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Friday, September 15, 2006

Pay up: another $170 million for SoWhat

Wake up, Portland taxpayers, to some important news in today's Trib: There's $170 million more of infrastructure in the SoWhat district that you and I are going to have to figure out how to pay for.

And counting.

Geez, are we up to a half billion yet? And wait 'til the development weasels have Sam the Tram break the news that they're going to need a sewage treatment plant, too. Maybe we can break a billion.

“It’s a lot,” city Transportation Commissioner Sam Adams said of the $170 million figure. “It’s a big number.”

Projects on the table include street improvements as well as a new Interstate 5 offramp over Southwest Macadam Avenue that will relieve congestion along the major access road to the development area, said city transportation planner Greg Jones.

The city is working out a fee on new development in the district that will generate $65 million, more than a third of the overall transportation bill. However, it has not figured out where the rest of the money will come from.

Adams said the city hopes to make up the difference by patching together state and federal funds, a local improvement district funded by landowners, and other fees and charges that are yet to be determined.

“The work is only just beginning,” Adams said.

So, I suspect, is the outrage.

This really will go down in history as the Biggest. Portland. Swindle. Ever. But look on the bright side: It will be the last one for a long time, because the municipal bankruptcy will be here soon. We've got to find $8 billion to pay the cops and firemen who all retired at age 50. We don't have an extra quarter-billion for the condo jungle.

Folks, the population of Portland's only around 550,000. $170 million comes to around $309 from every man, woman, and child in town. Sorry, but at my house we need to save that dough for gas.

Maybe we should send the $170 million to the public schools, and let the California transplant yuppies in their Lexuses drive on dirt roads, like the people in the Cully neighborhood do. Welcome to Portland.

Comments (68)

Comm'on Jack, you can afford it. The price of gas is supposed to drop to $1.15 in a couple months. Heck, why not make it TWO trams!

Jack, Thats twice you have bashed Firefighters in the last four days. Next year just go ahead and bash us on 9-11. We're already hurting on that day.

If you do not retract your criticism of Portland's pension system, you obviously hate NYC firefighters, hence the terrorists have won!

I'm glad the city council's not just making this plan up as they go along. Could you imagine how screwed up that would be?

Why do I have mental images of Jewish mothers decked in Portland firefighter gear? Maybe because Very Bad Brad's comment makes me verklempt.

I've got an idea that Sam Adams will love. Congestion in the area could bring all traffic to a standstill, so how about parking meters on I-5?

So, I suspect, is the outrage.

I don't see the outrage. Folks voted for more of the same in May and don't seem any more worked up about it today than they did then. Portland is being hailed nationally as a Green boomtown and folks here for the most part see all the cranes as progress.

Are the taxpayers just frogs in boiling water? Yeah. But I think folks are for the most part content with what's happening.

Maybe we can get the owner of "It's a Beautiful Pizza" to come up with the $170 million by charging him for another traffic study...

Better than parking meters on I-5, just bring in a bunch of those fancy new radar guns that tag cars for tail-gating. Heck, at $240 a pop, two or three rush hours will pay for the whole project.

Adams said the transportation bureau he oversees doesn’t have a lot of spare money to put into the improvements, since the city has other needed projects dealing with a hefty maintenance backlog as well as congestion hitting “crisis” levels.

Well, duh...when you spend most of the road money on trains that only carry 1%-2% of commuters, there is going to be a congestion "crisis".
What a dumbass....

Brad, go back to counting your pension, will ya? It isn't always about you.

I'm afraid this $170 million is just the tip of the iceberg.

Yep. Half billion at least. Sam'll break it to us gradually. Homer will say when.

Good God, I hope Brad's comment was meant as sarcasm...

"...a local improvement district funded by landowners..."

So does this mean that the developers and influx of condo-dwellers get to keep their tax abatements while those who already live and do business in the SW area will get to pay extra taxes for an "improvement district?"

Would love to know if anyone has figured out how much the abated property taxes would come to over the construction period of the "needed" infrastructure. Maybe we could get 2/3 of the way there.

