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Monday, October 30, 2006

More from Saltzman's smoke-filled room

The gossip swirling around the pending sell-off of part of Mount Tabor Park in Southeast Portland gets hotter by the day. A reader forwards this eye-opening e-mail message that appears to be from Cascade Anderson Geller, a defender of that park:

According to our best research efforts, given the documents that have been made available to us by the City, it appears that there are well-developed plans to relocate and sell Mt. Tabor Park Maintenance Yard. The apparent plan is to discontinue all nursery operations and dispose of nursery lands adjacent to the Yard. Although we saw one design to demolish all buildings and rebuild on the existing maintenance yard, there is apparently no plan to continue the tree nursery and plant propagation services.

Many components of the strategy to dispose of the maintenance yard appear to be either completed or well along in the process. These include: zoning and comprehensive plan changes, including removing the historical designation afforded by the National Register of Historic Places listing, environmental assessments, surveying, etc.

There is also a Memorandum of Understanding that has been drawn up between Warner Pacific College and the City of Portland. Although officials say this agreement is non-binding, and apparently is unsigned, at this point, it calls for the City and the college "to enter into a purchase and sale agreement no later than 15 November 2006."

On Wednesday, November 1, 2006, Portland Parks and Recreation (PPR) will bring before the City Council the final draft of a feasibility study, called Facilities Maintenance Report, to City Council. A "time certain" has not yet been established, but the estimate is that it should be presented about noontime. Although we have yet to see the full report, we have seen portions of it and discussed aspects of it with PPR officials. This report includes information about Mt. Tabor Park along with other sites in the City. We have been informed by Commissioner Saltzman's office that the report should be available for review tomorrow, Wednesday, October 25.

The report calls for the reorganization of the maintenance facilities throughout the city. This includes a series of buildings to be constructed in the newly established park zones throughout the City.

Some buildings will be constructed on open space in existing parks that currently don't have maintenance facilities. For example, it appears there's a proposal for an approximately 4000 square foot building to be constructed in Gabriel Park, a huge facility (maybe 40,000 sq. ft) at Washington Park, something at sites on SE McLoughlin Blvd., SE 136th Ave. and NE 21st and Pacific. The report apparently also makes a request for $650,000 to deal with "life and safety" improvements. This includes possible repair of immediate needs, such as, “water leaks at Mt. Tabor Park Maintenance Yard, etc.”

The feasibility study appears to be a part of the total restructuring of the Parks Department that is taking place internally. Citizens, other than the appointed Parks Board, apparently have not been involved in this restructuring process. The creation of zones and the redistribution of services appear to be part of the effort that PPR is making to create "park districts" and do away with the bureau per se and the oversight of an elected commissioner to be replaced by a board of some type.

At least since July, 2005, Warner Pacific College has been represented in their bid to purchase the south facing 7 - 13.5 acres of Mt. Tabor Park from the City by former city commissioner, Jim Francesconi, who was in charge of the parks bureau. Apparently, one member of the current Portland Parks Board also sits on the Warner Pacific College board of directors.

We would recommend that all parks' supporters attend the City Council meeting on November 1, 2006. When we receive word about the "time certain" of the agenda item, PPR Facilities Maintenance Report, we will post it publicly. At this point, the assumed time was about noon.

There will be an opportunity for public questions and comments at the City Council meeting after PPR’s presentation. For more information, please contact Commissioner Dan Saltzman: 503.823.4151

The meeting will be at Portland City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Avenue, Portland, Oregon.

If you would like to comment to the Mayor and your City Commissioners, here are their email addresses: mayorpotter@ci.portland.or.us, rleondard@ci.portland.or.us, sten@ci.portland.or.us,
commissionersam@ci.portland.or.us, dsaltzman@ci.portland.or.us (parks bureau commissioner)

A secret memo of understanding with a private party, selling off parkland? A complete re-do of the park structure in the city, without meaningful public discussion? So tram. So Saltzman. He didn't learn much from the reservoir cover fiasco, but then again, neither did the voters who re-elected him. He's "progressive," he knows how to play the game, his family's rich, and so he's running things. His buddy's about to start doing the same over at the county. So kiss your parkland goodbye. Condos, here we come.

The zoning of the system is definitely a done deal. Here's a map to which the city sent a link around on Thursday -- for the first time, to my knowledge.

