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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Don't condemn me, bro!

I'm no big fan of the University of Oregon, but it's hard to see why Fireman Randy and Nick the Fish are so opposed to the planned alteration of the famous Old Town sign. If all they're going to change is the wording -- if the stag and the red nose at Christmas aren't going to change -- then what's the big deal? It's not as if the sign has said "Made in Oregon" forever. For decades it said "White Stag."

Meanwhile, Big Pipe Saltzman, channeling yesterday's O, has a moment of uncharacteristic clarity. He describes the fireman's conduct on this issue as bullying. Indeed, there are days when Randy does tend to be the City Council's version of Officer Humphreys.

Comments (56)

If anyone knows anything about bullying, it certainly is you.

Your hubris knows no bounds.

Ah, but I do it for free.

More appalling still is that the city would have to shell out $500,000 in just compensation and another $15,000 per year in upkeep.

"what's the big deal?"

Turf war, maybe. PSU used to be the Cinderella sister of the state university system when it came time for the legislature to dole out money. The universities don't just compete for students and star athletes, but for state dollars too.

Seems so silly to me. I was born and raised in the Rose City and passed by this sign almost every day. I have no attachment to it all and could care less about seeing it changed. Far more ridiculous is to see any taxpayer time or money spent on this non-issue.

One commenter offered a great compromise in the O last weekend and that was to change the "O" in Oregon to the U of O moniker. Makes easy sense to me and would free Randy and some money up to fix the pot holes on some SE Ptld streets.

I think this dispute warrants mediation, no?

Grow up, Mr. Leonard, and refocus your attention on things that matter in people's lives. Sports stadiums for megamillionaires, silly sign squabbles ... meanwhile, if there's one thing that has really surprised me about Portland since I arrived here two years ago, it is how broken down and (pardon the language) crappy so much of the city is. Cripes. Stadiums and signs. Unbelievable.

I think Randy needs a coach.

Maybe Mayor Creepy's office will pop for one they can share.
Yeah, that's the ticket, and put their sessions on YouTube.

Hey, he thinks MLS means major league. Forgive him for being confused by what real culture means.

There is a larger issue here. If they take the sign UO will just have gotten started. Imagine a quarter mile high O hologram projected over your city for a moment. There is very little UO cult branding types will not try. Now it just stupid tricks like getting ODOT to light bridges with green and yellow on game days. UO will invent more pervasive and insidious branding initiatives in the future that you may not be able to imagine at this point. Content related to the brandcentric entity UO has become is here in case you are interested. www.youtube.com/luddite333 The O is a "lifestyle" brand-not a university anymore. UO is busy becoming a real estate developer(a plan very similiar to south waterfront is being hatched near the Nike arena) East of the UO campus. The main UO campus is being left to deteriorate with over 150 million in deferred maintenance. The point is your sign loss would be the tip of a tidal wave of branding icebergs. Lotto money and Leonard can save the day here. Use enough lotto money and perhaps the MLS deal can collapse. A "win-win"

But..but...Randy's bullying is, in this case, an irresponsible breach of fiduciary trust. For that, he should swing with Sammy.

And, Randy is playing footsey with the a**holes who screwed up this country big time. How much did Little and Big Lord Paulsen pay you for that, Randy? I'm not impressed, I'm disappointed....at one time, I used to think Randy might be a decent commissioner.

No more.

Add Randy to the recall. He has proven that he is just another of the long, tedious, corrupt line of dips**ts to serve on the Council. He belongs where Goldschmuck belongs.

Randy...Please go to France and do not come back.

Leonard sees the big picture here. This conflict will set a precedent. That is precisely why Nike-endowed president Frohnmayer is digging in so deeply. Thanks Leonard, you have this one right !

Oh...wait...I forgot to use the terms "two-faced" and "untrustworthy" with regards to Randy. Please insert them where appropriately descriptive...

I believe the PDC has provided much in the sale and development of the U of O building in Old Town so the university's argument about their major investment is incomplete. It is in the URA after all. Maybe we can just leave the state outline part of the sign and put a big red dollar sign inside it? Better yet, how about using it to broadcast Jack's debt calculation?

As for Mr. Leonard, his words and actions speak for themselves and yet the voters of Portland continue to elect him to office.

