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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 7, 2007 2:43 PM. The previous post in this blog was They've got to be kidding. The next post in this blog is Moment of silence. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Springtime, and the scams are blooming

You know that nice little SmartPark garage downtown at 10th and Yamhill? Really does its job well.

Well, get a good look at it, because the condo weasels are all over it. Stand by for anther major pork giveaway. They're getting ready to "present" their "ideas," which is code for "The fix is already in." Twenty stories of condos? Thirty?

Linchpin City!

UPDATE, 3/8, 12:28 a.m.: An alert reader writes:

Tom Moyer's garage under Park Block 5 will cost at least $5 an hour and $18 a day. He will be delighted to have the low-cost competition go away for a year or two, and come back (if it does come back) at a reduced capacity.
The reader also points out that "the story of how this went from a plan to spruce up the garage, including gated stairwells, better elevators and more appealing retail, to a teardown with condo tower, is told succinctly here:"

Of course, it's all the Usual Suspects and their call girls at 1221 SW Fourth.

Comments (49)

Developers will present their ideas for renovation of the 10th & Yamhill parking garage.

Flip this garage!

Is this the garage regarding which one of the Mandels once complained about "golden showers" descending from above and onto pedestrians below? Or was that a different one.

Howie Mandel was in Portland?

I can understand why you might be against condo and/or apartment buildings in residential neighborhoods, especially when they're largely out of scale, but I can't understand what would get you fired up in this proposal. That parking garage is a big, ugly, crime-breeding, cancer on the block. It totally sucks the life out of the area. Have you walked by there? And it's downtown, there are big buildings all around. A condo/apartment tower would not in any way be out of scale.

I live very close to this garage. A condo/apartment building here would be a welcome addition. After work hours end, the area is largely populated by homeless people and street kids. It's not generally a good place to hang out. More people living here would add life to the area.

Seriously, why the animosity?

Have you walked by there?

Since before it was built.

I'm opposed because this is public property, and Sam Adams and the boys will hand it over to one of the Usual Suspects for a dollar, and an ugly, soulless condo bunker will be built there. Parking will be far less convenient, and way more expensive, if it's preserved at all.

Hey, go ahead, run all the low-rise out of downtown. See if you still want to live there afterward.

If they were planning to replace a building of any real significance, I'd be right with you. The removal of the Rosefriend to make way for the Ladd Tower makes me sad. And angry. But this is a parking garage. It's ugly, and it's only really there to serve people driving in from the 'burbs. It doesn't make downtown a better place to live. In fact, quite the contrary. It's grey and imposing, and generally smells like urine.

We should certainly be trying to protect downtown's architectural heritage, but the best way to do that is to get more people living there. If no one lives there, no one cares. I didn't give a damn when I lived out in the suburbs myself. Replacing an ugly and ill-conceived parking bunker with homes seems like a pretty good trade off to me if it gets more people walking the streets, going to downtown restaurants, and generally giving the place more life. It makes downtown a better place in which to live, not worse.

Oh, and I really don't think that preserving parking, or preventing it from being expensive, should be a goal for the city. That was a priority throughout the '50s and '60s, and look what happened: countless beautiful old buildings were knocked over for surface parking or monstrosities just like this parking garage. You have personally linked to the cafeunkown site in the past. It's full of examples of parking lots pushing people out of the city. This is a chance to fix one of those misakes.

I mistakenly misspelled the word "mistakes." Pardon my error.

I've parked at that building many times over the years, and three times in the past two years I've boarded the elevator only to find my daughter's stroller wheels rolling through puddles that had no business being in an elevator. In that period I've also seen a handful of used needles in the stairwells.

I'm all for affordable parking, but I don't see how a condo tower is worse than this structure. I don't think this project represents the end of affordable parking in Portland - something tells me the downtown business community won't let it disappear.

And if a condo tower is "ugly" and "soulless," what the heck is a parking garage that doubles as a urine-soaked haven for druggies?

Fine. Implode it. Make it impossible to park downtown. But most importantly, be sure to give it away for a dollar to some jerk.

