog was Swamped. The next post in this blog is Blessed are they who expect nothing. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Friends, Romans, countrymen

Fireman Randy took the gloves off yesterday and let OHSU and the developer folks have it over the aerial tram [rim shot]. In voting against additional city funding for the Kohler-Coaster, he issued this statement, which includes some serious fightin' words:

But let's be honest about the public financing of the tram. The total $8.5 million of TIF money we are discussing is just over one half of all the money taxpayers are contributing to the Tram.

Portlanders are also on the hook to reimburse OHSU an additional $3.4 million as a result of OHSU being granted $11 million from Wash DC.

Can someone... anyone, explain where that kind of deal comes from? Who on our side makes such agreements? If for no other reason, this scheme alone has earned my no vote.

But that's not it -- and this one is my favorite.

A cut in what Ken Rust just characterized as mortgage insurance on the LID moneys paid by OHSU from 1.25% to .25%... saves another $2.25 million for OHSU.

Never mind that every poor working Joe and Jane in Portland has up until now paid the current 1.25% every time a sidewalk, street or sewer is laid in their neighborhood. We just heard that our financial staff are relying on a 1989 report to reduce what is described as similar to a "mortgage insurance fee." However, in the intervening 17 years, the city of Portland has undertaken one of the largest public works projects ever -- the mid county sewer project, that included the 1.25% charge on each of the modest homes east of 82nd Ave. But now comes OHSU that will participate in a LID -- and somehow, someway, we now think that 1.25% is too much.

If we leave the rate at 1.25%, we might end up with resources that could be used to pave streets out in the Cully Neighborhood or, heaven forbid, Lents. By all means, let's change that interest rate now before we have to pave pothole-plagued streets in working class neighborhoods throughout Portland.

These various financial sweetheart deals with OHSU amount to a MINIMUM of a $14.15 million total direct taxpayer subsidy of OHSU and its tram.

Lay on, Macduff! And don't forget to vote no again when the next $43 million for the rest of the SoWhat condo tower wasteland comes before you shortly. (Opie says, "Me, too -- I'm all grown up now.")

Comments (47)

I didn't know that was Randy in the bar with Vito Spatafore.

Here’s my thoughts on Mr. Leonard. I listened from home to this statement as it was delivered on cellphone at the council meeting yesterday. He made a strong case that the city was duped by OHSU when the tram deal was made. However, later on my walk, I realized that Randy and the rest of the city council were really just paying OHSU a compliment. The city council’s job here is to keep the city from being in a position where it can get scammed. While they were voting for the sunshine budget numbers, the council should have considered all the negative possibilities and had an airtight deal on what happens in each of them. Questions like,”What if the cost goes over budget? Who’s on the hook?” should have been nailed down before the first agreement was okayed. Randy can blast away all he wants about how the city council was fooled, but I’d prefer commissioners who didn’t jump into these pie-in-the-sky things without covering the negative possibilities as well as the sunny ones. We shouldn’t be in a position where we can get hoodwinked. To hear the commissioners talk as if it were noble that they were keeping the city from lawsuits and 36 million in tram shutdown costs was deeply irritating. All that should have been settled before these OHSU project people, and yes, one city employee, blew the smoke up the city council.
Depicting Randy as some kind of strong defender, looking out for Portland is fine, but I would have preferred the passion and the protection before he helped get us into this mess.

I'm confused. The O today says put the voter-owned to a vote... it might cost the city less than a million this year...BUT the O sings the praises of funding the TRAM... it will cost of many millions.


Many of the accountability problems can be address with 2-4 short questions any time a budget is presented to council:

(1) Is there any chance this project will come in under budget? (2) If so, by how much?

(3) Is they any chance this project will come in over budget? (4) If so, by how much?

If there is no chance that the project will come in under budget and even a slight chance it will come in over budget, then the council can conclude that number put forward represent even the faintest notion of reality.

Extra bonus: You don't need to be an engineer or finance wonk to ask these questions--even a firefighter, policeman, or affordable housing advocate can ask these questions. It's that simple.

So . . . Dan voted to allow Ms. Boyles to keep her public money? "We gave it to you and that was our fault and please don't sue us." Like Gilda Radner: "Never mind."

