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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 7, 2006 3:34 AM. The previous post in this blog was The Complete Internal Revenue Code Podcast Project. The next post in this blog is More on the Dagoba Chocolate lead recall. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, April 7, 2006

Tram news

Saltzman gave in. What a guy. What a city government.

Comments (124)

Greetings,
Hey Jack you are sooo on top of things!
I nominate you for Mayor,Police chief, City Council,School Sup., Govenor, State Rep.,Congressman, Senator,
Supreme court, or President of the USA.
Hope all is well with you and the girls.

Keep UP your great work!
xoxo tommy and connie

Given the current monkey-business going on in the PDX city council, I think Jack (on a part-time basis) would be better.

No thanks. I don't want to be involved in City Hall when it comes time to pay the piper for all the money we're borrowing and pouring down rat holes like SoWhat and the tram. Between those and the police and fire pensions, hard financial times are coming for Portland. Maybe Sten will make it to mayor by then.

Do you think Saltzman is committing political suicide in an effort to pick up votes from Death with Dignity supporters?

This is pretty depressing, I thought Saltzman would at least wait until after the primary to flip like I expect Sten will. This will give Mr Leonard the "I told you so" chair now.

It’s not how you handle the wins. It’s how you handle the losses.
Jack, a valiant fight has been fought on this site. I suspect the wisdom of the anti-tram position will only grow more apparent as the years roll on. To Dan Saltzman, you had the right to change your mind, but you had the opportunity to change Portland. You caved in before even calling. OHSU might have been bluffing – they might have slid in the extra cash, but you were in such a hurry to fold, you didn’t even let that play out. Why should you? You’d only be saving millions for the city you’re supposed to be serving. So congratulations, everyone on this site. It was an honor to read your stuff.

Don't use the past tense, Bill. The tram [rim shot] is the Titanic about to set sail. We'll have lots of new laughs in the years to come as one disaster after another occurs. They just found $2 million the other day that somebody forgot to add in. It's headed for $80 million -- and that's just what they'll admit to.

We all knew the city would cave -- they've been working 24/7 on the thing ever since people figured out what a ripoff it is. Klieg lights and everything.

At least Amanda's going to have a great weekend.

I thought Saltzman would at least wait until after the primary to flip like I expect Sten will.

Are you kidding? Now that it doesn't matter, Sten will be a big "I fought the tram" guy. But he'll be winking at old Homer Williams.

Disarmed Amanda now needs an inoculation against the Sten-Blackmer Virus. It's untested and very risky but she now has no other choice.

There's hope -- they're doing Sten cell research now.

That's ironic: I got a phone call from the Saltzman campaign just last night, asking for help canvassing the neighborhoods. I'm going to call back and suggest they call Homer instead.

This should cement Amanda's victory, preferably in the primary (to save the City that extra $200k, which they're spending on the Tram as it turns out:)

Stadum wins this round of Chicken!

Maybe the Portland City Council should move to Hillsboro.

Jack, Please forgive the momentary lapse into defeatism. I blame it on the early hour and the sickening spectacle of watching Dan flip.
Of course, all will continue as before. We've got these bastards right where we want them.
By the way, I checked out your reading of the tax code. Very, very sexy. Add a hip hop beat and you might have something there.

As I said in that post, I've got big plans for that project.

OK, so the jerk votes for this funding increase.

How will he vote on the next one, from $55 mil to $65 mil. And from $65 to 75$. BTW, do they have air rights over I5 yet?

And from $75 mil to $150 mil after they discover that the "bed rock" wasn't stable and the upper tower looks like this: \

Looks like Homer sure got his money's worth when he bought this jerk.

Amanda & Sharon: it is time to take off the kid gloves and attack this guy in your every public action. Here is a start:

Dan is stealing your kid's school money, your police protection money and your fire department's money and shoveling it to his rich buddies, Homer and Steve, to build tax exempt condos for millionare friends who will flock to Portland and increase traffic congestion. Then he is going to have to raise your taxes to make up the difference. This guy is just too dangerous to be in office.

Stop Saltzman's millinare giveaways.
Vote for Sharon (Amanda)

Don't you wish we had better schools? Well Dan just gave away millions of your school dollers to his rich friends to build the tram scam.

Thanks
JK

Are we gonna race the tram? Maybe if we rent a hot air balloon.

Also, I thought Randy told us last week that once Dan's mind was made up, it stayed made. Wonder what changed?

The City is all a twitter over Derrick's Dilemma, meanwhile back at the ranch Commissioner Saltzman flipped his position and agreed to give more money for the budget-busting Tram.

If you didn't see that one coming you should avoid rail-road tracks.

Chris,

"Also, I thought Randy told us last week that once Dan's mind was made up, it stayed made. Wonder what changed?"

Maybe Randy didn't know what he was talking about. It's never stopped him from talking yet.

The bully on the hill wins again. City government has become as much of a joke as the county government.

Tom Linn

This, folks, is the flip side of VOE.

Now is the chance for "grassroots" campaigning to see what it can do against the wheelbarrows of bucks the developers will be carting into Danny Boy's campaign coffers.

When the WH mafia buys a commish, they expect him to stay bought.

Also, I thought Randy told us last week that once Dan's mind was made up, it stayed made. Wonder what changed?

Well, Randy's been wrong before.

I rather wonder whether the fatcats sent a cobbler to measure Danny for a new pair of shoes...concrete shoes? Yeah, yeah...Hoffa had a lot of union support, too.

You write: "We'll have lots of new laughs in the years to come as one disaster after another occurs."

How true. I can think of many things that can and will happen to this tram, since they already happened to trams elsewhere:

1-Air Force jet tail fin slices suspension cable.
2-Cargo dropped by construction crane onto cable car.
3-Kids throw bricks out the window, hitting people below.
4-Couple provides peep show while doing it high above Portland...and I am not talking about the chocolate brown Police Chief...

Of course, these are only what other trams have experienced. I am sure PDX can create novels ways to use the tram.

"What a guy?"

Um... Don't you have to have cajones to be a "guy"?

Perhaps you meant, "What? A guy?"

This is exactly why voters will not approve a tax increase for schools (or for any other vital program)--because city government gives the impression that, when push comes to shove, they can always find the money. I'm as pro-school as you can get, and it sickens me that the same week that PPS votes to close 7 schools, the city magically comes up with a few more millions (it claims it doesn't have) to fund a fancy elevator for doctors.

You can say Randy Leonard was wrong, but he was probably just trying to get Dan Saltzman propped up where he wouldn't fold.
That's not my own theory by the way, but I think it's probably true. The person who told me made that observation back when Randy first shared his opinion about Dan not flipping. The same source also thinks Leonard comes out of this thing looking golden.

Harry -

To be fair, it was a US Marine jet that sliced that cable in Italy. We don't have any of those nearby. And the Air National Guard is busy elsewhere and probably will be for some time.

I personally think we'll see headlines like this:

"Tram Malfunction Turns I-5 Into Parking Lot"

"City/OHSU Squabble Over Who Foots Bill For Rescue"

"Tense High-Wire Standoff With Psych Patient"

"27th Shut Down of Tram for 'Mechanical Problems'"

"OHSU Demands City Pay for OHSU Shuttle"

"$85 Million Tram Closed Due to Safety Concerns" (June 2008)

"Contracted Tram Operator Walks Away From Contract - Cites Unrealistic Expectations"

"Also, I thought Randy told us last week that once Dan's mind was made up, it stayed made. Wonder what changed?"


Maybe Randy didn't know what he was talking about. It's never stopped him from talking yet.

I hate to agree with you, Ricky. But at least on this one you are absolutley right.

I obviously do not know Dan as well as I thought I did.

I truly regret my words in this case and I will be much more reluctant to predict anyone's actions again in the future.


Now is the chance for "grassroots" campaigning to see what it can do against the wheelbarrows of bucks the developers will be carting into Danny Boy's campaign coffers. ~ godfry

Call to action:

Please call my office, 503-235-2295, to volunteer your time for my grassroots campaign. We are canvassing neighborhoods every Saturday, and can use your help tomorrow. We run phone banks Mon-Thurs and Sundays, and will give you important work to do, at the office or at home, for an hour or two any day or evening. We have flyers for you to give to your neighbors, yard signs, buttons, postcards to send. If nothing else, please call 10 of your friends and tell them to check out www.AmandaFritz.com, and vote for a change in City Hall.

On Wednesday, I taped radio ads that will start running on KPOJ next week. One of them talks about the tram. But here's a VOE twist: in every ad, I am required to state, "As a Certified Campaign Finance Fund Candidate, I take personal responsibility for the content of this campaign ad." I am proud to say it, and I didn't want to rush through it like a car sales ad. But it takes 8 seconds to say, which means in every 30 second ad, I get 25% less content than a 30 second ad by someone running under the Old Money system. So the tram ad can't go into as much detail as needed.

