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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In Portland, horrible ideas never die

Portland Mayor-Elect Sam the Tram is determined to give area taxpayers the royal shaft with the infernal Convention Center hotel project. Here's the latest. It's just a matter of time, people.

No sense getting too upset -- this is just part of what will turn out to be a truly disastrous time for Portland. And sad to say, well deserved. Go by streetcar!

Comments (14)

Can't we just increase taxes on the rich and businesses to pay for the hotel. They make too much money anyway. I mean, that is the Oregon solution to all problems isn't it?

It's never too early to pick a name. How about, "The Lynchpin Hotel"?

Measures 5 and 47 saw to it that the rich pay the city a lot less than they used to. Tax abatements for urban renewal projects up the ante even more by ensuring that many of the rich pay A LOT LESS than their fair share of city taxes. The kicker see's to it that the rich get back a huge tax refund, while education, state police, etc. go down the toilet. That's the Oregon solution.

@frank:the rich pay A LOT LESS than their fair share of city taxes

Please define "fair share."

The Excalibur gondola has suffered a tower collapse at Whistler: two gondolas are still stranded...Betcha it will never happen here, right?


It's officially a gravy train.

Speaking of trains without gravy . . . I took the streetcar today. Some of the tracks got blocked or clogged or some such and the reader boards at the stops couldn't predict when the next car would arrive. When it put in an appearance at NW Northrup & 23rd, it was packed - not a happy sight for the horde waiting to hop on.

So many people were trying to use the single fare box that it was impossible to get near it during the 10 blocks or so before it entered fareless square. Strangely, this did not depress me.

On the way back, the overused bill slot had gone into malfunction blinking red light mode so I rode home free as well. Nobody was checking fares anyway.

Go by streetcar!

Please define "fair share."

"Fair share" is the what ever it takes to keep SEIU and the teachers' unions fat and happy.

[Hint: It's a really big number.]

Jack, I have enjoyed your insightful and well informed blog for a couple years now and I've referred many people to it. I keep saying that you and Stanford should team up and do a local "60 Minutes" style show focusing on all the hyjinx at City Hall and Neil's cronies etc. I think you could bring even more people into the conversation and establish some outrage where the $B5.5 undunded debt is concerned.....

Uh huh. If it's any consolation, Dallas is going through the same stupidity right now. Fifteen years ago, the greedheads in charge of the city feared that someone would build a big hotel near the Dallas Convention Center to compete with the Anatole. (The Anatole is almost five miles away, and is notoriously bad about making sure that folks at conventions actually get to the Convention Center.) The solution was to have the city buy the land parcel and put this ridiculous park full of bronze longhorns on it, with all expenses for maintenance also stuck on the city's bill. Of course, the local media (including the shitty weekly newspaper for which I was working) went on and on about how this was going to be a major tourist attraction, a situation that's never come true.

Fast-forward to 2008, and suddenly Dallas needs a new hotel at the Convention Center, now that the Anatole is considered "too old". Amazingly enough, the parcel on which it's supposed to be built is owned by A.H. Belo, the media company that owns the Dallas Morning News, so naturally the "Boring Snooze" is hyping the importance to the local economy to have a good convention center hotel. Belo doesn't want to pay for the hotel, so it's naturally going to be a usual case of American socialism, where the taxpayers pay the bills and the greedheads collect the profits.

This time, though, the taxpayers are saying "You know, you made the same arguments for downgrading and then tearing down Reunion Arena and replacing it with American Airlines Center, which hasn't made any money for anyone except for the Rodney Richpigges who owned the old chemical waste dump on which the new center was built. When are these things going to start earning the tax funds they were supposed to earn?" Of course, I suspect that this is because Dallas has had streetcars for two decades, so we're over the novelty of it all.

Fair share = at least as much as I pay

This is a classic case where the developers' money will trump the publc's will and common sense. It is unfortunate and tragic. But until people in the Portland area put a stop to this nonsense by voting more wisely, this kind of crud will continue ad infinitum. I don't have much hope that Portland voters will ever catch on to what is happening to them and their city. Sam will eventually leave office a multimillionaire and the voters will still love him while wondering why Portland is so f'd up.

No wonder that most upper class nad upper middle class folks have fled to Lake Oswego and the rural areas. They saw what was happened and bailed out while the bailing was good.

Jebus, man, you're right! Put a stake in this thing and end it, for God's sake.

If private investors want to build the thing, fine.

Speaking of horrible ideas*, let's hope that our tram [rim shot] does not have the same design as this one.

* - I have ridden the Portland tram [rimshot] and found it pretty cool, but I question its cost and usefulness on a practical basis. Since it's there, I hope it will last!

Adams: "we're so big, we get a better rate" on bond sales.

That is patently false. Why is it at several recent PDC URAC meetings for different urban renewal areas did the CoP's PDC staff say "We can't proceed on several committed projects. We can't enter the bond markets because it would be a financial disaster now and for the foreseeable future."

Does Sam talk to his fiefdom at PDC? He's showing fiduciary irresponsibility, again. Why is it that Sam and this city is so clever to paint any picture they want in disregard to positions they have taken that's contrary?


Where are the Mildred Schwabs when you Portlanders need 'em?

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