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Friday, November 9, 2007

Think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound?

"Private meetings" with "business leaders." Yeah, that's a polite way of putting it. They're scamming to turn over Lincoln High School to Homer Williams and Gerding & Edlin for a condo tower.

My God, Portland, you are being sold out left and right, and yet you return the same developer whores to the City Council, year after year. Wake up and realize what you are doing! Before it's too late.

Comments (54)


Everyone involved in real estate knows that one crucial piece to know is what a property's "highest and best use" is, and what that use is worth. The stated rationale for this proposal is that building a new Lincoln may make more sense that rennovating the old one; if that's the case, then you would always be looking for property on which to build that school, and then thinking about what use the old school property is its highest and best.

What's particularly odd about the vitriol is that this is a proposal, at best, and there has been almost no public buy-in, e.g. PPS hasn't even been involved in discussions. Comm'r Sten thinks it is interesting. So yesterday you attack the Portland plan that was announced to stair-step fees based upon sustainability design, but now you attack a plan that is really just now being put out there for public discussion. Perhaps if the mud were washed off, there might be some substantive discussion of this (I would like to hear some sage comments about Sten's advocacy of not committing funds to Lincoln, if eastside schools are not part of the discussion).

but now you attack a plan that is really just now being put out there for public discussion.


and, read the actual article. the concept isn't "being put out there for public discussion"; as the first sentence of the article says, "A small group of Portland politicians and business leaders have started private talks". or the seventh paragraph: "behind-the-scenes talks."

in other words, the opposite of "public".

also, the "highest and best use" is academic nonsense. i know, i've been there. the people discussing the development see it for what it is--a prime piece of West Hills-facing real estate that could produce large amounts of wealth.

in other words, educational facilities are an afterthought.

Determining the highest and best use of public property should be a public discussion. I don't think there is a higher or better use than a public high school.

Certainly the current Lincoln High School is not the highest use (leaving aside "best" for the moment). It's a two-level building, one level of which is a daylight basement.


"Best and Highest Use" needs to be taken in the context of livability and availability of essential services. Obviously the best and highest use of a City Block from purely a profit motive in developing land is not a school, but it is an essential service and this is why public agencies have the power to condemn property for public use. (not condo towers). If in theory we are going to build family friendly housing, we need amenities like schools and open space where people can go throw a frizbee or walk their pooch. To be sustainable we need them where kids can walk to them, and there are not that many open spaces where a playfield and space for community events can be held. I agree it may pay to tear down the old school and put up a new one vs a remodel, but the placement and open land in a neighborhood is hard to find.

They have rennovated/enlarged St. Marys Academy (just a short distance from Lincoln) several times. That building is much older than Lincoln. The excuse of "oh it would make more sense to start from scratch" sounds like yet another PROPERTY TAX INCREASE to me not to mention a hefty tax abatement to the uber wealthy who would buy the gazillion dollar condos that would pepper the site!

History, tradition, neighborhood character -- none of it matters any more. None of it.

It's all about slimeballs like Homer Williams and his condos. Shame on this city and the fools who run it.

i'm confused, I voted yes on 49. this should not happen. am I wrong?

stop the greedy developers, right?

Plans to give over Portland's last open spaces,(parks and school grounds), to developers has been well under way for years.

The parks bureau has reorganized and now is busy pushing revenue generating leases for private businesses to run concessions in our public parks. And as a part of their asset management strategy, Parks has demonstrated they would be more than happy to carve off a piece of public park and sell it to the lowest bidder for development.

The Portland School Real Estate Trust, an "innovative" public private partnership, with a board made up of Portland developers and their cronies, was created to ensure that developers have access to the last remaining inventory of vacant land in Portland - publicly owned school grounds.


Lincoln High is just the first of several schools (Rose City, Kellog)already in the hopper for development.

Plans have been formulating for years. It it's lie to say that things are "still in the back of the envelope phase."

