Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.

For old times' sake
The bojack bumper sticker -- only $1.50!

To order, click here.

Excellent tunes -- free! And on your browser right now. Just click on Radio Bojack!

E-mail us here.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 6, 2007 1:29 PM. The previous post in this blog was Hana ho. The next post in this blog is Lawyers for Gitmo habeas. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



Law and Taxation
How Appealing
TaxProf Blog
Mauled Again
Tax Appellate Blog
A Taxing Matter
Josh Marquis
Native America, Discovered and Conquered
The Yin Blog
Ernie the Attorney
Above the Law
The Volokh Conspiracy
Going Concern
Bag and Baggage
Wealth Strategies Journal
Jim Hamilton's World of Securities Regulation
World of Work
The Faculty Lounge
Lowering the Bar
OrCon Law

Hap'nin' Guys
Tony Pierce
Parkway Rest Stop
Along the Gradyent
Dwight Jaynes
Bob Borden
Dingleberry Gazette
The Red Electric
Iced Borscht
Jeremy Blachman
Dean's Rhetorical Flourish
Straight White Guy
As Time Goes By
Dave Wagner
Jeff Selis
Alas, a Blog
Scott Hendison
The View Through the Windshield
Appliance Blog
The Bleat

Hap'nin' Gals
My Whim is Law
Lelo in Nopo
Attorney at Large
Linda Kruschke
The Non-Consumer Advocate
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place
A Pig of Success
Attorney at Large
Margaret and Helen
Kimberlee Jaynes
Cornelia Seigneur
And Sew It Goes
Mile 73
Rainy Day Thoughts
That Black Girl
Posie Gets Cozy
Cat Eyes
Rhi in Pink
Ragwaters, Bitters, and Blue Ruin
Rose City Journal
Type Like the Wind

Portland and Oregon
Isaac Laquedem
Rantings of a [Censored] Bus Driver
Jeff Mapes
Vintage Portland
The Portlander
South Waterfront
Amanda Fritz
O City Hall Reporters
Guilty Carnivore
Old Town by Larry Norton
The Alaunt
Bend Blogs
Lost Oregon
Cafe Unknown
Tin Zeroes
David's Oregon Picayune
Mark Nelsen's Weather Blog
Travel Oregon Blog
Portland Daily Photo
Portland Building Ads
Portland Food and
Dave Knows Portland
Idaho's Portugal
Alameda Old House History
MLK in Motion

Retired from Blogging
Various Observations...
The Daily E-Mail
Saving James
Portland Freelancer
Furious Nads (b!X)
Izzle Pfaff
The Grich
Kevin Allman
AboutItAll - Oregon
Lost in the Details
Worldwide Pablo
Tales from the Stump
Whitman Boys
Two Pennies
This Stony Planet
1221 SW 4th
I am a Fish
Here Today
What If...?
Superinky Fixations
The Rural Bus Route
Another Blogger
Mikeyman's Computer Treehouse
Portland Housing Blog

Wonderfully Wacky
Dave Barry
Borowitz Report
Stuff White People Like
Worst of the Web

Valuable Time-Wasters
My Gallery of Jacks
Litterbox, On the Prowl
Litterbox, Bag of Bones
Litterbox, Scratch
Ride That Donkey
Singin' Horses
Rally Monkey
Simon Swears
Strong Bad's E-mail

Oregon News
The Oregonian
Portland Tribune
Willamette Week
The Sentinel
Southeast Examiner
Northwest Examiner
Sellwood Bee
Mid-County Memo
Vancouver Voice
Eugene Register-Guard
OPB - Portland
Salem Statesman-Journal
Oregon Capitol News
Portland Business Journal
Daily Journal of Commerce
Oregon Business
Portland Info Net
McMinnville News Register
Lake Oswego Review
The Daily Astorian
Bend Bulletin
Corvallis Gazette-Times
Roseburg News-Review
Medford Mail-Tribune
Ashland Daily Tidings
Newport News-Times
Albany Democrat-Herald
The Eugene Weekly
Portland IndyMedia
The Columbian

The Beatles
Bruce Springsteen
Joni Mitchell
Ella Fitzgerald
Steve Earle
Joe Ely
Stevie Wonder
Lou Rawls

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

All aboard the next tram

Well, Portland's Movable Scam -- the convention center hotel -- is about to get back on track. Metro -- one of the region's cornucopias of unsupervised public money -- is going to vote on Thursday to go through with building the thing. The new plan is ultimately to stick the taxpayers with both the bill and the risk by building the 600-room hotel and having it wholly public-owned. And although the City of Portland has backed off taking the lead, there's still apparently going to be a lovely "partnership" on this one between the Portland Development Commission and Metro. Sounds trammily familiar.

