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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 17, 2008 3:47 PM. The previous post in this blog was No time like the present. The next post in this blog is Up next for Tri-Met. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Major, major shakeup at PDC?

Rumor has reached us that three of the top managers at the Portland Development Commission have "chosen to leave" the PDC. Along with the departure of the agency's legal counsel, that's four out of five managers gone within a very short time.

Word has it that the entire agency staff is being restructured into new "teams" as well.

The reports come from a reliable source. Anyone got more they'd like to share?

UPDATE, 4:49 p.m.: It's real. WW has much more, here.

Our source also mentioned something about a change involving Lolita Burnette, the PDC "Director of Community Relations and Business Equity." Nothing in the WW story about that.

Comments (9)

Bruce Warner has to go.

His leadership has worked as a muffler and obscuring to the fiscal mess and madness at the PDC. What was obvious years ago was denied and ignored by the PDC hierarchy under Warner.

Now a full blown audit is needed to fully expose the intricacies of offical malfeasance involved. Which IMO will lead directly to PDC commissioners and city commissioners being removed from office with potentially criminal charges being brought against a number of public officials and private parties.

Litterally everything the naysayers have been predicting about the PDC and their schemes is coming to fruition. When push comes to shove and PDC employees spill their guts to save their hide we'll get the rest of the story.

Lame. Warner's style is so managerese. People aren't resigning, they're "transitioning" to other jobs. Anyway Erin Flynn seems like someone who Warner figures can take Portland style public-private monkeybusiness to the next level. Wonderful. This FutureWorks outfit she comes from has got a lot wrong in my opinion, especially in their dogged adherence to the myth that discarded older workers can or will be retrained into some sort of 21st century tech workforce, so losing blue-collar in a region doesn't matter. Pitting discouraged older blue collar workers against ruthless young debt-slave college graduates in the fight for dwindling paychecks...it's going to be great.
But the reorg looks like PDC won't make failing to build "affordable" housing so much of a priority.

"Which IMO will lead directly to PDC commissioners and city commissioners being removed from office with potentially criminal charges being brought against a number of public officials and private parties."

Which IMO will lead to criminal charges against Ben for peddling this nonsense without giving us a single shred of proof.

Bruce is a very smart bureaucrat. He knows that the best thing to do when you find yourself in trouble is to fire a couple of underlings and then reorganize to buy time. I wonder how much longer he figures he needs to last before he can afford to retire? (Note: Now that PERS gives much less generous pensions than it used to, bureaucrats need to hang on longer before they can bail. A downside of PERS reforms I guess.)

Greg C

This is the beginning of the end to PDC.

Once you get Sam in there as Mayor you can say goodbye to Economic Development and goodbye to Housing. By the way, streetcars aren't economic development no matter how you spin the sound bites.

Having a separate department was the only thing that kept funding of affordable housing alive in PDC. Most of the Council just deferred to Erik, and he is gone. The Commission only supports homeownership. Now there won't even be a department.

Ah Portland, you have absolutely gone down the tubes and taken everything good and turned it to slop.

Isn't Warner already dismissing the possibilities of economic development in this very message? (see: "We are no longer the major jobs center for the region. Now, Portland has new and changed roles - for example, in housing and our cultural prominence.")

The PDC is now officially tasked with remaking our city as Hillsboro's bedroom community? Not that we didn't know that already, but it's painful to hear it admitted by a public "development" official.

I hope the management undergoing "transitioning" will find the corporate culture at Hoyt St. Properties more to their liking.

"Once you get Sam in there as Mayor you can say goodbye to Economic Development and goodbye to Housing."

Good riddance. As fiscally issesponsible as Sam's streetcar plans are, PDC's economic development program and the 30% housing set aside are even worse.

A few years ago the PDC launched it's big push to build a the creative services industry cluster in the CoP. Built a new $50 million creative services building that sat empty till the PDC itself moved into it.
Next up the PDC joined the Goldschmidt/Katz/Kohler Biotech research cluster fraud and cooked up the SoWa plan with low balled estimates and inflated revenue projections so they could call the plan "feasible" in advising approval to the commission and council.
Last year they abandoned the biotech idea and kicked off their "sustainability" cluster push. This being the ultimate in politically correct efforts it will certainly set a new level of flops in the CoP.
If you have any doubt about a flop just watch Jim Middaugh and others answer Nigel Jaquiss's questions in the WW seat 2 interview video.
The amazing absence of even a vague description of how the sustainability push will deliver jobs and revenue demonstrates how these floppers no longer even bother make up a tall tale to justify the latest misadventure.

Like her or not, Ms. Flynn is an effective individual. The $2.5 mill that she convinced City Council to provide from the general fund towards economic development is approximately 3x more than any prior year. Hence the promotion.

Chaos at PDC is nothing new. We live it everyday.

It is a complete miracle to me that the good staff at PDC continue to do the wonderful work they do on behalf of the citizens of Portland IN SPITE of the pathetic leadership in place. Take a look at the number of Executive Directors (ED) the agency has had vs. Planning Bureau or other similar city agency. I'm not saying an ED needs to be there for 20 years...but some continuity would be nice. I counted and the HR office at PDC has been through something like 12 Directors/Managers (the position changes with the whims of the ED) in 15 years. The employees are very poorly served by this and it is one of the main reasons the employees got sick and tired and unionized.

And doesn't anyone see that the PDC Board is getting more ridiculous year after year? In the old days, being a PDC Commissioner was a plum assignment—THE TOP leaders of the city sat on the Commission: Louis Scherzer, Harry Demorest, Ira Keller, Ed Jensen, Eric Parsons. These are people who served on behalf of the city. Now the Board is filled with "friends" of Tom Potter who are there to better their commercial real estate practice. What has happened to the best and brightest leadership in Portland and why aren't they serving on the Board of the agency that is defining the face of Portland?

So today we have the entire PDC run by Mark Rosenbaum—Mayor Potter's handpicked Chairman. He thinks he knows what's best for the staff and citizens of Portland. Remember that this entire reorg was completed without asking ONE PDC employee what he/she thought. Mark and Bruce Warner continue the paternalistic pattern of running the agency: doing what they know the children need best. Erin Flynn is Mark's hand-picked wunderkind. He flew out to Boston to get her to come to Portland. Gee Mark, did you know that employees at PDC were crying after the announcement of the reorg? Did you care that staff were sickened at the loss of Cheryl Twete who has given 23 years of sterling service to PDC and Portland's citizens? Do you care about how the reorg can be successful with staff that is again demoralized and suffering from shell shock? Isn't it odd that this "reorg" is being done before Sam Adams has a chance to come into office and have a say at how the Commission is organized and run? PDC has, since the beginning, always been in the Mayor's portfolio of bureaus. Sam, the best thing you can do is make PDC one of your first orders of the day.

For God sake, send Bruce Warner packing. We have suffered under his uninspired bureaucratic leadership for too many tedious years. Get out there and talk to Portland's leaders and get us some inspiring Board members. And you know what would be really amazing, come by and ask the staff what they think. That would be really refreshing.


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