This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 4, 2007 2:45 AM. The previous post in this blog was Get out your green eyeshade. The next post in this blog is Yo!. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Portland McParks

More signs abound that the City of Portland's about to commercialize its beautiful park system. They've just named a new "business development and marketing manager" for the parks bureau, and they plan to have three staff people in his "department." Meanwhile, they've brought in someone from the city's transportation department (a.k.a. Layoff City, from what I've been reading) to head up the parks bureau's "service zones department" -- another symbol of the reshuffling (and no doubt, the impending real estate scams). Anyway, here, I'm told, is Tuesday's e-mail from parks chief Zari "Let Me Explain" Santner:

First, let me wish you all a very happy New Year. I hope the new year is filled with joy, accomplishments, and good health for you and your family.

Last week was quiet for many of us, but I was busy making some important decisions that will help us move forward in 2007. I have been assembling the staff we need for the missing pieces of our Management Team and late last Friday, the final pieces came together.

As you know, I have been actively looking for a replacement for Lydia Kowalski, Senior Manager of Service Zones. An internal (City-wide) recruitment process netted two strong candidates. Each with tremendous skills that will move our organization forward. These candidates were Bob Schulz, SW Zone Manager for Portland Parks and Eileen Argentina, Director of Transportation System Management Bureau in the Portland Office of Transportation (PDOT). Having two strong candidates allowed me to look at other opportunities as well.

Bob's background in business development and sponsorship program is desperately needed in our new Business Development and Marketing Department where vacancies has left us lacking. I have been impressed with Bob's work in this area and his skill in developing business partnerships. I have offered to Bob, and he has accepted, the position of Marketing and Business Development Manager effective January 8, 2007. His department will be complete with three new staff members and we can expect great things from this department. Bob is very excited about this opportunity and I am sure you join me in congratulating him on his success and wish him the best in occupying this very challenging position.

Bob's promotion will leave a vacancy at the SW Zone Manager and it is important to temporarily fill that position until the new Senior Manager of Service Zones can establish a process to permanently fill that vacancy. Terri Davis, SW Community Center Director, has enthusiastically accepted my offer of Acting SW Zone Manager. Terri will make an excellent addition to the Zone Managers Team.

Our Service Zones Department is a tremendously critical Department where park and recreation services are provided. With two-thirds of the workforce in this department I knew I needed a special leader with vision and commitment. I saw those and other necessary skills in Eileen Argentina. I believe she will be a great addition to our team. Her eight years of experience as a member of PDOT's senior management team gives her an understanding of the city organization and the ability to move an agenda forward. She has experience with significant organizational change and working through severely constrained budget environment. Perhaps most importantly, she truly believes in creating a work environment that brings out the best in people and she encourages and rewards great teamwork. Eileen will be starting her career with PP&R in mid-January and you can expect to meet her or hear from her very soon as she is excited to get started.

Please join me in congratulating Bob Schulz, Terri Davis, and Eileen Argentina on their new jobs.

Swell, congratulations to them. But why do Portland parks need "business development and marketing"? From the looks of them, I'd say they need Weed 'N' Feed, better playground equipment, and fresh paint a heck of a lot more.

Comments (17)

Here is an interesting article from Mother Jones that describes the selling off of American Infrastructure Assets.


I'll agree that hiring someone to do business development is a little goofy but the concept is good.

Making more of our parks would be great. Having lived in other parts of the US as much as Portland spends on parks (not to mention Metro's collection of lands recently acquired with both bond issues) we should be getting alot more from our parks.

The problem is that the commissioner in charge should be leading with a vision of what to accomplish and clear goals. Instead they are hiring the government equivalent of consultants to shoot by supposed good ideas.

From my post on the next topic.

Note that your city's assets are rotting away at $156 million/year.

Parks rotting away at $4.7/year. Just think if they hadn't bought the $8 million landscaping lot for Homer's condos and actually made the developer pay for that like they do in Planning Nirvana Vancouver BC. They might have made some progress this year on the $50-$70 million in deferred maintenance


“In exchange for the rights to build 2,800 condos and apartments, the developer built an elementary school, a sports field complex, a day-care facility and community center.
“Everything that you see here, including every blade of grass, was paid for by the developer,” he said, with obvious pride.”

