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Wednesday, July 5, 2006

A few real businesses left in Portland? We'll fix that...

"The central east side could be the next Pearl District or South Waterfront."
-- Portland City Commissioner Sam "the Tram" Adams.

Comments (1)

Realistically though, how far should I have to drive to get a Subway sandwich or a slice of Scmizza if I find myself stuck west of MLK? The two closest Subways are at 30th and Burnside and 12th and Powell And on the eastside, there's no Schmizza west of 82nd! And don't get me started on the dearth of bubble tea in the area. It's a tragedy. And only a streetcar and some $500/sq ft lofts are gonna rectify it.

Posted by: Chris Snethen at July 5, 2006 01:26 AM

Bean, you are so misinformed! Why, there's a fine Subway in the lovely Merrick Apartments building (full of happy tenants) just down from where the new Convention Center Hotel is going to go. It will only cost you a dollar to park on the street there. And isn't there a Pizza Schmizza on NE Broadway, just a few blocks west of where they conned that ugly condo bunker into the neighborhood under the ruse of housing a Zupan's that never showed up?

Of course, there's always room for more Disneyfication in Stenland. I'm sure there will be three Starbucks, and maybe if you beg a Whole Foods. $7-a-pound broccoli -- hurray! Randy Gragg will be back soon, and he'll need a new venue for his pretentious-architecture-critic-in-residence pose, now that his old one has ignominiously folded.

Go by Flexcar!

Posted by: Jack Bog at July 5, 2006 01:36 AM

Go by Flexcar!


I can see the neon sign now.

I stand corrected.

Posted by: Chris Snethen at July 5, 2006 01:43 AM

All those signs need subtitle signs: "You're Paying For It!"

Posted by: Jack Bog at July 5, 2006 02:06 AM

just a few blocks west of where they conned that ugly condo bunker into the neighborhood under the ruse of housing a Zupan's that never showed up?

To this day, the prime retail spot in that building is STILL open. The only tenant is a US Bank on the southwest corner. Pathetic. I feel bad for all those tenants who bought in with the expectation that they'd have a quality 24-hour grocer just a few steps away. They made it sound like Zupan's backed out over contract terms, but I wonder if they really ever expected them to sign on at all...

Posted by: Dave J. at July 5, 2006 07:19 AM

Sigh - the potholes get deeper. The area really needs a streetcar/tram extension so it can reach the Montage.

For a couple of bucks more, they have pretty good Mac 'n' cheese variants and I am a Subway fan. Just don't let Quizno's in.

Posted by: Steve at July 5, 2006 07:31 AM

From the article:
laying the groundwork for the construction of up to 4,000 new homes.

umm, where? The only place to go is up..which most likely means 3,950 six- and seven-figure condos, and 50 $1000/mo studios for the poorer folk. Just like SoWhat.

The construction cost is currently estimated at $169 million. Congress has been asked to fund 60 percent of the project.

So they arent just going to fleece the taxpayers of Portland... The whole country gets to pitch in!

You know, I suspect sometime in the future these morons will start talking about buying up homes in Laurelhurst. Gotta make room for the condo towers. That, or force people to turn them into apartments. Nobody deserves a house that big, right?

Posted by: Jon at July 5, 2006 07:56 AM

Adams- "I want to make sure that we are also able to build housing for the people who live in the area,”


Posted by: Jon at July 5, 2006 08:00 AM

The problem is that no one is looking at the cash flow and operating costs on all this stuff.

The streetcar for example by my best estimates is only recovering about 10% of its cost if you do one of Steve's real world Estimates.

What the numbers crunch to is on the website which you have to really delve into to find lists the operating costs of the main line phase 1 as $2.7 million and original capital cost of $56.9 million, which using strait line depreciation gives you $2.2 million on an average life of components (streetcars, track, and maintenance facility) of 25 years. They only collect $300,000 in revenue, or the cost recovery is only 11% and my quick estimate of cost is $96.95/rider for 48,231 riders per year.

The problem is this stuff is all neat, but the money has to come from somewhere, its like the young kid who rents the BMW or Hummer for $1000 plus insurance to impress people and show how cool he is then lives at home off his mother(the taxpayers).

One or two of these things that serve as "postcard" features is one thing, but the economics really need to be looked at and % of people using needs to be realisticly looked at before we go gung how with this, shoot the future by bonding out to build all these operating cost draing things when as so many folks have pointed out we can't even fix the potholes. At least the busses were a 30% cost recovery last time I looked.

Reference Links



Streetcar Website

Posted by: Swimmer at July 5, 2006 08:04 AM

I live in this district, and my heart just sank when I saw this quote and read the article. This is not what we want --- we just want to be able to keep our reasonably affordable beautiful old apartment (and to keep our under 10 minute bike commutes).