Question--Would South Waterfront have been developed eventually without spending hundreds of millions of public money? The second quesion is: What do we get for the investment? Guess I wasn't paying attention when these were asked ealier.

I yakked briefly about this today as well, Jack. I was lucky enough to grab a photo of Sam "The Tram" in his natural habitat, even!

I generally don't mention my site when visiting other blogs, but I do think you'll enjoy the photo. Please do feel free to remove this comment after reading - it's really just intended for you.

Where's Randy on this?

Can you imagine what half of $170 million could do in the Cully neighborhood??

I have a question...I would guess that the Cully neighborhood has more residents that the SoWhat district...why isn't money appropriated to neighborhoods based on the number of people, or (gasp) by need?

Maybe once Ikea comes to town, they'll pave those Cully dirt roads so the Lexus-driving bunch won't get their cars dirty on the way to shop...

Gee...and we all thought the $51 million give away to Home Depot over in the central east side was bad 2 years ago...
So much for a reformed PDC!
By the way, while driving across the Ross Island bridge the other day I caught myself leering at the Tram towers and after catching myself veering into oncoming traffic I wondered how many more traffic accidents there will be when all those cute big bubble cars will be drifting up and down the wires.
Will we then have to pay for a giant wall across the river to keep drivers' eyes on the road?

I thought the Streetcar was to be the primary form of transportation to and from the promised land.

If needed, the firefighters can mount their Segways armed with SuperSoakers and roll to glory.

Homer will say when.

Just as soon as the checks don't clear. Homer is Lyle Lanley.

He swears it's Portland's only choice!
Throw up your hands and raise your voice!


At 2 AM last night I got a knock on my back door. Some old guy, older than me anyway, had an empty one gallon gas can (plastic) and appealed for gas to help some lady that apparently was located near Rose City Elementary, a couple miles South of my Cully location. He was on a bike. I transfered my mixed gas from my trunk for my gas weedeater, half-full anyway. Where he went I do not know -- and it does not matter, does it?

I wonder what sort of response he would have gotten on the 30th floor of a SoWhat condo?

I've seen folks trade steaks for money, with all the secrecy one would expect from an illegal drug sale.

Try driving on some local Rip Rap of the recycled concrete kind, 4 to 8 inches in diameter. It must work better than one and one-half minus gravel, given the depth of the potholes. But it is not topped off with three-quarter minus, so it is a natural speed bump -- a good thing. You just try and get the City to pay for a speed bump, or even let you install one that you pay for, good luck.

"It will be the last one for a long time, because the municipal bankruptcy will be here soon."

Yeah, but then,all the unemployed scammers will have an incentive to move into private scamming.

Hi Ron.

Someone bangs on your back door at 2 am and you ANSWER it?


Must be a very nice neighborhood.

Forget 2am, (I wouldnt have heard it anyway), but I dont answer my door after dark!

Several clarifying points:

If these projects ever get built, it will be almost entirely with federal money. Obviously Portland doesn't have $170 million to spend in the South Waterfront. So, instead of $309 per city resident, it will be about 60 cents, because the cost will be divided among 300 million Americans.

And Cully neighborhood streets won't be paved whether or not a dime is spent in the South Waterfront. The federal government does not dole out transportation dollars for neglected urban residential streets (unfortunate, but true).

Next, if the city doesn't build the transportation projects and traffic becomes congested, perhaps a far greater percentage of residents and commuters through this area will use mass transit. Which means 1) we won't be polluting the air as much, and 2) we won't be sending as much of our money to nations such as Venezuela and Iran.

Finally, I would be curious is there is any empirical evidence as to the percentage of the new South Waterfront residents (and residents in the Pearl District, for that matter), that are emigres from California.

Becomes congested??
We're there. And yet people still want to drive. Imagine that. And even if mass transit gets people everywhere they want to go, (its a looong way from that now) they will still want their cars.

