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Thursday, April 5, 2007

The building's eight years old -- throw it away

The topic of moving the Port of Portland headquarters (a.k.a. Goldschmidt Political Cemetery) to the airport must be heating up again in the media. In Portland, usually that means we're about six months to a year after the pork deal has been sealed. We've been aware of this scam since October 2005, which doggone it, is getting to be quite a while ago. More tax dollars ladled out to Hoffman Construction, or Bechtel, or one of the Usual Suspects. Good crab louie all around at the Arlington Club.

Anyway, tonight a reader is worked up about it and writes:

Didja see in the Oregonian where the Port of Portland now wants to spend $69 million on a new headquarters near the airport? Jeez Louise. How long is a public building supposed to last these days? They spent $20 million on a new building downtown that was completed in 1999. I'd think government buildings ought to be used for more than eight years. (And as I recall, they spared no expense on this building, either. The Port is no Mercy Corps.)

Yet Bill Wyatt says the new building will save the Port money on duplicated costs, such as having two reception areas and two security staffs (in addition to the downtown office, they maintain a separate facility at the airport). They say eliminating this duplication will save $3 to $4 million a year. Hmmm. Does anyone do math anymore. Say you pay two full-time receptionists $25 an hour, which is damn good pay for a receptionist. That would cost you $104,000 a year. Now maybe the security guards cost more, maybe they are from one of Dick Cheney's old buddies like Blackhawk and cost millions. But how many guards do you think the Port of Portland needs for one building? Two, four, six, eight... Okay, let's go with eight at 40 hours a week and $25 an hour. That seems generous. That's $416,000 a year. So with the guards and the receptionists that would get laid off from the downtown office, they would save around $500,000. How do they save the rest of the $2.5 to $3.5 million?

My guess: Composting.

Comments (7)

One thing is for certain.

They don't think it's their job.

It's the same with every one of these.
Not one single politician opposed the shipyards sale, Convention center expansion, Cascade Station, SoWa or any number of other reckless and costly.

I can already hear the appologist groupies with another dose of it's OK.

Oh Ya, the famed Arlington Club, and the big shots that call the play. Neil got his marching orders there every Friday afternoon. When talk show hostess Turry Rider,if I remember right, of KGW radio, was run out of town. Because she advocated women be allowed to join this masculine dominated club. She was digging for government funds being used by the Arlington Club and things got a little uncomfortable for the big boys. So with severance pay and what else?, she left for San Francisco. John is so right, the elected p***y's never say no.

"The offices would cost about $69 million, a number that is "on the high end," Wyatt acknowledges."

So the real cost is about 3x that right? This is the CoP with its crack forensic accounting in place. WHo knows maybe Potter can figure this one out before the next PoP building is built.

Oh yes the Port of Portland.
Hard to distinguish it from the PDC or Metro.
Don't you love it,,, they say the headquarters move will "save money" in the long run.
In the model of PDC, agency staff is paid to plot moves and cook up claims.

Never mind the Port's role in the flop Cascade Station ped/bike/transit "mini-city" that never happened.
Never mind the $50 million hanger fiasco.
Or the other Goldschmidt cronnie, Mike Thorne, former Port director, who just happened to be on the OHSU board when SoWa was approved.
Thorne, who
gave away all the shipyards,
53 acres of public land,
two drydocks
all the other infrastucture
for LESS than the floating drydock was RESOLD for,,,$25 million,
to a Red China company who sailed it to the Bahamas.
The public paid $84 million for the floating dry dock 13 years earlier
The floating drydock was in near perfect shape when sold because it was in fresh water the whole time.

I have a wild idea for Wyatt and the Port. How about stuffing your "New Headquarters building idea" down your throats, figuratively speaking of course,
and save the $70 million.
What you do at yor headquarters really hasn't been all that impressive.
You don't desereve anything new.

And the case you make for it is a load of BS.
My guess is you need to ramp up construction costs so you can siphon on a larger slice for "management" to keep your operation, or rather overpaid heirarchy funded.

Steve --

While I agree with you that an on crack forensic accounting staff will eventually ignore or whitewash the inevitable cost over runs, you gotta keep the boxes separate and labeled correctly so that we can tell wich pols get the credit for the screwing the taxpayers will get on this one.

The Port of Portland (PoP) is not a part of CoP guv'mint. PoP is a separate free standing entity with unelected comissioners appointed by the governor.

PoP's initial and I think now secondary funding comes from real estate taxes levied to pay off Port bonds. Check your November property tax statement.

PoP's primary income is from user fees. PoP charges airlines a a lot to use the airport. The airlines pass that along to flyers in ticket prices. PoP charges huge parking fees at the airport to folks who drive out there. PoP charges rents to stores at the airport, which sell very high priced stuff to the captive audience out there, so that again the citizens eventually pay the fees. PoP charges big fees to steamship companies who use the various shipping terminals, who pass those costs along to shippers who pass the costs to customrs. Probably the only thing shipped through PoP taht doesn't result in a pass through of costs to us locals is outbound wheat shipments.

Give credit where it is due, Teddy Taxandgougeme and has appointed most if not all the incumbent Port Commissioners. Dr. Feelgood has appointed any that predate Taxing Teddy's term in office.

And the PoP, even more than CoP, has been a plaything for the well connected at the Arlington Club for years.

For a "public" entity, PoP is even more isolated from citizen control than the PDC.

And that's saying a lot.

It would save everyone a lot of time if Bill Wyatt just came over to my house, took my wallet and slept with my wife.

"Arlington Club"?
or Goldschmidt Club?

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