Oops, wrong fact context but same issue. "Never mind."

Poverty has a way of multiplying into a cascade of future blunders.

Demand Mr. Sten return his money, and by extension from the recipients of his expenditures too, and see what happens. Same too for KieWit.

Randy, will you use your bully pulpit to demand a referendum on the "emergency" decision by your peers? And simultaneously push for an initiative to repeal Wednesday's retroactive gift of money that was unlawful when it was delivered, perhaps just as surely as Ms. Boyles' apparent gift to her 16 year old daughter.

You might seek to go after the folks that used their affiliation with the Oregon State Bar to make the absurd claim of city liability and anticipated city expense to the tune of 36 million to terminate the tram . . . with the express purpose of extorting public dollars and other public favors. In the absence of a court order that reduced such claims to something "final" then it is just a "bunch of lawyers talking" as Mr. Ted Kulongoski noted regarding a recent high profile case originated by the conduct of the MC4 before the SC ruled.

The Auditor and DA and AG could be tasked with keeping opponents of such a referendum and/or initiative in check. Could you hear the OHSU folks trying to argue that such a referendum and/or initiative would itself be unlawful or simply ineffective? Flush em out.

This is just my two bits.

Go Randy. You can do it, and have fun with it too . . . as it is all just for show anyway, either way.

Great, we have one vote of sanity (after Erik locks up his seat I am sure he will revert to the pro-developer side) on this council.

First, the Tram, then $35M+ to the Armory Theater, next is the Ashforth Public Aid project (viz, Conv Center Hotel.) When are these guys going to do anything for the average Joe who doesn't live downtown?

"While public institutions don’t like the scrutiny of the Legislature’s Ways and Means process, it is the only way I know of to have an adequate check and balance on a public institution. Without that check and balance there is no true accountability to the public
through its elected representatives.

OHSU’s leadership has certainly proven my point these past two years. "

Randy for mayor!

SadieOHSU’s leadership has certainly proven my point these past two years. "

Randy for mayor!

JK: Ditto! (sorry Sam)


Then vote against Sten and he won't have the chance to change his mind again.

This is all MUCH worse than it seems.

Randy Leonard for President! In four years, the US would have money in the bank, peace, jobs and world respect.

But can America handle the TRUTH, Randy-style?

I'd like to think so.

I tend to agree with Bill McDonald on this. Where was Randy when this was originally being voted on by the City Council? It's not like these complaints are new. All these pitfalls were predicted 3 years ago, just no one wanted to believe them. And that includes Randy.

I am glad to see redevelopment in Portland. Its too bad that we don't see similar investments in downtown Beaverton, downtown Clackamas and more at Gateway. Maybe Washington Square could really become an urban center--build more offices and residences over half the 217 right of way so that the centers on both sides of the freeway link together to the point you don't need to get into a car to go from Taco Bell to Nordstroms. Hopefully some of the investment exuberance spills over to these other Region 2040 Centers. Lets be a city of TRAMS--our new architectural skyline form. Why can't we live in Disneyland, rather than having to take vacations there?

As a resident of the Cully Neighborhood, I say "HEAR HEAR!"

Ironically the Cully neighborhood development project is in the news today, with this article.


"Land gift gives Cully more room for play
Thursday, April 13, 2006
By Anne Laufe
The Oregonian
The Cully neighborhood is home to 13,000 people and covers 2,000 acres, but has only one park to its name. And it's a tiny one at that......Steve Yett recently donated undeveloped land just north of the park. In turn, the city changed the zoning to allow Yett to build 29 single-family houses on another 3.4 acres he owns adjacent to the park."

I think this is roughly double the folks and a heck of a lot more rugrats than proposed for SoWhat and in trade for adjusting the zoning, the developer donated the acreage and contruction for Parkland. Contrast this with SoWhat, the City paid millions for contaminated land, adjusted the zoning to put unprecidented loads on the sewer and water system, and made the City pay for the infrasturcture as opposed to.

