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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 15, 2006 2:08 PM. The previous post in this blog was All 0's and 1's. The next post in this blog is Pop quiz. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tiger habitat

When you voted for the Metro park bonds last week (and I know most of you did), what were you picturing? I'll bet it wasn't this.

Comments (25)

Park says the golf course is another opportunity for people to learn about native wildlife and vegetation, because Metro plans to restore the rest of the site with native plants, trees and water features...

“Entry of golfers directly into the wetlands should be discouraged,” the consultants wrote into their presentation to Metro.

Of course, if one is discouraged from entering the wetlands, one won't learn much about native wildlife and vegetation, now, will they?

What a scam.

Pay no attention to the men and woman behind the curtain...

...follow the money.

Hmmm... Is that to be a revenue generator for more park space?

Just what we need, another playground for proto-elitist types. Why don't we just make it into an off-leash dog park and be done with it?

“Oftentimes we hear from East County people that we don’t get any of the goodies out here,” Park says. “Well, this is something that will improve our quality of life on the eastside.”

What, they cant play at Glendoveer?
Gresham? Sah Ha Lee?

How about Persimmon or Pleasant Valley?

Is this really the best use of Metro Funds?

Willamette Week urged voters to reject Metro's park bond measure, in part because WW believes that Metro is wandering too far from its mission. Voters ignored WW's advice and now we have this - an attempt to turn wetlands into a revenue-generating business that will help pay for Metro's expanding bureaucracy. This is just the first of many boondoogles to come.

Why complain about this in comments to a blog? Why not write a letter to Metro and PDX city concil? And if you really care, why not attend the planning meetings?

What strikes me as funny is that people love to bitch about things they percieve as worthless to them now, but love to use things that were built with public funds in the past... This and the Tram are two things that come to mind..

I wonder what types of arguments were made against the Ross Island bridge when it was proposed. Or the St. John's bridge? How about other parks or trails or structures?

It seems like people piss and moan initially, and then they start using the things and grow to like them...

I have lived in places where there has been little public investment in green spaces, transit, parks, recreation, and things like that. Those places suck.

Portland and Oregon are nice because we have invested well in the commons. Oregon is a rare place because there is so much variety and diversity. There are very developed and improved parks. There are very wild parks. There are urban features and rural choices.

I see no problem with another public golf course. Recreation is important to the health of the population. The public course in Eastmoreland is nice, although I don't golf. But I don't skateboard either but I approve of skate parks...

It is all nice to have so that people who are not rich can enjoy some things too...

But they need to do it environmentally carefully. Although I am not sure that the area around Blue Lake is already super clean anyway (it is fairly industrial) - so it might be an improvement over-all...

Also, they stated that a good chunk (maybe even half) of the money will come from a local golf association. Not all of it will come out of Metro's pockets.

If it happens, and becomes a revenue generating business that will help pay for Metro's expanding bureacracy, it won't be a "boondoogle"; it'll be a miracle.

What strikes me as funny is that people like VR seem to think that don't recognize a shill when we see one.

Also, they stated that a good chunk (maybe even half) of the money will come from a local golf association. Not all of it will come out of Metro's pockets.

Hey VR, METRO doesn't have pockets - they use ours.

What, they cant play at Glendoveer?

Why doesn't Metro buy the Colwood course, and keep it as a golf course rather than allowing it to be coverted into an environmentally unfriendly industrial wasteland?

Because the Port of Portland wants to put a PDX runway on it, that's why.

With respect to Metro's "expanding bureaucracy, this is what I mean: each Metro department is managed by a department director. Each of these directors used to report directly to the Council. With a 1994 charter change, a Council Executive Officer was added to the mix. However, the Exec Officers and the Council didn't get along well, so another charter change was approved that essentially made a member of the Council -the Council President - the Exec Officer. Then Metro added a Chief Operating Officer position, which pays more than $145k a year. And now I see they have added an operations officer position. This does not even include the large number of PR folks they have on staff (at least 12), both in a separate PR dept. and in each of the operating departments. All for an agency that is relatively small in terms of full-time employees. No wonder they need to build a golf course. They need the revenue so they can pay for all these chiefs.

All for an agency that is relatively small in terms of full-time employees. No wonder they need to build a golf course. They need the revenue so they can pay for all these chiefs.

Oh, you left out a few things. Zoo Director, about $140k a year, which is considerably more than the Governor of the state makes. Two "Deputy Directors", about $120k a year - also considerably more than the Governor job pays.

A Curator, then four "assistant curators" - each "assistant" position starts at $47k a year. One works only with elephants; another only with birds. Don't forget the benefits!

Your Metro tax dollars at work.