Here's a couple of "hot sheets" from Portland Schools Real Estate Trust. And by golly, bet you can name the developer who's at the helm without even opening the following links.



Could we fiscal conservatives put together a list of write-in candidates to replace the current slate of PDX councilors to at least have voting alternatives? Heck I'd even be behind a recall of Commissioner Saltzman. This guy should be named the "serpent". He is said to have changed a street name in the middle of the night without public input. Yesterday, he announces a carbon tax on new homes in Chicago without consulting business. What's next? Maybe a tax on the sale of your home if you don't pour a hundred thousand dollars into upgrading it to "platnium" green.

Need to take pain remedy.

When I read this article on OregonLive last night, I wrote a comment that said, in essence, "Why not keep the whole deal secret, then fly the City Council and the developers to Chicago to make the announcement."

But the Oregonian doesn't show ANY comments to the story.

Question: Why does the Oregonian pretend to be interested in peoples' comments and then not show them? If that's the game, why not simply remove the option to "comment"?


If "highest and best use" is the criteria, and if the Stens and Homers of the world are providing the definition, then I eagerly await the announcement that OHSU is being torn down and replaced with a subdivision of McMansions.

This proposal is outrageous. I considered what word to use, and I've decided that one is best.

I urge the concerned parents of Lincoln to come take a stroll around my childrens' school, Cleveland.

We're overcrowded, but don't have the *luxury* of trailers--we're hemmed in by a city block. Our children sit on heaters and windowsills. Our athletic facilities are located four blocks away. And the traffic surrounding our school (26th and Powell) is a menace.

If you want to look at poorly maintained facilities, go take a peek at Roosevelt and Franklin.

If you're concerned about drug trafficking, go look at the Madison and Marshall.

So I say again, to consider even for a MOMENT using urban renewal dollars to make this deal work for what is already the WEALTHIEST school in the district is outrageous.

Several years ago I was "advised" by a local well known 'urban planner', "Never ask a question to which you do NOT already know the answer".
Obviously the question already has been answered.
With SoWhat on the economic skids, the mortage market in trouble and the real estate values expected to start going down, why do more condos need to be built?
Some of us know the answer....

"Highest and best use" does not eliminate the need to have some uses that are not economically most efficient, but it sets a value on properties, so that appropriate comparisons can be made, i.e. does it make more economic sense to build a new school in NW or rennovate the old one in SW. None of the decisions should be made lightly, but if you don't run the numbers, you are not ever going to make an intelligent decision. Maybe the economics would favor building a new school, but the decision-makers decide not to; that's fine, as long as the information is there to make that decision.

Clearly, we all agree that out-building trailers to house classrooms is a great use of space, is that it? It's a ridiculous assumption to believe that the very valuable land under Lincoln would be give away. And even some of the biggest "under cover of darkness" deals (think Police Building on SW 3rd, and the PDC) are going to get lots of scrutiny on pricing (as that deal did), with public and political scorn heaped on bad deals (that deal helps show that full process is a good thing).

As for the secrecy side, let me get this straight (especially ecohuman, since you clearly like secrecy and anonymity), you think that the second a private citizen has an idea, and wants to start floating it by other private citizens and key politicians, that suddenly meeting about it without first notifying the Oregonian somehow makes it a backroom deal? Deals get done because people who know, who have power, who have experience, and who have incentives (including profit incentive) think about ideas, talk about ideas, and float ideas. But clearly, you have given this a great deal of thought, weighed the cost comparisons of rennovation vs. new building, thought about the sustainability aspects, and in about two minutes decided that you knew it was all a surreptitious giveaway. The fact that PPS isn't even in the discussion shows that there is a lot of information that's not in the mix, and should get in the mix.

Then again, if your knee-jerk response to any proposal about spending public money is "oh, backroom deal, greaseball money-makers, waste of money," then you won't need any discussion anyway.

