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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 5, 2009 1:22 AM. The previous post in this blog was These things take time. The next post in this blog is It worked so well on Wall Street. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Monday, January 5, 2009

What's the plural of albatross?

The Trib confirms today what we've been telling folks for years: that "urban renewal" and police and firefighter pension and disability benefits are gobbling up property taxes in Portland at an alarming rate.

The worst part about the police and fire pension reality is that it's going to get a lot worse over the next few decades. The city's unfunded liability for benefits to the retired and disabled cops and firefighters now stands at about $2.5 billion. (The latest official number is due out later this month.) If you tried to pay that debt off over 30 years at 4 percent interest, the payout would be around $144.6 million a year.

In the most recent fiscal year, the city collected about $100 million in property taxes for the police and fire pensions. That would have to increase by 44 percent immediately to make the liability go away in 30 years. In other words, when it comes to a burden on taxpayers, you ain't seen nothing yet.

By the way, the Trib apparently didn't link to the official report that inspired its story. It's big and it's slow to load, but it's here.

Comments (20)

When does Randy's measure to raise property taxes start to hit or affect this number? This was his solution last year to raise property taxes for only 30+ years to pay for PFDR.

Why do we even let these people near money when they have no clue?

Randy knows and knew exactly what he was and is doing when it comes to the union label.
As a firefighter union officer, legislator and commissioner he has perpetrated a fiscal assault on the taxpayers while adoring fans fell for his schtick.
They just love him. He's so Randy.

Here's something people need to understand:

The police and fire pension and disability fund is like a preferred creditor. It gets first dibs on all the property tax money. They call it compression.

What it means is this:

You may have voted for the childrens levy, or the parks levy and expect that's where your money will go. If the FPD&R comes up short, they will take that money. It is happening already in some neighborhoods.

Here's how you can tell if it is happening to you:

Take the millage rate you approved with your vote for, say, the childrens levy and compare it with how much is actually itemized on your property tax statement. If it is less, the difference is going to the FPD&R.

At least we haven't paid into a fund "managed" by Oppenheimer.


"The police and fire pension and disability fund is like a preferred creditor. It gets first dibs on all the property tax money."

I think that goes for all employee benefits. In effect, all the stuff taxpayers want (better schools, roads, infrastructure) are now bottom-of-the-list stuff after these top line obligations.

You have to add several more items to the "preferred creditor" list.

Like public employee "cost of living" increases, when there are no increases.

And public employee "severance packages" when they leave, even if they have committed at least misbehavior.

And public employee salary increases based on "in house" committees reviewing other "similar" job benefits, salaries inside or outside of government.

There are a lot of bonds that have lower payments in the earlier years and that escalate in later years. Think of it as like modified-lump-sum light, or like buying a house with a loan that has a 5 year or 10 year balloon payment. Throw caution to the wind and chant "God will provide."

I do wish you would adopt my view that any pay change, at the time of the change, must be accompanied by a documented estimate of the present value of the stream of future payments that directly result from the change; and are contemporaneously broken out for each individual to which it would apply. Without such documentation it would be (is) absurd to assert that there was any rudimentary meeting of the minds associated with any subsequent contract claim.

Deception is not a valid public purpose, it is a crime that is on the books today. Randy can plead ignorance, and win. How's that for a fine bureaucratic incentive?

Portland is bankrupt but Sam the Scam doesn't dare admit it or else he won't get any new toys to play with.

At some point someone will point out that the city is bankrupt and then the wailing will begin. In hindsight it will all be so obvious that we shouldn't have spent so much money on choo choo trains and "sustainability".

I have a general question about Urban Renewal districts that I have not seen addressed. When these districts are created, they always claim that they have a limited life. Has there ever been an UR district in Oregon that went out of existence at the end of its originally proposed lifespan? Or do these districts become perpetual operations, despite their original promises?

Can anyone address this? How can I get information about the history of UR districts in Oregon?