But wait, it gets better. Just to show you how the Old Boy Network works, the most recent development is the proposed request to the state for $40 million in Lottery dollars for the program! Wow. Talk about moving the scam. David Bragdon, Dale Penn, Hank Ashforth -- you might as well call in Neil Goldschmidt himself to chair the meeting.

And what? No Tri-Met tax dollars? Get Bernie on the phone.

I've blogged about this boondoggle before on several occasions. Portland's convention center is a flop, and always will be, regardless of how much hotel you build in the neighborhood. Expanding the convention center against the clearly expressed wishes of the voters was a gigantic Vera Katz-Erik Sten-Sam Adams fiasco. A taxpayer-built hotel will be another major fiscal disaster. Ask the people in Omaha, Nebraska, where the exact same scenario has saddled the city with a losing hotel.

But somebody promised this to Ashforth a long time ago, and in the network, promises made at the Arlington Club must be kept at all costs.

Comments (25)

It's a national scam. Check this out -- just substitute "Portland" for "Baltimore," and it's eerily accurate.

There is also another city-financed stinker hotel in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Losing money.

What immediately comes to mind are four cities with (seemingly) thriving Convention Center complexes---Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Minneapolis & Indianapolis.

A common thread among them all is that each has a wealth of adjacent hotels, often accessed via skyways and tunnels.

When I've attended conventions in these venues, the wealth of space is expanded in the direct relation to the number of adjacent hotels. We had access to the Convention Center Exhibit & Break-out Halls as well as a plethora of hotel ballrooms and meeting rooms.

So, say what you want, easily accessed hotels (and I don't mean via a light-rail and bus) can be vital to a successful convention site.

Now, my one big beef (which I communicated to a city commissioner without getting any response)---our Convention Center has no signage on the side facing I-5. I ask, what business would have access to such exposure and not have signage to so many drivers passing by???

...just some random thoughts...

Once again, if this was such a great investment, why aren't investors falling all over themselves to build this thing?

our Convention Center has no signage on the side facing I-5

Civic icons need no signage. They speak for themselves.

You could have 10 hotels with skybridges galore, but not many people are going to take two planes and fly all day to come to Portland, Oregon for a national convention. It just isn't going to happen for decades, if ever.

I'm with both Oregbear and Chris -- if the convention center is to be viable, it needs a lovely hotel nearby, but if it's such a great idea, it begs the question why no Marriott or Hilton has jumped on the bandwagon.

Heck, even Reno's crappy convention center (and it's a testimony to 50s postmodern bombshelter architecture) has the, uh, Atlantis at hand. And the Adventure Inn a little ways down the road.

I feel sorry for my former colleagues in the hotel business.
Here they've been working hard to compete in the free market system, and then this ownership-by-the-government bunch of Trump-Junior phonies comes along and uses the workers own taxes to compete against them. It would be one thing if it was just unfair, but these politicial "business" types can't lose because it's not their money, so they just give each other another plaque and then move on to the next hustle. Here's a clue: If they can't find a hotel chain that's willing to build this, it's probably a bad idea.
Meanwhile, I doubt they spent 10 minutes worrying how this could affect people who are already working in hotels.

Why is it that NOT ONE politician in sight has anything to say in opposition to this stuff?
Randy Leonard? How about you?
If you thought Trammel Crow's Alexan Tax abatement was BS this is a no brainer.

Elected officials have a responsibility to speak out even if the CC Hotel moves over to some other funding scheme and out of their official jurisdiction.

take two planes and fly all day to come to Portland

Exactly. Of the four cities oregbear mentioned, two (Cincinnati and Minneapolis) are MAJOR airline hubs. And Indianapolis is halfway between everywhere. Portland is literally at the end of the line.