Randy needs a management coach.

Try being polite Randy. It'll be difficult, but the rewards can be significant.

Mr. Leonard,...me thinks thou dost protest too much...
The interesting thing is that bullies usually do get their just rewards, eventually. I wonder if the city and its long suffering citizens can wait that long.
And...don't leave out the original sign was for White Satin Sugar.

Ya know, I was on the fence about this. University of Phil Knight (oops, University of Oregon) just can't back down from their empire building. There is a compromise here if King Frohnmayer would talk. I don't know what contractual relationship U of O has with the owner of the building and the sign, and if that contract allows U of O to change the sign, well then the City is a little late to intervene.

The Ducks and their franchise have long left a bad taste in my mouth.

And yet...I think the City can better spend their half mil - like trying to keep some necessary social services alive - even if its a drop in the proverbial bucket.

And my tipping point is Commissioner Leonard's first comment on this blog. Hubris? Uh, take a little glance in the mirror. And try to forget that stupid "Candidates Gone Wild" video where you wanted to be a star. Talk about hubris. And lack of judgment.

A half a million dollars for a sign? Is that a typo?

Think of all the affordable housing, or emergency heating assistance, or diapers/formula for homeless families that could buy.

Shame on you, Commissioner Leonard! If you think it's so important, then raise $500,000 of private money.

Ps: Bill Naito is laughing his a$$ off!

Well, I do like the idea for the sign that Randy has posted.


It certainly is classier than the sign the U of O is proposing. And it fits.

The problem is, once again, that the city didn't foresee this situation although it could have and maybe should have. The city could have taken care of this during negotiations with the U of O for the building. Of course the U of O wants to put its name and logo on the sign. This isn't really a surprise.

I don't really give a rat's about the sign but if the city condemning it is a public domain thing, please stop celebrating Christmas with the red nose unless you also plan to honor the Druids, Scientology, Islam, and everything in between.
My recommendation: Just declare the sign a blighted area and charge a spectator fee if anyone looks at it. That'll raise the 500 grand easily. Oh, I forgot. Charge the neighborhood businesses for the added revenue they'll get from people attracted to their stores because they're near the city's sign. Maybe it can enhance our prestige internationally.
Finally, since we're maxing out the Goldman Sachs account, Randy should try negotiating a deal where the sign reads "AIG." He's really great at these deals. It's time to stop being so modest, Randy, and just come right out and admit it.

Seriously, reading these comments here made me proud to be an American.
The People have had enough, Randy, and you politicians had better clue in:

"There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'."

Change the sign to a picture of Cesar Chavez and we're done. Stone thrown, birds killed, we move on.

I think it would be cheaper for all of us plebs subject to the whims of Commissar Leonard, if someone would make a replica of the sign, and hang it inplace of the original. Meanwhile, the U of O could steal away the original until the political hack has left office, (and the sooner the better concerning this latter event). Please tell me this guy can't go any higher in political office.

P.S here's an idea for name-that-Chavez ordeal: Build a west-side bypass of Portland, and call it the Chavez freedom highway. A whole new road for the union hero without renaming an existing street.

If Oregon State University had the building and option on the sign, none of this would be happening.

OSU is a class act, U of O is well, umm, hmmmm, no comment......

If Randy gets his way and design adopted what is the white stag supposed to represent?

Perhaps the stag should be lost and the rose made bigger and placed where Portland would be on the map.

On the Bottom it could read,

The City of Randy

This hoo-ha sort of makes me glad the Jesus Is the Light of the World, White Rock, 7-Up, Coon Chicken Inn, Waddles and other signs are no more. Methinks that if the KISN "Welcome Back, We've Been KISN Your Wife" sign were still up on 82nd by the airport, someone would be threatening to condemn that, too, in order to save it.

Does anybody even remember the origin of the sign? Hirsch-Weiss? White Stag?

If we had fought to keep anything, it should have been the Rainmakers and the Merrykhana Parade.

Randy has it right - UO has no shame. As a PSU grad, I know how that school has traditionally been short-changed in favor of UO over the past 40+ years. It is not "just a sign" and UO knows it - this is just another in a long list of UO moves saying "we are better than you." If Randy needs $500k, count me in.