I'm not sure where you can get all the information, but plenty of them have been properly sunsetted like they are supposed to. When my dad was driving a chevy with fins, they did the South Auditorium. It ended.

These unending URA's are a rather recent phenomenon, historically speaking, pretty much since the Katz administration.

Both Davids: I believe that for Portland there has been only one URA that ended-South Auditorium that began in 1957. All others have continued and many beyond their expiration dates with "modifications". For Portland it seems "blight" can never end, but we tout ourselves as the city to emulate. I would suggest calling the League of Oregon Cities or whatever it is called,and they may have some information of urban renewal districts that have been employed by cities and counties throughout Oregon and their expiration dates.

All but truce?

... can't get loose / without that juice ... there's only so much oil in the ground, in the ground / when it's gone there'll be no more around, no more around ...

And seriously, an education in the Comments. (Except, any "chevy with fins" [dorsal?] is only needed on a levee which floods.) Why doesn't our mass media provide us such comprehensions and understandings?

Small wonder that reasoned readers dump newspapers for the chronicles of web logs.

Again I think we need (so it's inevitable) to have a sort of 'citizenship' or 'civics' test, an examination to pass in order to register to vote. And mutual tutoring (of, by, and for ourselves) to achieve a required, preset goal of 100% of us passing the test, 100% registering, and 100% voting. (... and all the children above average.)

Then, I'd expect we'd still be electing Randy's and Sam's but at least we wouldn't have LIARS to kick us around any more.

My revolutionary Motto of the Month persists, insisting:
No taxation without explanation.

I'm not going to argue with you because I really don't know for sure, but wasn't the Memorial Coliseum done as a URA?

The expansion of Urban Renewal/TIF has far out paced any of the sunsetting.

Which makes whatever sunsetting that has occured meaningless, essentially, because as some (TIF) increment revenue retuned to the taxing jurisdictions many times that amount was diverted with new UR schemes.

It's sort of like your boss sunsetting a job related payroll reduction while adding many more new ones.
Your check keeps getting smaller.

12,000 acres of Portland have propoerty taxes diverted for UR with city wide taxpayers also contributing.

Some $4 Billion in assessed real estate value and the taxes it generates never makes it to ANY basic services.

Instead it goes to pay off the UR borrowng that funds not only the UR plans but the PDC agency itself.

An entire agency with hundreds of employees funded with borrowed money that must be paid, with interest, from property taxes.

payroll 'deduction'

I don't think the Memorial Coliseum was completed under a URA. It was added to the Lloyd District URA (from PDC research) was formed in 1989 and has been extended, revised two times since.

This district now extends from the river to NE 14th, to NE Schuler to I-84, and includes all of Lloyd Center and surrounding buildings, Rose Garden, all not paying taxes towards schools, police, fire, roads, sidewalks, non-sexual potholes, etc.

That would be "gender neutral" potholes.

Dave, correct:
Lloyd District extends to NE 16th, and one block north of Schuyler to NE Hancock for a large portion.

The Central Eastside URA extends from the Lloyd District URA all the way south to SE Powell/Ross Island Bridge, then from river to SE 12th. So, much of inner eastside Portland is "BLIGHTED". 25 blocks on average east to west and 50 blocks north to south in our inner east side is in urban renewal, not contributing tax dollars to what is needed today or many decades to come or if at all.

What is also interesting is the extent of urban renewal on the west side. The three inner districts of River District, Downtown, and South Waterfront/North Macadam extends from ten blocks north of the Fremont Bridge to the south into John's Landing near the Sellwood Bridge. These include most of the designated area called Central City in planner jargon.

Blight is everywhere and we need to attack this insidious cancer.


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In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
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Locations, Spanish Red Wine
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Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
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Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
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Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
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The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
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James Joyce - Dubliners
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William Golding - Lord of the Flies
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Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
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Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
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Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
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Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
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Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
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Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
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Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
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