"If these projects ever get built, it will be almost entirely with federal money"

Is it 20 cents of our local property tax dollar that goes to UR? I believe that is what has been posted before.

Where is Emily Boyles money when you really need it.

the cost will be divided among 300 million Americans.


Perhaps it was an automatic response, as when a late night knock, or call, might mean the cows were out and running down the road and I would have to grab some boots and a flashlight. I distinctly remember many times I had to go chase down my brother's Charlet Bull while he was away at college. What could be worse than THAT! The cows in other folk's garden were generally easier to round up.

If these projects ever get built, it will be almost entirely with federal money.

Gordon: if that's the case, why didn't Sam say so in the article? Would have been an easy response, no? "Oh, no sweat, it's all going to come from federal dollars." Instead, the authors point to an (as of yet undeterminted) mixture of development fees and dollars from sources as of yet unidentified.

Federal money, eh? The article states "patching together" state and federal funds. It doesn't sound like federal funds will cover much of the $170M, if at all.

Moreover, Oregon has about a 1-to-1 ratio of federal taxes paid to federal funds received, so Oregonians are actually paying for these projects themselves.

to be fair, it is hard to square these two graphs:

"Adams said the city hopes to make up the difference by patching together state and federal funds, a local improvement district funded by landowners, and other fees and charges that are yet to be determined."


"Folks, the population of Portland's only around 550,000. $170 million comes to around $309 from every man, woman, and child in town. Sorry, but at my house we need to save that dough for gas."

federal and state funds aren't going to cover 100% of the costs, but the $309 figure is obviously an exaggeration.

the question really is if the added benefit of the taxes generated from all this development over say, 20 years is going to exceed the costs. those overpriced condos will be quite a boon to the city coffers. million dollar condos bring in about 10k a year. pretty good!

My parable on local ethics and duty misspelled Charolais. Check out the Parable of the broken window and apply it to a little boy named Sam who must earnestly believe he is doing good.

I bike through there every working day and you're damn right that there needs to be infrastructure improvements.

And you're damn right that the residents of that charming neighborhood need to pay for it.

Bur really, $309 (even if JB isn't pulling it outta thin air) just isn't that much spread out over a year. Folks pay more in coffee and/or netflix fees. It's not like "Sam the Tram" will be knocking on your door, demanding $309.

If the city council can decide to take a 65 million "fee" from businesses in that one area, or whatever the number is, how's that different from feudalism? The council is the lord and the businesses are the vassals and anytime the lord wants more of the crop the lord just takes it. If the lord controls the crop, in effect the lord owns it. Okay, a "vassal" like Zidell Marine still owns the land, but I don't blame them for suing over the tram money they were forced to kick in. 2 million bucks because someone downtown thinks you should chip in to build a bigger castle for OHSU? It's feudalism disguised as progress.

$309 per every man, woman, and child.

That would be $927 for me. Nah gonna doit.

Not until they pave my street, anyway.

the $309 figure is obviously an exaggeration.

No it isn't. It's simple math. That's what taxpayers will pay. And we in Portland pay city, state, and federal taxes. And so we will pay.

Besides, every federal or state dollar siphoned off for SoWhat is a federal or state dollar that could be better spent around here.

This money isn't going to fall from the sky, folks. Quibble if you want, but it is a major ripoff.

I can't stand this any more.

The official misrepresenting, plotting, scheming and lying around here is beyond maleficence.

SoWa isn't just $170 million over budget as anyone on the Urban Renewal Citizen's Advisory Committee knows.

As I and a few others have been bellowing for many months, the cost overruns from the original 1999 North Macadam plan, that was deemed "feasible" by PDC staff, is easily some $350 million today and rising.
Bringing the 1999 planned amount of $288 million plus $160 million in debt service to the current plot figure of at least $800 million.

Urban Renewal TIF debt service alone may have soared to double the original 1999 estimate of $160 million but not the PDC or Sam Adams or any one else city government will disclose that overrun amount.

And none of this is much news to the PDC staff.

Just like with the $15 million Tram figure the real numbers are being withheld.