Tearing a functional garage down to keep people from peeing in the stairwells is an expensive way to solve a problem that could more cheaply be handled by installing and staffing a bathroom on the ground floor.

Can anyone find anything more current than this, which suggests not condos, but what the calendar item Jack links to suggests: "Renovation". It seems to refer to things from 04/05, so I don't know what's happened (or not happened) since then.

Oh. Here.

Sorry, that garage is sketch city. It is a soul less hulk. What about the 600 space they're building at South Park Block 5. It's about 2 or 3 blocks from the Smart Park.

No condo tower could possibly be uglier or more soulless than that parking garage. I agree entirely with DR: buildings and land in Portland should be devoted to people, not to storing their cars. The big parking garages and surface parking lots are the worst things about downtown Portland. The cars can go underground.

That building seems to function as a large, and necessary, toilet for the folks on the street. If it goes, where will they?

We won't need parking spaces after they ban the devil automobile from downtown.

that place really did smell of urine. ive probably parked there a hundred times over the past 15 years and the

Look, Tee, the car is not going away. It's far too ingrained in our culture. The point isn't that cars should be banned, or that they, or those driving them, are the "devil." The point is that big ugly parking garages ruin the urban atmosphere. We've seen it happen over the last half century, we don't need further proof. Planners and property owners thought that, without ample parking, downtown was doomed. So they slowly destroyed the city while attempting to make it more accessible. The end result is a city with plenty of parking, but one which is much less worthy of visiting.

We shouldn't ban the car, but we should stop trying to make it extremely cheap and easy to drive here. The priority should be improving the city for those that live in it. By extension, it will become a worthwhile place to visit and people will be willing to pay more to do so. And, god forbid, some of them might even look for alternative ways to get here.

I'm not against replacing this garage with something that's better looking and less of an attraction to downtown's peeing army. But it would be nice to get something that aesthetically makes sense next to the Galleria, the Public Library, the Pythian Building, the Governor Hotel and the old house across from the library on Yamhill. Instead I'm sure we'll get a clone of the Tom Moyer condo behemoth that's going to replace the Virginia Cafe block, replete with a Starbucks and a Gap. And a major net loss to public parking.

Moreover, I'm sure the taxpayers will take a royal shaft in the process.

downtown's peeing army

I hope someone ges pictures of these guys at the upcoming peace march.

Dr; it is not that some bloggers are opposed to condos, etc. They are primarily opposed to the taxpayers paying for them. Let the market work. Secondly, there is the issue of height and how buildings relate to Portland's unique togography and views. As an Oregonian I can remember the uniqueness of Portland's relationship to the WestHills, the rivers, the mountains, the sense of topography- places, the sloping plane the city sits on. Not all cities have to strive for the current "tall is the answer". We do not need to make a Miami and let buildings be the maker of space, an identifying landmark. We have landmarks that we are losing to an urban form that is becoming a duplicate of so many cities.

Density, if that is what one seeks, can be achieved in other ways. There are many city examples to demonstrate that possibility.

And speaking of density, we need a new measure of how the past 30 years of densifying is being accepted by our citizens. Now that it is coming to roost even in our inner and outer neighborhoods, other posts demonstrates that there are negative consequences that many do not want to live with.

It's amazing that no matter how long this topic is discussed at no matter what length some of the most elementary points cannot be repeated or established enough to move the conversation forward.

Each and every time this opens up we get people asking why some are opposed to condos.

What the heck does it take folks?
I've been watching this for years. There is not a single person that I have read who is simply "opposed to condos".

It has been repeated over and over again by person after person that it is how they come about (taxpayer subsidies)and how they may not fit in that is the problem.

Is it possible to start the next discussion on the "condos" with a little progress?

IMO Jack's made it abundantly clear what about the condos he doesn't like.

Anyone who has been hanging here and still doesn't "get it" probably should get.

The problem, as I see it, is that downtown Portland is very close to being dead. I work in the Pearl District and my boyfriend lives in Goose Hollow, but I avoid downtown Portland downtown proper if I can help it. There are many reasons for this.

