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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Where the little people die

We urinate away millions of Portland transportation dollars every year running streetcars and an aerial tram, and building more and more condo-selling toys that will continue to cost more and more millions to operate and maintain. But we can barely spare a million, even on a one-shot basis, to help safety at those many eastside intersections where people are being killed in crashes. Sorry, times are tight.

But Tram Boy cares. He really does. “When I see a concentration of injuries and accidents on specific roads, and when I know that with some specific moderate investments… we can reduce deaths from both drivers and pedestrians, I’m going to focus on that.” You do that.


Comments (30)

Don't worry, Sam will get in front of this and explain a one-time $7M blip for both streets. That is, when he gets time from the $80M (sorry, Portland means it is actually 3x that) for 1.5 miles of Burnside couplet.

You know, if we build trams over those intersections, and light rail thru them there will be no more need for cars to go thru them....problem solved...

Oh, he's working on it...working on getting cars out of Portland for good.

Everything will be fine..The Eco councilman will make all trams use Bio-diesel. The saving will pay for the tram in no-time.

Alright, I get your distaste for the sky tram. I don't like it either. I don't quite think it's fair to lump the streetcar in with it, but hey I'll let that slip.

But what I don't understand is how you can nakedly call Adams a hypocrite, and allege that he's pleading poverty when it comes to improving Eastside traffic, when the very article you cite shows he's already gotten approval for $5.9 million to improve traffic safety next year, and has proposed an additional $6 million for traffic improvements in 2007-08.

One of the basic tenets of socialism is that is that the power of government is used to take money/property by force from those who earned it and give it to those who didn't earn it so that those in power will maintain their power. It matters little where the money goes...whether the recipients be welfare mothers, wealthy farmers or pointless wars. How many times have you heard the so-called and self-proclaimed foes of socialism like Rush Limbaugh and Lars Larson talk about this?

"I don't understand is how you can nakedly call Adams a hypocrite"

A couple of things -

122nd/82nd have been problems for far longer than Sam Adams 15 or so yrs in City Hall. Yet they do a minimum until now and that is only because of an upside in budget that may get spent sending a ballet troupe to NYC.

However, when you look at how many $ get spent on repaving downtown for the umpteenth time, trollies, trams, tax breaks for condos and $80M+ to repave Brurnside downtown, it kind of pales in comparison.

I am tired of seeing my prop tax $ in east Portland being spent to fix up downtown almost exclusively.

...I can’t believe it’s been allowed to go on as long as it has.”

Neither can anyone else, Sam. Maybe those sweet new crosswalks at NW 23rd and Quimby will make a difference. Maybe.

Face facts: Portland is a poorly designed city. That's not Sam Adams' fault. There are very few 4 lane boulevards on the east side of the river where you can go from one side of town to the other.

Going north to south, you have MLK and 82nd. On any other street you have to zig and then zag with one lane each way; many streets are even more narrow with parked cars. 33rd does not go through, nor does 21st, or 60th. Therefore there are bound to be more cars on 82nd and likely more accidents. Portland needs more boulevard type streets to reduce congestion on 82nd and the freeway.

But the mayor is busy spending thousands and millions of your money on dumb and insulting programs like Potter's new plan for classes just for African-Americans on "parenting."

If you want the street fixed, have City Hall first focus its time and budget on what it is responsible for under the city charter. It's not more "visioning" and warm & fuzzy programs.

That intersection has been the most dangerous four nearly 30 years.
Tram boy has known it for much of his tenure in City Hall.
He is a hypocrite, a fool and a fanatic as he uses anything but common sense and genuine priorities in transportation spending.
Anyone defending his leadership and brand of governance is simply too ignorant about the issues and Sam or they are as ethically challenged as the entire council is.
The excuse ridden status quo has grown to be repulsive in so many ways.