Metro: "People, Places, Open Spaces" - really, they paid a lot of money for that logo!

The open spaces are clearly in their heads, though.

"What strikes me as funny is that people like VR seem to think that * don't recognize a shill when we see one."

* the "we" is understood, if not actually typed.

oops

VR may not be a shill. There are plenty of shiny, happy people who think everything's peachy in Portland local government. Many of them are on the city payroll, but there are plenty more out there who aren't.

Another thing that is not commonly known is that Metro will levy a couple of taxes on the program funded by the parks bond measure. One tax (cost allocation) will help pay for Metro's Council and central administration, while the other will help pay for Metro's support services costs (accounting, PR folks, etc). These taxes combined will suck several million dollars from the funds obtained from the bond measure. They are in addition to the direct costs of the open spaces program. Your regional government at work!!!

I still have my "open spaces" lawn sign up (if the wind hasn't knocked it down). No...this is most certainly not what I voted for. I suspect --or at least I hope-- it will just go away...

Dumb, dumb, idea...

That doesn't mean open spaces isn't a good thing to save, though. I'd just rather see us be smarter about how we go at it.

I thought the recent polls before the election showed a general distrust of government on all levels? I know I'm one of those who has lost all but a sliver. I voted no on this for that specific reason. I'm sure the majority of voters don't know alot about Metro. I really wish there was more grassroots opposition to this measure. I'm not convinced Metro is on the side of the average citizen, much like the PDC. WW called this one.

This Golf course idea has been around for a long time. The former parks director (who was ousted by Mr. Bragdon) pushed for it. Golf courses = $$$. Can't have the garbage tipping fees paying for all of Metro...

Public golf courses should be run by city parks, who are in the business of managing active use parks. Metro Regional Parks and Greenspaces should only be in the business of passive use parks and open spaces.

I wonder what the Metro Natural Gardening advocates think of another chemical laden golf course. ;-)

Glad to see folks commenting on the top heavy management structure at Metro. Too many managers (with big salaries) and not enough worker bees... and too many PR shills for Metro Councilors. Parks and Openspaces department has the same top heavy structure as the rest of Metro. Hopefully the new auditor will do some digging.

I am not a shill. Although I don't expect anyone to believe that...

I don't think everything is peachy in Portland government. I am not in government, although I am involved with my neighborhood association, go to town hall meetings, and contact my legislators, representatives, councilmen, and such regularly. I have testified at many planning meetings and the like as well.

I did work in the IT department of the State of Oregon for a couple years. I couldn't take the slow pace and the terrible management so I left.

I simply don't have a problem with the building of a municipal golf course.

But I also seem to note that many of the people here oppose ANYTHING the local governments do no matter what.

I think that anything can have positives and negatives, and that too many people nitpick and don't look at bigger pictures or look at positive aspects...

Again, not that the plan is perfect - just that I wouldn't mind the money being spent on a golf course. But I would like to see it done right...

It is easy to bitch on a blog. If you don't like things so much, take an active part in changing them. There are all sorts of citizen positions on all sorts of boards in the local governments. There are lots of associations and lobbying groups. Be a part of the solution.

And I have also lived all over the country, and Portland and Oregon are truly much better than 85% or 90% of the country. Personally I believe Oregon is better than everywhere else in the country. Better places, better jobs, better transportation, better weather, better government, and better people. Including you...

You're right, it is easy to bitch on a blog.

It's also easy to "look at positive aspects"

But it's very hard to point to ANYTHING that Metro or any other local governments have done around here that are "done right".

As for citizen involvement, it's a sad commentary when citizens have to constantly be on guard to "catch" or watchdog local governments in order to try to prevent what appears to be their natural tendency toward inefficiency, waste, the appearance (at least) of graft and corruption, secrecy and selective responsiveness (you've read all about it here).

As long as this s*** continues unabated, as long as renegade cops, substandard streets, underfunded schools(?) coexist with SoWa, the tram, visioning, et al, your sunny optimism seems naive and out of place.

Just like a Metro golf course at Blue Lake.

VR; your comment is occasionally made on this and other blogs. I know for myself, and many other bloggers, that many of us do serve, participate, take an active part, etc. in helping to add, change, comment in many different forums. I've been doing it for over 30 years and many others too. We do more than "bitch on a blog". Thanks, though for encouraging others who may not participate in your fashion.

I have no way of knowing what other people have done in the way as community involvement. But I encourage all to do so... Even if I disagree with them - as much as I would like them to stay home and let me win all the "decisions", even people I disagree with have the right to be involved. :)

As for rickyragg's comment:

"As for citizen involvement, it's a sad commentary when citizens have to constantly be on guard to "catch" or watchdog local governments in order to try to prevent what appears to be their natural tendency toward inefficiency, waste, the appearance (at least) of graft and corruption, secrecy and selective responsiveness (you've read all about it here)."