It is hard to get downtown. Many roads are ripped up. Parking is hard to find and I would take the bus but the bus mall is under construction and just seems more trouble than its worth. Most anyone can out-walk the street car. I guess the Max still sort of viable and you can walk there.

There is not much to do when I’m down there. I’ve seen the Portland Art Museum – several times. Saturday Market is dirty, depressing and over run with non-artisan vendors that you would find at a fair midway. Shopping doesn’t offer anything that I couldn’t find at Lloyd Center. Pioneer square resembles the drain in my shower – architecturally and figuratively. I would and should go see more performances downtown like the ballet and symphony. I do like the farmer’s market and I’m looking forward to the cherry trees blossoming – but those two things happen independent of big development plans and money.

So if the main downside of this parking garage is that homeless people pee there and druggies shoot up there, hate the circumstances that create the pee/drugs but don’t blame the parking structure for that. This city has no vision for how to deal with the disadvantaged other than to basically make it illegal to be homeless in downtown Portland. Based on what you see happening to downtown and other places close-in downtown, it’s hard not to believe that the people in charge of Portland’s future are concerned only with building more condos. More condos are about greed, pure and simple. Condos do not draw your average Oregonian downtown to have a good time with their families. Condos do not solve any of the social ills that plague urban areas.

I’m all for progress, but downtown Portland belongs to more than just the people who can afford to plunk down upwards of $500,000 for 1,500 square feet. Downtown Portland belongs to more than just the people who have the money to build housing for people who can afford to plunk down upwards of $500,000 for 1,500 square feet. Why the powers that be are so hell bent on re-visioning Portland into some exclusive boutique/condo/winebar mecca is beyond me. Well, okay – I know it’s the greed. But who is thinking about Portland’s long term future? When the economy slumps and the condo market completely bottoms out we’ll long nostalgically for the time when downtown Portland’s biggest problem was that homeless people pee in a parking garage.

Downtown Portland belongs to more than just the people who have the money to build housing for people who can afford to plunk down upwards of $500,000 for 1,500 square feet.

Agreed, but one point.
Thats only about $300 per sq ft. If you find a place downtown for that, buy it now!
Most places downtown are more than $500/sq ft. And I have seen them as high as $700/sq ft. The worst I saw (as far as what you get) was a 600 sq ft studio for $350,000.


I don't remember the last time I heard downtown visitors who were complaining about all those horrorific parking garages.

I do remember tourists complaining about their automobiles getting broken into. And all the "homeless" kids begging for money. And how hard it is to drive downtown without getting bogged down in detours and "temporary" bus shelters.

Personally, I quit taking my son downtown when I watched a grown man defecate in front of the Bank of America ATM at SW 5th & Stark at 4:30 p.m. on a weekday. When you have to go, you go. So we went: and we haven't been back.

But it wasn't because of the aesthetic failings of public parking lots.

Hay the good news is, If they build the condos maybe it'll bread some life back into The Galleria

that is

Last I heard, the Galleria was being recast as all offices.

I swear I had to recheck my address bar after reading the last sentence in that article. I thought for sure that you were pulling more photoshop hijinx.

You can't make this stuff up.

"We think 10th and Yamhill is a real linchpin to developing the West End," Edlen says.

WOW...yet another "linchpin".

I agree with everything stated by Gretchen above. It's about the GREED.

If people are peeing in the stairs hire a few more security guards and stop them. It's something they should have done a long time ago and makes more sense than running around cleaning it up all day and night. If they had more public toilets they'd have less reason to go there to begin with.

The building actually makes money for the city so it's not like they'd be dipping into tax revenues to fund it. Tearing down a perfectly good building so these rich fat cats can get rich off of a bunch of other rich fat cats is a travesty. Talk about screwed up priorities...geez.

And early this morning, a woman is stabbed in the neck trying to break up a fight between two homeless people.
Downtown Portland. Its a wonderful place...

