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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 20, 2007 11:10 AM. The previous post in this blog was You see this sign?. The next post in this blog is That's me. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ol' Man Hotel, he jes' keep rollin' along

Portland's next aerial tram -- the publicly built convention center hotel that the taxpayers don't need and don't want -- is about to breeze through the City Council. They're about to simply give away $12 million worth of real estate and another $4 million cash to Metro, who will then give away countless tens of millions of tax dollars away to Mr. Lloyd Center to build white elephant lodging next to white elephant meeting caverns. We and our children will pay for all of it.

Hey, Mayor Potter! Did you read your Vision Quest surveys? We don't want any more of this! If the PDC can't come up with a better use for that property, put it up for sale and put the proceeds toward something like pothole fixing, police on the street, or teachers in the classroom. If Metro's hot to trot, let Metro pay the $12 million in cash up front. And whatever you do, don't throw another $4 million of good city tax money after bad!

Comments (15)

The project under consideration is known within the convention industry as a “headquarters hotel.” It would include 600 rooms and such special features as extra suites and meeting rooms that can be configured for groups of different sizes.

Why the extra suites and meeting rooms when there is a freaking convention center right across the street?? Am I missing something here?

fixing potholes???

...what a quaint notion.

Better to sweep the streets more frequently so the Randy Albrights don't become so agitated. Perhaps a personal sweeper for each cyclist would do.

Am I missing something here?

Yeah, you're missing the fact that this city is run by a group of people without a freakin' clue who spend OPM without a qualm and keep getting re-elected.

Other than that minor detail, everything's rosy in the Rose City.

OK, I'll lie down now, sorry.

In all seriousness, I don't believe this thing needs to be built. But as long as it will be...

Portland State and the Portland Winter Hawks both need new arenas if they're going to be competitive. Why not do like they did in Boise and build a 5 or 6,000 seat arena on the ground floor? Then Erik can blast the Coliseum and finally give that land to Homer. Just sayin'. As long as we're gonna waste money, let's go whole hog.

OK fine but they better not put up a BIG SIGN.
That will piss off Randy Leonard.

After observing tons of PDC meetings, I get the feeling that the dynamic driving all these problems is this:

PDC commissioners are well-intentioned dreamers, heavy on remedying past economic injustice, light on business savvy, financial curiosity or realism.

The architects and planners are also well-intentioned dreamers, who flock here for the shot at getting their signature projects built at any cost.

Developers understandably salivate over this surreal dreamwold, where the dreamers have tons of money to subsidize projects and eliminate business risk. It's not that developers are wicked, or that they even initiated what we would consider massive waste of public money, it's just that they're assuming the role that the PDC and other dreamers expect them to take.

It's like the PDC commissioners are queen ants who release chemical signals and sweet nectar from their bloated abdomens (TIF/subsidies), that the developer working ants take in exchange for building the colony.

Queen ants?
It's much worse than that.
Besides the hierarchy being lost in their own dreamy minds, none of the any agency staff is ever held responsible for anything.
So the buck never starts or stops anywhere.
A very prime example, (and all the local agencies are the same) is the Port of Portland giveaway of the publicly owned floating dry dock, shipyards and 53 acres of land on Swam Island a few years back.
Behind the scenes chatter between the private lawyers described the Port staff as so incompetent they couldn't arrange a garage sale let alone handle the selling of the $90 million plus public assets.
They botched it so bad that the buyer immediately re-sold the floating dry dock for more than $18 million he paid for the entire operation and all of real estate.

How many examples of functionally corrupted and reckless behavior does it take? A lot more. Because all the friends of Neil are still cooking and laughing it up. Including his pal in the governor's office who appoints just the right kind of people to keep it all going.
Along with many other scams, snow jobs and schemes it's Cascade Station in the past, SoWa now and the Convention Center Hotel tomorrow.
And not a single participant will ever be tainted the slightest.

We just keep bellyaching, complaining, and many time correctly assess the causes to the problems; but we do nothing about it. The voters don't even get rid of the problem because they only look at the "social issues" candidates might endorse, but not how they can run a county, a metro, nor a city. Start thinking about your pocketbook.

We also need a few initiatives, referendums , lawsuits that attack the problems. We can't wait for Randy, he's yelling about a sign, or worried about your diet, or your cars fuel choice.