"Sure, Yett benefits from the zoning change the city granted, but Whitcomb praises him for his commitment to the community. "It's just amazing that a developer would offer to do this."
Yett, owner of Waybo Partners, also has agreed to pay for street improvements for the housing development, which will save the city thousands of dollars. Development of the park won't begin until the houses are completed, which Whitcomb estimates will take about five years. The donated land, which has been described as "the pit" by various parties, was used for gravel extraction in the past. Now it's covered with invasive blackberry canes and scotch broom, and has been a site for homeless camps."......"But Cully Association of Neighborhoods Chairwoman Kathy Fuerstenau, who worked with the council to secure the parkland and to reduce the number of homes to be built on Yett's remaining property, is happy with the arrangement"

Usually econically it is more expensive to do things on a small scale, here the neigborhood assoiation was listened to, the developer was civic minded. The city didn't buy the land from him he donated it from the parcel, the folks got a park.

Pat Russell:

Urban renewal spending only "works" in areas that would have developed anyway. The Pearl District was already booming before the URA was formed. SoWa and Airport Way would have boomed sooner if the City hadn't stood in the way. Interstate and Gateway have stagnated (and will stagnate) because they have nothing to offer and Urban Renewal (especially transit oriented UR) doesn't really renew urban areas.

It's sad, but it's true. And I would welcome any proof to the contrary.

Dave Lister has pointed out the problems with So What all along. Dave has a consistent voice of scrutiny and scepticism to the boondoggles being proposed by City Coucil.

Can we look forward? The firehouse proposal on the front page of the Metro section of the Oregonian newspaper is another example of escalating costs for a City project when we need the money for basic services. Is another So What looming in Chinatown/Oldtown?

Swimmer -

Yes, the neighborhood association worked very hard to push for single family housing instead of dense housing...and it will be lovely when they expand Sacajewa Park. Personally, I love my neighborhood...we have great neighbors...large yards...and a kind of "out in the country" feel. But there are still many issues the Cully inhabitants will need to address in the near future...not the least of which is the crime along Killingsworth around 72nd. I've seen more than my share of dirty needles around the Plaid Pantry...and there are a lot of children in that neighborhood. I hope that the Cully Association continues to garner attention for their accomplishments and show how a truly mixed neighborhood can thrive.

Thanks Laurelann for all the neighbors hard work and dilligence in Cully. It didn't happen without them. you bring up another good point about the basic services. The article I posted from the Oregonain from 2000 where the County protested the Interstate UR district was sucking 90 million out of basic public services for the area over the 20 years. It is in black and white. This TIF deal takes over $60 million annually in bond repayment, I believe Steve because I did find that number in the independent Audit required by the GASB posted on Portland On line. When the county doesn't have money to open a jail. The total police budget is just a little over $100 million, and Parks general funding only in the $30 million range. That $60 is a big number, and when the roughly double number of residents in Cully have one small park, and the Pearl has two parks that cost millions and have a relatively high operating cost with two water features, and many properties are paying no property taxes to help pay for operations of these amenities, you Cully folks with the kids are not getting what you need and subsidizing that "successful" "showcase" operation.

I think I'm coming around on Leonard.
I think he's the only member of the council whose word means something.
I'm beginning to think he's real.
That's more important than almost all of the other stuff.

Ricky, it’s the day I’ve waited for: I completely agree with you. Randy is real, and right now he’s learning the lessons of politics. He comes right out and says it like after he claimed that Dan Saltzman would never flip. He announces his mistake and moves on. The experience he can get – the important stuff he brings with him.

Gee, all this love for Randy and no love for the other no vote on the council? Gosh, I wonder why... :)

Well... I was hopeful for Gramps, but the most recent display has me greatly disappointed. Plus, he's not very forthcoming about the rationales underlying his decisions. Plus, he's decided to the the Barbara Roberts "visioning" thing rather than lead. Ready yourselves for another hallucination mascarading as a "vision of the future".

Randy is not always where I want him to be, but at least I know why. That's what I like about him. And yes, he comes out an actually states that he was mistaken and moves on. It's rather refreshing, actually. It's too bad he seems to be standing foursquare in the way of reforming the emergency personnel pension plans.

Ah, well. Maybe, just maybe, the voters will actually make an intelligent educated decision (or two, even) come May/November. I'm not holding my breath on this, mind you. It's merely an unrealistic hope.