As I and others said along time ago the $57 million Tram is nothing compared to the budget ballooning throughout SoWa.

The PDC has deliberately covered up the greater fiscal mess while everyone was focusing on the Tram.

Now reality comes trickling out and the real stench is, or should be unacceptable to Portland residents, taxpayers and voters.

Sam can claim this current news is some sort of "start: but in reality it is a continuation of the same snow job SoWa has been all along.

The only way public officials are able to come clean about this scandal is to take the original approved 1999 SoWa plan and plug in today's numbers for every line item on that spread sheet.

And let the chips, or the careers fall where they may.

The facts are speaking for themselves... now how can we have the Mayor, the Councilors, PDC, PDX Planning department, Homer and everyone else who has lied to Portland see our faces and hear our voices.

Blogging is nice, but it's as if we all talk to ourselves, agreeing and disagreeing on a variety of topics. But the actions of the above mentioned accomplices is going to bankrupt the city of Portland. I just hate to blog away while Portland is sold down the river.

I hope you voted, and not for Adams, Sten, or Saltzman. I've already advocated boycotting everything having to do with So What. I don't know what else to do. Picket signs, anybody?

Is the actual tax abatement schedule for these condos publically available? Has this been discussed here and I've missed it?

There are no tax abatements in SoWa yet.
Not sure about waved fees.

The 100s of millions in subsidies come in the way of free infrastructure of all kinds and the sweeping zoning changes doled out for everything the developers wanted to make their real estate developments more valuable.

As SoWa unfolded it quickly became apparent that tomorrow's dollars (UR property taxes) for future phases of public improvements were being devoured as costs soared and revenue fell far short of projections.

General fund money from parks and PDOT have already been raided to cover some SoWa shortages as the hole in need of back fill revenue grows larger every day.

Most offensive is the deliberate concealment of magnitude of the problem by every agency involved.

I am pretty sure that the powers that be have come up with all sorts of justifications for this behavior.

Many in the form of self serving scenarios where the truth would be more harmful for the city than the continued deceptions.

Sort of "It's in the best interests of the city and taxpayers if we keep a lid on this stuff"
Or, "All hell will break loose if this all gets out"

Or, "We have important money measures coming up for votes and can;t afford to sour the voters".

Can't you just hear the conversations city plotters are having?

"the $309 figure is obviously an exaggeration."

"No it isn't. It's simple math. That's what taxpayers will pay. And we in Portland pay city, state, and federal taxes."

sorry, it just doesn't square with

"Adams said the city hopes to make up the difference by patching together state and federal funds, a local improvement district funded by landowners, and other fees and charges that are yet to be determined."

in order for your $309 figure to be correct one would have to assume

1. that the "landowners" would end up contributing $0.

2. that the fees and charges yet to be determined will never be enacted. or, if enacted, will perfectly affect everyone in portland metro equally.

3. that the payout to return rate on combined local and federal taxes is 1:1.

4. the infrastructure as an investment in the city/state finances by increasing the tax base through growth is a total failure.

so in this very narrow case your $309 figure is not an exaggeration. personally, i wouldn't feel comfortable throwing that figure out.

i think your overall case against the "sowhat" development is strong. fancy math weakens it.

Maybe we can have a magic cap like with the tram. Any Portlanders who pay $309 this morning would never hear another word about this scam ever again. When they looked at the place where the towers are, they couldn't see them. When they looked up to see the tram, all they'd see was blue sky.
And when they looked in the general fund all the money would be there from now on. Let me get my check book.

