Portland debt series takes a breather
Over the past couple of weeks, we've been digging each weekday morning into another aspect of the huge long-term debt that's being racked up by the City of Portland. There's a lot to think about in what we've reported so far, and while we've still got more in the works, this seems like a good time to knock off writing for a time and keep researching.
Goaded by readers who insist that we compare Portland's debt to that of other cities, we're now checking into the situation in Seattle. Not that it's all that relevant -- I don't see how some other municipality's decisionmaking should be judged any better or worse than ours -- but we heard from at least a couple of different commenters that the Portland numbers are not meaningful to them without something to compare them to.
Fine and dandy.
Alas, there's not as much openness with the public documents on the internet in the Emerald City as there is down here in Portland, and it's going to take a while to get to the level of detail we have achieved for the Rose City. A little preliminary sleuthing, however, indicates that the debt burden per capita up there is going to be lower -- much lower -- than the $7,842 that's weighing each of us down here in Portland. More on that later.
Before moving off the debt topic, we'd like to use this post as a placeholder for links to the various writings that we've generated in the series so far. Here's the list, to which we'll add in the future as we write more:
1. Portland: A city deep in hock (9/28/07).In the meantime, just remember a simple executive summary: $4.4 billion of debt, and rising five times as fast as the population.
2. Grampy's payday loan (10/1/07).
3. These numbers crunch you (10/2/07).
4. The saddle's about to get heavier (10/3/07).
5. Buying white elephants on time (10/4/07).
6. Drop in the bucket (10/5/07).
7. City of Portland debt update (10/8/07).
8. City of Portland debt is rising faster than condo towers (10/9/07).
9. While City of Portland's debt rises, its tax levy falls (10/10/07).
UPDATE, 4/15/08, 2:08 a.m.:
Additions to the series:
10. Portland tax levy appears back on the rise (10/12/07).
11. Portland vs. Seattle city debt: It's not even close (10/15/07).
12. Portland Debt-O-Meter: New and improved! (10/29/07).
13. Take it to the limit one more time (11/6/07).
14. Portland population growth continues to slow (11/19/07).
15. Where's the new PDC debt? (12/4/07).
16. Portland debt clock ratchets back slightly (12/28/07).
17. How to borrow $277 million from B of A, very quietly (2/1/08).
19. Portland to put another mid-nine figures on plastic (2/15/08).
20. Has Portland's credit card expired? (2/16/08).
21. Back over $2 billion (2/22/08).
22. Like I've been saying... (2/23/08).
23. City of Portland to borrow $750 million in April (3/24/08).
24. Portland sewer debt climbs 21.63% over 13 months (3/25/08).
25. Portland bond sale still behind a curtain (4/1/08).
26. Sold (4/3/08).
27. City of Portland bond refinancing put off (4/14/08).
UPDATE, 4/15, 2:27 a.m.: Given that this will be a topic of continuing interest to us, we've created a separate blog category for it. This way, the computer will do the work of keeping the list of series links current. For the complete list, go here.