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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Trouble in the sandbox

I see that the battle for governance over the gigantic unsupervised pork pot of property tax dollars known as the Portland Development Commission (PDC) is still raging. In yesterday's Wily Week, we read that Commissioners Opie, Sam the Tram, and Fireman Randy are determined to seize ultimate control over the PDC's budget -- and rather than try to get that through Mayor Grampy's study group pals, they're taking their case directly to Salem. If our legislators will take some time off from their free Maui and Israel junkets, they apparently can give the City Council the budget authority by state statute.

Grampy ain't happy with all this, of course, but he's outvoted. And the defense of the current system offered by his appointee as chair of the PDC isn't too convincing:

Rosenbaum says PDC was established specifically to be independent of City Council. The agency's job, he says, is to implement policy that the council sets, but it needs to be able to allocate its budget accordingly rather than serve as a tool of individual commissioners' pet projects.
Got it? The PDC is no one's tool!

I'm glad we've cleared that up.

Comments (5)

There are two theories as to why the PDC was originally set up as an autonomous agency.

The first is that everyone knew the mayor and council were a bunch of crooks and they didn't want them to have access to that cookie jar.

The second is that the mayor and council could plead innocence when the PDC razed an ethnic neighborhood like the Jewish enclave for the South Auditorium or the Black neighborhood for the Coliseum.

That cookie jar always has attracted the crooks, and it always will. The more layers of public votes it takes to steal from it, the better.

I go with the second reason. This town LOVES deniability as they raze neighborhoods. The blame game between council-metro and pdc(Portland's Destruction Corp) goes round and round as the HOmer, Dodson, Walsh(Goldschmidt) crew fill their pockets

I vote for the former. $300M is too big an amount of money for Sam/Erik/Dan to ignore and let someone else manage. Jeez, maybe we can fill potholes with dollar bills.

Besides CIty COuncil is getting good at blaming others for their dirty work

If we think PDC is a crook, we should hold them accountable to the "performance audits" required of every URA. Besides the $300M to run PDC they additional deny over $200M to the general fund-our schools, police, firefighters, street repair, etc. dollars.

As witnessed in the recent new PDC Board meeting concerning the SW Oak street/Trammel Crow negative valuation of property, it seems obvious that PDC hasn't changed. At the PDC hearing on 12/13/06 it was beyond belief to hear PDC's only appraiser Jim Barclay of Day Appraisals talk endlessly to justify the "negative" appraisal using the "land residual approach". He was stating that it is ok for a developer/appraisal to theorically develop a piece of property, then determine after the imaginary build out the projected expenses, and what is left (if any), what one should pay for the property. That is how the PDC allowed the $800T negative appraisal for the Oak St. property. So for the rest of us, lets build our houses on our purchased lots, then after expenses to build the houses decide what we should pay for the lots. WOW!

But it gets worse. After this long explaination, there was not one hard question from the PDC Board that questioned this procedure. Even Barclay admitted that there are several appraisal methods besides the one he/PDC chose. Like comparing the Oak St. block to other downtown blocks with recent sales, etc. Not one board member ask why the other appraisal methods were not considered. We know why. Even out in SoWhat land, PDC gave Homer Williams over $5.2M for a block the same size with toxic cleanup required. Why didn't PDC ask Homer to PAY PDC to take the block off his hands with a negative appraisal, where Homer had to pay $800T?

Something smells at PDC when common logic is used.

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