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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Modern miracles

I've been unfair to the fine folks at Oregon Health and Sciences University. I've been complaining that their wonderful new building in Portland's lovely SoWhat neighborhood was nothing more than a health club. But I was wrong. They're obviously performing valuable medical services there. Here's a fellow who recently stopped in for a lobotomy.

Comments (15)

"The act of building is not an act of spoiling – but an opportunity for creating permanent sustenance." GAAK!!

Prometheus Real Estate Group of San Mateo, Calif., which owns six lots in South Waterfront, is scaling back its original strategy: Three of the six South Waterfront lots Prometheus owns were meant to be condo towers, and those plans are on hold. Meantime, Prometheus is moving ahead with the design of two market-rate apartment buildings. Jon Moss, a development honcho at Prometheus, told me the company isn't spooked by the market slowdown, and is banking that South Waterfront will continue to attract buyers and renters who want the views of the Willamette River, downtown, and Mount Hood.

That's my favorite part, in which he manages to first point out that the developer is slashing their original plan, and then quote, with no cynicism, the spokesperson for said development company who says that they aren't spooked by the market.

Ugh. I just tried to post a comment about the article on the site but it requires that you set up some kind of email-based account. God knows what sort of email list you end up a part of once you do.

With that said, I'd love it if someone who frequents this blog would be willing to take the plunge and post an intelligent response to the article in its comments section. It's appalling enough that the City has so thoroughly botched the entire South Waterfront project; it adds insult to injury to think that the City could somehow gain a positive public relations push from touting its "success."

I hope one day Sam Bridges and his "beautiful christian wife," along with their five "magnificant" children, can one day find a "god centered" neighborhood in that former shipyard. Then again, I'm also hoping for another 100 year flood!

Ooops, I think I googled another "Sam Bridges," Their both very crazy!

Prometheus ought to be building places for all those new biotech employees to work.

As long as the neighborhood keeps filling up with new residents and buildings, people are going to forget about all of the controversy that led up to it. Look at the Tram, I've had a number of out of town guests say it is pretty cool, great engineer marvel, blah blah and so on. Yet when the wife and I have tried to explain that it was three times or so overbudget. No one cared.

Lest anyone be misled, the hyperlink from his byline indicates Mr Bridges is a PORTLAND writer.

As long as the neighborhood keeps filling up with new residents and buildings, people are going to forget about all of the controversy that led up to it.

Well, yeah, except people who bought units in those buildings are now trying like crazy to get their deposits back, and the companies that planned to build a lot more buildings are scaling back their plans.

People will also get a harsh reminder every Nov. 15 on what such projects do to their real estate tax bill.

It is very apparent that Sam Bridges knows little of the last 15 year history of SoWhat Planning. His sources must be only the Oregonian, if even that.

I was recently interviewed by PSU urban planning grad students researching the recent history of SoWhat. They were dumbfounded to hear the other side of the story with backup data, quotes, drawings, etc. And sadly, even though many of us have tried to have the mass media comprehend, research counterpoints, it has been ignored. The counterpoints are not necessarily "anti" planning and development, it's even a chance to learn about "planning", and the good and bad that has transpired in SoWhat.

There are planners, architects, and even developers, property owners, large institutions that think differently than the CoP and PDC spin. There are medical groups, competing biotech firms, health/sport clubs that are
disgruntled about the use of tax dollars that put them at a severe disadvantage and unfair competition.

There are some small biotech firms that wonders why they can't enjoy any of the $5M given to OHSU's Health Club as a biotech initiative, but not one biotech job was generated. There are other institutions that are wondering why they are not given 50% of any federal dollars in joint efforts by Cop, PDC, our Congress members, that are being exclusively controlled,used by OHSU.

There are other government entities that are recently beginning to strongly question the "urban renewal affect" on tax dollar displacement. Multnomah Co. and fire districts, school districts have contacted those of us that are in the mix of urban renewal implementation and oversight, noticing the disparity, and wanting more insight.

There are even those who are questioning the legality, the misrepresentation of the public interest. There has been several transactions in SoWhat and other URAs that have questionable legal transactions. Agreements have been made where the public interest have been shortchanged, like Block 49, the Neighborhood Park, the OHSU Health Club, the OHSU Parking Garage, The Strand 100 public parking spaces, and of course the Tram.

One does not have to go back and review the hearings, promises, the Agreements,and the planning documents presented in the 1998 and 1999 period to see those misrepresentation by CoP Planners and PDC staff; there are several additional logs being added to the fire as we proceed along in just the first phase of the three North, Central, South districts of SoWhat.

The lobotomy is also being performed by OHSU,CoP,and PDC on all of us taxpayers too.

"Carter, rents a $1,000 studio with inside parking"

Are there rental units in SoWa or is this gal renting someone's condo?

First point: $1000 for a studio is OBSCENE. That's more than I rent my 2 bedroom house for and outside of 6am-9am, I can drive downtown from my house in Gateway faster than she can take the streetcar to get there...) Second point: How does a student afford that? She's not a typical nursing student if she can spend $1k a month on rent.

How bout the state housing paroled sex offenders in some of those empty condos? Win-win.

How about housing the VA veterans, that need housing close to their OHSU/VA clinics, in the vacant condo towers? Why have the public subsidize the future, proposed vets housing that will not be paying property taxes to help retire the SoWhat debt-let the condo towers do the job?

There is a coffee shop in SoWhat now, so it is a "neighborhood" by Planner definition.

Since the future OHSU's Mirabella senior housing won't pay taxes and will get subsidies, why not add the Veteran free housing component? Everything should be free in SoWhat, paying no taxes. Now that is Planning.

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