It's right there on the front page of today's O -- what commenters have been posting here for months now. There's a serious question whether the infrastructure costs in the SoWhat district can be paid for out of property taxes in the district. And so a lot of the money that the city's borrowing to build down there -- now budgeted to run up to $110 million, and I'm sure that's a cooked number -- is likely to be paid back out of the general fund.
It's San Diego in the making, folks -- grave financial distress for the city is ahead.
Here's the most priceless aspect of the whole rotten can of worms:
Portland Development Commission officials think they eliminated much of that risk.
Under the proposal, North Macadam Investors would guarantee to build five condo towers so the city would have enough tax revenue to pay its bills. If they don't follow through, North Macadam must pay the difference or give its land to the city....
Trouble comes only if the condo market tanks in the next five years. No one has that crystal ball, but even some of South Waterfront's biggest backers acknowledge some qualms.
"You've got to wonder how much the market will support," said Bob Scanlan, whose company ScanlonKemperBard helped fund North Macadam's construction. "I'm not so worried about the condo demand disappearing. I'm more worried about the condo buyers' ability to sell their house. Therein lies the $64 million question."
And so the city's security is that they'll get Homer Williams's land from him? That's comical. The place is a condo skyscraper jungle. If the properties won't pencil out for condos there, they probably won't be worth much for anything else, will they?
The cast of characters who set this disaster in motion is a large one. Vera Katz, Neil Goldschmidt, Peter Kohler, Erik Sten, Dan Saltzman -- even Mark Hatfield showed up for a few pictures. But now Tom Potter is adding his name to the list -- a list that no one will want to be on about 10 years from now. Of course, by then he'll be in Hawaii, collecting his pensions -- which is the other giant anvil around the city's neck.
There comes a point where you realize that you have to stop using your credit cards for frivolities. We're way past that now.