Sorry, Ken...

OHSU is built in a park. Sam Jackson Park. The only thing allowed in the park is health care, particularly for children. Any commercial or private development that is not health care related reverts the entire parcel of land upon which both OHSU and the US Veterans Hospital are located, back to the family which gifted it to the state. That would be the Jacksons.

So, no homes, no glitzy commercial ventures.

That's why we have a major hospital, complete with trauma center, located on the most instable land in the region in the event of a major earthquake. I believe the institution has been told, thrice, by geologists, not to build any additional structures on Marquam Hill, which is where all of Sam Jackson Park.

This is why OHSU has plans for major development of another campus...at the waterfront, the west bank between the Ross Island and Marquam bridges. (Cirque de Soliel site.)

"I don't think there is a higher or better use than a public high school."

If that was true, then all we would have is high schools. A mix of uses -- including schools -- is an important feature of highest and best use, because the market won't tolerate only one use.

The backroom dealings on this have been going since at least June:


Why don't Edlen and Williams buy property for their developments from private landowners? Because they know that it is easier to screw our local governments and get abnormally low land prices from them than it is to screw the private landowners. Our city commissioners are willing partners in these scams because they get campaign funds and other private compensation from these developers.

Do you really think that Sten earns enough money from his gov't salary alone to afford to buy a West Hills mansion?

Listen up folks,
Remember those 100 parking spaces in the Strand the PDC paid Homer $6.6 million for? (Which just happen to take place when the Tram cost was soaring and the city was trying to keep the appearance of a small public contribution)

The PDC amatuers started the "negotiations form those spaces at $4.4 million. With the going rate at the time being about 25K per space that was about $2 million too high right at the start. Thank you very much said Homer.
The price inflated to $6.6 Million or 66K per space, because the PDC amatuers left the price open ended during construction. Walsh Contstruction and Homer were then able to come up with various additions from the routine construction which they attributed percentages to the 100 spaces being purchased by the PDC.
Never mind there were 400 spaces total and the buildings were being built anyway.
Never mind a Strand penthouse buyer paid a mere $20K for and extra space.
Never mind Gerding Edlen, Homer & Joe Weston routinely sell parking spaces in these new towers for $25-30K.
But when the PDC starts with the high $44K per space and leaves the door open for $22K more per space it's no wonder the cost was exceedingbly profitable for Homer and company.
And of course the questions arises, was it intentional and how much of this spreading millions around to friends happens?

The Lincoln High School building is a dump, I taught night school in it for about 10 years, and just walking down the halls is depressing. It's structural, I don't see any way to make it a nice building.

Also, moving it a little away from the heart of downtown, with its urban distractions, strikes me as a good idea.

The school has moved around the area several times in its about-100-year history. Building a new, pleasant, high-tech building for the high school is worth talking about, in my view. Note that I am a classic tax-and-spend liberal, but I share Jack's view that public money should be spend wisely. Unlike Jack, I don't mind if a private developer makes money as a collateral consequence of building a project that benefits the schools or the public. (Obviously, what is "collateral"-- versus primary -- could be the topic of debate on any project.)

Let's see. PPS owns the Lincoln property that developers desire. Why not partner with the developers and not only get a new location, but a share of the profits that can be used for the school district area wide? It seems we have a lot property like this. How about the school on 57th and Thompson?

I'm a student at Lincoln.

People complain about the building being too small, the parking being too scarce, and the facilities being too old.

Not once have I heard someone suggest that we fix these problems by moving the school. The campus is within walking distance of the MAX, Powell's, the MAC, and numerous shops and restaurants.

Von Schlegell is obviously well aware of those assets.

Thanks, Jonathan, for your efforts. Yours are the only thoughtful comments posted here. I especially appreciate your point that civic proposals almost necessarily start in private before they are made public.