I'm at the point where I can hardly stand to read the newspaper anymore. Several years ago I predicted to friends that Portland would be bankrupt within 5-10 years, and it looks like it will be sooner rather than later. This ongoing developer welfare is absolutely dispicable. Let them gamble with their own money, not ours. Mayor Potter should be deeply embarrassed at the problems we have here, no money for schools, libraries, roads, police, jails, and so on. Yet the same "good ole' boys" are squealing at the trough. In my mind, they're criminals.

hang on here. more on the fuzzy math.

according to the figures presented in the article, the $170 million is a 20 year cost, with $65 million coming straight out of developer's pocket (up in the air if the city can actually collect, but lets work with that assumption).

so we are at $105 million total 20 year cost for the project. so probably what a portlander can expect over 20 years is to see something less than $10 a year per person being allocated to the transportation improvements for that district.

the idea that the project is going to COST $309 per person is absurd. at best you could say that over 20 years about $200 per person will be ALLOCATED to the project.

if the project goes in the tank, the money cannot be used today to fill your gas tank. sorry, its not how the world works.

by the way, i do not defend developer welfare, its just that the numbers thrown around here are disingenuous. if you want to fight this sort of stuff, reality is a good place to start from.

My number for how much this will cost Portland: 1.5 billion.

What are you smoking?
"""its just that the numbers thrown around here are disingenuous. if you want to fight this sort of stuff, reality is a good place to start from"""

This $170 million is only part of the cost overruns with the total SoWa public improvements costing around $800 million and climbing.

The original 1999 North Macadam plan, that was deemed "feasible" by PDC staff, was $288 million plus $160 million is debt service for the first 20 years
with many more millions and years needed to retire the debt.

The current estimated total cost overunns for all of the public improvements, (Tram, streets, sidewalks, parks, sewer/water etc) is easily $350 million and rising.

That's $800 million. Of which developers will be paying a very small amount.

Yes reality is a good place to start.

Try it on for size.

Bill, my guess is your $1.5 billion is close.
All trigger by the Tram scam.

Not so funny thing is that even when it's all spent and the debt takes 50 years to retire the city will be claiming billions
in private development was spawned from this urban renewal plan but they'll be including the tax money spent and success will be determined soley by the fact that they spent the money.

steve, i dont see how anything you said contradicts what i said. you just added some extra information.

i don't think we are fighting here, i am just trying to keep everyone honest with the numbers.

You wrongly said
"""so we are at $105 million total 20 year cost for the project.""""
Huh? What "project"?

$105 million doesn't cover 1/3 of the debt service.
The original 1999 plan projected $160 million in debt service alone over the first 20 years of the Urban Renewal district.

I don't know about "fighting here" but you are not keeping everyone "honest with the numbers".

You apparently only have a portion of them.

i think your overall case against the "sowhat" development is strong. fancy math weakens it.

Fancy math is the politician's err used car salesmen's best friend

sorry, maybe i wasn't clear. when i said "project" i was referring to the "extra infrastructure" that sam was talking about here.

its what the original post is about. and again, i don't even understand how we are disagreeing at all. just because i never referenced the numbers that you referenced doesn't change that "will cost everyone $309" is misleading.

"will cost everyone $309"

George - I think the issue is why anyone outside of that area should pay .01 for someon to live in $600K condos.

City council sell us these things by saying the tax revenues will cover it and then, surprise, it is a loser and we have to throw money at it. Especially when roads need fixing, we have to release criminals for lack of jail space, etc.

Referencing this small segment of the costs and that "will cost everyone $309" is misleading."""

Suggest the public cost is less when it is far greater.
It is clearly counter informative to incrementally discuss this latest round of bail out for SoWa.
It creates a false context of public cost.
Sure we can talk all day about how much this particular round costs each Portlander or household but what for?

It's meaningless, misleading, and IMO, precisely the context city officials would like it to be discussed.
Thereby avoiding the far greater scandal and enormous costs.

Portlanders MUST demand that the whole SoWa fiscal enchilada be
produced and released for public discussion.

Any attempts to delay, obscure or limit the full release and public consideration are unacceptable.
As is any suggestion that it may be too complex for public consumption and participation.

Maybe we could paint the tram cars (see Jack's 9/12/06 post) to look like a weiner and sell advertising to Oscar Meier to help pay for it. That will also provide impetus for the hot dog company to buy national advertising when the Blazers get their one nationally televised game this year. After coming back from commercials to live action the announcers can comment on a live shot of the flying weiner-mobile. Might even help tourism: "Portland, home of the world famous flying weiner." At Christmas they could put red and yellow lights on it to make it look like it's been covered in catsup and mustard.