So, I need your help on that, too. Please help me get the word out on what has happened and who will be a stronger voice for regular Portlanders in City Hall.

P.S. Yes, I know 25% of 30 isn't exactly 8. Traditional candidates have to say their campaign fund name, too, so I rounded as to the extra time required to be dedicated by a Campaign Finance Fund candidate.

I obviously do not know Dan as well as I thought I did.

Oh, SNAP.

Air Force jet tail fin slices suspension cable.

And with the new design tying the tram structure into the building, that should prove interesting.

I wonder if Saltzman made this decision to get himself a nice little spot with the PDC, since it would end his political aspirations?

"Tram Malfunction Turns I-5 Into Parking Lot"

Speaking of which...werent there some reports a while back that the proper permitting still was not completed for the tram going over the freeway or something like that? (Yet they are building it)
What ever came of that?

"Oh, SNAP."

With a twist!

One more time a politician flips on a big issue. Where is all the suprise coming from??? I am totally amazed that no one has said anything regarding Amanda's ties to the medical community which means "PILL HILL". The chance for true change and someone who is truly committed to rebuilding our infrastructure, lack of business-friendly climate, and trying to attract family wage jobs to our area lies with Sharon Nasset.

Man, we're heading to wingnut territory with talks of Air Force jets slicing through the tram cables.

Number of Air Force jets seen in Portland in my 25 years here: Zero.

Number of Air Force bases in Oregon: Zero.

Chances of an Air Force jet hitting the new tram tower: about the same as Lars improving his ratings with AA+Franken killing him daily: zero.

Y'all are all worried about nada, zippo, bupkis!

But what fun would it be to be happy.

ses-

Not only that, Amanda is an employee of OHSU. But that does mean she's just another Steve Stadum.

After all, I'm an employee of OHSU, and I've vocally opposed this boondoogle since day one. Those of us who have to live and work under this regime are all the more sensitized to its arbitrary and capricious bureaucratic authoritanianism. If you've never worked for some doctors, you don't know the meaning of "distain for mere mortals".

I was leaning toward Amanda anyway. This decision just put the icing on the cake. Amanda, I hate phones and I work Saturdays. As a former chair of the Richmond Neighborhood Association, I'd be delighted to have a lawn sign and I'll drop leaflet in a coincentric pattern from my home at the heart of Richmond. I've got an inside contact to your campaign, so she'll get me lined up.

Good luck, Amanda!

Correction: "But that does NOT mean she's just another Steve Stadum."

You need an edit function, Jack.

"I am totally amazed that no one has said anything regarding Amanda's ties to the medical community which means "PILL HILL"."

Just because someone works at a place does not mean they completely and blindly support everything the "suits" say must happen or is necessary, or is a linchpin. I think the fact she has been outspoken about the tram shows she is not afraid to question the administrators at OHSU.

Oh, and I forgot...

Randy for mayor!

"Also, I thought Randy told us last week that once Dan's mind was made up, it stayed made. Wonder what changed?"


Saltzman lied about this as recently as Tuesday night, at the Concordia Candidates Forum (Kennedy School), when he said he did not support additional city funding of the physicians' sky ride.

He said a lot of other things too, like "I do not support a third runway at PDX."

Vote Fritz.

Daphne,

"Number of Air Force jets seen in Portland in my 25 years here: Zero."

Number of Air Force bases in Oregon: Zero.

Whose flyin' those F-15's over my house, then?
Michael Moore?

I worry about you.

"Now that it doesn't matter, Sten will be a big "I fought the tram" guy. But he'll be winking at old Homer Williams."

Agreed. And since OHSU / Homer have Potter, Adams, and Saltzman in their pocket, you can be sure we won't be hearing any more about the so-called "affordable housing" component in this project from them - not that anyone ever believed this in the first place - because their former swing vote boy's opinion is now irrelevent. This indeed is a golden opportunity for him to state that he put out a valiant effort to force this issue to the table, but was undermined by the weakness of his fellow council members.

Saltzman just gave Sten another four years of not having to find a real job.

"Whose flyin' those F-15's over my house, then?"

Oregon National Guard.

The F-15's around here are from the Air National Guard unit stationed at PDX. They are prohibited from making low-flying passes over the city, so there really isn't any worry about them clipping the so far non-existent Tram lines.

It ain't the Air Force jets that worry me. It's the 160 million foot pounds of torque at the top of the ride.

The Air Force Jet reference is probably alluding to the TRAM in Italy that this happened with a few years back and killed a number or Tramsters, when a pilot was hot shotting under the wire, ala TOP GUN.

I repeat an earlier post in the Black Hole string,
If you want to put your faith in the WalMart approach to City Goverment, when the politicos Dangle "the Children" out with a token levy after they have orchstrated the millions deferred from the funds that should be taking care of them to UR funding. (See 2000 Oregonian article posted where the county accepted the Interstate UR plan after protesting becausethe county will lose at least $90 million during 20 years. Initially supportive, they became frustrated when the project expanded, doubling in acreage and costing more than five times its original estimate. )

Dangle curing Homelessness 10 year round two, when millions in Tax Abatements to Alexan Affordable housing instead of as many folks have pointed out in this blog even dedicating 25% of PDC UR funds would have hundrends of truely affordable housing units built.

It is not different than WalMART dangleing a few old folks out front as greeters to prove their wonderful intent, while robbing the suppliers and the society blind. Watch the movie and see just how much of your tax money goes to subsize everything from environmental clean-up from runnoff of gardensupplies from their parking lots, to medical care for their underpaid workers, to subsides granted them while driving out two and three generation small businesses.

I know. 142nd Fighter Wing. My point is the same. I think the distinction is lost on most. BTW the USAF EA-6B that severed the cable in Italy was "prohibited" from flying as low as it was too.

I've read several stories over the years about helocopters striking powerlines, typically at night.

I assume the tram's cables will be much heavier than powerlines, but I'm not sure if they carry electricity too (perhaps the Tram cars have their own generators to power lights and A/C).

They've pared down the budget.
Aerial Tram cars will have woodstoves and Coleman lanterns. The cable will be braided from hemp.

Yes, Mike, the F-15's are from the Air National Guard, part of this girl's Army.

I should point out that the F-15's also do flyovers at the daily (hourly?) funerals for the US soldiers who died in Iraq. 2300+ so far.

For what?

W's re-election, according to his own leak.

The tram still has Sten's fingerprints all over it. Sten screwed up. How many different projects have that stamped over the top of the title page. Yes, the tram too, has a big fat
STEN SCREWED UP stamped over the title page.
We need Dave Lister on The City Council.

Information from OHSU Workforce Housing Needs and Preference Results:(3000 survey respondents from 11,000 surveys sent to employees of OHSU)

"Local Amenties Wanted:...38% aerial tram"

Maybe Amanda Fritz besides listening to pubic testimony at Planning Commission meetings, using her own brain, also listened to her own OHSU employer's survey.

the funniest from today's oregonian is how no one seems to know how to use Excel

"Kiewit's staff turned in a spreadsheet to the city that summarized its costs. Based on that, Rob Barnard, city project manager, calculated a total project cost of $50 million. But Barnard caught an error in Kiewit's work that added another $2 million. "It was a totaling some cells, and it missed some," Barnard said. "Better to find it out now then later that we need more money." "

"Couple provides peep show while doing it high above Portland...and I am not talking about the chocolate brown Police Chief"

What does the shade of the Chief's skin have to do with anything?

Gutless! Absolutely gutless! And that goes for Sten too.

Two Items: (1) Has there ever been a published city-wide poll on the tram? I can't imagine it getting more than 30% support and almost certainly it would have been voted down had it ever been presented to the public on a ballot. Where is the public good here?

(2) Why do the council members continue to let OSHU blackmail them into these decisions with threats of leaving the city for Hillsboro or bring law suits against the city. There are so many ways the City could make life difficult for OSHU if it chose to that their threats should have little effect. I think it’s because OSHU has been behaving like the 1000 lb gorilla for so long that City Council often overreacts to their threats. They should realize that OSHU is highly dependent on city services and support. And with all the infrastructure on the hill, it would be impossible for them to up and move. They are stuck us; we’re stuck with them. City Council acts like they don’t understand just how much leverage they have over OSHU.

it sickens me that the same week that PPS votes to close 7 schools, the city magically comes up with a few more millions (it claims it doesn't have) to fund a fancy elevator for doctors.

Hell, in todays paper, they say they are only $7 million in the hole instead of $57 million because they got money from the city, county, and "unexpected state money".

What does the shade of the Chief's skin have to do with anything?

oh, relax...thats just a dig on the words from his "public record" emails to his girlfriend.