We love the industrial area as it is. It is a healthy bustling area that is not suited for rich-people living. The train is loud, and so is the ambulance dispatch. Will people move in and then claim the detox center and several transitional housing facilities are ruining their neighborhood, even though those groups are located here first and purposely away from dense housing areas and yet close to the social services offered nearby? How will they feel about the traffic helicopters hovering constantly over the nearby freeways?

You can't say this is about affordable housing and also say this will be the next Pearl or SoWa.

Please, Commissioners, just let us be.

Posted by: rww at July 5, 2006 08:26 AM

"the money has to come from somewhere"

When Leonard, Adams and company haven't even the level of fiduciary responsibility to demand, get, review and make public, basic spending accounts and budgets from the PDC, the amounts spent or where it comes from will never be known.

Heck they're still telling folks no general fund monies are used for Urban Renewal even though they take directly from property tax revenue $65 million a year just prior to it arriving in general fund budgets.

No budgets, no ledgers, no books, no accounts payables and no reports on the impacts of Urban Renewal mean no responsibility, no accountability and no consequences for elected officials.

It's OK that not one of them, can tell anyone who asks, what has already been spent or will be spent on SoWa.

How about a list of cash payments and promises to OHSU which coincided the "negotiations" for Tram funding shares? Fat chance.

Yet they pretend to be what? In control, monitoring or managing? Providing oversight?

They can't even tell anyone what one line item is, debt service, on just one project, the Tram. Let alone the each year's interest rates for TIF.

There is also no updated complete accounting for any Urban Renewal district available.

It's all cover up all of the time.

Anyone who doesn't think this PDC MO isn't ripe with maleficence and corruption you are the kind of Dreamer Oregon public officials Love.

Posted by: Steve Schopp at July 5, 2006 08:59 AM

I really see this in terms of addiction. You finish one project and you need the high of the next. There's a whole group of people who need this fix - this is what they do. These projects are how they get their rush. Who wants to go to the office and just sit there and govern? That's not a thrill. Fixing infrastructure isn't sexy. But playing Junior Donald Trumps with other people's money? Now that's a thrill. So it's on to the Eastside, but what then? As Paul Revere and the Raiders said, "Kicks just keep getting harder to find."

Posted by: Bill McDonald at July 5, 2006 09:20 AM

Dear Commissioner Adams:

Is there room for one of our stores in Central Eastside? The income demographics show that the area would be perfect. Although traffic was an issue with Sellwood, the proposed streetcar will solve all those problems. Since we tend to hire the otherwise unemployable, we can redeploy to their intended uses the shopping carts that many in the area use as affordable housing.

Sustainably yours,

Sam Walton

Posted by: Sam Walton at July 5, 2006 09:20 AM

Easy come, easy go. Financing an upcoming project that the city faces with angered citizens.As much $ Americans spend the world is in safe haven, right?

Posted by: ws at July 5, 2006 09:21 AM

"I really see this in terms of addiction"

You got it, but it's not only an addiction to playing developer with other people's money, it'a also an addiction to misleading the public.

After years of irresponsibility, negligence and deception they can't come clean now or they would be be met with public outrage that they didn't do it long ago.

"What do you mean SoWa is going to cost three times the $288 million called for in the 1999 plan?"

"1999 is 7 years ago"

"Why weren't you paying attention and informing the public all along?"

"This is the $15.5 million Tram many times over"

"What kind of management of public money and interests is this"

So today, because of their addictions, they view honesty as simply too disruptive and resulting in a worse outcome than continues deception and mismanagement.

The ongoing lying, scheming, cooked books policy making is for only the best.

Posted by: Steve Schopp at July 5, 2006 09:43 AM

Gee, that would mean when Sam Adams talks about transparency in government, he's really just misleading the public. My world is shattered.

Posted by: Bill McDonald at July 5, 2006 09:51 AM

"Sam Adams talks about transparency in government"

He talks about it, but like so many officials who banter out the "accountability" word, he won't be providing any.

Having been involved in so much of Vera's visions
Sam may be hopelessly incapable of anything remotely simpler to transparency.

I mean when he has an intern staffer go on his web site and tell the public the city is not paying any debt service for the Tram that pretty much tells it like it is.

If that's transparency then Urban Renewal doesn't use general fund money.

In reality all of the city's share of the Tram is borrowed TIF Urban Renewal money which will be paid back, with interest, by city property tax revenue over the next 25 to 30 years.

The "Urban Renewal doesn't use general fund money" lie is like a family income earner taking his, or her, paycheck to deposit in the family budget checking account, getting some "less cash", playing video slots on the way home then claiming he has NOT used any of the family's budget monies for the gambling "investment".
Urban Renewal is worse though because at least the lying family gambler has a fat chance of coming out ahead.