I bet it would be even worse if we let private industry run things.

It is very easy to knee jerk reaction without knowing more details, so while it is GREAT for people like Bog to bring our attention to things like this - it is almost pointless to get riled up about it. :)

I am not sure this is going to please the ideological Metro-haters that post here but for those interested in knowing some basic facts:

The Blue Lake Golf Course was planned long before the 2006 Regional Natural Area Bond measure and was not part of the bond measure package.

Blue Lake used to be owned and maintained by Multnomah County. It was transfered to Metro when the Metropolitan Greenspaces Program was formed in the early 1990s.
Being one of the few active-recreational regional parks (Metro mostly owns and manages natural areas or nature parks), it has higher per-acre operation and maintenance costs.

The Golf Course is being planned and developed to make Blue Lake Regional Park self-funding. It aims to generate funds to pay for operation and maintenance of Blue Lake Regional Park. There may or may not be groundwater pollution issues that should be addressed in developing the golf course, but the intent and plan is to save scarce operation and maintenance dollars so that Blue Lake is not a financial drain on the regional parks and greenspace system. From what I have seen of the plan, I believe it will have a net positive impact on fish and wildlife habitat.

Incidently the scarcity of O&M dollars was one reason (wrongly in my view) some gave to not support Measure 26-80. The development of the Blue Lake Golf Course actually helps solve the real problem of adequately funding or local and regional parks and greenspace system.


Jim Labbe
Urban Conservationist
Audubon Society of Portland

BTW: Also someone mentioned Pleasant Valley Golf Course. Pleasant Valley Golf Course has been sold to converted to residential development, which is a good example of why we need a vibrant public parks greenspaces system.

Another counterpoint, this time to "Doug in SW" who implies the 2006 bond measure is full of hidden taxes that will "suck several million dollars from the funds obtained from the bond measure."

The ballot measure description specifically states that no more than 10% of bond measure funds can be used for administration. That is an entirely reasonable allocation by any sensible standard. It is also smart use of resource because it ensures that Metro can emply skilled property negotiators to ensure tax dollars are well spent. Often this involves informing land owners of the tax advantages of selling to the public.

The 1995 bond measure had the same administration percentage allocation and it exceeded land acquisition projections by 30%... adding 8100 acres (instead of the projected 6000) to the regional greenspace system.

Jim Labbe
Urban Conservationist
Audubon Society of Portland.

Re; Jim Labbe's comments:


Metro was able to buy 8100 acres of land with the 1995 bond measure dollars, instead of the projected 6000, because it padded the bond measure's land acquisition budget and then purchased most of its acreage outside the the urban growth boundary, where land is obviously much cheaper than it is inside the UGB. In addition, Metro earned more than $50 million in interest on the 1995 bonds that it was able to use to buy extra land. The bond measure documents never mentioned interest earnings or how they would be used. The current bond measure doesn't, either.

Regarding the 10% limit on administration costs, please tell me where, in either the 1995 bond measure or the current one, where the definition of "administration" costs is adequately defined. Are administration costs the costs of Metro staff running the program, or do they also include closing costs and Metro's cost allocations (internal taxes) on the program as well? You won't find this info in the bond measure documents.

Also, I resent being labeled as a "ideological Metro-hater." I am far from that. A person in your position needs to more carefully choose his words, especially since I am one of a number of folks reading this blogsite who have proudly contributed money to Portland's Audubon Society. I think you're the real ideologue - a mindless cheerleader for Metro programs that will benefit your organization and possibly you, personally.

Doug,

According to Metro, adminstrative costs from the 1995 bond measure were 9.6%. My understanding is that refers to the costs of the program not involved in actually purchasing land.

But engaging you in a minutea debate on how Metro defines "administrative costs" is just a distraction. The program has been very efficent in doing what has not been done before. Its successes are self-evident in the landscapes that have been protected and restored. These are plenty of clear examples in communities around the region. Take for example Mt. Talbert (1995 Bond Measure acquisition):

http://www.urbanfauna.org/images/mt.talbert.JPG

Compare hat to recently developed Mt. Scott just to the north:

http://www.urbanfauna.org/images/mt.scott.JPG

The pictures tell only half the story. In 1997 the developers who constructed the Altamont subdivision on the once forested slopes of Mt. Scott racked up $28,000 in fines- the largest fine ever charged by DEQ- after a road exposed the west side of Mount Scott to winter rains that washed massive amounts of dirt into nearby creeks. And that is only the most direct costs and impacts of developing steep forested slopes that elsewhere Metro's Parks and Greenspaces Program helped prevent: Mt. Talbert, Scouter Mountain and over 300 acres in the Gresham Buttes. Measure 26-80 will continue this work by helping protect highest value buttes and lava domes in the New City of Damascus.