My kids went to Lincoln (as eastside transfer students, so don't get the idea that I'm a wealthy developer). While the education offered there is good, the school is an overcrowded dump--worse than the schools that I've seen that are 50 years older. If there's a possibility of building a better facility nearby using money generated by the sale of PPS's downtown real estate, that seems to be an idea that should be explored. At this point I have no way of knowing if the final idea that emerges will be one that I'd support, but I'm not alarmed by what I've heard so far.

By the way, if I thought that the public was consistently willing to pony up the funds needed to properly maintain our public school buildings, and build new ones when necessary, then I wouldn't be so intrigued by the possibility of dealing with the private sector and selling off publicly owned real estate in order to raise money.

Here we have the other bookend to the idiotic PPS facilities conference on 11/6/07, which almost all PPS parents chose to skip, knowing it was part of yet another false, sham process with no public input.

First we had the hooey about the Lincoln bleachers and poor Lincoln having to play AT PGE PARK -- well here's the world's smallest violin playing "Hearts and Flowers" for you, pivileged Lincoln.

Talk about timing, one week before the facilities discussion, and discussion of another capital bond! Never mind that Madison and Jeff's bleachers are in much worse condition, and that students could die there too (the same firm said so re Madison); and Madison's teachers parked under their falling down bleachers every day, until a few weeks ago when PPS stopped the practice. Now nobody can find parking around Madison.

We hear NOTHING about this at a major PPS
facilities conference on 11/6/07, and on 11/9/07 find out Lincoln's moving.

Lincoln would have to be idiotic to even look at this deal. What land do you think is more valuable, where Lincoln stands now, or under the Fremont Bridge? If that bridge property is so valuable, why doesn't Homer Williams develop it himself?

Some Lincoln Mom thinks there won't be any crack pipes over by the Fremont Bridge where all the homeless folks live? More importantly, what are the statistical odds that the crack pipe the parent found at Lincoln belonged to a street person vs a Lincoln student? We have already had one Lincoln student die in a cocaine overdose, and other students involved in selling marijuana and cocaine, one using his Dad's apartment near Lincoln! The majority of Lincoln students are not hard drug users, but a very small percent have a lot of disposal income and do use drugs like cocaine and heroin. Where do they buy it? In NW Portland, in the park behind Metropolitan Learning Center -- an easy walk from Lincoln. Trust me, I am a Mom, I know many Lincoln students and they have told me this personally.

That Fremont property, located right next to the river, is likely NOT seismically sound. Build right next to the river, on mushy land, under the Fremont Bridge. That sounds safe for Lincoln kids! Homer Williams doesn't want that property, but he would put our kids on it.

Homer Williams taking the hottest piece of PPS property, and PPS is NOT involved? You expect us to believe that?

The FIRST PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL IN THE PACIFIC NW, Lincoln, is being given away to developers who have been and will continue to cannibalize our schools lands and neighborhoods. Lincoln High School belongs to the people of the City of Portland, not gazillionaire developers.

Jefferson High School is being given away to PCC in return for: A SKY BRIDGE! Gee, we never wanted a comprehensive high school for Jeff! We fought and fought for equitable curriculum and programs for Jeff students, but all we ever wanted for our kids was a damn sky bridge.

Tubman will be given to "PPS partner" Emanuel. Humboldt will go PCC or the developers.

Erik Sten and PPS School Board: where is it that they took you to remove your brains and hearts?

Amendment to my last remarks: I hadn't read all the comments when I said that Jonathan's were the only thoughtful ones. It seems that a couple of others are thinking about the issue too, including Evan, the Lincoln student. Lincoln's location downtown is, I grant, something that makes it unique among Portland public schools.

The sale and redevelopment of public school sites has been in the planning stages behind closed doors for years. The Lincoln proposal is part of a much larger plan that has already been agreed upon by developers and some school board members under the direction of the Portland Schools Foundation and Innovation Partnership. Look who was involved in the creation and funding of the 2002 PPS Long Range Facilities Plan, which was never presented for public input and which basically outlined the plan to close and sell off some schools and redevelop other school sites.