Jon,

PPS has a bank account and City Hall has one too.

Different banks. Different pots.

The real reason we close schools is that the citizens of this great state have asked that Salem maintain the 44th lowest tax rate in Amerikkka.

So, we should be thankful our schools are even open, considering how low low low our taxes are -- sub-Saharan Africa low.

Re: Amanda and the tram [rim shot]

I've posted about this here before, and in subsequent, detailed conversations with the Lair Hill neighbors who will suffer the worst from this abomination, I have confirmed that Amanda has long been a faithful friend of those who oppose it.

Daphne,

Yes, those are separate pots, but they are replenished with revenues from the same source, us.

When the city creates a new urban renewal district, it diverts revenue streams from both pots, in the gamble that 20-30 years down the line, we'll be getting more revenue per year than we are now (adjusted for inflation, of course). Plus, it just gives away a goodly portion just as incentive to participate ('cause y'know, without incentives, the SoWhat kind of development would never happen.

>wink, wink, nudge, nudge happen.

>wink, wink, nudge, nudge

If you've got kids in school now, tell 'em they'll just have to wait 30 years to get a decent elementary education.

I guess I'll be the one voice on here that supports the decision and to say that I actually respect Saltzman for throwing himself on the grenade. He knows he'll pay a political price (which is unwarranted in my view) and yet he did it anyhow. It IS for the good of the city, but no one wants to look to the future. It's all about the here and now.

>If you've got kids in school now, tell 'em >they'll just have to wait 30 years to get a >decent elementary education.

This is a often (mis)used argument. It's a straw man. The money for the tram does NOT come out of the education budget. The ITAX was $270 million and did absolutely nothing to improve an already crappy educational system. The problem is not the money. The problem is that we don't have any visionaries in charge of the educational system in Oregon who can come up with more efficient uses of the money that we DO have. Future development of SoWa will generate hundreds of millions in tax revenue for the city. Do you want to forego those future revenues for your kids?

Amanda could demand a building height allowance for all land under the tram cable to 325 feet.

Could Amanda, after taking office, and after the tram increase is approved, insist upon a new vote regarding the expenditure between the time when the higher estimate was announced and the date of the actual vote to increase funding?

David: the only poll (besides the TV station call-in polls on the tram)that I know of is the PDC funded OHSU Employee poll dealing with several questions about North Macadam Urban Renewal area.

It is remarkable that only 38% of the 1000 respondents thought the tram was needed/wanted/viable-this finding from the people most likely to use it or need it. And the reason that OHSU Administration says the tram is needed for OHSU's success.

That says something about how our city agencies and Council listen to their own PDC information gathering.

There are many other statistics on the survey that contradict the premises used to justify the 1/2 BILLION DOLLARS of taxpayers subsidies for North Macadam. I'll try to get the survey posted.

I think that each new mayor should have the opportunity to re-examine any projects approved but not yet started by the previous mayor and should have the power to veto projects like the scam oh I mean tram.

Once again, the citizens of this city have just been royally screwed. You think the budget woes are bad now?? Just wait a few more years and we won't have money for ANYTHING.

No more deveoper welfare!!!!!!

Lily,

If the tram increase is put to the voters to decide could a subsequent vote, by initiative again, reverse that earlier vote, as to the identified unlawful expenditures prior to the first vote?

I always thought it was kinda crazy to have a hospital on that hill with a earthquake fault so close, but what do I know and now we get a tram (rimshot).
The potential hazard during a earthquake should have been reason enough to vote this thing down.
But it wasn't. What next?
Baseball, bread and circuses.
Portland the city that works for some.
Michael

I always thought it was kinda crazy to have a hospital on that hill with a earthquake fault so close, but what do I know...

I minored in geology for my undergraduate degree, and one of my professors was hired to analyze the earthquake dangers up there for the Veterans Hospital. His analysis...don't build. They thanked him, paid him...and built.

In a major emergency...just think about all the city's emergency room capabilities tied up on that hill. It wouldn't take much to make it all inaccesible.

And how much of Riverplace --and now Sowa-- is built on alluvial fill that turns to jello in an earthquake?

What if Saltzman had a consulting job already lined up with OHSU or Homer in case Amanda wins the election?

It seems like a small thing to ask for in exchange for several million dollars from the PDC and countless millions saved in legal fees and construction delays.

Call it the "Mr. Brown goes to private enterprise" strategy.

Ron- Interesting questions but I have no idea as to the correct answer. Jack, you're the attorney, whadda ya think??

Alice,

"Prison Blues" is sort of private enterprise. The workers get a wage and someone else gets to benefit from whatever public-private deal is made. We could escape over the fence but where would we go?

Just be nice to the Warden so you can get to work in the kitchen or get a good credit rating (FICA score or bond rating or good time credits).

Warden Saltzman has a nice ring to it. (Assistant Warden Sal.)

Lily,

He can't say. There is too fine an ethics line and he cannot cross it. He can only argue stuff in the general public interest, and keep folks entertained. He cannot advise private parties here and would have to pretty much stop blogging. But I can, as the bar itself is my intended target. The city attorney could ask, and should ask, the general counsel of the bar. But they, the bar, would not dare to quarrel with stuff within the realm of the elected DA's discretion; in like manner to my plea regarding arguments made by the elected AG on other matters. Jack can neither agree or disagree with what I might say. It is enforced silence, then again I might just be crazy.

The reasoning is intended to be unassailable all on its own and free from the stamp of approval from a lawyer or even a judge, only from the reader's perspective.

Does the question make sense to you?

-- Signed, Unofficial Court Jester

Its a good thing for the Sheeple of Portland they have this blog to vent their anger and thus save the City Council of that trivial annoyance.

Ben,

It is only a publication of "general circulation," whatever that means for a measure of significance. (Just faster; which is usually considered superior.)

I cracked up laughing so hard this morning, I woke Anne up.

"what's so funny?" she asks.

"It's...it's the Oregonian editorial. It's, well..."

SALTZMAN SUPPLIES STEEL TO FINISH THE TRAM

And there's the Commissioner, pictured in the middle of the editorial, the words flowing around his Humphrey Bogart pose, jacket tossed back over his shoulder. It's almost...pornographic.

But maybe that's because we know who's getting the shaft.

"What's holding the tram together now...is Dan Saltzman's steel. We hope voters will recognize that, along with an element even more valuable: Leadership."

I think the picture of Dan Saltzman gives him a bit of a vacant look, eyes partially closed, mouth partially open. It suits the "editorial" perfectly. I guess in the land of the witless the half-wit is the king. Neither steel or leadership are included in the periodic table of elements. I've heard though of a new metal that has been discovered called Stupidium, very heavy and prevalent in our environment perhaps the tram could be finished with that.


They were trying pretty hard to portray Saltzman in the Mr. Smith/Jimmy Stewart/Capra Image of the brave politico standing up to do what's right, the problem is Congressman Smith of Capra fame stood up against the developers and the compliant media working for the political boss a la Goldschmidt machine, that ran things.

The Mayor -- it is more important that the car get another coat of wax than to change the kids diapers.

Tom:

Nice catch. I haven't looked at a periodic table since H/S so bully for you!

Saltzman lost my vote over this issue, despite the fact I'm afraid Amanda is just as liberal as Sten.

It's up to the voters of Portland to make sure they don't get any new sources of tax revenue: if they have money to piss off on all the pet projects, public safety, the homeless, and schools will just have to get in line.

Frank Dufay sez: I minored in geology for my undergraduate degree, and one of my professors was hired to analyze the earthquake dangers up there for the Veterans Hospital. His analysis...don't build. They thanked him, paid him...and built.

In a major emergency...just think about all the city's emergency room capabilities tied up on that hill. It wouldn't take much to make it all inaccesible.

And how much of Riverplace --and now Sowa-- is built on alluvial fill that turns to jello in an earthquake?

All of it, Frank. All of it.

I didn't minor in geology, but I did notice the map published by the Oregonian some years back that showed the "at-risk areas during a 6.8 quake on the Portland Hills Fault", which, based upon Oregon Department of Geology and U.S. Geological Survey data, shows the Portland metropolitan area in a gradiated color isobar map indictating the expected levels of ground-shaking. Council Crest and Marquam Hill are the target center with the big red spot indicating the highest level of violent shaking. That's OHSU.

Combine this with the knowledge that the Portland Hills are basically covered with a layer of loess deposited during the Ice Ages. Loess is a very fine particulate, which when in deposition and saturated with water, becomes very unstable. With a sufficient shock, like an earthquake, after a protracted rain (now, that doesn't happen around here, does it?), the saturated loess becomes a slurry and gravity takes hold...moving the soil and everything on it downhill until it reaches the angle of repose. That means you can build earthquake-resistant structures, but they'd also better be able to resist the shear strength of a bazillion tons of soil, rubble and vegetation headed downhill.