Or maybe just a flashing neon sign on the bottom that alternates between:

"Go by Wiener!"


"Portland got Di**ed!"

Commissioner Sam has reached a new crescendo of misinformation
as he tries to spin the latest bail out for South Waterfront.

Check out the latest and this posted comment of mine.

Sam Adams
"""We are paying up-front for all of the infrastructure that other neighborhoods paid for incrementally over long periods of time."""

This really is an astounding statement.

Given that much if not most of the "infrastructure" is being paid for with borrowed, Tax Increment Financing, Urban Renewal bond money requiring 3, 4 or even 5 decades ("long periods of time") to pay off.

In no way, shape or form is SoWa being paid for "up-front". Quite the contrary.

Sam has other "neighborhoods" wrong as well.

In start contrast to the bizarre statement by Sam is the routine NON-"Urban Renewal" subdivision/neighborhood or commercial developement/neighborhood which is required to truly pay "up-front", for ALL of it's infrastructure in addition to paying Systems Development Charges for the greater systems growth demands.
This "other neighborhood" infrastructure must be in place prior to, sales, building completion and occupancy.
Something which due to severe lack of funding and deferred schedule has also been relaxed for South Waterfront.

I predict a market glut of 600sf SOWA condos.

N. Macadam is already stop and go at rush hour, with only one of the condo towers partially occupied!

The SOWA development is not going to be desirable with either increasing traffic congestion or $170M of construction going on, especially if the owners end up with a bill for even part of the improvement cost.

The market will remember if first buyers of these condos lose tons of $$$. Wait till the units start to leak.

Some real numbers to the North Macadam costs need to be cited. Some of these are repeats of many blogs from the past, but there seems to be some new parties unfamiliar to the numbers.

The original 1999 budget was $288M for NM. This does not include the debt cost which at todays interest rate will easily add another $400M to the cost for a 20 year UR period, which in all cases of UR in Portland has always been extended which increases the debt cost even higher. These all add up to an amount paid by taxpayers.

The present proposed 5 year budget has been increased to $297M. That is taxpayer direct costs.

Last week the City Council increased the base cost of NM an additional $38M by Amendment 8. This amount is from the City’s general fund budget-taxpayers pockets; an additional amount to the NM costs, and it even has a higher debt service cost than the URA amount and not included in the $38M amount.

What is not included above are all the funds from other sources that are directed to NM for identified projects of the District: federal, state, county, etc dollars. These are funds that should be included in ones analysis of what taxpayers are paying for NM. For example, for the proposed I-5 off ramp into NM the project was initially $30M. At last weeks NM URAC meeting, PDOT estimates the cost at $40M to $50M with feds (taxpayer dollars) hopefully providing 50% with matching URA funds. But the project is now way under-funded on both ends and delayed way beyond the NM Plans timetable. The $170M in unfunded transportation projects figure that some cite is not far off-probably low.

There are also federal and state tax dollars that have been used for toxic site cleanup that has been over $80M, plus the additional tax breaks given for cleanup.

Another example of “outside” money is for the pedestrian bridge over I-5/Macadam. Its initial 1999 budget was $1.2M, now PDOT at last weeks meeting is estimating $8M and higher; funded by federal dollars not totally funded.

There are many other projects identified in the 1999 and now present proposed NM 5 year budget that are under/unfunded: Transportation-South Portal, $20M- North Portal $20M; Greenway-$40M and rising; Neighborhood Improvements (as listed by Commissioner Adams at the PSU Town Hall)-$72M; Neighborhood Parks; etc. Plus there are other projects in process that have cost increases beyond the budget of $288M to $297M. NM hasn’t even started the big- ticket project of Affordable Housing. Besides there being many identified projects under-not funded, they are many way behind the 1999 budget timetable for starting/completion which also is adding to their costs. “Bankruptcy” is not an ill-chosen word as last Friday’s Tribune used in its front-page article on NM.