The Oregonian article is the first of a series PR pieces to convince the voters to pass a capital bond in 2008 to redevelop the Lincoln site, Jefferson site, and more. Williams and Edlen will profit from the redevelopment of Westside school lands and Walsh will profit from the redevelopment of eastside school sites (along with PCC who has wanted to expand onto the Jefferson land for years.)

Jack, you're right on to say:
"My God, Portland, you are being sold out left and right, and yet you return the same developer whores to the City Council, year after year. Wake up and realize what you are doing! Before it's too late." But it's not just City Council members, it's school board members too.

Well, as long as we're talking about Lincoln, how about moving PSU. That's some nice property there and with development nearly down to the river, you could put in some nice condos on that property too. As someone who taught in that dump for 35 years, I call tell you that Lincoln Hall, Shattuck School, the basement of Cramer Hall, the basement of Neuberger, anything in Science I are just the pits. I say give the whole campus to Homer & boys and move PSU to, say, Washington County. It makes about as much sense.

Richard writes:"Amendment to my last remarks: I hadn't read all the comments when I said that Jonathan's were the only thoughtful ones. It seems that a couple of others are thinking about the issue too, including ......"

Jack, perhaps you could elevate Richard to the Grand Arbitrator of Thoughtful Comments?

Also, I am grateful to Richard for his generosity in his self appointment to this role, but maybe we should have a nominating committee, and then a vote, instead of sanctimonious self nominators?

Or maybe having such a elevated post is not really needed, ya think?

I am a Lincoln HS parent but my child is a senior so whatever ultimately happens will not affect us. Nonetheless, I want to say that I think the proposal to move Lincoln is an egregiously bad idea.

Lincoln has a diverse student body of kids who come from all over the city, including transfer students from schools considered failing under the No Child Left Behind Act and homeless kids who live in shelters near the school. Lincoln's central location allows this diversity because of its proxmity to bus lines and the streetcar and the fact that it is within walking distance of one or more homeless shelters.

Lincoln's central location and proximity to public transportation also enable students to participate in extracurricular activities and educational opportunities around the city which they might not otherwise be able to participate in, including attending classes at PSU and Reed College during school hours; doing community service around the city; and taking music or art lessons and similar activities. Most Lincoln students do not drive to school, and most do not have a parent available during the day to drive them to activities. Moving Lincoln to NW Portland would not serve the needs of students who depend on public transportation to get to and from school as well as to afterschool activities. It would also encourage more driving and reduce use of public transportation because bus service to the proposed site, at least right now, could not handle the increased ridership the proposed relocation would entail. Do we really want to do that?

As for hypodermic needles in the bushes (mentioned in Ryan Frank's Oregonian article as part of what prompted the proposal), when my child attended Chapman Elementary School we frequently found needles in the bushes and on the playground. The teachers at the Montessori school which used to be located in the North Park Blocks used to police the playground for hypodermics and condoms before allowing the children to play there. There have been (still are?) serious drug and prostitution problems around Couch Park and MLC (a PPS K-12 school) at NW 20th and Glisan. Inner NW Portland is no different from inner SW Portland in this respect. We Flatlanders live with a diverse population that The Hill People only read about in the newspapers or hear about on TV: drug dealers, prostitutes, sex offenders, mentally ill homeless, and criminals on probation or parole. Moving Lincoln to NW Portland won't change the neighborhood.

Bob Clark --

Candidates for fiscal realists....?

I've preached this before on this blog and will repeat it agan.

Dave Lister for Mayor.

Jack Bogdanski for the Council seat being vacated by Sam the Scam.

If anyone who has ever run a business wants to run for mayor against SAM THE SCAM and/or FIREBOY RANDY I have a check for $1,000.00 waiting for you. It's way past time to throw the entire pack of thieves out of the City Council.