Note here that OHSU is not at the top of Marquam Hill, but a little over halfway up the hill. In the event of such a scenario as I've described, there is a high likelihood that the slopes above and under OHSU will carry it down the gully in which it is located to very near the west end of the Ross Island Bridge. I've been telling my co-workers for years that if they truly intend to be prepared for an earthquake, they'd better learn to dirt-surf.

Also, a co-worker, while doing research on the history of OHSU expansion, informed me that a 1934 geologist's report, from when OHSU was considering expansion on the hill then, clearly advises that no further expansion should be undertaken. That was 1934. The same message as was presented to them in the mid-1970s.

OHSU has a long and honored history of ignoring anything which stands in the way of what the egos of the leadership there want. It does not matter that the institution is built upon shaky ground, or that they would place the lives of thousands of employees and patients at risk. Their long-standing and evidently intractable "edifice complex" must be accomodated; nature and the taxpayer be damned.

This 8th Tram editorial in a matter of weeks spews the stuff of unethical people driven by conflicts of interest and addiction to misinformation.

Having lied so often for so long regarding Urban Renewal Tax Increment Financing any truthfulness now would be an admission of their long term
misrepresentations.

"Shrewd", "triggered", "leveraged" and "no general fund dollars" doles out yet another insultingly dishonest misrepresentation of this quickly worsening fiscal and planning mess in South Waterfront.

Established in 1999 the 409 acre North Macadam (SoWa) Urban Renewal district began immediately diverting good old regular general fund property taxes from every exiting piece of real estate in the district. As with every UR district every yearly routine increase in taxes never makes it to any general funds. It is diverted just prior to arriving at those chronically underfunded basic services who need those increases to help offset rising costs.

Along with other components of their misinformation these editorials repeat over and over again distortions that these tax increases and Urban Renewal revenues would have happened were it not for the subsidized development.
This could no be more false.
Large swaths of existing real estate and all of their annual and routine property tax increases, which occur with or without "Urban Renewal", are included in every district. In the case of SoWa the greater 409 acres is diverting all increases into the 130 acre targeted development.

Another component of distortion is the claim that no development can or would happen without the massive public investment.

An investment amount which has yet to appear in ANY of the editorials or news stories in the Oregonian.
How is it that a project unequaled in it's size and public investment has it's public cost of more than $1/2 Billion in property tax revenue unreported week in week out month after month after month?
While at the same time they are omitting the massive public cost every story and editorial drum beats that it is the Tram not the $1/2 Billion that is triggering the development.

The $1/2 Billion in infrastructure and public improvement projects are also suffering from worse ailments than the early Tram estimates.
These project cost estimates have proven to be grossly underestimated, revenue protections overstated and progress falls further behind every month.

When will our newspapers find the steel to begin informing the public about these not so swell circumstances?

After the May primary?

And of course remember that the Oregonian's editorial page editor Bob Caldwell is married to the OHSU's chief communications director Lora Cuykendall.

"Note here that OHSU is not at the top of Marquam Hill, but a little over halfway up the hill. In the event of such a scenario as I've described, there is a high likelihood that the slopes above and under OHSU will carry it down the gully in which it is located to very near the west end of the Ross Island Bridge. I've been telling my co-workers for years that if they truly intend to be prepared for an earthquake, they'd better learn to dirt-surf."

That could shorten the tram route.

It should would.

'Course, running the tram *rimshot* would be rather like a pull toy being dragged through a rubble heap.

I certainly wouldn't get on.

Once upon a time (as I recall it) Porkland enjoyed having five Trauma Hospitals to serve the area.

However, the State discredited three leaving us with OHSU and Emanuel to share the Life Flight supported benefits.

Life Flight, the transport service that always enjoys a paying passenger even if its a two year old girl who was back in her parents arms about two hours after her terrifying helicopter ride.

Do you all realize how much you sound like a lynch mob? So much mud slinging and so little rationality. You complain about higher property prices because you don't want to pay more taxes. You complain about using taxes to support the growth of an area which will pay a greater portion of the taxes per person. And despite the fact that the city contribution of the Tram comes out of the future taxes from SoWa, you still hate the tram. You also blame it for the current school system's woes, despite the fact that you voted down the ITAX and don't want to increase your taxes. AND in an age where decent human beings are rare in politics, you now want to vote out a decent and good man because he is willing to sacrifice his political image for YOUR good.

To top it all off, your reasons for not building the Tram seem to come down to F-15's flying into it, and earthquakes destroying it. Wow, why don't we just tear down anything higher than 2 stories in Portland then? People, where's the beef in your complaints?

Hahn:

You need to go the previous comment from Steve Schopp and read it again: ALL the existing businesses/residences/property are included in the URD (not just the new development).

TIF is kind of like the limitations we put on our property tax assessments(which still go up every year), yet goverment at every level is still poor-mouthing us as if we quit paying taxes. The difference between TIF and our property tax assessments: TIF is a hard cap (a freeze), and none of the "benefits" of develop accrue to the general fund during the TIF's duration. But they still need fire and police protection, they can still send their children to public schools, and they still use heavily subsidized transit and boondoggle (Tram) infrastructure.

If the Tram was such a vital piece of SoWa infrastructure, how come Homer and OHSU didn't insist on building it themselves? Heaven knows that if I needed a $2 billion "linchpin" I wouldn't delegate it's construction to the City of Portland.

The development of prime riverfront property would have happened a long time ago (and without participation from OHSU, Dike/Dame, or a Tram) if Vera had not blocked previous developers.

The tram was never a viable project to begin with. City agencies reported that it didn't contribute much to solve the projected traffic problems expected as a result of the NMD develoment. Furthermore, Council made decisions based on data purposely presented by supposedly knowledgeable and responsible agency, commission and board representatives in an inaccurate manner.

So where do we go from here? Venting our spleen on a blog might lower our blood pressure for a moment. But how about going after (criminally or civil) those who the Oregonian recently reported met in executive session and decided, from the beginning, to keep the Council, and even some members of the PATI Board and the public in the dark about the escalating tram construction costs.

They practiced the Robert Moses (Commissioner of Parks, NYC) theory of development. Apparently, it's easier to wring one's hands, apologize, and take the money once the project is under way rather than inform the decision makers in advance of the problems.

I would suggest City Council seek legal action against those individuals for defrauding the public (or at least Council, if various Council members statements are to be believed).

If Council takes no action to recover the costs, then I suggest that Council is complicit in the cover-up and no longer represents the public interest. Council members should be removed from office and then each be individually liable for the increased project costs.

Hahn,
At least try and pretend you know what you are talking about while you attempt to deceive.

""""And despite the fact that the city contribution of the Tram comes out of the future taxes from SoWa, you still hate the tram.""""

SoWa has been skimming property taxes from exiting properties in the district since 1999 and will continue doing so for decades as basic services struggle to keep pace with rising costs.

Your apparent desire to keep from public consideration the real and entire costs of this boondoggle Porkland farce along with it's many detriments and fatal flaws makes you no friend of either basic services, prudent public investments or genuine fiduciary responsibility by public officials.
Or OHSU employees.
Of which only 38% wanted the Tram in OHSU's own poll at a time when the cost was $28 million.

Now that OHSU's share has grown to $38 million they are on the hook for around $3.6 million per year for at least 20 years.

That money will come from their general fund causing further degradation of their core missions of providing health care, education and research.

Your allegiance to a process consisting of rampant recklessness and risk without regard for basic accounting and budgeting is disgusting.

The city and public cannot afford this approach or the tremendous cost.

You apparently are not even interested in knowing what it is and would prefer few if any do.

Steve, you're arrogant. Takes one to know one.

Hahn, April 8: Do you all realize how much you sound like a lynch mob? So much mud slinging and so little rationality. You complain about higher property prices because you don't want to pay more taxes.
JK: What is wrong with not wanting our money wasted by city hall on one grand scheme after another? PGE Park, Selling the water bureau, buying PGE , $200million on the Pearl to build a yuppie playground. Empty convention center that needs a grand new hotel to succeed. While we cut police and fire protection. And schools.

Hahn, April 8: You complain about using taxes to support the growth of an area which will pay a greater portion of the taxes per person.
JK: Maybe. In about 50 years. ALL tax revenue from increased value will stay in the district for the life of the UR district (20Years??) AND until the last bond is paid off. If issued on the last day of the UR district this may add 20 years to the 20 years before all taxes go to basic services. By then that district will be old enough to need another renewal. I case you really don’t know (instead of trolling for Saltzman/PDC/Homer/OHSU) there is currently $67 million property tax money being colleted and diverted from city services into our current UR districts. You appear to want more to go to these districts. By the way that district would be paying taxes today if the idiot from New York (katz) hadn’t stopped the original plans of the landowners to develop a medium density neighborhood for ordinary folk, instead of high rises for millionaires.