Why all the whining? All of these areas are in the auto paradise that is east Portland. None of those terrible trams, condos, pedestrians or streetcars that make much of Portland the hell you seem to believe it is. You wouldn’t want Sam to put in some traffic calming or sidewalks would you. Maybe he could add a pedestrian crossing or two, but last time that happened on Hawthorne you geezers somehow managed to find that appalling too.

If we all keep quiet Sam will leave it alone. Let’s not ruin it like everywhere else or we’ll have nowhere to go when the peak oil, global warming, and oil dependency myths explode. Only then we can all drive our cars free of government interference or subsidy – unless you count the trillion dollar wars, $100bn each year for battle groups to keep the oil flowing, a few tens of billions to pay for the health costs of poisonous air, tens of trillions for the roads, many billions to cover accidents etc. Never forget the mantra: cars are freedom choice is communism.

You decide if Sam is a hypocrite.

He sponsors the moratorium for Hayden Island based on lack of transportation infrastructure, but advocates for the continuation of SoWhat that has no transportation infrastructure nor funding.

The Oregonian reports today that SoWhat will not become a biotech mecca as sold by Sam to the public, but OHSU is getting into the condo business. This changes the deficient transportation planning-condos add even more vehicular trips. Does Sam ask for a moratorium for this major change?

Sam lobbied for the Cascade Station with a mass transit orientation in its planning. But then he and others change the format to a totally vehicular environment.

Should I continue?

i must admit, i am pretty confused by this post. $12 million in 2 years for traffic safety. sounds good to me.

sounds like a nice bread and butter expense and a good use of city money.

what is it about his involvement in the tram fiasco that makes it IMPOSSIBLE for him to do something right? it all seems very petty.


Sam the Tram has a press conference when the media finally catches up to the fact that the tram is three times over budget. He says he has an "open mind" in considering whether we should mothball the tram. He has an "open mind" TownHall meeting at PSU. He wants public imput. At the meeting he presents facts, numbers that it would be financially insane to stop the tram. Wasted time, money, and hypocracy.

Over/under on people still complaing about the tram even though it's there, it's done, and complaining solves nothing:

4 years.

I don't even have a problem with so many people complaining about the tram. Sure, their complaints (and mine) did nothing to prevent it, but whine away if you must.

What I don't understand is, as george said above, it seems really petty and ineffective to simply attack everything Adams does just because you're still grumpy you lost on the tram fiasco.

So you're angry that the City hasn't addressed the East Portland traffic problems for decades. Adams has been the commish in charge of transportation for what, 2 yrs, and he's the one who's proposed spending as much as $12mil over the next two years to address those very concerns. So you're gonna attack him for that?

At least Jack wears his grudges on his sleeve by calling him 'Tram Boy' - we pretty much know what dominating his thoughts anytime he writes about Adams.

$12 million in 2 years for traffic safety. sounds good to me.

$12 million is less than a quarter of the cost of the project which cannot speak its name. Roughly the same cost as the streetcar extension which serves a fraction of the customers.

We're talking literally decades of neglect here. $12 million barely gets things going, especially in Portland.

Nader, it was you above that asked how Sam could be called a hypocrite. Bloggers were just answering your question.

there was another article in the tribune today that noted that pedestrian deaths have been cut in half in the last 10 years. if "decades of neglect" cut fatalities in half, we need more of that.

There was another article in the Tribune today that noted that pedestrian deaths have been cut in half in the last 10 years.

From the article:

"But officials acknowledge that not all of that decline relates to road safety or road improvements. Some might relate to improvement in vehicle safety, or even just chance."

Not to mention advances in medical science and the treatment of injuries. As we're learning in Iraq, things which may have killed you years ago now just leave you severely injured. Not saying that's what's happening in Portland, but I'm sure that plays a factor.