Comments (21)

I remember about 5 years ago I went to hear the Distinguished Higgins Visitor at the law school, a land use scholar from thte University of Michigan that year. After his presentation I got in line to ask a question. He seemed pretty weary by the time I got to the front of the line, but became animated when I asked my question: "What do we do about government endorsed land scams?" Basically, he said to rabblerouse, rabblerouse, rabblerouse...and that he hadn't voted for years. I am beginning to see the wisdom in that; imho, Oregon government deserves a vote of No Confidence all the way around. A comment Mr. Tee made the other day got me thinking that things just get worse and worse when a political machine is running the(puppet) show. I wonder if that is because the dirt keeps getting dirtier and the favors needed to cover it up keep getting bigger and bigger...

Oregon government deserves a vote of No Confidence all the way around.

Not voting doesn't produce that. However, if everyone who didn't vote instead did vote and wrote in "None of the Above" -- well, it wouldn't change the outcome of an election, but it would drastically plummet the percentage of the vote that the winner received.

Not voting means you're existence in the body politic can be ignored. Voting in a way which reduces the winning percentage actually communicates something.

Of course, it's entirely dependent upon people voting that way on a mass scale so it actually does affect the percentages.

Vote third party in partisan elections and either NOTA or for the candidate not connected with the machine in nonpartisan elections.

And bug your politicians. Email, call, visit. They especially hate visitors as it's much harder to lie to or ignore someone standing in front of you.

We "own" the elections?? Right......

There is still apparently no "time certain" designation for discussion of this matter on Wednesday.

After looking at the report, "Development of Service Zone Facilities," I would have to say that it appears to be a harmless attempt to reorganize parks maintenance buildings. The least costly option for this restructuring is estimated at $39 million (that is $750 million inflated tram estimate dollars, of course).

Now, said report makes no mention at all of the giveaway to Warner Pacific, nor of former parks commissioner (and, thank the gods, FAILED mayoral candidate) Francesconi's involvement in this matter, nor of the unnamed Warner Pacific director/parks board member who is also involved. Sounds like a FOIA request may be in order on that issue.

Too bad we don't get a second chance to vote on Sten and Saltzman in the general election. If incumbents are reelected during the primary, the system is broke.

I am surprised so many smart people believe that Voter Owned Elections just need some minor tweaks. IMHO, the failings of this system are much bigger than Emilie (insert Bill McDonald joke here).

Campaign funding (Clean or Dirty), is not at the root of all political evil. To wit: Saltzman spent very little to win in the primary. I believe he would have won the past election without a single yard sign or piece of direct mail.

The power of incumbency is at the root of the problem. How? Incumbency rewards "we know what's good for you" policy by giving the elected officials both spending authority and the ability to raise new taxes.

I think it's time for direct democracy: we can have a password enable website to allow residents (over the age of 18) to logon and vote (twice monthly?) on a full panoply of questions that have been prepared by EITHER ad hoc citizen's committees or City Commissioners). We need to reduce the ability for 3 Commissioner's votes to change the face/livability/security of our homes and neighborhoods.

Mark in Roseway... I am not sure you can characterize the proposed deal with Warner Pacific as a giveaway. Isn't it a sale of land that would cover some of the restructuring expenses.

Mister Tee.. direct democracy on a website? Terrible idea although I appreciate the sentiment. I think that things would become worse than better. There would be constant crazies online voting while normal people are busy working or taking care of their families. No offense but I don't want the city run by those like Cascade Anderson Geller who are self proclaimed activists who do not have the cities best interest at heart only a narrow vision that only includes what they want.

"Giveaway" is certainly an inaccurate characterization. I move to change this to "back room deal."

And the WPC board of trustees/Portland Parks Board member in question is the Rev. T. Allen Bethel, of "Yes on 36" fame.

"back room deal" appears to be inaccurate as well. A couple of other blogs on here point out that the city and Warner have met with local neighborhood associations.

Dear bak2reality,

Would you please get real. The original post with Cascades e-mail complained of secret meetings being held.

They it was facinating to click on the the links posted and learn more about the new parks hit man. When headlines like "Secret McDonalds Deal" pop up putting a McDonalds in the park, and the transformation of a huge chunk of the last park this Mr. Grimwade was director of was leased to FOX, yes the Rupurt Murdock organization we all know and love, for a family entertainment center that is evolving into a shopping mall. It was interesting if not sickening reading.

When I went back to read the post you referred to where then neighborhoods were "informed" I found this entry under Jack's Mt. Tabor for sale post.

"The research I did into tax records shows that the County of Multnomah sold the land to Warner Pacific on July 18, 1989 for $100. At the time, Gladys McCoy signed off for the city. On July 20, 1989, Warner Pacific sold the land for $4,000,000 to Geos Corporation of Japan. That same day, Geos leased the property to Warner Pacific for an undisclosed amount. The document stipulates Warner Pacfic be responsible for tax payments, although as a non-profit, non-secular, private college, they have always been exempt and pay no taxes. It also stipulates when the 30 year lease is up in 2019, that Warner Pacific has an option to purchse back the land.