One reason the city can't afford to maintain schools (or anything, really) is that the city pays tens of millions in interest every year on urban renewal money that it essentially handed to Homer. Until the city pays off its debts, the only way that anything will get done will be to borrow more money. This is not a healthy financial pattern.

Godfry, OHSU sold that land you wrote about to pay its bills. There isn't going to be a new campus in the South Waterfront, at least for a while.

Wow. Great comments.

Feels like I'm reading Sometimes a Great Notion.

"One reason the city can't afford to maintain schools ..."

Uh, Jay, the City doesn't actually pay for schools, although it's sent some funds when PPS has shortfalls. The State of Oregon is the primary source of school funding.

But I guess if you don't distinguish between municipal entities, let's just sling away!

Jon, if the city had more money, it could contribute something beyond the state's contribution for schools, right?

Incidentally, you're not advocating on behalf of one of your clients here, are you? Do you have a horse in this race?

But I guess if you don't distinguish between municipal entities, let's just sling away!

you mean, like not distinguishing between private talks and public discussion? sling away.

I like fiscal "realists" better than "conservatives". "Fiscally responsible" sounds even better to me.

It seems to me that there are a fair number of "low rise" structures around the Lincoln High School property. If it's so damned how value for development, why hasn't it developed? Why aren't there towers on those blocks already? The only reason I can think of is the footprint. Lincoln High School property is the school and the field, two conjoined blocks (or more, I'm not sure). That would make sense if one wanted a larger base for a higher tower...but the height there HAS to be limited. They only build to the height of the current WF tower (the former First Interstate Bank - aka "Forced Intercourse Tower").

Then...if it's so damned valuable for development, why sell it? Why not develop it yourself (that being the school district) and see if you can generate enough income from it to make it self-sustaining? Then the high school could have the penthouse and the top six floors (with indoor raquetball and tennis courts and decent sized pool).


Sold? Schnitzer campus? I don't think so...

They did sell the OGI campus in Beaverton, though. But then, they're currently leasing it back.

John Rademacher -

The City of Portland (CoP) and Portland School District 1J (PPS) are an interesting financial inter relationship.

While CoP has no direct obligation to fund PPS, it certainly has donated funds to PPS ( and other districts within the CoP suc as David Douglas and Parkrose.)

The CoP has also robbed PPS of million and millions in school tax revenues through tax abatement schemes including, but not limited to,
the PDC Urban Renewal Districts.

Similarly, Multnomah County has robbed PPS (and other districts) through various schemes, including, but not limited to, the "historic Structures" tax abatements.

MultCo is a piker, though, in terms of its impact upon school revenues. CoP is the world class thief.

*****Similarly, Multnomah County has robbed PPS (and other districts) through various schemes, including, but not limited to, the "historic Structures" tax abatements.******

I believe the Historic Structures tax abatement is a State and not a County program. (See Oregon Revised Statute 358.475 et seq) All the county does is make sure the taxes are reduced after Shippo (State Historic Properties Office) tells it to.

Greg C

Thanks again Nonny.

If people want to write me in for mayor, I would be honored.

So Nonny Mouse makes a compelling case that publicly enacted policies and legislation constitutes robbery. It's equally compelling to say that the federal government has robbed those of us who disagree with funding the Iraq war ... it's bad policy in a hundred ways. But the hyperbolic approach is just dumb. Of course the policies inter-related, and PDC's policies might overlap with each municipality more than they overlap onto each other.

And sorry, Jay, I don't have any client involved in any of this, and don't usually do the kind of work that would get involved here (which would first require that people sue each other). I'm only commenting here because of what seems to be an incessant need that some appear to have, to bash anything that has to do with public spending/finance, or to flame an idea without even reading the context (e.g. Cannibals above, suggesting that PPS has approved this, a notion that the article would dispel in a second).