People seem to be obsessed about the notion that the sign used to say White Satin, and then White Stag.

Personally, I don't give a damn if the sign is historic or not. I'd be just as opposed to it if UO were proposing a brand-new sign.

UO is in Eugene. Portland is the home of Portland State. As mentioned above, this is just another chapter in the long-running saga of UO trying to keep down Portland State. Heck, they even tried to stop PSU from having dorms.

Randy Leonard, a proud PSU alum, is doing exactly the right thing. First, try to shame UO into doing the right thing. When that doesn't work (and it won't), then pay 'em off. That's how extortion works.

Personally, I like his proposal for the sign.

Why is the city government of Portland throwing its weight around in a U of O-vs.-PSU turf war? And if the U of O is so bad, why did the PDC make such a sweet deal with them?

As a city taxpayer, I'm might tired of paying for whatever bee Fireman Pele has in his bonnet -- biodiesel, soccer, Wal Mart, now the PSU inferiority complex, don't forget the PGE takeover, the Sauvie Island bridge move, his latest book club find, the list goes on and on.

Randy wants visitors to see a "Portland, Oregon" sign especially if they landed at the airport and think the city is named IKEA.

Based purely upon fireboy Randy's opening salvo; I think now is a good time to add his name to the Sam Adams recall in the next 90 days.

I'll bet a crisp $100 bill that Randy can't define "hubris" without looking it up.

Why is the city government of Portland throwing its weight around in a U of O-vs.-PSU turf war? And if the U of O is so bad, why did the PDC make such a sweet deal with them?

This is exactly right.

The city government doesn't have good, compelling answers to these two questions.

RL- Your hubris knows no bounds.

As does your arrogance, Randy.

If we had fought to keep anything, it should have been the Rainmakers and the Merrykhana Parade.

I agree with this statement. I am also embarrassed to be an alum of UO right now given their unwillingness to even talk about this issue. You all are right though, it is a waste of city money and time. Would a good compromise be to have the sign simply say "Oregon". That refers to UO and it refers to Oregon.

Hey Randy,

We're all anxiously awaiting the sequel to your YouTube film with Storm and Sam. Have you all been practicing your lines?

The poor buffoon may be off his meds, but his latest moronic stunt is nothing more than his ongoing quest for an inane legacy, which includes, but is not limited to: duct tape diplomacy, spray paint kefuffle, the Leonard Loo, bio-fool-fuel, "I'm in charge" police commissioner dust up, and now the sign, whose only historical significance is the age of its steel.

Maybe Obamessiah can work his executive decision magic and fire both Sam and Randy? "What's good for Government Motors is good for Portland."

The issue here isn't UO vs. PSU... or UO empire-building... or the $500k (plus $15k monthly maintenance) that could be better spent elsewhere... or even what the content of the G-damn sign is. The bigger issue is yet another use of condemnation to take something from a private owner when a gov't agency (in this case a city) feels like it.

It's just. not. right. PERIOD.

Hey, Randy: EVERY politician has a Google news alert with their name so they can find out when someone is writing about them.

NOT EVERY politician feels the obsessive need to post whiny notes on blogs, however.

You truly are in a league of your own.

Anyone who decides what school they're going to attend based upon a neon sign isn't going to qualify for any higher learning institute outside of DeVry. Chillax Vikings.

By the way, how is this any different than purchasing billboard space? I guess this is slightly more permanent, though it's obviously been changed and will be changed again, so what's the deal? Any way we can get that huge Budweiser promo on burnside landmark status?

I find it interesting that Leonard calls the sign a key part of the city skyline, yet its conspicuously absent from the banner on his new blog.

I do find this discussion interesting, though, because my neighbor's house is quite the eyesore. There's nothing structurally wrong/dangerous, I just don't like her decorating decisions, or the color paint she's used. Is there a way that Randy could get the city to seize her house through eminent domain? Randy, call me! Let's work on this.

Jack, your hubris definitely knows bounds.

1) Isn't the UO now a Portland institution as well? They've invested in Old Town, after all.

2) How does advertising the UO's presence in Portland diminish PSU in any way? If they were so concerned about their image, why didn't they invest in Old Town prior to the UO?

