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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 19, 2007 5:43 AM. The previous post in this blog was Portland population growth continues to slow. The next post in this blog is The "waiver" that never was. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Shipping out?

I don't know if this is authentic, but it's curious in any event. It purports to be a job search posting by Robin Grimwade, currently the chief commercializer of the Portland parks.

Meanwhile, an alert reader informs us that he or she has spied a classified ad in the O from the Portland Development Commission for a new "senior development manager" for the SoWhat District, a.k.a. the North Macadam Urban Renewal Area. I believe a fellow named Larry Brown is the current manager. Given that folks in positions like his seem to get jobs working for or on behalf of the Chosen Few Developers who benefit from PDC projects, it would be interesting to see where he ends up.

Comments (11)

Example: "The Don" now working for Harsch.

Perfect! Larry Brown will be replaced with a newby who'll not know anything and will continue spoon feeding the SoWa citizen advisory comittee pieces of disconnected numbers without any clarity of anything.

Having attended a couple of these PDC orchestrated meetings I can say Larry Brown was the perfect reptile for the corrupted agency.
And that's no exageration.

Ben's reptile comment isn't constructive. Even though I disagree with the way PDC spends urban renewal money, I sympathize with PDC staff. Larry is a decent person, with good intentions. He doesn't set PDC policy - the commissioners do - and the buck should stop with them and city council.

Jim, I hope you don't think this is destructive, but if PDC's Larry Brown only represents PDC and City Council policy, then I surely worry for our city when Larry states that "for items like the tram or for other SoWhat urban renewal projects, the debt service for each doesn't constitute the cost of a project." Not good.

Unfortunately, Jerry, that quote is absolutely consistent with the way PDC and city council calculate costs. I worry for our city, too.

PDC is not a healthy institution. Almost all the staff look worn down. This costs the public big money. Why negotiate hard to leverage public money when you feel worn down by public criticism? It's a corrosive cycle.

Jim, if we are to follow your premise that PDC staff represents PDC "policy", then it would follow that the PDC Commissioners must have established the BEGINNING price in the negotiations for 100 public parking spaces in The Strand at RiverPlace, and not senior development managers. That price was $4.5 Million with a clause that it did NOT include financing costs or environmental cleanup costs titled ACM costs (asbestos contaminated material). Those costs apparently would be negotiated during construction and after.

Now, assuming you must know something about construction, do you think the PDC was "negotiating hard" when they began the one level under-ground parking at $45T per space when the going rate in June, 2004 (time when negotiations first were reported) varied between $20T and $30T for similar parking? That's hard bargaining? Remember, the big costs-environmental cleanup (as Larry Brown described) is not included in this price.

I am not disparaging anyone, but were the taxpayers of Portland well represented when they eventually paid $65.2 THOUSAND for each space to Homer Williams and Onder?

Jim, I forgot to mention that Homer and Onder are now selling some of the other 300 spaces in The Strand for $20T. Sounds right to me that the taxpayers get squeezed for $4.5M in the difference, do you agree?

Jim,
Some of that worn down looking PDC staff better start whisle blowing because the PDC is corrupted and dysfunctional.

They can't even put together a full accounting or budget of monies spent.

They've been good at concocting self serving estimates and revenue projections which never hold up. But when it comes to lining up how money is spent they don't seem to have the time or the talent to track costs or who gets the cash.
So eggregious is this problem the city club discoverd PDC even uses preliminary estimates in place of actual costs when it suits them.
Larry Brown has been the PDC point man for clouding and covering SoWa bugets and money trails. PDC staff knows it and more.

Jim,

You seem to know something about the PDC staff and what they do?

Then you must know what they deliver to and advocate with the commission and city council.
But you obvioulsy have no clue as to the twisted numbers and outright falsehoods Brown, Wyatt and company have been cooking up and using to "help" the commission and council "set policiy".
Policies which result in 10s of millions in borrowed TIF money lining the pockets
of the influential.

I suggest you urge some Browns and other "decent" PDC staff to come clean before they get caught up in a RICO investigation.

I don't like how the money is spent any more than you do, and I'm not saying that PDC staff are tough negotiators. They should be, but they're not.

But it doesn't help to sling mud. I've never heard any evidence of graft. Do you really think anyone at PDC has a bad intent?

These people all want to see development, and the commission says the way to do that is to borrow money to leverage construction of new buildings and keep employers like OHSU in town. That explains the tram, the streetcar, sweetheart land deals for the developers, the parking spaces, mysterious payments to OHSU, and on and on.

PDC spends way too much borrowed money on these things. They could spend much less and get the same results. In my opinion, that's the real, sad story for Portland.

Jim.
You are 180 degrees out of sink with reality.
You haven't the slightest idea how the PDC operates and distributes money.
It's not a matter of them being or not being tough "negotiators".
They're deliberately misrepresenting budgets and covering up illegitimate payments.

The fact that YOU'VE "never heard any evidence of graft" means little more than the lack of transparency and reporting.

YES, absolutely, people at the PDC have a bad intent. They are hiding much my friend. But there is more than enough for anyone interested to look at.
The commission and council are not interested.

PDC staff are lying to the commission and council on a regular basis.
The commission then rubber stamps everything in front of them.
The commission does not provide management or oversight making the entire ordeal a feeding frenzy of TIF money.

It has nothing to do with keeping employers like OHSU in town. That's a useful tool.

You haven't explained anything and I can only hope the Feds come around with a RICO investigation.
We're far beyond "sweetheart land deals for the developers"
The parking spaces was a money laundering scheme to pay out millions, the payments to OHSU, now over $51 million, is a back room swindle to make it look like the city Tram share was small.
On and on.
The PDC is not simply spending way too much borrowed money on these things. They are orchestrating and doctoring up ways for individuals to line their pockets.
And we're talking many 10s of millions meant for Urban Renewal going into the pockets of the "stakeholders".
It's a criminal story for Portland.

There are many examples of corrupt book keeping, but the PDC is so bad that the City Club discovered they have been using preliminary estimates in place of accounting for costs.
You better take those rose colored glasses off.


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