Others have commented in ways that I think are entirely appropriate. So Paul hates the idea that public funds would be used to help Lincoln, when other schools have so much greater need. And there's an excellent point to be made that there are a host of infrastructure issues at play with something like this. But that's the reason to have a discussion. That's the reason that public debate should allow creative people, for whatever their reasons, to float ideas. I don't know where I would personally come out on this kind of major project, but I certainly know that the minimal amount of information that is out there to date doesn't really seem give one enough to make an informed decision. And that may be why NOTHING OUT THERE SAYS THAT ANYONE HAS MADE ANY DECISION.

Jonathan writes:
But the hyperbolic approach is just dumb.

the vitriol

your knee-jerk response

(especially ecohuman, since you clearly like secrecy and anonymity)

Jonathan, when you spend most of your energy throwing this kind of stuff at people and judging them, do you really expect a discussion? are you really interested in "discussion"?

as for "anonymity", i'm not anonymous. my name's James (i've said it here many times), and my e-mail address and website are there in the link above. and so forth.

you think that the second a private citizen has an idea, and wants to start floating it by other private citizens and key politicians, that suddenly meeting about it without first notifying the Oregonian somehow makes it a backroom deal?

when it involves a public institution built for the common good--like a public school--then yes, i do. got any proof that there's *not* a backroom deal being struck?

Nonny Mouse-

Who's the write-in for Commissioner Leonard's seat? He could use some opposition. He's a cohort in the city's fleecing of taxpayers.

We need to repeat the write-ins frequently so as to keep track of who's on first.

Thanks. P.S What about bringing back Bud Clark? Would he not change the mis-direction at PDX hall? He was a bit cranky about Saltzman's green tax proposal. That wasn't a bad sign.

Again - If anyone is really going to run for City Council or Against that scumball SCAM ADAMS - I will cut you a check for $1,000.00 to get you going. Think about it folks. I would love to see this band of crackpots running this city out of office.

I agree with Mike Landfair: if PPS is going to "partner" with a developer, then equity participation in the for profit side of the transaction is only fair.

I'm tired of the City of Portland taking on the bankruptcy risk of public private partnerships (aka PGE Park, SoWhat, Armory Theater) without any participation in the upside if the developers/operators make a bundle.

Kudos to Evan (the Lincoln student) for paying attention and offering his opinion, which I share.

As long as we're putting schools up for sale, it may be wise to seek out the opinions of those who have the most skin in the game. And if we don't care what the students think, then how about a public auction of each property, with the highest bidder (not the most politically connected) winning the auction.

Lincoln Parent here, again.

It's obvious from the majority of posted comments that the proposal to move Lincoln is all about the money, and nothing about the students or their education.

A few other things to consider, though. Enrollment numbers for the Portland Public Schools continue to decline. The most recent numbers show that high school enrollment declined by 541 students since last year. Why build a new school when Portland Public School enrollment continues to decline?

Traffic congestion is already a problem in NW Portland. There are long lines of cars at the following intersections during rush hours, and even non-rush hour times: I-405 and NW 23rd; NW 21st and Burnside; NW 23rd and Burnside/Westover; NW 25th and Lovejoy. Siting a high school on the Conway property will only lead to gridlock. On the map it might look like Naito Parkway is available for ingress and egress, but in reality the freight trains stop traffic for 10-15 minutes at the railroad crossings so it's not the best way to go. The traffic problem is only going to get worse even if Lincoln doesn't relocate because there are a lot of residential and office buildings still under construction in NW.

More traffic means more air quality problems. Air pollution in and near the section of NW where the proposed site is located has been monitored for the last decade. More than 70 toxic compounds, including heavy metals such as lead and volatile organic compounds such as benzene, have been detected; fine particulate matter levels are high. More traffic and more vehicles idling will only exacerbate the air quality problems. Do you want your child to play sports on a field or run on a track in noxious, toxic air? This proposed site borders the NW industrial area and in addition to the polluted air which wafts over it, there is the stench. Yes, the air sometimes stinks; it smells like burning rubber and other unpleasant odors.