Hahn, April 8: And despite the fact that the city contribution of the Tram comes out of the future taxes from SoWa, you still hate the tram.
JK: That is tax money that should be going to the general fund for basic services. It doesn’t. The rest of the city has to make up the difference in higher taxes or lowered services. AND we have to pay for basic services for the SoWhat.

Hahn, April 8: You also blame it for the current school system's woes, despite the fact that you voted down the ITAX and don't want to increase your taxes.
JK: I don’t recall voting down the I-tax

Hahn, April 8: AND in an age where decent human beings are rare in politics, you now want to vote out a decent and good man because he is willing to sacrifice his political image for YOUR good.
JK: More on this item when I finish my research.

Hahn, April 8: To top it all off, your reasons for not building the Tram seem to come down to F-15's flying into it, and earthquakes destroying it. Wow, why don't we just tear down anything higher than 2 stories in Portland then?
JK: Lets compromise on 4 stories. That will save a lot of money. In case you don’t know, construction costs more, per square foot, as building height goes up. Portland is giving tax breaks to developers to build taller buildings than are economically feasible. This is not a formula for building a successful city. It is a formula for building a high cost place to live and work. That, along with stupid regulations, has been driving business out of town for years. We will continue to lose those jobs until the elected officials learn basic economics.

Thanks
JK

>SoWa has been skimming property taxes from exiting properties in the district since 1999 and will >continue doing so for decades as basic services struggle to keep pace with rising costs.

So let me get this straight: none of the property taxes from N Macadam should go towards development of SoWa which is in N Mac. And at the same time, none of your taxes should go towards development of SoWa either. Hmm, THAT makes sense!

>Of which only 38% wanted the Tram in OHSU's own poll at a time when the cost was $28 million.

That's a weak argument. If we needed a majority vote to build something, we wouldn't have 95% of the buildings that are currently in Portland. The Rose Garden Arena, the Zoo, the Eastbank Esplanade, the Waterfront Park and the Japanese Gardens wouldn't have been built. If you want that kind of city, move to the Wilsonville.

>Now that OHSU's share has grown to $38 million they are on the hook for around $3.6 million per year >for at least 20 years. That money will come from their general fund causing further degradation of >their core missions of providing health care, education and research.

So now you're an authority figure on how OHSU should finance their money? You're joking, right? No one could be that arrogant.

>Your allegiance to a process consisting of rampant recklessness and risk without regard for basic >accounting and budgeting is disgusting.
Your personal attacks on me are what's disgusting. My stance is pretty simple. I like seeing the city grow and develop. I pay a sizeable chunk of taxes, of which the vast majority has absolutely no benefit to me, but I accept it as the price of being part of a growing community. Some of us actually LIKE what they've done with the city. It hasn't been perfect, but no urban development plan is. Name a city that has done better.

Do you even live in Portland? I'd like to know how this specifically affects you that you would spend so much time and energy riling up the mobs in so many blogs. Or are you just trying to be the Rush Limbaugh of blogs?

Hahn, April 8: You also blame it for the current school system's woes, despite the fact that you voted down the ITAX and don't want to increase your taxes.
JK: I don’t recall voting down the I-tax
godfry: Me neither. I do remember paying it. For three years.

Isn't that what you call a "band-aid"?

And while we're on the subject, do you even live in Portland?

I do.

Hahn, April 8, 09:11 PM So let me get this straight: none of the property taxes from N Macadam should go towards development of SoWa which is in N Mac. And at the same time, none of your taxes should go towards development of SoWa either. Hmm, THAT makes sense!
JK: You bet it makes sense. If the developers want to build a new “neighborhood” let them and their customers foot the whole bill. You know, just like the original owners wanted to do, but the city wouldn’t let them.

Hahn, April 8, 09:11 PM That's a weak argument. If we needed a majority vote to build something, we wouldn't have 95% of the buildings that are currently in Portland. The Rose Garden Arena, the Zoo, the Eastbank Esplanade, the Waterfront Park and the Japanese Gardens wouldn't have been built. If you want that kind of city, move to the Wilsonville.
JK: Ahh! The old ”if you don’t like the way I want to spend YOUR money get out of town”, argument.

Hahn, April 8, 09:11 PM My stance is pretty simple. I like seeing the city grow and develop. I pay a sizeable chunk of taxes, of which the vast majority has absolutely no benefit to me, but I accept it as the price of being part of a growing community.
JK: Spoken like a true PDC/OHSU shill. If you like to see the city grow, you can pay for it. Don’t expect me to want to pay for yuppie playgrounds while we are cutting police, fire and schools.

Hahn, April 8, 09:11 PM Some of us actually LIKE what they've done with the city. It hasn't been perfect, but no urban development plan is. Name a city that has done better.
JK:Surely you’re kidding - since most of the new stuff IS RUINING PORTLAND’S LIVABILITY. You are building stuff that is so economically un-viable, that it required taking money from police, fire and schools to get it built. It will be a financial drain for decades. And for what? To overcrowd our roads even more? To pollute the air even more? To try to make Portland more like Los Angeles? The reality is that the purpose of the SoWhat, the tram and the Pearl is all the same: To feed millions of dollars to campaign contributors and friends.

I reap no income form city planning, city policy or smart growth, can you say the same?

Do you receive any income from OHSU, the city, or any entity that benefits from building civic projects?

Thanks
JK

I paid for the I-tax as well, and I don't have kids. That's my point. We all pay taxes for which a large % of it are used for things that don't benefit us. Likewise, some of the things that DO benefit you like the taxes that go towards your kids schools also come from people who don't have kids. How can anyone be so self centered as to think that every penny paid into taxes should benefit them directly?

JK, what's this assumption that I'm spending your money?! I have no ulterior motives here. I simply enjoy seeing the development around town.

Your calling me an OHSU shill is unwarranted. I'm no fan of big corporation and OHSU certainly isn't my favorite, but I think they are doing their part in this project. They SHOULD get assistance with the Tram because they are not the lone beneficiaries nor will their patients/employees be the lone users.

JK, before all the development took place, are you seriously saying that the police, fire, and schools were in good shape? The only one of those three that I would agree is in really bad shape now is the school system. But that's ALWAYS been bad. I'll say it again: $270 million dollars was given to Multnomah schools over 3 years. Explain to me exactly how the money improved the school system? Did we have a higher high school graduation rate? Better SAT scores? And if it was such a great idea, why didn't we just make it permanent? I voted for it (again - I have NO kids). This is a loss of $90 million per year in revenue, and yet a one time 8.5 million for the Tram is the reason why our school system sucks? Please.

If you all would stop throwing insults and accusations at me, we might actually have a civilized discussion. But no, you just jump straight to the finger pointing that I must be some evil corporate person who wants to destroy the school system and that I stand to rake in millions of dollars from the Tram. Let's lynch the dissenter! Sheesh.

Hahn: attacking Steve Schopp and calling him the "Rush Limbaugh of blogs" hardly entitles you to victim ("lynch the dissenter") status.

It usually takes wing-nuts five or six posts before they start calling Steve names, so you're way ahead of the curve (hurling personal attacks in your second post). Don't throw spears if you don't enjoy receiving them: "oh my! Now they're throwing spears at ME! What savages!"

O.K. then, if you're not an OHSU shill, which construction company do you work for?

How can anyone be so self centered as to think that every penny paid into taxes should benefit them directly?

The issue, Hahn, is more about people who think every penny of other people's money paid into taxes should benefit them. :-)

OHSU demands a public subsidy from urban renewal noney that comes from property taxes. Property taxes that OHSU doesn't pay. I fail to see the fairness in that. Or logic.

And its not like OHSU is run as a real charity, its humble managers paid little more than the hard-working nurses and staff who serve their public. Peter Kohler is not Mother Teresa. This is about hiring Neil Goldschmidt to lobby; hiring PR firms; astronomical salaries and perks...and line staff who, when polled, don't even seem to want this tram.

Amanda Fritz, running against Commisioner Saltzman, has made an interesting point, coming from the experience of someone who works there as a nurse. The tram is point to single point. As though there's only that one place among the sprawling OHSU campus that people will have as their destination. Wouldn't it be more useful, she's asked, to have a shuttle bus with multiple stops, to get people where they really need to get to up there?

Wouldn't shuttle buses --at far, far less cost-- be, in reality, more utilitarian...and faster?