Yes, Godfry, calling the voters stupid - time-tested way to win votes! I'm sure Lister is adopting that has his slogan right now... "Elect me, you ****ing morons!"

What about...

Leonard might do or say the wrong thing for the right reasons but Potter will almost always do the wrong thing for the wrong reason - or for no discernable reason.

If Leonard is real then Potter is surreal.

Nice job Randy. A good name for you: Randy the Real.

More like "Randy Realpolitik".

siRajel sez: Yes, Godfry, calling the voters stupid - time-tested way to win votes! I'm sure Lister is adopting that has his slogan right now... "Elect me, you ****ing morons!"


I'm not a candidate for public office, nor do I ever intend to be again. I don't care what Lister does, but if you look around and notice that all too many candidates and all too many ballot issues have not been too intelligently selected by the mass of voters. It's always easy to appeal to the greed of the voter... That's how we got the f**ked up tax system we have in this state. That's how that f**king moron in the President's office got re-elected after the Supreme Court coup that placed him in office the first time.

So...Your opinion is worthless to me at this point. I'd bet that's wider than just me, too.

Gosh, Godfry, you're SO much smarter than the rest of us! I can't wait for more pearls of wisdom!

Heh... Y'know, siraJel, it's not hard to look wise when you're around.

Nyah, nyah, Godfry. Nyah, nyah.

You appear to have no love for the realities of politics. Instead you just want to call everyone stupid. Real simplistic. Unrealistic.

You represent the worst of humanity.

Siradrool: you can't possibly believe Sten deserves more time in public office?

If Saltzman hadn't rolled over on the Tram, then Sten would have: for the Good of Homer (thanks be to Emilie!)...

Sten was bought and paid for a long time ago: the only question is whether or not he's going to stay bought. He knows he can't afford to alienate any more voters at this point in the election cycle, especially on the left.

Fortunately for Homer and OHSU, Sten's protest vote doesn't matter one bit.

mAlice -

When did I say Sten deserved more time in office? I said vote him out if you want. And if he doesn't lose, then just fall back on the old chestnut that says the "voters are stupid." It's a lot easier than admitting you're wrong!

Well, sorejewels, I take some comfort that my opinion regarding the role of the mob in representative democracy, and the distrust of the voters to make the judicious decision every time, was shared by the prevailing opinion at the Constitutional Convention which formed the political traditions of this country. That's one of the reasons why they constructed the mechanisms of governance as they did, one of the others being too much power in too few hands.

You didn't pay close attention to your readings of the _Federalist Papers_, now did you?

If you're sure that the voters make all the right decisions all the time, you're a fool.

Sira, fool.

O.k., that is enough, fellows. Please take the cat fight elsewhere.

May I interrupt the "nyah, nyah"s with a comment on the Tram, and the vote.

Neither Commisioner's Sten nor Leonard said they were opposed to the Tram. Both, in fact, made a point of saying they supported it...just not this deal. Let's keep that in mind.

That said, I think Commissioner Leonard's high point was attacking the deal of rebating to OSHU part of what they got through their supposed lobbying effort. Who makes a deal like this, he asked? Who indeed. What are these people thinking (or smoking)?"

The 1.25% issue...that sorta sounds good, and I think his heart is in the right place...but the facts aren't quite right. Actually, for many years --which means for most folks in the mid-County sewer project, it was higher than 1.25%, contributing to the "surplus" in the bond sinking fund (not the Local Improvement District Fund as some folks have been thinking.) This was insurance for "bad debt" and to cover administrative costs, and was, essentially used for neither. Part of the "surplus" is also from refinancing the city's debt, while not passing that savings on to property owners who's rates were locked in at rates over 8% (while the real cost of money went down well below that).

All people who get sidewalks or streets built don't pay the now 1.25% --soon to be .25%-- "bump"...only people who finance their assessments through the city.

Don't mean to get wonky, but sometimes the devil's in the details. Compare the interest rate a homeowner in the mid-County sewer project pays, with projects like the Streetcar, and the discrepancy is uncomfortably big. Take a guess who's paying more?