A brand new high school sited where the kids have to breathe toxic air.

Think about it.

Lincoln Parent-

Its better than just Air pollution from above.


The site was an old automotive repair site, there are all kinds of good stuff

"Strong petroleum odor noted during geotechnical foundation study at site in 1987. Several borings indicated presence of hydrocarbon comtamination (possibly diesel, gasoline, and home heating fuel) and 1,1,1-trichloroethane (possibly from degreasing solvents). "

The solvent is a particularly nasty one.

Just what do you think the development costs are for Con-Way vs. Lincoln HS.

Sites like this usually cost millions to remediate and develop and usually require a membrane protective shield.

"vapor control venting system (passive) installed under newly constructed building foundation. (12/20/90 MJM) Medium priority; site would meet listing standards except that lab information does not indicate the EPA analytical method used. (11/3/92 MAF/LUST) Contamination exists at the site. The scope of investigation has grown beyond the role of the UST Program; the release of chlorinated solvents that has impacted groundwater has been referred to Site Assessment"

But I have full faith in our local government we taxpayers will pay for it one way or another veiled with the term "smart growth" or claim it is "For the children".

"Uh, Jay, the City doesn't actually pay for schools"

OK, so CoP can work with Homer and boys to build a new high school (I didn't notice any metnion of PPS), but they cant fix any of the other PPS schools that need help?

AS far as condos being the highest and best use, hve yo seen the market for high-priced condos lately?

Dear god, don't these people have a soul? What about schools like Jeff and Madison and Roosevelt, who Homer thinks are at their highest and best use as rotting schools for lower-ioncome kids?

Thanks for the specific details about the proposed site, Swimmer.

If the Lincoln HS property is so valuable for development, why aren't the developers/investors offering to trade for a parcel in South Waterfront?

Wait, I think Swimmer already answered that. The proposed site has substantial pollution problems so Conway is looking to dump it.

Also, Conway has talked about developing housing at the proposed site and may already have studies showing that the site is not all that suitable for housing. Who would want to live right next to and beneath the Fremont bridge? On a clear day, we can hear the traffic and truck brakes from where we live near NW 25th and Lovejoy. We also can smell NW Industrial when we walk out the front door on days when the wind comes from the north.

Hey, PPS and Lincoln Parents: hold out for a piece of South Waterfront. You may well have the leverage. If if doesn't work out, figure out a way to remodel or rebuild on site.

You are Welcome Lincoln Parent, I loved the Oregonian Metro follow-up article. "Lincoln High Parents Embrace selling the school for bigger site" narry a mention in the article about remdiation costs of the site. The real unknown on that site is the 27 ft deep drywell with standing water, lord knows what was hosed down that hole over the years, and the pump and treat of groundwater that will be required to insure it gets a clean bill of health. So much for Fair and Balanced reporting. You can build up at the current Lincoln site and get all the square footage you need or want, probably at much less cost. The proximity of Lincoln to PSU so the kids can pop back and forth to take college courses in itself is worth the location.

Thank you, Swimmer.

I did some research. If the proposed site is a brownfield, then it may qualify for federal cleanup funds if a school is built on it. It would be better in the long run to have the site cleaned up than to have the toxins continue to leach into the groundwater (assuming they haven't already done so).

However, I'm still opposed to this proposal because of the air quality, traffic congestion and public transportation issues. Plus, there are no (almost no?) mature trees at this site, just pavement.

Since the Lincoln leadership has expressed interest in this proposal, I'm going to step back. I'm confident that NWDA (Northwest Distict Association) and the Guild's Lake Industrial Sanctuary will also be looking into this proposal and speaking up (and hopefully an investigative reporter or two; did hear that Willamette Week?).

And, I agree with you, Lincoln should stay where it is.

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