And let's remember, the City Council didn't just approve the tram over the objections of the neighbors, or the Jim Karlocks and Steve Schopps...the City Council approved the tram over the objections of its own Planning Commision. A Planning Commision that had extensive hearings on the viability of this tram plan and concluded...we need more analysis. We need to understand if this is cost effective. And that was before all the recent cost excalation.

Now we'll have a Council "Hearing" again...where the outcome has been decided ahead of time --once again-- not in a public process, but after behind closed doors arm-twisting.

Hahn, I've live in Portland a long time, almost my entire adult life, love this city, and am not anti-tram in the abstract; not even opposed to the use of urban renewal money to help spur needed development. But we need to use urban renewal money effectively and intelligently, as seed money to accomplish what the market, on its own can't accomplish. Not use this "other people's money" to reward well-connected insiders who rely on lobbyists and political contributions --not an informed public discussion and process-- to make their case.

Well said Frank.

Alice, in the very first line of his reply Steve states that I don't know what I'm talking about and then says I'm "deceiving" people. He goes on to suggest that I'm hiding something, that "my allegiance" is "disgusting". I have every right to be annoyed and fire back. Sorry to disappoint you, but I don't stand to benefit from the development at all, no matter how many times you say it. I'm merely standing up for Saltzman who is unfairly (and viciously) being made a scapegoat by you all. You're making him pay the price for doing the right thing. Go look up how much it would've cost the city if the Tram is stopped at this point - I assume you would've blamed him for that too?

Frank, I agree that urban renewal money should be used effectively. But so far I haven't seen other suggestions besides giving it to schools. That's a nice argument (after all, anyone who argues against that is automatically some evil child hater), but one which ignores the bigger picture. It's fairly simple. First of all, IMHO the school system's main problem is not lack of money. BUT let's say for a second it is. Redirecting other funds towards schools is not a cure. It's temporary relief. It's like putting someone on crutches and pain meds for the rest of their life rather than just doing hip replacement surgery. And the ongoing costs keep going up as Steve mentioned. The only way you're going to really increase funds is by taxes. You have 2 choices - either raise taxes (permanently), or draw more people into the city/area. The city has chosen to go the second route, and I agree with that.

Frank, re: the property taxes - The reason that OHSU SHOULD get a portion of the other property taxes because their development there 1)increases property value, and 2)increases urban residents. Both of these increase taxes. Without OHSU, SoWa would never have gotten off the ground. Likewise, without the city, SoWa wouldn't have started. Both parties have interests in seeing SoWa take off. The city's payoff is in significantly increased tax income in the next 10 years.

The reason that OHSU SHOULD get a portion of the other property taxes because their development there 1)increases property value...

It doesn't matter how much their property value goes up if they're not paying any property taxes on it. Other properties developing nearby...should OHSU get a commission? :-)

2)increases urban residents.

New Doctors offices and research facilities don't directly provide a place for these new "urban residents" to live. They do, however, create traffic and infrastructure needs in South Waterfront also being paid for with urban renewal money. Then there's the $7.2 million in urban renewal and short-in-supply Parks funds-- to buy a park site in South Waterfront. We haven't funded a park...that's $7.2 million for the empty lot. No wait, it's not empty we also have to pay to demolish the structures. What a bargain and what an effective use of limited Park Bureau and PDC resources, huh?

In the meantime, my neighborhood in close in SE (my house was built in 1925) is still waiting for a community center. And how many neigborhoods have been paying property taxes for years (and years and years) and are still waiting for a neighborhood park? Or sidewalks? Or are drive driving on gravel roads?

Where are our priorities?

The Portland Office of Transportation's Strategic Plan spells it out pretty clearly. "There are no strategic choices open to PDOT that do not require significant trade-offs."

Number one of the "Strategies for Action"?

...slow the rate of asset growth and complexity

So we're adding a tram? Whose budget is out of control, and whose engineering is untried?

Hahn, no one's arguing --or at least I'm not-- that we can't do development well in Portland. But it's feeling like we're pulling a frayed rubber band further and further apart...and it's going to snap. And it could hurt.

Frank, the discussion of urban development is a large topic and one that I had not meant to get into. My issue with the posts here was mainly the unfair scapegoating of Saltzman. The issue of urban development is much bigger than we can really get into in these comments with this blog's posting policies. So I'll just say this - it's not possible to do urban development in a way that makes everyone happy. It's naive to think that simply voting for someone else is suddenly going to get you that community center. It didn't happen prior to the urban renewal; what makes you think voting for someone other than Saltzman would change that? Priority in urban development will always favor areas that are likely to produce greater returns. Simple fact of economics (and yes, I'm a liberal). That said, I think the city has done a commendable job of balancing altruistic goals with financial goals. There are numerous examples of cities that have done far FAR worse. As an example, I look at the NE area and I see an area that most cities would've given up on, but instead, it's now an up and coming area. The SouthEast is far from being abandoned and I'm sure its turn will come as well.

I LOVE Portland. It's a great city and I have yet to see major screwups. I can't think of another city that has a better track record. I think most of you could agree, even if reluctantly. So then, doesn't it stand to reason that the City Council deserves just the slightest bit of the benefit of the doubt rather than immediately casting them as immoral money mongerers at your first feeling of nervousness? On the road towards a vision, there will always be bumps in the road. It doesn't mean you start screaming at the driver for doing a crappy job of driving. The bumps in the road are there regardless of who's at the wheel.

Hahn: irrespective of your love for Portland (which most of us share), and the drawback of punishing the most recent idignity (i.e. tram is bad, Saltzman voted for Tram, ergo Saltzman is bad), YOU HAVE TO ADMIT THAT YOU ARE WILLFULLY BLIND IF YOU REALLY BELIEVE (as you stated above):

It's a great city and I have yet to see major screwups.

No major screwups? Not one? Are you kidding?

The cost of building the tram quadrupled from the $15.5 million estimate, but you don't see it as a "major screwup"? What if the price jumped to $80 million, or it couldn't be safely operated? Would that be "major screwup"?

The replacement software for Bureau of Environmental Services is only now going live, how many YEARS after Erik ignored his own staff's warnings about the flaws in the first package?

Portland is the only major city in the U.S. to withdraw from the JTTF, but they just can't seem to figure out why the EPA is forcing them to toe the line on the Clean Surface Water regulations and CSO's? Do you really think they're going to send a memo titled "Paybacks a b!t(h: making Portland squeal like a piggy!"

If the City Council chooses to create new and exciting ways to spend limited tax dollars (voter owned elections, $60 million Tram for private benefit, 2% for public art), WHILE IGNORING PUBLIC INPUT, they force us to hold them accountable via the only remaining mechanism. The screw-ups are too frequent, too expensive, and too dismissive of substantive public participation: THROW THE BUMS OUT! is the only meaningful strategy left at this stage.

Hahn. April 9, 11:32 AM The only way you're going to really increase funds is by taxes. You have 2 choices - either raise taxes (permanently), or draw more people into the city/area.
JK: And what if all those new people pay LESS in tax than they consume in services? Then new people will only raise taxes even more. Keep in mind that the urban renewal district will not be contributing to the general fund for 20-40 years. ALL of the property tax collected above the value that the district had when it was formed, are kept in the district. Think of it as a LID where their property taxes pay off the LID, instead of the general fund. The county is collecting $67 MILLION yearly from UR districts that stays in the districts (see www.saveportland.com. ) That is money that would SOLVE most of our financial problems.

Further the city is driving out those that pay more taxes than they consume in services: industry.

Hahn. April 9, 11:32 AM The reason that OHSU SHOULD get a portion of the other property taxes because their development there 1)increases property value, and 2)increases urban residents. Both of these increase taxes.
JK: Not for around 40 years. That district will be a drain of the city until the UR district is closed AND the bonds paid off. Of course the OHSU stuff will NEVER PAY TAX - it is a non-profit, as is the doctor’s group that owns most of the so called OHSU building. It is doubtful that the district will EVER PAY ENOUGH TAX TO MAKE UP FOR THE INITIAL INVESTMENT of over ˝ BILLION (official number +estimated interest, expect it to double or triple like the tram did).

Hahn. April 9, 11:32 AM Without OHSU, SoWa would never have gotten off the ground. Likewise, without the city, SoWa wouldn't have started.
JK: Please quit the lies. That whole area would have been developed and paying taxes by now if the bitch from New York had not blocked the original owners plans to develop.

Hahn. April 9, 11:32 AM The city's payoff is in significantly increased tax income in the next 10 years.
JK: YOU ARE WRONG AGAIN. That UR district will still be in existence in 10 years which means that ALL TAX FROM THOSE NEW BUILDINGS will still be going to pay for the bonds that built the roads and parks and other things that many existing neighborhoods don’t have.

And the rest of the taxpayers (including people that have to choose between food and tax payment) have to make up the lost revenue, either through higher taxes or lowered services. Some families go to bed hungry because the city shoves millions into millionaire condos in the SoWhat. Do you really want this?

