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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Head on over to that fellow with the shears

Here's a little something to float in your weekend punchbowl: Next week the new, improved Portland Development Commission (the Sam the Tram version, with most of the Potter people booted out) will now tell us how they're going to set up "a new central city urban renewal area." This one will be called the Henry Paulson-Paul Allen Urban Renewal Area. Taxpayers, prepare for fleecing.

Comments (11)

Also aka A-PU Area.

Doomed! We are all doomed!!!!

TIF is the weapon of choice by dishonest politicians which allows them to avoid public approval, misrepresent that the money is created and to spend millions recklessly without consequenses.
Any municipal politician who supports or echoes the dishonest rhetoric used to adance these schemes is either a fool or a liar.

Either way they are unfit for office.

Some are extreme liars corrupted by years of escaping all accountablility.
The only way to turn this ship is to recall Creepy.

As long as we're discussing TIF, I have a question.

SB 813, which will authorize TIF for the OCC Headquarters Hotel, says the Headquarters Hotel Fund will be used for the financing, developing, constructing and FURNISHING of the headquarters hotel.

Really? We're going to furnish the hotel, too?

Headquarters hotels in other cities are typically operated by established hotel chains like Hilton, Hyatt or Marriott. Is something else planned for the headquarters hotel in Portland or do the taxpayers typically furnish them?

Make that three questions.

Why does it always have to be about the central city? Does the rest of the city exist only as a repository of taxpayer money to pay to tart up the west side of the river or (now) support hare-brained hotels on the inner eastside?

Of course the telling line is the last one. That area is not depressed in the least. It's just another way to siphon more money into the unnecessary musical stadiums debacle.

Sounds like Paulson senior pushed Bank of America's Ken Lewis to commit securities violations by speaking half truths about Merrill Lynch's value last year. Now Paulson Junior is out here in P-town doing the public fleecing routine. We need new leadership badly here in P-town. As Clyde the Glide was famous for saying: "No Doubt About It."

This is where the City of Portland ties up all the future property tax revenue from the highest value area in the region for the next 20 to 30 years.

I see that Paulson is backing off on his promises to guarantee the deal if the stadium ends up in Lents.

The fleecing goes way beyond the City of Portland. The annual percentage increases in property value (and property taxes for local schools) will be captured by the urban renewal district, rather than by the local school district. Since the Portland School District's formula revenues will be unchanged and the local revenues decreased, additional allocations from the state school fund will be required for the Portland School District. These funds must, by definition, come by decreasing the amounts available to school districts throughout the rest of the state.

I had earlier suggested that the most cost effective and far-reaching solution would be for the City to leave PGE park alone, pay off the outstanding loans and leave the park in a position to host major league baseball if such a possibility ever arises in the future. A small, intimate ballpark shoehorned into the Rose quarter would be custom-designed for minor league play. The Beavers would remain at PGE.

Then, rather than giving up valuble city-owned property in the Rose Quarter for a field to accomodate a privately-owned baseball team, Paulson should look further afield - to someplace like Portland Meadows, which hosts a sport on a spiral downward. This is evidenced by nationwide trends of lower attendance for local horse and greyhound racing in the wake of televised wagering. The owner of Portland Meadows (and other properties including Pimlico) declared bankruptcy in March although claiming that he would keep Portland Meadows operating. IMO, it's pulling into the final stretch and on its last gasp.

However since Portland Meadows is privately owned, Paulson can't pressure a city or county to partner and absorb a large portion of the investment dollars to make his perfect MLS soccer vision a reality.

A complete stadium revamp and a new stadium for the Beavers are not necessary. Even if they were, they are not a sensible investment for taxpayers at this time.

At one point, soon after buying the Beavers and the Timbers, Paulson praised PGE Park, saying that many franchise owners would give their eye teeth for such a location in the center of a large city. This can still be a reality for the Beavers and others who use PGE Park's field. The field can be made more intimate by the addition of bleachers and other temporary alterations.

If Paulson is truly civic-minded he could harvest all kinds of goodwill by locating the soccer venue in east county . . . an area that is second only to North Portland as the poor stepchild.

I don't expect him to explore this scenario because City Council members are making the support of MLS the most important thing on their agenda, driving every other piece of potential development, including the fate of the Beavers.

Mr. Paulson, City Council members, MLS is not indispensible.

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