Our Urban Renewal con persons declare success as soon as they crap shoot away the money.

All the while getting pats on the head for a con job well done.

Posted by: Steve Schopp at July 5, 2006 10:40 AM

I used to get so angry about how this city was run and where Portland is heading. Now I enjoy reading the latest, most inane "ideas" from our city leaders.

What changed me from anger to enjoyment of the latest news from Portland? I moved. I highly recommend it.

Posted by: Jon at July 5, 2006 07:14 PM

Dear Sam Adams:

Please be advised that just because a few blokes that are very cozy with the PDC are tellin' ya how great it would be for the Central Eastside to become the next Pearl or SoWhat district doesn't mean that the rest of us who live and/or work here want anything to do with such a vision; unnecessary waste of time and money that it is.
Thank you,

I could not believe what I read in that Trib article today. Sure, ever since Baloney Joe's got torn down my partner, my neighbors and I all pretty much expected we'd get stuck with a 16 story fancy condo in our midst no matter what any of us said or did (at least its not a Home Depot, right?). Maybe its because we're just regular voters and don't know anybody at the PDC... But all this talk about 4,000 houses, a streetcar and the next Pearl or SoWhat?

1) If there's such a demand for a peoplemover from NW PDX to OMSI and points in between, why not just add a bus line to cover that need at a fraction of the cost of a streetcar?

Probably b/c taking the bus just isn't sexy, if Mr. Adams is enamored with a novelty like the streetcar, then I guess we're gonna get one.

2) The concrete isn't even dry in the SoWhat District yet, so we really don't know if that

rich people give away is viable or not.

3) 4,000 houses- as I look out from my apartment and try and picture how that many new housing units are going to go in (let alone guess how many will acutally be 'affordable'), all I can think of is how many businesses are going to get bulldozed to make way for such progress.

Who gets the ax first?

Produce Row? Building's too small, waste of space.

Sanderson Safety Supply? Rich people don't need steel-toed boots or ear plugs.

DieselFuel Prints? I know people that go to work wearing ink splattered jeans and t-shirts aren't

Pearl District material, but those folks have managed to build a pretty good business w/o a dime of public money.

The list goes on...

This 'urban renewal' binge really is starting to look like an addiction, and I don't think the hangover is going to feel so hot.

Posted by: morty at July 5, 2006 07:41 PM

Look, it's quite simple. The rich folks on the west side of the river have always been appalled that the view from their corner offices and high rise condos is the scruffy east side industrial area. They want to plow it under--including the I-5 freeway--and create what amounts to a mirror. They want to see other office buildings, picturesque streetcars and mid-rise condos (not tall enough, of course, to block out Mt. Hood).

I think the answer, at a far lower cost than anything the PDC might ever come up with, is to erect a tromp l'oeil facade just west of the I-5 freeway that appears to be a hillside Italian village. Perhaps with a bit more money--from tax increment financing--we could put up an actual three-dimensional Italian village over the top of the existing central eastside indsutrial corridor.

Either way, the west siders get their view and we get to keep one of the most economically vibrant sectors of the city intact.

Posted by: Gil Johnson at July 5, 2006 09:49 PM

Perhaps with a bit more money--from tax increment financing--we could put up an actual three-dimensional Italian village over the top of the existing central eastside indsutrial corridor

Don't laugh, that's pretty much the plan for Old Town, right after we run out Saturday Market and get a couple of condo towers up. Screw real merchants -- let's go further on down the faux world class road.

Posted by: Jack Bog at July 5, 2006 11:45 PM

Jack: A few real businesses left in Portland? We'll fix that...
JK: PDC motto: We don't need any stinking family wage jobs when we can feed millions to visionaries like Homer et al to build millionaire condos and Starbucks to create Portland's third yuppie playground, complete with a toy train.

Hey Sam: How do all those condo residents get to work in Beaverton and Hillsboro? Shouldn't they live closer to their work (which won't be inner SE after this plays out)? Or are they to work in the trendy new restaurants and Starbucks at WalMart wages?

How many more jobs do we drive out of Portland before we are truly the "smart growth" capital of the country?

I do think that you may actually succeed at increasing transit usage as we follow the only proven way to get people out of cars: poverty. What a vision for Portland!


Posted by: jim karlock at July 6, 2006 07:44 AM

Does this bother anyone?
(from Thursday's Oregornian):
The commission had the property appraised at $850,000, then paid $1.2 million for it. A second appraisal by the same company showed the property's value at negative $2.7 million, Leonard says. The commission's requirements for affordable units, parking spots and trash services for the next-door building dropped the property's value below zero, the commission said.

Based on the final appraisal, the commission agreed to donate the land to developer Trammell Crow Residential for a 26-story, 160-unit condo tower.



Posted by: jim karlock at July 6, 2006 04:39 PM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]


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