Thanks
JK

Alice, too many things to address and clearly you and I will not see eye to eye on this issue. But at least have the courtesy to refrain from insinuating that I'm stupid, immoral, blind, and money driven. And I promise to do likewise.

It's interesting to see how many of you state that the money would better serve education or poverty programs when you haven't even defined the problem(s), much less throw out some estimates. Still, you seem POSITIVE that more money would solve the problems (whatever they are). A city without sufficient citizens (and yes, some need to be rich) couldn't even afford to repair the roads, much less feed the homeless or hire more teachers. Believe it or not, these are important to me too. However, we can't deal with these issues financially until we deal with the money flow issues. It's short sighted to claim that these issues would improve if we stopped urban development. Those problems were here LONG before the Pearl was a glint in Vera's eye.

And no, I don't see the changed estimate as a major screwup because no one who actually ever thought more than a few seconds about the Tram and the engineering specs ever believed the $15.5 estimate (which was provided by a ski lift engineer). Stopping it at this point would cost the city 10 times more than would it would cost to continue. But you're too fixated on the evil-ness of the Tram to bother taking that into consideration. Let's also conveniently forget that the city's price tag is $8.5 NOT $55 million.

It's far easier to be a critic than to actually come up with specific solutions. Which is why you don't see movie critics making Oscar winning movies. Before you decide that the current council needs to be booted, you should ask how sure you are that the alternatives WILL do better or even differently. Step back and take a deep breath for a sec. Consider Portland as a whole and ask, "Are there more pros to this city, or are there more cons?" If it's the former, then consider giving the council a little leeway. They're often put in impossible situations and it's often not easy to do the "right thing" or even to be sure what the right thing is. It's an unfortunate fact that even when you DO the right thing 99% of the time, no one ever notices. But with the slightest misstep even with good intentions, people suddenly treat you like you were the most vile human being to ever walk the planet.

Sincere apologies if these posts are considered too long.

"Stopping it at this point would cost the city 10 times more than would it would cost to continue. But you're too fixated on the evil-ness of the Tram to bother taking that into consideration."

I could declare my love for the tram and all things as tall as 325 feet and all things enabled by big bonds with their future payments and still oppose the violations of the process that are continuing today.

Nice try Hahn. But no better than the 8 Oregonian Tram editorials.
Are you by any chance Randy Gragg?

Folks,

Hahn's parade of falsehoods is a good example of why there is now, because of Urban Renewal abuse, over $4 Billion in Portland real estate value NOT having ANY of it's property taxes going to schools or other basic services.
$65 million, just this one fiscal year, is being diverted away from these services. $20 million of it would be going to schools and the rest to police, fire parks and other basic services.

That's not opinion Hahn, that's from the county tax assessor.

SoWa promises to worsen the problem.

Along with PDC plans, budgets, reports, amendments, URAC meeting documents and news reports a far different reality than the one you are selling emerges.

Are you, under anonymity, deliberately misleading people?

The city prohibited development, (without the current massive public subsidies), from happening in SoWa years ago. Pile upon the heap of other enormous public costs the loss of years of property taxes from that development that otherwise would have occurred.
Your claim that no developement was possbile is a lie.

One of your more insulting and clearest misrepresentations was,

"""" The city's payoff is in significantly increased tax income in the next 10 years""""

Who told you that? There is no payoff in the next ten years. It will likely be 40 or more years if the full extent of the planned projects are completed at public cost as planned.
The greater SoWa is being handled as recklessly as the early Tram estimates.

From the PDC website and SoWa plan:
"By the end of FY 2024/25, sufficient urban renewal tax revenue is projected to be collected to retire all outstanding bonded indebtedness necessary to finance the plan. Urban renewal taxes would therefore be projected to cease"
http://www.pdc.us/pdf/dev_serv/pubs/dev_macadam_report.pdf

Unfortunately it won't be 2025 either because that was the assumption when the plan was adopted in 1999. At that time it was projected to be $288 million in projects and $160 million in debt service. (same link table 6).
Every dollar paid by property taxes from the entire 409 acre district.
Not just the new 130 acre development.
The cost is far higher now and it will take countless millions more and at least an additional 15 years to retire the debt and return the taxes to basic services.

Because now we have:

Nearly every infrastructure and public project cost being way over budget.
Revenue far short of projections.
Exceeded TIF borrowing capacity.
Money being borrowed from other districts.
Progress far behind schedule.
Years of interest rate increases which could easily double the debt service cost. That's another $160 million just for added debt service.
And OHSU now owns 20 more acres of the 130 and they pay no property taxes
What else is the city doing or not doing?

1) No confirmation of the FHWA Airspace Lease for the Tram.
2) No full and genuine life cycle cost of the Tram has ever been provided.

3) The PDC refused to provide the State law required yearly reports on Urban Renewal impacts to basic services.

4) There is no current accounting of SoWa including completed work, current project estimates, revenue projections, progress schedule and projected timeline for public improvements completion.

5) The most recent so called "budget update" given to the South Waterfront Urban Renewal advisory committee was a laugher with missing numbers, unknown project costs, entire components missing and no totals of either costs or revenue. E-mail me for a copy. It is truly a display of amateur hour accounting. stevescare@aol.com

6)OHSU LID commitments to pay off the Tram will carve away $3.6 million a year for 20 years from their operating budget. Something they did not plan on when they decided to expand.

7) The "linchpin" for SoWa is the now $700 million, and rising, public cost of free infrastructure for the developers.

8) The Tram and SoWa are both way over budget and behind schedule yet public officials, PDC's Bruce Warner, are telling the public things are on track and going as planned.

9)While claiming biotech research expansion is underway OHSU has been pursuing the Hotel business, a commercial/retail/parking operation and stated recently they really wanted an "Institute for Excellence in Nursing and the Rural Frontier Delivery Program" but they decided to help the city develop SoWa?

10) OHSU has yet to put any real money into the Tram or SoWa.

11) They got their Doctor's 501c3 OHSU Medical Group to build the first building.
They haven't paid one dime for the Tram yet.
Not one dime for any of the SoWa infrastructure.
And no LID payments.

12) OHSU has been paid:

$5 million cash from borrowed TIF funds from the PDC for something labeled "commercializable biotech research space" .

$3 million cash from borrowed TIF funds for reserving 100 parking spaces in a future building OHSU will be building. (the OHSU retail/commercial/parking building)

$3 million cash from borrowed TIF funds for structural upgrades in that future building.

and $3 million TIF cash in matching funds for lobbying for fed funds for that future building.

13)OHSU was guaranteed a new 3rd LID of their own to finance that new retail/commercial/parking building when they do build it. OHSU is to become landlords in the retail/commercial/parking business?

14) Members of the SoWa Urban Renewal Advisory Committee have calculated that currently there are $127 million in over budget/unfunded public improvements with basic transportation improvements far behind schedule.

15) The PDC has reported that the TIF borrowing capacity has been exceeded.

Hey, there's another tram for you guys to get mad about, from the O:

"Mount Hood resort operators hope skiers someday can park their cars at huge parking lots before reaching Government Camp and then ride a shuttle bus or aerial cable car connecting the three major ski areas."

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

Let's see Jack blame this one on Sten... ;)

Hey Hahn: Ok, its getting pretty obvious that you are someone with a personal interest in Saltzman, the tram, OHSU or NorthMacadam . But which is it and what is you relationship?

Do you receive any income from OHSU, the city, or any entity that benefits from building civic projects?

Do you work for Saltzman or his campaign?

Thanks
JK

The name calling on this blog has gotten worse and worse. The foul language and racial slurs make us all look pathetic. While my sporadic attempts to take part have met with nothing but huge slap downs and rudness, I am trully disappointed by the lack of intelligent discussion lately. Jack, you would have thrown someone off for the word "stooge" but not "bitch" or insulting someone's race. What's up?

Hahn,

I relocated to Portland six years ago, though my family has been in the area for a quarter century.

I wish I could agree with you but I cannot. I look to Portland's "competition" for the title of up and coming areas, and I see Portland falling further and further behind. I have in mind Nashville, Austin, Raleigh/Durham, Madison, San Jose, Seattle, even Boise.

We face continuing school funding crises and families are fleeing the city. Traffic congestion is rapidly rising to among the worst in the country. There has not been a single major new corporate employer (while other cities have rebounded substantially from the tech bust). Our central city is losing jobs. And our political system seems increasingly dysfunctional.

Meanwhile the council seems focussed on pet ideas like Joint Terrorism or development projects that focus solely on creating more condos for unambitious creative class transplants (read the articles that compare Seattle to Portland in particular--the transplants that we get in Portland look right demographically, but in terms of attitude--their entrepeneurial potential--many just don't have what it takes).