If you don't believe there's been neglect, I mean serious neglect of Portland streets over the last 20 years, I invite you to drive the entire length of NW 23rd from Thurman to Burnside and back. Stretches of that street are a joke.

there are many many streets in portland that need repaving. however, i don't find that fact to be directly related to the traffic safety improvements we are talking about here. are potholes at fault for pedestrian accidents?

additionally, sam is specifically working on pedestrian safety projects in NW around the area you are talking about, so i think your criticism is unfounded.

lw, I asked how Adams can be called a hypocrite for proposing money for traffic improvements in areas that are notorious for lots of accidents/injuries. Instead, what most of the comments have done is complain about the tram and streetcar, and how they are basically toys to improve the saleability of condos.

That's fine, and people can legitimately question or gripe about these things. But what I do question is when a blog cites an article that, as far as I can tell, shows Adams proposing actual money be spend to remedy traffic problems, but transforms it into a "Sam the tram" bash.

I can't see how any of the commenters here have really pointed at anything in that article that paints Adams in a bad light. I guess what I'm saying is, if you're going to indict everything Adams does because of his involvement in the tram that's fine, that's your right, but be up front about it. Trashing the good things he's doing doesn't seem to be helpful or productive if you really want to see improvement.

Eastbank Esplanade. PGE Park. South Waterfront. The fix was in on all three before Sam stepped down as Vera's lapdog.

He could have made thousands of pedestrian improvements for the cost of just those three boondoggles.

Sam cares all right. He cares about running for higher office.

Hypocrite for sure.

Adams & the city have been well aware of the problems at intersections like 82nd & Powell for many years. that specific one even made a national list of dangerous intersections.

whether you like Jack's tone or not, he has a point--why the focus now? why such a paltry sum in comparison to other boutique, high-visibility projects that always seem to be, er, downtown? and so on.

Adams & Friends have a lot of hats to wear. it's a complex, tough job. however, i think when the condition of public roads and the level of intersection problems are clearly documented for perhaps two decades, it's not difficult to see that addressing them is more important than a $50+ million dollar, $4-a-ride boutique Tram that serves, well, almost nobody.

but hey, it could be worse--we could be New York. sooner or later, we will be.

Nader, I get your message. I think the last two posts fortify the point of how they view Adams as a hypocrite just on the eastside pedestrian issue. Some of the other posts elaborate on how they preceive Adams to be a hypocrite on other city issues that in many cases has direct bearing on funds available and time expended on the pedestrian issue. I find it hard to avoid being a hypocrite in all of life's choices and I like to give someone the benefit of doubt. I think the number of citations of how someone might be a hypocrite is important to be able for some to justify the label of hyprocrite.

All Sam Adams cares about is the political career of Sam Adams. And for him to get up and preach about how he's gonna save the little people's lives whenever he can, when first with Vera and now on his own he's been selling them out to the condo tower fiends -- well, that's just hypocrisy. He ought to be apologizing, not acting like a hero.

we pretty much know what dominating his thoughts anytime he writes about

Nice cheap shot -- your last.

Over/under on the tram construction being paid off: 40 years.

Over/under on a major rebuild of the tram being necessary: 12 years.

From your last blog, am I to understand that the construction cost of the tram (not operating costs) is amortized over 40 years, and, the estimated life expectancy is only 12 years?

What happens during years 13 through 40?
Is there any formal attention to this "little" detail?

It is more than fair to say that Adams is not the only perp in the diversion of tax resources to fund fancy Westside condo farms for rich people and related boondoggles. But, it would be much easier to feel good about him when he stands up for bread and butter Eastside services getting shorted by it all if the shakedown was actually over. It's not over. It is not even nearly over. The Eastside will continue to be bled to fund these Westside projects for decades, even if they quit adding Westside projects today, which they aren't.

Adams is a fine person, not stupid, exceptionally well-intended, all same as Vera. They are just no match for the sharks like Homer and friends. Those sharks are very, very good at packaging and selling their schemes to the Council as good for Portland, and us nay-sayers as backward rednecks. Where are the sharks to champion basic services? Oops, sorry, that would be "class war". Nevermind.

Posted by dyspeptic | April 9, 2007 8:04 PM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]

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