Posted by Shannon | October 21, 2006 3:57 PM"

If this is true then all of the land Warner Pacific is on belonged to the public and $4million in land was sold to a religious organization for $100. Do you think this was in the public interest, now then want to "sell" part of Mt. Tabor Public lands.

I would MUCH rather see this City run by the Cascade Andersons of this world than the Salzman's and his cronies and hit men.

And I saw a blog "on here" saying that the Illuminati run the mafia, the post office, and the PDC.

A thus-far secret memorandum of understanding calling for the city and WPC to enter in a sale agreement within a couple of weeks certainly constitutes a back-room deal.

At the Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association meeting of 9/20, it was revealed that WPC had tendered an offer for the land in May. The first opportunity for public comment occurred four months later, on at the 9/20 neighborhood association meeting. At this meeting, Parks & Rec. representative Janet Bebb identifies the meeting as the first in what she hopes will be an ongoing series of conversations about the project with the community. Also, WPC played the OHSU card of threatening to move to the suburbs, which few in the neighborhood wants, at least among those present in the meeting.

One month later, a MoU surfaces which indicates that the city and WPC will enter a binding sales agreement no later than 11/15/2006, two weeks after the issue is to be addressed on the city council agenda.

Back - room - deal. But not a done deal, yet.

I love the way the backroom crooks always tell you that you're mistaken, it was all done in public. My a*s it was. And Saltzman is by far the worst offender in this regard now that Vera's gone.

Saltzman spent very little to win in the primary. I believe he would have won the past election without a single yard sign or piece of direct mail.

He didn't send any direct mail. He used his campaign money on polling to find out what would sell, then on TV ads to sell it. And, he got free printed publicity in The Oregonian virtually every day for months, while they had an editorial policy not to mention his challengers except in the Thursday pull-out section. That is part of the power of incumbency, even more than the ability to raise campaign money.

Amanda Fritz: And, he got free printed publicity in The Oregonian virtually every day for months, while they had an editorial policy not to mention his challengers except in the Thursday pull-out section.
JK: And that is why the “voter owned elections” protects incumbents. A challenger has to be able to outspend them to overcome the media and the incumbents four years of giveaways to buy votes.

Does anyone support “voter owned” elections in view of the above (except elected officials and their staff)?


He didn't send any direct mail.

Of course he did, Amanda. His name went out to every address in Portland...in the Children's Initiative "Report Card" that came out before the primary.

We don't "count" such things as campaign expenditures, but that's the problem with the Sten/Blackmer "voter owned elections"...the power of incumbency and third party expenditures don't count.

Anyway...I still think Commissioner Saltzman is an honorable enough guy, and this deal --if any-- will have to work for the benefit of the neighborhood as well as the Parks Bureau and the City.

There's too much focus on this for anything else to happen...


Honorable has nothing to do with it, IMO.

The fact remains that VOE prevents challengers from trying to outspend the incumbent, which is precisely the way in which a lower profile candidate raises their profile.

Amanda, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you campaign your heart out for 6 months (or more)? My wife met you at a neighborhood dinner, and I read about you showing up at all sorts of community events and candidate's forums. Maybe it's because I live in SW, but I saw twice as many yard signs for you as Saltzman.

But turnout in the primary was quite low, and that generally benefits the incumbent (assuming they have an installed base of supporters that benefit from that incumbency). I'm sure that Dan is a nice guy, and know he knocked on some doors and didn't take reelection for granted. But coming on the heels of the Mt. Tabor covers, the Tram, and (years earlier) the JTTF withdrawal (which he voted against), he was ostensibly out of step with his most progressive constituents. But he won easily, without spending much money.

I never saw his television ads; I did receive the "Childrens Initiative Report Card" and I wondered who paid for it...I voted for him (despite my misgivings) because he's the only engineer on the council, and I believe he is the least ideologically driven commissioner (utility over politics).

I'm sorry that Amanda didn't make it into the primary, but I laugh every time I read her defense of VOE (in previous posts)...Kind of like listening to the widow of an abusive husband talk about the flowers he used to send after he clocked her. VOE is a farce, and Erik Sten is the only VOE candidate that is ever going to win a general election, at least until an open seat becomes available.

JK, I still support Voter Owned Elections - recognizing that Public Campaign Financing is only one part of that goal and we are far from real Voter Owned Elections. I still support Public Campaign Financing, too.