I think this City retains tremendous potential. I WANT to be optimistic. But it is really hard.

I see us sitting still or even going backwards, while our competition is moving forwards. We presume we'll do well just because, well, we're PORTLAND, right? And everyone just wants to live here.

OK! Where do we go from here?

For starters, how about holding accountable those that provided the City Council false information - on purpose? At least three city commissioners (to include the Mayor) are going to commit the city for additional tram funding. Yet, if they had known of the funding need when the PATI board knew of the additional financing, they may not have continiued the project. If they chose to continue, at worst they could be accused of being "...stuck on stupid."

If any of you had investment advisors who personally committed you to spend millions of dollars on an investment based on information they knew to be false, what would you do?

If nothing, then you are a prime candidate for city council.

So, Onece again, where should we go from here?

I do not expect an answer, too simple, but what is wrong with the city passing the overrun to the very rich doctors who will be living in all those glass towers?

The real people, in the flats, won't pay an extra dime.

So, what's the fuss? Y'all a bunch of rich doctors or what?

Paul -

"Getting ahead" or "falling behind" is in the eye of the beholder. There's a column in the Seattle Times about how people in Seattle feel like they're falling behind Portland in terms of vitality and creativity, etc.

If Portland were to start growing faster than all those cities you name, everyone on this site would start screaming about how Portland is getting ruined by all the new people/money/etc.

It's not Portland that's the problem. People project their fears for the future onto the present. They look at Portland, see the change taking place, see a perceived "loss of control" over their surroundings, and fear for their own identities and psyches. They're afraid there won't be any room for them in the "new Portland." They're insecure, when it comes right down to it.

I say, adapt and prosper. What are YOU doing to create change in your own backyard? YOU have the power to change a lot more than you think. Myself, I'm being an entrepreneur, left a big company, started my own firm, and am now swimming in clients all over the globe. 2006 is on track to be my best year ever. Can you guys say the same? ;)

I had dinner with a Seattle city council staffer two weeks ago and was talking about their transportation failures and our current shortcomings. The notion in Seattle that Portland is leaping ahead is prevalent, but it's based on the fact that they have NO idea what's going on here. They only get the good press, because THEIR local media establishment has its own agenda - to sell papers in Seattle. To do so, they play the "sky is falling" card an point to the "successes" of pther places like Portland to back them up. Nothing sells (ad space) papers like fear. Jealousy, though, is a close second.

They point to our streetcar, but it's presented in Seattle as though it didn't cost anything. Seattlites believe that private money built the Streetcar. They believe private money's building the tram. They believe private money is building SoWa. They love the notion of $400MM MAX lines to Clackamas because their stupid monorail was a multi-billion dollar disaster.

In some sense, we've got it good. Our failures are generally limited to less than 10 figures.

"...I say, adapt and prosper."

Your so called "prosperity" will be negated by the fact you'll end up paying more in taxes and fees to cover the shortfalls in all our UR districts. Either that or our infrastructure, education and safety will be become so underfunded as to be non-existent.

At least Homer Williams and Steve Stadum will have theirs.

"...I say, adapt and prosper."

Your so called "prosperity" will be negated by the fact you'll end up paying more in taxes and fees to cover the shortfalls in all our UR districts. Either that or our infrastructure, education and safety will be become so underfunded as to be non-existent.

At least Homer Williams and Steve Stadum will have theirs.

you would have thrown someone off for the word "stooge" but not "bitch" or insulting someone's race. What's up?

Sometimes I grow weary of moderating. Some days, it's like being the men's room attendant at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Let's see Jack blame this one on Sten... ;)

No, that one would be Blumenauer.

Ses:

Name calling? Insulting someone's race? Where?
I've reread the comments, and don't see anything objectionable.

"Payback's a bitch" or "willfully blind" is hardly name calling.

I am NOT saying that the city shouldn't contribute to the public education system. It should, because an educated public is to everyone's benefit. However, by what justification are you claiming that the city should be 100% responsible for the education of the kids? What's your reason that those funds should come out of property taxes?

Let's summarize: Some of you seem to despise millionaires living in condos in the city. I assume you want them to leave. BUT AT THE SAME TIME you demand that their property taxes be used for school funding. That makes complete sense to you? You seem to have ZERO questions about whether the current funding for schools is being used appropriately or efficiently. You don't even seem interested in knowing how that money is spent. How can that be?? You don't even know what the problems with the school system are. Yes, there's not enough money. But WHY is there not enough money? More importantly, how much IS enough? What goal do we need to reach for it to be "enough"?

Again, let's entertain the notion that money is the root of our education system's problems (I disagree in case you were wondering). Three questions:
1) Why don't you hold the state government at all responsible for some of the costs?
2) Why is there an obligation to take money earmarked for urban renewal and use it to pay for schools?
3) And if there IS an obligation, to what degree is it? Should the city pay for 10%? 50%? 100%? And when you can answer that, tell me how you arrive at the figure.

I'm not against public education. Quite the opposite. But I question the obnoxious self-entitlement of people who seem to think that by paying X amount of taxes, they have the RIGHT to 5X worth of educational services. If kids aren't scoring well on their SAT's or there isn't a high % of them graduating from the high schools, is it the fault of the city for not giving them enough money? Or could there be SOME room for the responsibility of parents in the quality of our education system? There's a balance between society's obligation and personal responsibility. Some of you seem to favor the extreme view that society owes you everything and that you owe it nothing.

As for the urban development side of things - I agree things aren't perfect. Is there some waste? Absolutely. But again, I ask you to point out a city which you think has accomplished more or done so with a lot less waste.

Oh and yeah Steve, you got me. I have nothing better to do with my time than to come here and try to "deceive" people. I'm evil like that. Muahaha.

Hey Hahn: Ok, its getting pretty obvious that you are someone with a personal interest in Saltzman, the tram, OHSU or NorthMacadam . But which is it and what is your relationship?

Do you receive any income from OHSU, the city, or any entity that benefits from building civic projects?

Do you work for Saltzman or his campaign?

Thanks
JK

Hahn said,
"""Oh and yeah Steve, you got me. I have nothing better to do with my time than to come here and try to "deceive" people."""""

You have said a number of things are not true.
What do you call that?

You parade out a bunch of falsehoods and now you are on some tangent about education while making all sorts of false assumptions about what people think.

You ask """"I ask you to point out a city which you think has accomplished more or done so with a lot less waste""""

What's the point of your asking that when you mislead people with
"""" The city's payoff is in significantly increased tax income in the next 10 years""""?

That's so patently untrue (it must have been deliberate), as I pointed out (with evidence above), that you have no basis to ask about any other cities.

And you're lecturing about "society's obligation and personal responsibility".

That's a hoot.

And out of left field you spew, ""Some of you seem to favor the extreme view that society owes you everything and that you owe it nothing""".

No wonder you hide your identity.

You're use of misinformation and distortion to deflect criticism about the Tram/SoWa and Urban Renewal can only mean you are among the twisted who think public deception is an acceptable means to further the charade.

Fortunately, you and your allies are failing miserably to sustain the deceptions.

Got any more stories to tell?
This thread is about the Tram & SoWa.

>you and your allies are failing miserably to sustain the deceptions

"Allies"? "Deceptions"? Could you BE any more of a drama queen? As for "failing", what's your definition? Last I checked, the Tram is being finished.

>"tangent about education"
I assume you like to rant about SoWa and the Tram because the taxes aren't being used for something more to your liking (or that you feel taxes should be completely eliminated). The most common thing that is brought up is education. And so I addressed that specific point. I apologize if that confused you. I assumed it was simple to understand.

You speak in vague generalities and throw out numbers as if they speak for themselves. Besides that, you do nothing other than insult people who hold different opinions. But then I ask you about specifics, such as how much you think IS necessary to fulfill these other services (if not education) that YOU think are important, would there be enough money without increasing the population of wealthier residents (who also pay income taxes), or WHY the city SHOULD pay for the services that you want paid. For those questions, you have NOTHING to say. You're quite clear on what your position ISN'T, but you haven't given anyone a clue as to what your position IS (as a non-Portland resident).

So if you don't explain what it is that you want, what's your purpose in posting other than to sneer and make condescending remarks towards me? You're a person who obviously thinks there's no room for debate. Are you just looking for people to feed your ego and be astounded at your vast knowledge?

Hey Hahn:Do you receive any income from OHSU, the city, or any entity that benefits from building civic projects?

Do you work for Saltzman or his campaign? Why are you ignoring this question?

Thanks
JK

JackSaltzman gave in. What a guy. What a city government.
JK: Saltzman also came out in favor of a sales tax at last night's candidate's forum.

Thanks
JK


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