There are also numerous over-budget projects in progress besides the tram ($8.5M vs. $60M). The trolley extension to the south-Lowell St. took $3M from the general fund (PDOT) to help pay for the to-be-completed extension because it was over budget. The initial budget to purchase the land for the Neighborhood Park on Moody St. was $1.5M; paid $7.2M. The PDC land purchase for the first housing block (49) will be $5M after the same block sold for $1.2M over a year ago to Homer Williams. Same goes for Block 33, where $3M will be given to Williams for the air-rights to build housing above a OHSU parking garage after “after-the-fact-negotiations” appraisal was less than half.

What the general public needs (if we are interested) is a realistic accounting of what an Urban Renewal area really costs the public. The PDC does not attempt this task because it would be surprising.

Several years ago, I and Don Berg wrote a commentary for the Oregonian on what we thought the public’s cost for NM might be-$1.5BILLION. Bill McDonald could be right. That equates to $2,725.00 per person in the City of Portland, and not the $300 per person. Quite a BILL, but lets not quibble.

C'mon people. Cite your sources for your numbers. Jesus.

You may all be right, but to me it looks like you're pulling numbers outta your...


Are you new to this discussion?

You should be saying that to city officials.

It is they who are "pulling numbers outta your..."
Along with hiding most of the numbers.

The numbers by some here are from the PDC web site, SoWa Urban Renewal Advisory Committee etc.

If you as so interested in sources let me ask you, have you ever looked at any PDC information yourself?

I've been out of town so I am coming late to the party here, but what jumps out of this article at me is not the $170 million (which is not really news) but this:

"Access to South Waterfront is so limited that more than 40 percent of rush-hour trips will need to be made via mass transit, bike or on foot. 'It will definitely have to be higher than 40 percent to make the district work,' said Jones, the PDOT planner."

Far more than 60-percent of rush-hour trips to downtown Portland are by automobile. (30 percent of commuters take transit, but a lot of rush-hour auto trips are not commuters.)

So what makes anyone think they can get more than 40 percent by transit, bike, or foot to SoWhat? And if they can't, the district is not going to "work"? This is even more nutsy than I thought.

Randal, Matt Brown, formally with PDOT- now with Homer Williams, has said many times since 1999 at public meetings concerning North Macadam that NM will achieve 40% transit ridership because "we have done it before". Vera and Council took it hook-line and sinker.

Even with the supposition of 40% transit ridership, there will be minimum 48,000 vehicle trips daily coming out onto SW Macadam which already has "F" (failure) level of service at several points. That's PDOT planning.

Now Greg Jones of PDOT says ridership must be even higher for NM to work. Adding to the transportation problems is the fact that the usages in NM has changed since the Kittleson Transportation Study. More housing than planned vs. all the anticipated bio-tech jobs will increase the number of UR vehicle trips.

This is one reason that many of the property owners/stakeholders in NM are now becoming vocal about the TRANSPORTATION ISSUES in NM, besides the fact that very little of it is funded and not meeting the time schedule of the 1999 NM Plan as adopted by Council. The cart is ahead of the horse again.

Sounds to me like we need a construction moratorium in SoWhat until these vital infrastructure problems are fully funded and under construction.

Because we don't want to make the neighborhood a traffic nightmare, right?

WWWMD: What Would Wal-Mart Do?

Hey Steve -

Sorta new to the discussion, but not that new. All i want is folks to post sources. It's not that difficult to post links; It certainly adds to credibility in my mind.

Other wise it just looks like people're...well you know.

And as much as folks may not like it, "They" are us.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Pay up: another $170 million for SoWhat:

» SoWhat -- it's costing us more than a billion from Jack Bog's Blog
An astute reader left an important comment in another thread about the ever-escalating public cost of the SoWhat district -- Portland's latest condo jungle and doctor's office complex. While my post griped about the latest $170 million budget revelatio... [Read More]


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