Ofcourse Metro made conservative estimates for what could be achieved in 1995.
With the small but vocal anti-metro crowd (and the occasional disgruntled employee) looking for every opportunity to tear down the popular program, that was just smart.
But what you acusingly call "padding" notwithstanding, there is no question that the program has exceeded more hopeful expectations in aquiring 30% more land than projected. Some of this was achieved via donations and bequests and grants which speaks to the skill of Metro staff in communicating the tax and financial benefits to willing sellers.

Metro's program is evolving and learning as it goes with independent audits and review. The 2006 Measure calls for more of the same. That is the only way to build a effective and efficient government program that does what the best intentions of individuals and private sector entities cannot.

Lastly, I am sorry if you took on the label of "ideological metro hater." I actually wasn't specifically referring to you...at least you tried to back up your point with some information. The tenor and the one-sidedness of some who have posted (which you might also take offense too?) sure look like an angry anti-metro war path to me: short on facts and full of invective.

I could and probably should take offense to your directly labeling me a "mindless Metro Cheerleader." But that charge is simply false and uniformed. I have spent plenty of my waking hours the last 10 years publically critizing Metro where they deserve to be criticized.

Metro is like any democratic institution; it is what we make it. If we whine and complain all the time we only help realize our worse fears by making government reactive, paranoid, and often more expensive (maybe that is the idea). If we get involved, offer thoughtful, fact-based criticism and feedback, and have a measure vision for the future or our region, Metro can and will help create better communities and a richer future for the next generation.

Jim Labbe
Urban Conservationist
Audubon Society of Portland

Doug,

According to Metro, adminstrative costs from the 1995 bond measure were 9.6%. My understanding is that refers to the costs of the program not involved in actually purchasing land.

But engaging you in a minutea debate on how Metro defines "administrative costs" is just a distraction. The program has been very efficent in doing what has not been done before. Its successes are self-evident in the landscapes that have been protected and restored. These are plenty of clear examples in communities around the region. Take for example Mt. Talbert (1995 Bond Measure acquisition):

http://www.urbanfauna.org/images/mt.talbert.JPG

Compare hat to recently developed Mt. Scott just to the north:

http://www.urbanfauna.org/images/mt.scott.JPG

The pictures tell only half the story. In 1997 the developers who constructed the Altamont subdivision on the once forested slopes of Mt. Scott racked up $28,000 in fines- the largest fine ever charged by DEQ- after a road exposed the west side of Mount Scott to winter rains that washed massive amounts of dirt into nearby creeks. And that is only the most direct costs and impacts of developing steep forested slopes that elsewhere Metro's Parks and Greenspaces Program helped prevent: Mt. Talbert, Scouter Mountain and over 300 acres in the Gresham Buttes. Measure 26-80 will continue this work by helping protect highest value buttes and lava domes in the New City of Damascus.

Ofcourse Metro made conservative estimates for what could be achieved in 1995.
With the small but vocal anti-metro crowd (and the occasional disgruntled employee) looking for every opportunity to tear down the popular program, that was just smart.
But what you acusingly call "padding" notwithstanding, there is no question that the program has exceeded more hopeful expectations in aquiring 30% more land than projected. Some of this was achieved via donations and bequests and grants which speaks to the skill of Metro staff in communicating the tax and financial benefits to willing sellers.

Metro's program is evolving and learning as it goes with independent audits and review. The 2006 Measure calls for more of the same. That is the only way to build a effective and efficient government program that does what the best intentions of individuals and private sector entities cannot.

Lastly, I am sorry if you took on the label of "ideological metro hater." I actually wasn't specifically referring to you...at least you tried to back up your point with some information. The tenor and the one-sidedness of some who have posted (which you might also take offense too?) sure look like an angry anti-metro war path to me: short on facts and full of invective.

I could and probably should take offense to your directly labeling me a "mindless Metro Cheerleader." But that charge is simply false and uniformed. I have spent plenty of my waking hours the last 10 years publically critizing Metro where they deserve to be criticized.

Metro is like any democratic institution; it is what we make it. If we whine and complain all the time we only help realize our worse fears by making government reactive, paranoid, and often more expensive (maybe that is the idea). If we get involved, offer thoughtful, fact-based criticism and feedback, and have a measure vision for the future or our region, Metro can and will help create better communities and a richer future for the next generation.

Jim Labbe
Urban Conservationist
Audubon Society of Portland


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David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 155
At this date last year: 241
Total run in 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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