If they can't find Convention business willing to build a convention center, it's probably a bad idea.

If they can't find a Convention business willing to expand the convention center, it's probably a bad idea.

If they can't find a hotel chain that's willing to build the hotel, it's probably a bad idea.

If it's taxpayer money it doesn't matter is it's a bad idea.

Dead ahead,
A new Port of Portland headquarters building at the airport.
Never mind they built a new headquarters building downtown 5 or so years ago.

If the primary purpose of the convention center is to help the local economy by attracting large, out-of-state conventions, it is doing a poor job of that. Take a look at the OCC's calendar of events for the upcoming year at See very many large regional or national events being held there? I sure don't. Most of OCC's events are small and/or will not attract many non-Oregonians. The place was poorly sited and doesn't easily connect to downtown. In addition, the number of national conventions being held has fallen since this unnecessary white elephant was expanded.

But I have a solution: run a tram from the OCC and its new hotel to the south waterfront area! It would truly be an engineering marvel that would put Portland on the map. Let's go for it!

Well... I've made my disapproval known to my Metro councillor. I trust all those here have as well?

There are, in fact, nonstop flights to Portland from New York (JFK), Newark, Washington, D.C., Cincinnati, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, Denver, Salt Lake City, Boise, Anchorage, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Vancouver and Guadalajara, not to mention all points on and near the West Coast of the United States. We may not be quite as well served as Seattle, but the difference is small. I don't think air connections are the issue here. It's the destination, not the journey.

I think I forgot St. Louis, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Reno.

God these guys are saps. I wonder if Ashforth is going for the same deal (no property tax, he keeps the room tax and METRO makes the loan payment if poor Mr Ashforth doesn't make enough profit.)

Here is the Frrbes article that cites the Oregon Convention Center

When Bragdon feels his shortcomings can't he stare at anything else besides those damn spires of the OCC?

So long as any casino is operated on land that required the approval of the Governor for transfer the Convention Center Hotel shall be used as a casino, where profits are to be used to:

1) Wittle down all city debt and prospective obligations down to zero,
2) Thereafter profits are to be distributed uniformly among households that have at least one dependent child.

Purpose: It is for the kids and the future generation, as they are the very folks that are expected to cover any debt.

(Just call me a stickler for uniform application of the equal privileges and immunities clause, any time it seems fitting.)

"Well... I've made my disapproval known to my Metro councillor. I trust all those here have as well?"

Done - Brian Newman (my district) has a grad degree in public planning, so he'll still roll over for Ashforth anyways.

There are, in fact, nonstop flights to Portland

But are they enough to accommodate the crowds of thousands that it takes to make a national convention happen? And do they come from enough cities?

BTW, the mention of the Reno flight was pretty funny.

These guys are kidding themselves if they think they are going to have a snowballs chance of going up against even the most popular sub-regional convention center cities.

The bigs always have three or four VERY LARGE hotels IN CLOSE PROXIMITY (translation: no river crossing required).
Even little ol' Salt Lake City boasts of 7,125 hotel rooms "within walking distance".

Presumably, they know we'll never compete with the bigs, and they simply aspire to regional convention center status.

(from a 2004 story @

The occupancy of convention centers in "gateway” destinations (cities with more than 30,000 hotel rooms) dropped by 10 percentage points to 51 percent. The occupancy rates for “national” centers (cities with between 15,000 and 30,000 hotel rooms) dropped by about 15 points to 32 percent. “Regional” centers (cities with less than 15,000 hotel rooms or secondary/tertiary convention centers in markets with more than 15,000 hotel rooms) remained the least occupied at 26 percent, a one-point decline from 2001.

four cities with (seemingly) thriving Convention Center complexes---Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Minneapolis & Indianapolis.

Not Milwaukee.

Oddly enough, the "for-profit" hoteliers are not interested in building shiny new towers for a likely 26% occupancy rate.

Why would Metro? What's the name of the consulting firm they bribed (a'hem....I mean "retained") to suggest this is a viable hotel property? What will they do after it fails?

Maybe it will be the world's first Homeless Tower?


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
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: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
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

Clicky Web Analytics