Today, O reporter Fred Lesson writes that "public leaders are banking, in part, on the new Transit Mall, to "pry shoppers away from the malls".
Leeson then writes that the downtown makeover will "cater to the region's most affluent shoppers"

Understand folks how disconnected this thinking is.
Transit does not equal affluent shoppers.

The massive re-do of the Transit Mall and adding more Light Rail will NOT be "catering to affluent shoppers".
It doesn't matter what the intent is or how dreamy the plan is for some.
Unless the city is planning on lining the Mall with discount stores, Walmart, and alike, the new Transit Mall will be the same as the old one.
Porkland is simply putting lipstick on a pig. At enormous public expense without ANY PUBLIC VOTE.
Now the proposed Milwaukie Light Rail line is about to follow the same NO PUBLIC VOTE process.

"I've been watching this for years. There is not a single person that I have read who is simply 'opposed to condos'. It has been repeated over and over again by person after person that it is how they come about (taxpayer subsidies)and how they may not fit in that is the problem.

Richard, Jack complained that an "ugly, soulless condo bunker will be built" where the parking garage is located. Don't pretend that Jack and plenty of others here haven't spewed bile on various aspects of condos other than taxpayer subsidy.

I think it's a fair question whether a condo, filled with full-time residents who will contribute to downtown's success on a daily basis, is more "ugly" or "soulless" than a urine-soaked drug haven.

Is just any old condo tower a better use than a popular parking garage that generates a tidy profit for the city? Of course not. But what's the problem with reviewing different proposals? I thought I saw that some of the ideas include keeping the public parking. I hate to see the parade of horribles descend down the slippery slope to hell before any real progress has been made.

And if downtown is so terrible, why is the parking garage at issue so popular - even on weekends? And why do developers think that hundreds of people want to live there full-time? As I've said before on this page, I moved here after a five-year stretch in Atlanta - if you want to see a terrible downtown, catch a flight to The City Too Busy to Hate.

I feel like I have to be the devil's advocate here. I've worked downtown since December of 1995. (I live in the Cully neighborhood.) I've thoroughly enjoyed my time working here...the days are bustling with people...the vendor carts are awesome (No Fish Go Fish rules!) and because I ride the max to work everyday, I have the opportunity to do some errands, such as a trip to Rite Aid or Ritz Camera across the street to get my film developed. Lord only knows how much money I've spent on lunches out to the many outstanding restaurants downtown. In the spring and summer it's access to Waterfront Park activities and lovely walks around the three miles of the Esplanade. Sure there are some homeless people and kids the hang around, but to be honest, if you acknowledge them...look them in the eye...say hello...they are usually polite right back. In the times that I've driven downtown, I don't see it as that big of a deal. I've parked in the smart park across from the mall and it's always clean and doesn't's just spendy. I've also attending evening functions on a regular basis, such as the Portland Art Museum...trips to Powells, and Shakespeare at Lovejoy Park. I'd much rather work in an office building downtown than some industrial campus with over-fertilized landscaping, encouragement to drive due to free parking, but no where to go.

If I am landlord on Kruse Way / Tualatin or a shopkeeper at WashSq/Bridgeport/Clackamas, this would make my day.

Maybe one day they will realize that a couple of people who shop do drive cars and making it impossible to drive (without crossing 20 tracks) or park just might discourage visitors. Lets not forget the mothers with kids that populate malls being intimidated by street urchins.

Plus one more condo built and downtown will drop in the Willamette.

Thanks for posting that, Laurelann. I've worked downtown for the past 17 years, also taking mass transit to get to work, and my general positive experience of the place is quite similar to yours. Some specific changes I lament (such as the upcoming destruction of the beautiful Rosefriend apartments between Broadway and the park blocks), while others I welcome (such as the creation of a new park block across from the Fox Tower).

