Mike Lindberg for sale
I see that the guys who own the Colwood Golf Course in Northeast Portland -- who want to turn it into an industrial zone, probably so that the Port of Portland can control it for more mindless airport expansion and other paradise-paving -- have hired former Portland City Commissioner Mike Lindberg to pull some strings and help them get it done. They're going to need help, because they've already lost at the hearings level -- the planning officer who heard the case ruled that the whole course should remain zoned for open space. The neighbors are excited about that victory, but coming up is a hearing next week before the City Council, where green space can be sold out from under the citizenry unless there's a public outcry.
When we last heard from Lindberg, he was parading around as a proud member of the private group that thought it was going to get to run the OHSU aerial tram project [press button here]. This corporation, Portland Aerial Transportation, Inc. (PATI), was modeled after the same setup that currently presides over the folly known as the Portland Streetcar. The boards of these entities were (and with the streetcar, still are) populated by real estate tycoons and their surrogates, developer types and their surrogates, plus innocent dupes like Streetcar Smith. Anyway, when incoming Mayor Tom Potter realized he was stuck with the tram even though he hated it, he had a famous lunch with Homer Williams in the restaurant at the Benson, whereat Potter told Homer to read Potter's lips. The next day, PATI was out of business (although Homer still got his tram).
Now Lindberg shows up shilling for the golf course guys, and you just know that despite its recent suspiciously benign announcement about not wanting another runway, the Port is still dying to get its hands on Colwood. The latest ploy is that they want only part of it -- they'll still leave some of it as open space. But as the kids at the Merc capably pointed out on Friday, if you look at the map, the part that would be left for a park under the "mixed use" plan is quite small -- the vast majority of the expanses of green currently used for golf would eventually be paved over for warehouses, hangars, runways, or worse.
Between this assault and the planned hacking up of Lents Park for a minor league baseball stadium and parking lot, green space on the outer east side of Portland is under assault like never before. The hearings officer in this case is right, and let's hope that level-headed council members Potter and Nick Fish see the light on this one and get one of the other commissioners to go along. (If you'd like to speak up on this issue yourself, the green space backers have some information posted here.)
As for Lindberg, his place in Portland history becomes ever more tarnished the more he shows up selling snake oil like the aerial tram and the Colwood industrial zone. Word is that the lobbying effort even involves leaning on the North-Northeast Business Alliance to change their stance against the rezoning. You know what, Mr. Lindberg? There's some money out there that you can make, but you shouldn't.