Portland Winter Hawks need new arena...
Please quit thinking minor league,if you want to see 16 and 17 year old kid's fight, go to the Benson High School Parking Lot at 2:30 pm

I still think the Convention Center and Memorial Coliseum and the new hotel could all pencil out if it were dedicated, in part, to offering casino operations similar to any that are sanctioned by our governor when doing reservation land swaps.

I just don't know which entity would be appropriate to petition with an initiative. The CoP and Metro each have a charter.

Perhaps the CoP and Metro could just dream up some intergovernmental agreement for cost sharing and profit allocation from the Trump-Like path to riches.

Who knows, maybe the intergovernmental agreement can include a clean money feature to do like any other casino (and the CoP VOE scheme) and funnel a cool half million or so of the take to the candidate that will most vigorously defend the perpetuation of the (public) casino operations. The state itself could hardly argue that such a publicly run casino needs to be opposed by reason that it is the mob that controls such operations. (The remedy is for the mob, or mob tactics, to simply be merged with government into an indistinguishable public-private-mob partnership.)

I am sure a bond peddler could make this one pencil out.

I could argue from a Regional Economist's perspective that it would be better to lure local people to gamble locally, even if the allocation of the take is acknowledged as wholly corrupt (but local), than to accept the alternative of putting money into retirement trusts (public or private) that are gambled on the price level of equities and bonds outside of the state or the city (particularly given the effective public guarantee against private loss for some). Each dollar that stays here rather than sent away could be plugged into a formula to derive a Trumped up "public" benefit by way of the multiplier effect. This is before even considering the draw of gamblers from across the river and beyond.

"I just don't know which entity would be appropriate to petition with an initiative". How "bout an initiative to rid ourselves of Metro? And if successful, an initiative to limit C of P funding not approved by citizens. Damn, I forgot most voters don't like reading referendums. True Democracy isn't liked by most voters.

The parties lined up to rob us via Metro and PDC employ legions of consultants who play our elected officials like violins. Getting their opinions from these well-spoken sharks is just so much easier than coming up with one of their own. Lambs to the slaughter.

"How many examples of functionally corrupted and reckless behavior does it take? A lot more. Because all the friends of Neil are still cooking and laughing it up. Including his pal in the governor's office who appoints just the right kind of people to keep it all going.
Along with many other scams, snow jobs and schemes it's Cascade Station in the past, SoWa now and the Convention Center Hotel tomorrow.
And not a single participant will ever be tainted the slightest.

How many examples of functionally corrupted and reckless behavior does it take? A lot more. Because all the friends of Neil are still cooking and laughing it up. Including his pal in the governor's office who appoints just the right kind of people to keep it all going.
Along with many other scams, snow jobs and schemes it's Cascade Station in the past, SoWa now and the Convention Center Hotel tomorrow.
And not a single participant will ever be tainted the slightest."

It never seems to stop. I just finished raeding "Bread upon the waters", an Irwin Shaw novel I dug out of a box of miscellaneous paperbacks I've acquired over the years. One of the main characters is a lawyer who kills himself rather than cooperate with an investigation that might cast his colleagues in a less-than-honorable light. Such a perverted sense of loyalty is mysterious to me, but endemic here in P-town. Portland players, it seems, would rather stagnate and, ultimately, sink in quicksand than look objectively at evidence calling into question a friend or friend-of-a-friend.

Most disappointing recent case in point:

When he was running for County Chair, Ted Wheeler promised on his website that he would be investigating problems at Multnomah County Animal Services. Now his is simply taking the word of director Mike Oswald that nothing is wrong, although it can be demonstrated that this man has been caught in several lies, that records have been altered, and that the person who has done the most to expose these problems, Gail O'Connell Babcock, has been excluded from the Troutdale shelter as part of a campaign to discredit her. Apparently Wheeler cares more about the approval of "Mean Girl" Lisa Naito (you just can't question someone whose ex husband's family has a parkway named for it)and her friendship with Oswald than he does about getting to the bottom of what is happening at an agency that is supposed to be operating in the public interest.

Pretty lame, as the kids say.

Hey, I like the idea of a convention center, only they have the wrong site. Look south a few blocks on Grand and you'll see this big cool building already there. It used to be a Sears store.

Now I don't really want to get rid of Metro, but if they truly are a Metro-wide agency, it seems they could be anywhere.

As a convention hotel, the Metro building would already have some pretty nice Internet access. You wouldn't have to build it, and the property wouldn't come off the property tax rolls, because it's not on them now.

Good shot Gil


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