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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Karma for the Lloyd land boys

There's no love lost between this blog on the one hand and Hank Ashforth and his minions over at the Lloyd Center on the other. Those guys have been trying for years to cash in with a Convention Center hotel to be paid for by the hard-earned property tax dollars paid by ordinary Portlanders. Today they're crying that Mayor Creepy's plan to squeeze a new minor league baseball stadium in about four feet from the Rose Garden arena is going to drain all the tax dollars out of their real estate fantasies.

The howler quotes just keep on coming this week. Check out this one from one of the Ashies:

"It's our time," Williams said. "We can be just like the Pearl District in a different form."
When I read that one, my head spun all the way around and I had to work hard to hold the pea soup down. But in a way, I feel sorry for these guys. Nobody told them that the 20 years of meetings they've been going to about inner east side "urban renewal" promptly became worthless when Little Lord Paulson showed Fireman Pele a good time in the Big Apple a while back. Since then, nothing matters but minor league baseball and soccer. All the other "urban renewal" plans for the Convention Center area have been tossed out like an intern who doesn't know how to kiss.

Comments (14)

Talk about spinning! Another Pearl District indeed! What a load of hooey!
The next thing will be that all the Portland Public schools maintenance buildings will be up for grabs, again.
And why not? There is no money for those pesky schools anyway, so the maintenance facilities will no longer be necessary.

Don't be fooled by the ball park at the Rose Garden ploy.

That will be revealed as simply a negotiating tactic employed by the City as a means for dealing with Allen.

Blanchard is and has long been the target for any new ballpark development.
The City is now calculating just how to plunder the public treasury and make it appear in their minds as a win / win. Really it won't cost taxpayers a dollar.

If PGE park can be considered blighted just ten years after the $35 million makeover, what then does blighted mean? I'm certain Blanchard will be declared as such.

When will the public learn that these land takings are not for the benefit of the public at large, but for the few. Namely those who write the laws (or in this case three votes), or benefit from the redevelopment.
This has historically been called plunder.

Confiscate public property with a functional but older improvement, demolish the improvement and redevelop at whatever cost that might take paid for or subsidized by the public.

Next seek and acquire a replacement property in an inferior location at a much higher cost, design and build a replacement facility again at public expense. The net gain is simply a shuffling of the deck and fleecing the public treasury.

Repeat as often as necessary to placate the insatiable development interest
that seem to be flavoring the water at City Hall.
They call this vision? Leadership?

Don't be fooled by the ball park at the Rose Garden ploy.

If you believe the Twitter, MLS is set to award Portland an expansion franchise Friday morning at the Hilton. It would seem the deal is done.

"That will be revealed as simply a negotiating tactic employed by the City as a means for dealing with Allen."

Or a ploy to keep the market value of the Blanchard property low.

Bye Bye Blazers...The 'new' Sonics will be blasting off soon, but Puddle Town will now have very expensive soccer!
...go by street car

I can see the point of the Ashforth gang. If my choice is:
1) 8000 seat AAA stadium
2) Entertainment district

I think 2) is preferable. Right now, you'd have activity an additional 50 nights a year with a baseball stadium and then a graveyard like the Rose Quarter is now. Of course, the devil is in the details, but the AAA stadium looks like a tax dollar sink right now.

I don't want to go New Age here, but two comments reminded me of a thought I had just last night. The one had the word "insatiable" in it - which can happen when you're trying to get something out of an endeavor that is just not there to be gotten.

Mayor Adams was on the local news in his favorite place - in front of a camera - giving his standard spin signaling that something bad and counterproductive is coming. It turns out we have this terrible budget gap and something must be done! More revenue streams must be tapped! Of course, no decisions have been made yet and Sam needs more information before he can agree to the unpopular ideas. You know what that's code for: "I had the idea and I'm going to do it, so I'm breaking it to you now by pretending I may not."

It struck me that what I was seeing in Mayor Adams and his city council is a microcosm of the failings of humanity in a universal sense. I found myself feeling a little sorry for him because it's like he's trying to get something from these projects that is not there. They represent humanity's misplaced priorities globally - and we had better elevate our game quite a bit or we are going to go extinct as a species.

Ironically, that one Samette who wrote the paper on happiness and money could have blown a real opportunity to tell Sam he was off the path. We're all off the path. We don't need a ride up a hill on a tram. We need to go up a few levels in our minds and hearts. These developers don't need another building. They need to develop their lives. These projects all started to seem like people avoiding things that are bothering them internally so they try and fix something outside. I wondered if Merritt Paulson's plans all stem from a hopeless attempt to do something outside the shadow of his Dad. We've seen it before.

Portland is being used as a way for people to ignore the hurt inside them, and the participants don't even see they are doing it. They don't even know they have a problem. Every project has a brief flash of satisfaction followed immediately by the need for a new one. What they are trying to get from these projects is simply not there. Okay, that sounded wimpy. Carry on.

This whole story is missing one BIG part.

The Lloyd/Rose Quarter district already has a number of linchpins, spurs, triggers and other planner's tools we've been repeatedly told will promote private development.

Consider the reality of the picture here.

This area is prime real estate in close proximity to the downtown core.

The district already has the intersection of two light rail lines with 205 MAX soon to be connected.

It has the Convention Center,
Memorial Coliseum,
Rose Garden,
Lloyd Center Mall,
Metro Headquarters :),
and a view of the distant Tram.

Let's get real.
This area has every imaginable advantage that planners like to see.

And STILL is needs massive tax subsidy to promote more development?

I call BS.
This has gotten ridiculous and insulting.

Your (probably unintentional) best line was about Chlapowski ...blow(ing) a real opportunity....

I think you're projecting...

...but I don't want to get all New Age, here.

Jack, I'm waiting for your name for the stadium. Pay Stadium maybe?
The So What district is now a part of Portland history - shouldn't we get out in front of this?

So, naive question here.

If I go out and say, "Buy this, and you'll get your hair back," and my promise turns out to be false on its face, and as documented by the studies of multiple disinterested st experts, I get hauled up on fraud charges, have to pay back my chumps, and probably end up in jail. When these people say, "build this and you'll get jobs," and their promise turns out to be both false on its face, and as documented by the studies of multiple disinterested experts, why is that not fraud?

Bill, that stuff about developments being the manifestations of developers' internal struggles was deep. It rings true to me.

It is fraud. But there is a cultural consensus among decision makers that decision makers ought to be insulated from the consequences of their decisions. It's a perk. A retention bonus, if you will.

Maybe the need to stamp Portland in a lasting way comes from a fear of mortality. By building things that will exist for many decades, they are dodging the fear we all have of a limited life span.
It's clear to me that they are not achieving what they want - the fear just festers and grows - yet they're locked into this endless parade of projects. I suppose they're always hoping for better results next time - but how many grandiose plans does it take to figure out you're on the wrong path?

It's too bad - they're in a position to help people who really need it.
And doing that would help them the most - much more than the next condo tower. It's frustrating really but we can always hope that they'll get it eventually. You know, before Portland is completely broke.

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