OK, well 3 things:

3) "Made in _Oregon_" isn't really a Portland-centric, message is it? Sounds more like an Oregon-centric message.

Thank you Jack for posting this topic. I'd like to send the Rand-o-man an idea for the sign thang, and my busy lazy bones hadn't yet dug up his Official blogaddr. When this post popped on screen my first thought was 'I hope Mr. Commish peeks here.'

- -
'I'll bet a crisp $100 bill that Randy can't define "hubris".' Bet me. I bet you.

"Stone thrown, birds killed, we move on." That's what I say, in about 500 times more words. Seems in my experience that 90 percent of the job is just Showing Up. (Woody Allen). 'Showing Up' in the politics business as much as means presenting yourself as a target, suffer the slings and arrows and daggers and digs and drippy tomatoes tossing ... just don't take it personally. Later, again, all those tossing their lunch at you today then go in the polling booth, or open the ballot envelope in Oregon's case, and vote for you. again. We/They put you there (in office) to be the target and take our blame (transferring our niggling internal guilts for our own slacking not-doing the dirty tiring job ourselves of managing the City) and, so, when a politico stands the row, then our boil oozes the lance, angst is released, bile is bled ... stone thrown, internal birdbrain killed, fly the flock outta here.

To begin with, after all, Randy does see this. He 'Showed Up.' That's BIG, in my estimation. Cuss away, criticize or be constructively contributory, whatever whatever because you CAN -- he Showed Up.

His tell-tale signal that he's listening here is merely making a Comment -- a nod of recognizing 'us,' calling on 'us' waving our hands in the air. That's the job. }SPLAT{ *-- - * -* flying tomatoes. Maybe by now he expects uncivilly behaved (disparaging) stones thrown. For whatever reason, he makes his signal an acid barb to begin with. So what? If his first words had been sweet talk, responses would still also be the same nasty brickbat stones thrown. From his point of view, the job is to show he Showed Up and is present hearing -- We are Voter, hear us ROAR -- and the angst tone is the same irrespective of the signal words, lose/lose, it doesn't much matter whether he says 'hi' sweet or tart. But, Randy, that much spite in your opening ploy seems to indicate -- if we might psychologize here a moment -- some pent-up hostility accumulated and seething until now. Probably ever since you got mugged bloody on the [tram shot] thang, maybe, here on the corner of Bojack and Getlost. It also gets to be unnerving to only hear from voters always, "I'm mighty tired of ... whatever" diddly-do you did or do.

And daggers was deserved, dear Leo Nard, that tram flim-flam of yer'un was a botched bucket o'bucks wasted. Way to go NOT!

I don't care tush its about Mayor Miserable's muckmess; he did publicly confess and apologize and that was such a refreshing shock SHOCK! I tell ya' that I just let it go and forgave, but a bunch of folks got real plugged in about it. Oh well. So do whatever you do, Randy, if anything about that. Probably you don't get a personal-conscience choice anyway. That's the 'politics of the possible' way it goes these days. Oh well.

Remember?, Randy, when I gave you that book Crossing the Rubicon. Sam was there that day, too, and you maybe introduced us, I don't remember. Since I didn't take much of an impression of him. Let me say I wouldn't think to give him a book, nevermind that one. He ain't got the lit'rary gravitas that good words stick to. (I've since seen his astrology chart and no wonder he is unimpressive to most outward appearances and a colossus legend bestride his own mind on the interior.) By the way, dear Commish, about that book Rubicon: You really fubar'ed that one, too, y'know. Look at the (economics-o-ramma-damma-ding-dong) mess the whole freakin PLANET is in, all because NOBODY -- this means YOU -- stood up and talked back and fingered BuSheney bullsh!t raving sociopaths in indictments and explained to everyone (locally) what's going on and where it was going to be when the oil runs out and the economy crashes and us under it. which was ALL scripted in the book for you. you ignoramus ingrate. (You want to get depressed? Read along in Rubicon: The Sequel, at Mike's blog.) Cure ignorance: Investigate.

But I'm glad you came a-callin' and stopped by.

- -
... about that lighted sign thang: Hey, it is a black elephant on the citizens' back if the electricity goes out on that. I mean, when the electricity goes out. Which is inevitable.

