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Saturday, November 15, 2008

The latest from Pill Hill

We noted this week that OHSU is asking the upcoming session of the Oregon Legislature for tens of millions of dollars for construction of a new campus in the SoWhat District in Southwest Portland. Although officials at the medical school have provided few details about the proposed development, sources tell us that the plans are well along in the drafting.

Comments (7)

Why don't they just wait a year and buy the unsold condo towers at fire sale prices? That way they could add two sauna cars.

We've been trying to be Sweden or France for so long, Sam is going to be very surprised when he learns all that debt makes us look more like Argentina or Bolivia.

That said, I would ride the tram every day if those two models come with the Sauna Tram.

I just find it revealing that they can spend so much time and effort to seek funding to build more temples to their egos.

Now, if only the could work that hard to find more health care dollars to actually help people who are sick today (and who probably wouldn't be able to afford their new discoveries anyway).

Why should OHSU get more free buildings that are owned by people who already have alot of money? Their waterfront healthclub was almost a freeby. It's owned by a "non-profit" that is made up of MD's from pill hill and no property taxes are paid on the building.

Are ya trying to raise my blood pressure even more?

Watch your blood pressure with this news from OHSU.

OHSU is now going to the salons of Portland and the state to help sell to the Oregon Legislature a proposal titled Life Sciences Opportunity Complex. It's a 12 story building in the OSHU SoWhat campus right north of the Ross Island Bridge along SW Moody with the proposed Milwaukie light rail line running on two sides of the building.

"Here, research and business innovation are supported in a sophisticated Comples where:
*medical, life sciences, engineering and pharmacy students learn and explore;
*faculty perform cutting edge research...
*bio/life science, medical device and diagnostic entrepreneurs and start-up companies have the incubation labs, resources and support...
*incubator, accelerator and established companies come to solve current problems...of mutually beneficial arrangements."

After taxpayers spent over $7.2 Million (only that which is reported) just in the OHSU doctors health club building for bio-tech research space, but not one new biotech job, OHSU is now seeking minimum $250 Million for this bio-tech building. We know how costs expand in Portland two or more times over.

The proposed funding strategy is mostly taxpayer dollars:
State Funded Bonds $125 Million
Project Revenue Bonds $50 Million
Gifts and Grants $75 Million

Not one company has committed in any form to the project.

Some questions that arise for this project besides the funding strategy-your dollars.

1. Is it good to place biotech, instrumentation ,labs that have very sensitive devices to earth movement on a liquified land fill, next to light rail and a major bridge vibrations, besides being right over a major earthquake fault?

2. Is it good economic sense to take the highest priced real estate along the Willamette River and place bioscience spaces that can and usually are built on less costly land because the building costs usually exceed $800 dollars a square ft? Why take expensive land ($8 Million for a block) and place instrumentation/biotech equipment manufacturing spaces that can be accommodated in much less expensive space and land than in SoWhat?

3. Since in many respects this building is for private enterprise, the taxpayers have already committed over $289 Million in infrastructure cost for SoWhat that directly benefits this proposal, why is over 90% of this project paid by the taxpayers? If if it is a good idea, shouldn't the market build it?

4. Since OHSU, PSU and others are not taxpaying entities there will be little tax dollars from this building to help pay for the $289 M public investment, nor the interest on the bonds borrowed for the district. With all the OHSU and now PSU projects in the SoWhat district, coupled with 30% of the budget to be used for affordable housing not paying taxes, who is going to pay the debt?

The state legislature should critically review this proposal and wonder how all these numerous debts are going to be paid even though OHSU is a favorite son.

The Oregon Legislature should tell them to go ask their friends in Florida for the money.

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