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Sunday, January 7, 2007

Good Randy vs. Bad Randy

Fireman Randy's on the wire again tonight, and he seems a little steamed. Apparently he's been reading another annoying piece of prose in The Zero today from Randy Gragg, the "architecture critic" who never writes about architecture. Of course, on that publication's pitiful website, I can't even find the article in question. But today the Graggmeister apparently has resumed his primary function as developer apologist -- this time, blowing smoke, on behalf of his heroes Homer Williams & Co., about the Portland City Council. How dare anyone question a giveaway of property by the Portland Development Commission? How dare they demand accountability?

It gets better. Apparently, now Gragg's a real estate appraisal expert to go with his expertise in public administration! As the kids say, LOL.

Fireman Randy's rejoinder is here, but I doubt that his response will have much of an impact. The only things more persistent than the fantasies of the Gragg are the shady builders whispering in his ear, his contempt for real people, and his bosses' undying devotion to him. For us peons out here in the neighborhoods, the only sane thing to do is to recognize how ridiculous he is, and look forward to the next laugh-out-loud episode.

If we can find it.

Comments (10)

Gragg's the kind of guy who, if he'd been around then, could care less that the pyramids were built by slaves, and people were buried alive in them with their "masters." He'd just go on and on about the architectural treatments...

He doesn't even do that. He'd go on and on about how the slaves had no right to complain.

Good job, Commissioner Leonard.

It's my understanding that most municipalities make the developers pay for the attendant amenities that go with their developments, like streets and parks.

Here, we seem to give that all away as part of a package to...what?...make developers even richer than they are?

make the developers pay for the attendant amenities that go with their developments, like streets and parks.


We don't even make them pay for the very property they develop, or for any government services for decades.

"Oregon -- Things Look Different Here." Especially if you know somebody.

I know that this might not go far here, but I thought that bad Randy had some good points. The question, in the end, is balance. I am concerned that we might knee jerk too far. And despite all of the criticism, I do think that Portland is a much better place due to the PDC and the development they have helped foster.

The question, in the end, is balance.

The seesaw is still tipped WAY over the developers' way, with Adams and Saltzman (and sometimes Sten and Potter) doing their bidding, and the mainstream media in town all just winking at the... well, stealing.

I won't go into the litany of basic government services and infrastructure that are sliding into oblivion while we condo-ize our city with tax dollars. We have lots of pretty toys, but on the whole, I don't think we are better off in the long run for what's been done by the Katz/Goldschmidt PDC, which had, what? A 10-year reign?

I get your point, although I don't know that I would go as far as stealing...

As far as basic services go, been to Seattle lately? They have some potholes that make ours look like divots ;)

But I agree that balance is the issue, just not sure that swinging from one end to the next is the best. When I think of Portland pre-Whoop Whoop, I think that much good has been done since then. Has it all been good? No. But I am not sure that the answer lies in consolidating all power in our council. They are also subject to politics and their own whims...

And people know who they are, get a good look at their actions, call them out for their boondoggles and mistakes, and vote them out when they've made too many. Elected officials are way more accountable than the cronies that populate appointed boards like the PDC, Tri-Met, SAIF, the Lottery, etc. Those are all graft waiting to happen.


In the last election would you say that happened? Did the people call out those for their boondoggles and mistakes?

I am not convinced that electeds are any more subject to boondogle thinking than the PCC or Tri-Met...and in fact, think that a good case could be made for the opposite.

If you don't mind my taking off the gloves here for a moment, the previous five PDC commissioners and the previous PDC executive director pretty much turned out to be puppets of Vera Katz, who in turn was a puppet of Neil Goldschmidt, who was an obvious crook. And few Portlanders could name even one of the PDC folks. But they knew who Jim Francesconi was, and who he represented, and he's gone. As would Vera have been if she were able and willing to run again.

Look at other boards and you will find lots of Matt Hennessee - Bernie Giusto studs whose claim to fame is knowing somebody in the West Hills Inner Circle. I'm tired of them calling the shots. I'd rather let Leonard and Potter do it, out in the open, where we can see them.

As for Sten and Saltzman breezing back in, I have no explanation for it (other than perhaps the sick game known as "voter-owed elections"). But if you try to pin the shortcomings of Portland urban renewal on either of them, they'll be quick to tell you: "I had nothing to do with it -- blame the PDC."

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