Commisioner Leonard is absolutely right --as is Ken Rust-- that this "found surplus money" (that I'd tried to get addressed for years) can be used for anything...whether its by PDOT for projects, or whatever. Giving "Lents" as an example is a poor one, however, as PDC is already subsidizing street imporvements there because its an Urban Renewal District. A bigger challenge is finding ways to build streets where PDC isn't handing out other-people's-money.

The voters don't make all the right decisions, true - but what other mechanism do we have for electing officials to express their intent? I'm curious...this is not a cat-fight, I'm genuinely curious.

Lend me your beer!

The wrath of godfry sure isn't pretty.

I don't think the "founding fathers" had city government in mind when they designed the federal system. If there's any place for a something approaching direct democracy, city government is the place.

Ain't it?

Alice, I would, but I just finished my last Cinder Cone. (for this evening, anyway)

Godfry just wants to go back to the time when slaves and women couldn't vote, when we didn't have popular election to the Senate, or popular initiatives.


To: Sirajul 4-13-06 12:54 a.m.
Actually, Ginny Burdick called the voters stupid tonight at the Mercury Forum. Burdick said the voters made a terrible mistake in rejecting her vote and the legislature's vote to raise taxes during a recession. (voters defeated in Measure 30 a legislature imposed tax hike.)

"FAST AND LOOSE" A supplement to Leonard's Council Vote

Commissioner Leonard has a grasp of the picture that has developed about the tram that extends to the whole North Macadam URD. His two examples of the "shell game" that PDC, OHSU, and now the rest of the Council is participating in is right on.

But it encompasses several more amazing "gimmies" to OHSU to keep the tram and NM going under unsound economics that puts the City taxpayers in jeopardy.

On tuesday of this week at our emergency NM URAC meeting, PDC handed out for the first time, the Eighth Amendment. We had zero minutes to review the numerous pages and attachments before PDC staff reviewed the documents for us and asked for comments and a vote. So much for "public review" as several testified at city council the following day. Tuesday nite the PDC Commission voted on the amendment with no public review time according to city and state law.

Following are the major "shell games" that should be added to Leonard's list. They are based on the NM Agreement signed over two years ago, plus the added eight amendments, particularily amendments 7 and 8 that deal directly with the tram. Amendment 8 is the result of the negotiating that has been going on behind "closed doors" between PDC/City, OSHU and LID property owners to find money for the latest $15M cost overruns. (Now 17.5M) THE Shell Games:

1. Commercializable BioTech Research Space. OHSU was recently given $5M from TIF (taxpayers money) for the OHSU Health Club bulding now under construction that has no rented research space. A "gimmie" for the tram.

2. Block 33 OHSU Future Parking Garage. OHSU was recently given $3M from TIF for rights to 100 future parking spaces for future (no given time) affordable housing units. This money was taken from the SW Moody St. TIF improvement project in the budget and given to OHSU as a "gimmie". Free money to OHSU to help out with their tram bill which they haven't yet paid one cent.(7th Amendment)

3. Block 33 OHSU Future Parking Garage. Amendment 8-"If OHSU develops projects that produce TIF, 50% of the TIF proceeds will be made available to OHSU for construction of parking garage...". First, how can OHSU produce TIF money when it doesn't pay any kind of taxes? Answer from PDC, OHSU-well, they may bring in private bio-tech, commercial spaces like a coffee shop; and they will pay some property taxes, thus TIF. Here we have an agreement guaranteeing OHSU that any TIF they generate, 50% goes to paying for their own parking garage at taxpayer's expense.

4. Block 33- OHSU Parking Garage. OHSU is given the rights to form an LID for only its' Garage.
Never has the City UR been used to allow an LID to be formed to benefit one owner for one building. This allow OHSU to borrow money for 20 or more years (life of the LID/URD) at a reduced interest rate at taxpayer's expense and we hold the default bag. In this parking garage building there will be commercial/retail space, and affordable housing(paid by taxpayers) above. So, OHSU is getting cheap money that it can pay back over a long period of time. A "gimmie" to OHSU.

5. Block 33. OHSU was given $3.5M for construction enhancement for the future garage that will have even farther-in-the-future affordable housing. They get to use the $3.5M for several years before they use it for the purpose it was given. Another "gimmie" to OHSU.