Let's get started. How about changing Mt. Tabor to Mt. Exxon?

Hey, me and the gang are planning a barbeque at Laurelhurst Intel Park this weekend!

I was worried about the Parks & Recreation administrative reorganization, part of which involved dividing the city into zones. I'm still not convinced the entire reorganization is working or was worth the expense, but Bob Schulz made me a believer that the zones can work better than the previous system. He attended multiple meetings of the SW Neighborhoods Parks Committee. He knows the parks and the neighborhoods, obviously cares about both, and shows a refreshing zeal to cut through bureaucratic stalling and just get the parks improvements provided before we're all too old to enjoy them. I'm sorry to lose him from SW, but if he carries these qualities and practices over into his new position, the entire city will be better served.

I'm sorry, Amanda, but I disagree. If Bob Schulz is anything which would garner him a promotion from the current crowd in power at PPB, then I think we're in trouble.

An investment in a staffer who does "marketing and business development" on an preferential and on-going basis for the PPB is cause for concern. It means they are more concerned with "sizzle" and "spin" than they are with maintaining the quality and character of Portland's parks.

Why is it that PPB is spending more on administrative overhead than it has for years? This is an indication of empire-building, rather than fulfilling a responsibility to the citizens and taxpayers of the city. We need to have more revenues directed to parks maintenance and program developments for park users....both of which have malingered as problems for the PPB for the past five years. I see this as a reflection of the mismanagement of Santner and the lickspittle sycophants who pass as her "managerial staff".

What I am seeing is a commitment to talk a good line, but repeated failures of Parks administration to actually DO anything of value in meeting the biggest challenge that Portland's parks have had in decades.

I think we need to replace the top administrators for the PPB, including Santner, "Corporate Sellout" Grimwade and Mr. Schulz in order to actually improve Portland Parks Bureau.


Maybe we could expand this idea to include all the bureaus? The naming rights alone could be worth millions.

How about the Portland Trailblazers Justice Center?

The Neil Goldschmidt women's crisis line?

The Wilshire Financial Water Bureau?

The Homer Williams Planning Bureau?

The Tonya Harding Tax Collections Department?

The Capital Consultants children's investment fund?

The Tom Peterson Wi-Fi cloud?

I could go on and on.

Thanks for stopping.


Being a Parks employee on the operations side of things, I first must say how grateful I am for this website. The information and opinions provided here are much MORE information than Parks employees receive internally...not that Santner or Grimwade would even think of informing their operations employees that they will all be laid off in favor of contract workers in the near future. As my pappy used to say...if it walks like a duck & quacks like a duck...well, it’s likely to produce duck pellets too.

I was more than skeptical when Santner started the reorg process...it only seemed to me that we now had a director whose main concern was creating some sort of legacy to attach her name to, regardless of whether or not it's a good legacy. Adding an additional layer of management will rarely do any business, let alone government, any good. My skepticism only turns to anger as the behind closed door dealings with Warner Pacific broke in the news. When I hear news about the potential fate of MY OFFICE because a neighborhood group has dug up the relevant documents instead of the bureau I work for being transparent with the public as is required by our City government.

However, I feel I must make a stand for Mr. Bob Schulz here. I have known Bob for all of my tenure here at Parks, and there is NO way he would fall in line and allow our parks to be leased off to Universal Studios and McDonald’s. I’ve been in PLENTY of meetings where he has spoken his mind on issues where his opinions have done ANYTHING but tow the line with Santner and Grimwade. I only wish he would be heading up the Zone Management position...I’d be much more likely to still have a job a few years from now!

Anyhoo, I suppose it’s time I get my resume in order and jump ship to the Water Bureau much like all the other Park employees who were wise enough to see the writing on the comfort station walls months ago. Either that or Mr. Leonard had best become our commissioner real soon and do some housecleaning before things get even uglier.

Having had the opportunity to work for Portland Parks & Recreation, I had the good fortune to work with Bob Schulz.

