This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 3, 2006 4:57 PM. The previous post in this blog was Amanda. The next post in this blog is The dime has been dropped. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Monday, April 3, 2006

The next "linchpin"

This month's Hollywood Star has an interesting story about what's going on (or rather, not going on) with the Burnside Bridgehead project on the east side of Portland's Burnside Bridge. Readers may recall that this was the project in which the Portland Development Commission scammed the legitimate design winner and handed his idea, along with the project, to someone else. It was back in the dying days of the Mazziotti-Hennessee (i.e., Goldschmidt) PDC, but they got the job done before then-new Mayor Tom Potter forced them to let the legit winner, Beam, have at least a piece of the deal.

Anyway, in the Star we learn this month that the developers say the project can't be built unless the taxpayers pay for and construct the Burnside-Couch "couplet," a spendy traffic re-do that's been circulating around City Hall for a few years now. Oh, and everybody's admitting that the budget for the couplet is jokingly understated, that federal funds clearly will not pay for the whole thing, and that nobody knows where the city's share is supposed to come from.

Sound familiar?

It's a not-so-old script. As reported by the Star:

Wood and other Opus representatives... have said that one thing they need is assurance that the creation of a Burnside-Couch one-way couplet will eventually happen.... Bob Wentworth, Rich Parker and Tim Holmes of the Central East Side Industrial District, and Bruce Wood and Brian Bennett of Opus Northwest said the couplet was essential for future economic development.... [Planner Bill] Hoffman said a preliminary estimate of the cost of the east side work is $16 million, 'and that will almost certainly change.'... Hoffman... added, 'It's not unusual for projects like this to proceed while fundraising is still in motion.'"
That last one is a real howler. Wow, all that's missing is Matt Brown and Peter Kohler. Potter was smart enough not to commit city money, but he was outvoted by Fireman Randy and (of course) Opie Sten and Tram Adams. Hold onto your wallets, folks. They're talking "vital transportation link." The scam is on.

Comments (8)

You might scrutinize Malsin more closely before you endorse him as a new breed of developer...

Don't know why people are surprised by this. When the evaluation committee released its initial findings, Opus was the only one who had a "pro" of not needing an amendment to the Burnside/Couch couplet plan. So their project has always factored in that plan (for better or worse).

I've been against the couplet since it's inception, at least as it pertains to the East Side. I've attended alot of the meetings and presentations by the PDC and I was NOT impressed. The true fact is, traffic flows really smoothly along E. Burnside because it's a wide street up until 12th. If, (as they say) there's so much trouble crossing the Big B, why not put in another traffic light with crosswalk Or even just a "zebra" crossing with blinking lights? I've brought these things up over and over again at these functions I've attended and have been told by PDC staff that "that's just not feasible" or (you'll love this) "we don't have the money"!!!!! What is wrong with these people??? Do they not understand the old adage of throwing good money after bad?

They don't LIKE simple inexpensive solutions. Why? Becase no one (developers) makes any money off of simple solutions. The hype produced by the PDC and "certain" developers is truly sickening.

And I'm VERY disappointed in certain city commisioners.

I read the same story in the Southeast Examiner today and just could not figure out why the couplet was so important to the success of a project on the east side of the bridge. That just doesn't compute. The only thing a one-way Burnside and Couch couplet will do is make it harder to get onto the Burnside Bridge going West.

...not to mention the westside project is a traffice nightmare. Instead of traffic flowing smoothly off of the bridge, two or three lanes have to make a 90 degree right turn onto second then a 90 left onto Couch. Any trucks, buses, or Hummer Limos (diverted from the tram project) that have to make those two gnarly turns will foul traffic (as noted by the engineering study).

Linchpin. [rimshot]

That's almost as good of a quote as Commissioner Adams in the O today as they mentioned the tram costs has risen yet again - now to $57.5 million. Paraphrasing: "That's a soft estimate... an estimate in progress" Oofta.

The Burnside-Couplet is a terrible, terrible idea. Burnside should be two lane boulevard with an interior turn lane. Moving traffic to couch solves nothing. Don't we already have one way streets through NW with Evertt and Glisan? Somone needs to tell Mr. Powell, as I'm sure he doesn't want his store sourrounded by 4 lanes of one way traffic...

I'm relatively new as a neighborhood member of the Burnside Bridgehead Citizen Advisory Committee. (Hosford-Abernethy Neighborhood.) To date I haven't heard any objections to the east side part of the plan; in fact, it seem like the neighborhood reps have been pretty supportive. What has given folks heatburn is some of the "temporary" measures proposed if the long-approved couplet plans don't go forward quickly enough to service the substantial development planned at that site.

If anyone want to educate me about what's wrong with the east-side part, please email me personally and let me know what the issues are.

Clicky Web Analytics