Put a SOCKET in it. Buy the sign and then buy solar panels, wind turbines, in-stream riverflow turbines, and every dam electricity-making gizmo you can get the City's hands on. Put a ton o' equipment on the roof of that 'college campus' building. And turn it ON. On the structure of the sign, make all the electricity the sign uses, and some extra. Set an example, be a role model for radio broadcasters and TV stations and other businesses around here to make your own electricity, as a cost of doing business. Abolish Enron and PGE with it. Take its place -- so the City sells the extra electricity homemade at the sign 'campus,' and that sales revenue stream pays for buying the sign and generator equipment and adding on more later and maintaining it all -- so you get the money back. Imagine! A taxpayer investment that pays back! Plus oh incidentally, students growing up there at the 'college' courses can go up on the roof and get some hands-on vocational knowledge skills to be able to go out into the world, get married, buy a home, and build their own electricity generation in the backyard. Unless that self-sufficiency hardwork-future prospect is too daunting. In which case, early on at college age, they can go up on the roof and jump.

Dear Randy, buying a lighted sign is half-a-brilliant idea. The other half is the juice that lights it. The 'batteries' don't come with it. That's a separate deal and be sure to include it.

Or else it don't matter whose logo is in lights 'cause no one can see it in the dark.

... remember how the 1930s Great Depression started before there was a rural electrification Tennessee Valley Authority, and the only glow in those dark nights was the gleam of the idea in the eyes of dreamers ...?

Jack, do we even know that the first post actually came from Leonard himself?

Interesting quote from him in today's Oregonian . . . something about being a leader sometimes means being out there alone. I thought that was the definition of a maverick. Can you be a leader without followers? Without support?

An interesting question to ponder.

... this is just another in a long list of UO moves saying "we are better than you."

... this is just another chapter in the long-running saga of UO trying to keep down Portland State.

Not that PSU folks have an inferiority complex or anything.

There seems to be an assumption that the U of O would be the last owner of the building and that, hundreds of years from now, that sign will still be in place.

Maybe not so much. The big institutions of higher babysitting are probably going to be among one of the next waves of collapsing entities:


Jack, do we even know that the first post actually came from Leonard himself?

There's no way to tell for sure. It could be a spoof.

Years ago, I saw a T-Shirt with the inscription:
Portland -- City of Noses

I caught the tail end of City Council meeting today on Channel 30. Randy was wistfully recounting memories from his childhood, of crossing the Burnside Bridge to go downtown and seeing the sign with the stag's red nose lit up. It sounded like he thinks the city should condemn the sign because of what it means to him, not for some public purpose. Does he think that Frohnmayer, who was Oregon's Attorney General for a decade, doesn't know the law of eminent domain?

Allow me to summarize:

What's good for "Prince Charles" is good for Portland.

If you don't believe me then screw you.

It sounded like he thinks the city should condemn the sign because of what it means to him, not for some public purpose.

I think that's pretty much it in a nutshell.
He turned this into a "rivalry" issue to rally up support.
Somehow I dont think Portland State is the rivalry UO is interested in.

If they are going to condemn anything it should be all the wireless Internet equipment that got left in the public right of way, and they should turn it back on to provide free Internet. (Sure it's coverage isn't perfect, but the equipment is already in place just rotting now.)

Waaaay back up thread dave 97 positeda cryptic reference to UO getting beaucoup PDC bucks for its ediface project.

Is there any PDC tax excrement financing that flowed to UO in connection with acquisition / rehab of the building?

If so, dave Frohnmayer owes a major apology to Portland Public Schools and to Multnomah County for UO's apparently insatiable rapacious revenue theft.

As a city taxpayer

You're also a state taxpayer. Whose money do you think U of O would be using to pay for the sign to be changed, ongoing maintenance and the electricity bill? Private donors? Right...any organization can move around money that was otherwise meant for a certain program and say it was meant for that sign.

As a non-graduate of the Oregon Univerisity system think its a little ridiculous how U of O gets everything they want. I want to keep their arrogance out of my city as much as possible. It's bad enough I have to deal with their fans walking around with the air that they've actually won a national championship in football.

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