I laugh every time I read her defense of VOE (in previous posts)...Kind of like listening to the widow of an abusive husband talk about the flowers he used to send after he clocked her. ~ Mister Tee

C'mon, Mr. Tee, try a little harder, you might be more condescending and insensitive.

Public Campaign Financing (PCF) allowed me to run for office without prostituting myself (dictionary definition: a person who willingly uses his or her talent or ability in a base and unworthy way, usually for money). Although I gave up nine months of my life and approximately $10,000 in in-kind donations to my campaign and lost earnings, without PCF I would be in the situation either Lew Frederick or Jeff Cogan will be in on November 8 - having had friends and family sink thousands of dollars in a failed attempt. PCF allowed me to keep my dignity and integrity, and to finish without having the regret of knowing others made huge financial sacrifices in our shared goal.

You are also incorrect in stating Saltzman won without spending much money. He spent twice as much as in the 2002 primary, and raised three times as much. That's not counting the money spent on the Children's Initiative all-city mailing - good point, Frank. Saltzman's donors included many people who stand to gain personally from his votes. My donors were the citizens of Portland, and if elected I would (and will, if I succeed in another PCF-funded run) be beholden only to them. Hope your choice works out well for you on the parks issue, Mr. Tee.

How much money did Saltzman report spending in the primary?

He received twice as many votes as Fritz, but I doubt he spent twice as much.

Amanda: I'm sorry if it sounds condescending, but you are defending a system (VOE/PCF,WTF?) THAT WAS ENGINEERED TO RETAIN INCUMBENTS. I don't see how pointing out the obvious is insensitive.

You can and should be very proud of the manner in which you conducted yourself and your campaign. But the only results that count are the votes tallied on election day. You could have won if you had spent more money, if raising that money is "prostituting" yourself, then I guess you could say we have a bunch of whores on the City Council. Because they all raised lots of money to win their seats.

Saltzman spent about $21,000 more than the Amanda for Portland campaign. I could have requested more money for the amount he overspent in the last week of the campaign, but sticking to a budget is important to me and I chose not to. He raised about $75,000 more than he spent, using it to pay off previous campaign debts. I received $5,000 more than I spent, and returned the savings to the city.

Your analogy with domestic violence was insensitive, Mr. Tee. I was neither abused by nor a victim of Public Campaign Financing, and your implication that like a battered widow I was and don't recognize it is condescending and untrue. The amount of money was only one factor in the outcome of the primary. Initial name-recognition, Emilie Boyles, Potter's support of his buddy, the print media's failure to cover the challengers, and my own inexperience with campaigning rather than getting issue-oriented results, were also significant. Ginny Burdick raised more money than the PCF candidate in Seat 2, yet it was underfunded Dave Lister who almost forced a runoff in that race, not Ginny and her dollars.

The difference between Voter Owned Elections and Public Campaign Financing is very important, and those supporting the latter do it a great disservice by calling it VOE. Truly voter-owned elections involve far more than campaign dollars and their source. They include fair, unbiased media reporting; debates and forum events that give voters more meaningful information about candidates' skills for the job; technical and staff support available on an even basis for new and experienced candidates; open endorsement processes that give challengers equal opportunity as incumbents; etc., etc. Until we have all of those, and more, we are only offering Public Campaign Financing here in Portland. I still believe that's a good start, compared with the traditional system.

Back to Jack's post... I hope to see a great turnout at City Council tomorrow morning. Just occasionally, even done deals agreed in back rooms can be overturned in the light of public participation.


I think some will just have to sit back and relax and realize that no they are not at the top of the must be in the know list the exact second some event takes place in the city. Regardless of whether or not anyone likes when they were talked to they in fact were talked to whether it be September 20th or whenever.

On another note you quote someone on a subject that has nothing to do with the current issue at hand and whose facts are not quite correct. I'm not sure what property that you are referring to that the city sold Warner Pacific College for $100 but they have been on the property since 1940. The issue at hand is the sale of the maintenance yard property not park land that is used by park goers for recreation. Also, like most public and private recreational facilitites the development of this property into athletic facilities would provide for more opportunity in SE portland for community recreation.

Take a look at each individual event rather than have your obvious hatred of Saltzman and Christian schools cloud the facts and the benefit to SE Portland.


You said:
"They (VOE) include fair, unbiased media reporting...; ...Until we have all of those, and more, we are only offering Public Campaign Financing here in Portland."

There is no such thing as unbiased media reporting and there is no since waiting for it, It can't happen.

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