6. Block 33. OHSU was given $3M for air rights for the future affordable housing to be built on top of the parking garage. A free interest-and free money ride for several years and another "OHSU gimmie".

7. Block 33. OHSU was given the rights to the income from the 100 parking spaces until the time that the City builds affordable housing that would need the spaces. $300/monthx100spacesx7years(estimate)=$2.52M

8. Affordable Housing-Block 49. $5M of TIF is being given to Homer Williams and Dames for the future building of affordable housing on block 49. They get to use $5M interest free until such time (5-10 years) money can be found for affordable housing. Plus they get "exclusive rights" (NMI or Williams and Dane Development-one and same) to be "owner/developer of the affordable housing project". Another "no-bid" arrangement to benefit NMI at taxpayer's expense.
Plus, there is no guarantee to the building price even with a building cost inflation factor-open ended!

9. OHSU Lobbying Payments at Taxpayer's Expense.
For any federal/state dollars that come into the NM URD, OHSU will get 50 cents on the dollar. OHSU has collected so far $3.4M into their coffers to help pay their portion of the tram. OHSU's amount can go up to $9M when Feds?state gives $18M. Easy to accomplish. Another "OHSU gimmie".

10. OHSU Economic Development-Bio Sciences Initiative Money. OHSU will get $3.5M in TIF to subsidize OHSU to sell/rent space out for private endeavors like biotech or maybe a coffee shop. Who is monitoring this "gimmie"-who determines what is "private"? There is also from the earlier budget $5M in this line-item that OHSU can tap into. Here's how it can work: OHSU uses the $3.5M to entice private business to come into their space they rent out; then get 50% of the TIF money these renters generate; then use that money to help build their parking garage! All provided by these Agreements. A "triple gimmie".

11. PDC under IX. of Amendment 8 "is proposing to accelerate certain Phase 2 Contingent Public Projects." by the tune of $34.7M of additional TIF money to the already $288M direct cost-public money; by having NMI (Homer and Dames) have a "Gap Obligation". What the heck does that mean? The PDC staff says it means if part or the whole project fails they have NMI's property they can foreclose on. Well, NMI is a LLC, do you think they have the property to be taken? The reason for LLCs is to limit your liability and to hide the assets. And can the taxpayers hold out for 10 or more years for the attorneys to settle that case to get the $34.7M? You should see the Agreement. Leaks like the tram agreement. Where are the city attorneys?

12. LID Interest Rate Mark Down. (see Leonard's remarks)
OHSU after reviewing the (as Mark Williams of OHSU admitted to at URAC meeting) LID interest rates which are already marked down substantially from what commercial banks loan money for, OHSU decided that they would "negotiate" with PDC to lower their "mark-up" rate from 1.25% to .25%. Banks usually charge 2.5% to 3.0% above their cost to borrow money. LID's already get a good break from the city taxpayers, but OHSU wanted more. Why should the city taxpayers be taking an extreme risk of lending money at only .25% above what they borrow it for? Another "gimmie" to OHSU.

13. $36M Tram financing paid for by the taxpayers.
Since LID's can't start until a project is completed (Tram has two LIDs), the city (taxpayers) has gone out into the free market system and borrowed $36M so far to build the tram. The borrowing will become $57.5M or higher very soon to conitue the tram construction. We, the taxpayers have been floating the interest on the borrowing for OHSU and others for almost a year, and it will be over a year, shortly. That is at least $1M additional dollars we have been giving to OHSU-another "gimmie". And they are using at least 85% of the tram! And we the taxpayers are taking another tremedous risk in borrowing the $57.5M.

Now add in all the other costs that I and others have posted that adds to the tram cost, and adds to the NMURD public cost. Like, tram land cost, design competition costs, PDC/City Staff time costs, administration costs, city attorney costs, etc.

Add the costs of the thirteen items above, (consider Leonards's $14.15M total) add in the above paragraph costs, then add this to the so-called $8.5M of TIF that media keeps repeating as the "taxpayer/public's cost" and what do you get? I can see over $35M dollars minimum the taxpayers are paying. That is almost 60% of the tram costs, well above Leonard's 25% amount. I hope some financial experts on this blog can put some values to the above.