He was the key City employee responsible for cultivating relationships with businesses that resulted in such contributions as:

-Nike footing the bill for resurfacing outdoor basketball courts
-Nike contributing thousands of free athletic shoes to needy kids
-Columbia Sportswear adopting Sellwood Park and assisting with maintenance.
-Portland TrailBlazers donating thousands of free tickets so kids can watch live pro basketball, which otherwise they could not afford to do
-Professional athletes hosting sports clinics so kids can become exposed to sports and meet athlete-heroes
-Helping secure funding for skateparks--a sport that is growing in popularity
-Helping bring the Mountain Dew Action Tour to Portland

I could go add more to the list, but these are a few things that pop to the forefront of my mind.

Portland Parks & Recreation is dependent on General Fund. There's only so much to go around in the push me-tug you budget process.

Bob and the work that Bob does is not about "Mc" anything. He is a long time, committed Parks employee who has the respect of his co workers and who has earned the trust of the business community because he is a straight shooter who gets things done. The beneficiaries are you and I and all who love the parks and recreation system.

It's a good position, in my opinion a necessary position, and Bob is absolutely the best person they could have appointed to that job.

Congratulations, PP&R on a smart move!

-Nike footing the bill for resurfacing outdoor basketball courts
-Nike contributing thousands of free athletic shoes to needy kids
-Columbia Sportswear adopting Sellwood Park and assisting with maintenance.
-Portland TrailBlazers donating thousands of free tickets so kids can watch live pro basketball, which otherwise they could not afford to do
-Professional athletes hosting sports clinics so kids can become exposed to sports and meet athlete-heroes
-Helping secure funding for skateparks--a sport that is growing in popularity
-Helping bring the Mountain Dew Action Tour to Portland

That is a great list, and it sounds as though Mr. Schulz's heart is in the right place. But why do we need a new title, three more staff positions, and Robin Grimwade? There's more going on here than a modest expansion of the status quo. I smell the Arlington Club.

Bob Shulz came to the SW Neighborhoods Parks committee meeting last night. He talked about his new role, and I asked about the city's sponsorship policy and whether/when/how it was adopted. Both Bob and Matt Grumm from Commissioner Saltzman's office said the policy was adopted a while ago and they would get me a copy.

Bright and early this morning, Bob called. He said he investigated and found out PP&R's sponsorship policy was never adopted. AND, Bob will now do a public process to review the policy they've been using, with a view to allowing citizen input on what the policy should be before having it adopted. I will post information on my blog about the current administrative policy and the public process to discuss it, as soon as the links and dates are available.

Like I said, Bob Shulz is a Good 'Un, in my book.

But why do Portland parks need "business development and marketing"? From the looks of them, I'd say they need Weed 'N' Feed, better playground equipment, and fresh paint a heck of a lot more.

What's your point?

You tryin' to cause trouble, make waves?

You just haven't seen the light - we'll send a coupla guys around to educate ya.

Psssst. Hey buddy. Lemme let you in on a little secret. Lots of big bad corporate behemoths would love to generate some good will (followed by a little P/R) by donating products and services to benefit local kids.

This is especially true if it helps the corporation connect with a key market segment or gain access to fast track approval to install a new product on city property.

You don't need to create a new job title with three assitants: you do need a designated go to person who has the authority to separate the good ideas from the bad ones, and help them negotiate their way to yes.

gain access to fast track approval to install a new product on city property.

Not sure I like the sound of that.

So... Who at Parks handled the sizeable donation made by Columbia Sportswear?

Bob Schulz?

Was Bob the person who dealt directly with Nike on the resurfacing of the basketball courts? Other than placement of the corporate logo rather glaringly in the middle of the court, what did the citizens of Portland gain from this? Is this what we have to look forward to? Glad-handing the corporate types just to keep up our parks? While the public monies which should support ongoing maintenance and upkeep is funnelled into "legacy projects" that will inevitably suck most of the maintenance monies from all other parks, while serving as the centerpiece of some condo developers' wet dreams?

I'd request that I be counted out, but I don't have any choice but to grouse about it from the sidelines.

I think this move is evidence of gross misdirection of public funds.

We should be making the developers pay for the amenities they want with their developments, not sacrificing our parks programs and park maintenance to them.

I would prefer the current leadership/administration of the Parks Bureau be removed. All political appointees and their lieutenants should be terminated or reassigned. We need to have staff who respect the concerns of the citizens of the city, not the developers and/or social elites.

We need staff who will care, preserve, protect and improve, not sell out to the highest bidder.


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