Replacing the parking tower in question with a combination of underground parking and above-ground housing, which is one possible scenario I've heard about, would very likely be good for downtown Portland. That there would be some substantial element of greed involved in the possible redevelopment, as Gretchen and others point out, hardly ruins the proposal. Was there some time in Portland's history, or that of any other city, when greed wasn't a big part of the picture? Cities don't exist without greed, so properly channeling and containing the forces of greed are the best we can hope for. Turning storage space for cars into housing for people seems like an example of greed put to good use.

The key here is the parking garage makes money. What sort of government project is that. There must be something terribly wrong.

Maybe the Pee DC is leaving the puddles.

Taking the complaint about tax subsidies at face value, and I will only too willingly expose my ignorance of PDX condo development history in the Pearl and elsewhere..what about the word "condo" automatically implies that there will be some huge taxpayer giveway?

I understand the concept of subsidies as incentives to build in depressed areas, and the hope that the subsidies provided will be repaid in the long run by the additional taxes generated by the developed andnow useful property.

So what is wrong with PDX's way of doing it?

Is there something in the PDX or PDC laws or rules that prevants the city from striking a reasonable deal with developers so that the subsidies provide a reasonable ROI to the community?

Are the local officals just too dumb to represent the community in neogtations with developers?

Is there too much graft in that developers can lobby and lobby and wine and dine and backscratch until they eventually get the sweetheart deal they want?

The city owns the land and the building at 10th and Yamhill, would anyone have a problem with the city just selling the land to a developer to build a condo?

In the WW article, I saw no mention of subsidy or development zone or any indication whatsoever that the development would be subsidized by public funds.

Why is thaty conclusion automatically made whenever there is a condo proposal on the table?

It's just been the trend in recent years. Virtually the entire Pearl District was constructed with tax-funded give-aways, as is the South Waterfront Project. It's not clear that any of these projects will ever pay for themselves (the Tram certainly will not), and the real issue is why government is picking which projects will get subsidies and be "winners" and which won't. There's no role for government in any of this, and I think that's been demonstrably proven.

People are only against subsidies if it suits their ideological dogma. I guarantee you that every person here railing against incentives given to develop under-utilized property will remain strangely silent if confronted with evidence of subsidy given to an issue that they support.

Case in point: the city subsidizes parking by charging below market prices, in effect eating profit that they could be otherwise earning. Most people here that are griping about tax breaks for development of under-utilized areas probably don't seem to have a problem with this subsidy.


And why do developers think that hundreds of people want to live there full-time?

They dont think YOU WANT to live there full-time. They WANT YOU to live there full-time. Thats the difference in their thinking.

the city subsidizes parking by charging below market prices

Depends on whether you think the city government owns the right-of-way, or whether you think it belongs to everyone.


Sorry - don't get your point. Is this some coercive conspiracy forcing us to move downtown?


Why is thaty conclusion automatically made whenever there is a condo proposal on the table?

Because that's the entire track record. In this case, the city has a highly valuable, income-producing property that actually supports downtown retail. And given "the PDX way," it is highly likely that the city will give that away to one of the usual half dozen developers at a grossly low price. Not to mention tax abatements, if they can get away with it.

And when the new underground parking opens, it will be $5 or $8 an hour, as opposed to $2 now. Nobody wins except the greasy builders.

Nobody wins except the greasy builders.

Oh, I think the winning extends to a few who may "grease the way" for those slippery characters.

Come to think of it, the Justice Center is replete with people pissing/crapping on the walls and floors.

Ergo, it only makes sense to convert the Justice Center into the "Justice Condo Tower" and recreation center (indoor basketball courts).

If we can't waste valuable real estate on parking lots, it only makes sense to move all J/C functions out to the WAPATO CORRECTIONAL FACILITY. Think of all the money the CoP can make if they sell that building for market value.

Headline from Today's Oregonian:

"City seeks to free up parking for shoppers Downtown" -

One idea being considered is to offer those who work downtown a parking lot and shuttle.

Another sign of Portland's visionary plan to halt the downtown decline with resurgent retail?

NO, senor! They're talking about Clark County, Washington, land of the tax free Oregon retirement and the lowest unemployment rate in the metro area.


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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

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: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run 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

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