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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 3, 2008 8:30 PM. The previous post in this blog was Almost famous. The next post in this blog is Nate: Oden shouldn't be an "enforcer". Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Satellite" urban renewal scam: Game on

Back before Fireman Randy did everything Sam the Tram told him to do, he used to become quite captivated by the twinkly idea lights coming from his erstwhile colleague, Opie Sten. One of these was to declare David Douglas School District part of the Pearl District, and use the Pearl urban renewal slush fund to pay for a new school way out there.

Totally illegal. Totally impractical. But hey, that's the Erik way.

Now, the fat cats who usually drink from the urban renewal slush tank objected, saying that the money should be available for their own pork projects, and not burned on some unwashed masses out in the Far East. And so a battle over the Opie plan was joined.

A while back, it looked as though some sort of deal might be made between the foes of the plan and the city's urban renewal bunglers at the Portland Development Commission, and we lamented that fact in a blog post. Somebody needs to drive a stake through the heart of this final Opie-ism, and we feared that no one would.

But hurray! This evening we learn that there's no deal, and the legal challenge to the "satellite" district nonsense will press on. Good for Portland.

Comments (9)

Take a look at the David Douglas district map (PDF) and the Gateway Urban Renewal Area map (PDF).

It seems to me that David Douglas occupies much of the Gateway Urban Renewal Area. IF this is correct, why can't the Gateway URA funds be used to build the new school?

More importantly, is it possible (legal) to have overlapping URAs?

Hey, you know this is a game of whack-a-mole.

I'm still waiting how they're gonna get $170M (stop me if you really believe it going to be $85M) to Paulsen.

The city should apply for some of the TARP bail out funds. Since the Feds don't know where that money goes it won't matter how any of it is spent!
Whoopee!

I hope this whole "satellite district" nonsense prompts people in Salem to start looking at how Urban Renewal is abused up here. Won't hold my breath.

I'll keep saying it: if they want the Pearl money to flow back into the city, stop taking out new bonds, and let the district expire. Again, I won't hold my breath.

Garage Wine: I'm 99% positive that it is illegal to have overlapping UR areas.

Using Gateway is an interesting idea, but of course, that UR district isn't the huge cash cow that the Pearl is.

From the Tribune article: "Jeff Tashman, one of the critics and a veteran urban renewal consultant, said the settlement talks never panned out. 'It appeared that there was a pretty large distance between our two positions,' he said."

Could anyone explain who Mr. Tashman is? Could be illuminating.

Joel,
Tashman was one of the people who drafted the original plan for the URA for the pear. He, along with others, including Oliver Norville, the attorney who wrote the original charter amendment that created the PDC and also wrote much of the legislation governing how URA's are established, are in opposition to both the satellite and the extension of the Pearl URA.

I conducted an interview with Mr. Norville a few weeks back and this whole deal is the topic of my next column in Brainstorm NW magazine. It should be out next week. I learned a lot of interesting stuff.

Tashman has been consulting different cities on urban renewal for a long time. There are requirements at the beginning (for drafting the plan, budget, etc.) that most cities who are new to UR don't know how to do in house. He helps them through the process.

It's telling that he's starting to have qualms with now UR is used (abused) in Pdx.

Can't wait for the Brainstorm piece, Dave.

"He helps them through the process."

Now that's funny.

Tashman has been the go to consultant helping cities BS along approval of Urban Renewal spending schemes. He's been exposed for lying to public officials and the citizenry.

""during a public hearing at the January 24, 2006 Troutdale city council meeting, urban renewal consultant Jeff Tashman admitted he intentionally withheld information about the property tax increase until sending an e-mail to the city on January 9,2006. During questioning at the public hearing, I asked Tashman why he intentionally
deceived us. He said he didn't think the city council or Troutdale's citizens
would understand the complexities of tax increment financing, so he withheld
the tax increase impact information.""

So now we can move on and find the next urban renewal district. Hopefully the next one will be defined by a majority of the public and will benefit the public equally. It's clear that the Pearl and Sowhat districts did not need urban renewal money to begin with and that they were designed to benefit a small number of developers.


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