And that isn't even considering the "true life-cycle-cost" of the tram over a 20 to 50 year period. And that cost was promised over two months ago by Commissioner Adams. Wouldn't that number been nice to have at yesterday's City Council hearing as promised by Adams. The estimate was over $250M for 20 years before the latest go-around.

That's the "SHELL GAME". And as we study these latest amendments and the past, there is probably more.

But what do I know, I'm just a "westside guy".

It is truly obscene. I go from a "buy" to a "hold" on Potter.

LID interest rates which are already marked down substantially from what commercial banks loan money for

The City borrows money cheaper than commercial banks because behind that borrowing is the "full faith and credit of the City."

OHSU decided that they would "negotiate" with PDC to lower their "mark-up" rate from 1.25% to .25%. Banks usually charge 2.5% to 3.0% above their cost to borrow money. LID's already get a good break from the city taxpayers

Taxpayers don't really "subsidize" LIDs with low interest rates. The shame of it here is NOT that this is a subsidy, but rather than the LID process is no longer a mechanism for Local Improvements in neighborhoods, but rather its become a cheap way to help finance big projects. The City Auditor gave up oversight of the LID process --to Matt Brown and Vic Rhodes-- in order to let PDOT "reform" it, and promote neighborhood projects that would magically become more affordable. The neighborhoods are still waiting for that. In the meantime, we have the Tram.

rickynagg notes: I don't think the "founding fathers" had city government in mind when they designed the federal system. If there's any place for a something approaching direct democracy, city government is the place.

Ain't it?

Only in places like New England. And then, it's usually limited to villages with relatively small populations.

Now... There's an idea. Why don't we just do away with the City Council entirely?

I wasn't asking where "...a something approaching direct democracy..." was in existence. (that damned "a" keeps appearing out of nowhere)
I was pointing out that your "representative government" template is less well-suited or necessary at the local level.

Please don't get mad.

BTW, I wish I'd thought of abolishing the City Council myself - maybe we could try an initiative petition...

or not.


In this report to the PDC commissioners the PDC explains that SoWa is broke.
So the new amendment 8 was concocted to create the impression that "new funding" was found.
Not so.
All they are doing is borrowing more, against the general fund to cover the enormous SoWa cost overruns. Sound familiar? It's just like the earlier Tram shenanigans. But the bulk of this has nothing to with the Tram.
It's everything else the city promised to provide the developers and OHSU.

Primarily streets and other basic infrastructure along with a park, greenway and other public improvements. All free for the developers and OHSU.

But this is "Urban Renewal" and it will be paid for with "higher taxes generated by the district."

Not so.

With SoWa there are larger budget overruns, bigger shortages to fill, debt service cost are soaring and an even bigger risk to the general fund if Urban Renewal revenue fails to arrive as projected.
That revenue has already failed to arrive as forecasted and the TIF borrowing capacity has been exceeded.

And now, with Amendment 8, a larger projected amount pops up to allow more borrowing.
Now that one credit card is maxed out let's get another.

We are supposed to believe that this higher projection of TIF money is guaranteed by North Macadam Investors, (NMI).

Give me a break!
Show me the contract where the developers have put up their land as security for this new promise.

But this is Urban Renewal. It pays for stuff without using any general fund money.
Well, not really.

On top of many other millions,
PDOT is handing over $3 million. They can afford it?
Portland Parks is handing over $2 million more. No problem?

They city is borrowing 10's of millions against the general fund, like they did with the Tram, so soon afterward there will be no choice but to bailout SoWa with other tax revenue.
Because none of the developers or OHSU will pay for any of the cost overruns, it will be too costly to stop the "projects". They will threaten to sue.
Sound familiar?
This is the Tram all over again only worse.

This new SoWa funding proposal resembles the one put together when the Tram cost rose to $28 million.

The rest of the story, more
Further along in this shell game additional expansions in borrowing will be needed, along with other monies from Parks and PDOT.
The greenway will need $40 million more, major intersection/street portals wil require another $50 million. On and on and no money to pay for them. Nice plan.

It will be at least 40 years before one dime of the property taxes from this public-private "partnership" arrives back at basic services.

In the mean time, enjoy picking up the tab.

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