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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 12, 2009 4:37 AM. The previous post in this blog was Forget killer bees. The next post in this blog is It's the water. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Amanda tells it like it is

Portland city commissioner Amanda Fritz is still having no part of the proposal to blow big bucks and pave over half of Lents Park for the Paulson minor league baseball stadium. Her latest, well reasoned position paper, of which WW obtained a copy yesterday afternoon, is here.

Meanwhile, Fireman Randy won't let go of this harebrained idea -- truly Stennian in its foolishness. This morning's O brings us up to date on the R's reaction to the city's paid consultant's opinion, revealed here yesterday, that the new Lents stadium would be a spectacular dud. Hmmmm, let's see... consultant didn't tell Fireman Randy what he wanted to hear... will he admit he's wrong? If you don't already know the answer to that one, you can (a) go here and read all about it; (b) get a grip on yourself, or (c) all of the above.

Perhaps the craziest part of the whole goofy Lents proposal is the lack of parking. Fireman Randy promised only 200 parking spaces, and then upped it to 360 -- but for heaven's sake, people, there's no way that's going support the Portland Beavers on a game night. Especially if they expect to draw the many thousands it will take to pay off the bonds for the construction. Take a look at some of the comparable ballparks in which other minor league teams at the same level as the Beavers play, as shown in the consultant's report:





No wonder the league says there has to be 1,500 parking spaces -- it's the industry norm. But Portland's going to do it with 200? Or 360?

I'm sure Little Lord Paulson and his City Hall pals will tell you that Portland's different. Fans here don't need their cars -- they'll take the convenient, safe MAX trains back and forth to the game. East side MAX stations are such a pleasure late at night. Or they'll leave their car a half mile away at some satellite lot -- maybe a MAX park-and-ride lot. It just gets more and more preposterous -- Paulson now says he'll get an average of 6,000 fans a game actually in attendance at the Lents stadium, when he can't get 400 into PGE Park on many nights -- but the scam rolls on.

Speaking of which, Fritz objects vociferously to a key aspect of the deal, which we blogged about a while back: Paulson's already picked out a construction contractor, and the deal would be done on a no-bid basis. To Fritz, that leaves the public unprotected from wasteful spending. No kidding. This is horse-head-in-your-bed stuff.

Commissioner Dan Saltzman, the swing vote on the deal, is too busy to read the report until this weekend, apparently. Hey, it's only $70 million or so. The Rose City gets the government it deserves.

Comments (23)

How about this sentence from the Oregonian article:

"Leonard said HVS didn't count the roughly 250 on-street spaces that would draw revenue from new parking meters that would operate only during ball games and other events."

So if you live in Lents and happen to be parked in one of these spots, you just consult your schedule, then go out and start feeding your new neighborhood parking meter during games: "Honey, it's going into extra innings. Send the kid out there with some more change."

All the while you are waiting for that day when the edict comes down: "Due to unforeseen shortfalls in revenue from the Lents ballpark, we regret to announce that the new Lents parking meters will now be collecting money during normal downtown parking hours. Thanks for your understanding."

In other words, the "other events" the meters will eventually charge for will include "your life."

Randy's flailing away like a little kid who wants his lollipop even though it fell out of his mouth and got covered with sand. Now your baseball ticket will let you ride for free on MAX, even as Tri-Met cuts back on service yet again because of falling revenues.

I'm starting to feel embarrassed for everyone involved here. This could be the definitive city council fiasco - right up there with South Waterfront.

Is this one of those times where grown men can't admit that they were wrong about something? When did the gruff, working-class hero Randy Leonard turn into such a pouting, stubborn little diva?

If it's a game night and you've got your car parked out in front of your house, you're trapped in your house until at least the third inning. If you leave to go somewhere before then, you won't be able to park anywhere near your place for hours. And if the game starts at 7 and you don't get home from work until 6:30, too bad.

Oh, the little people of Lents are going to be so vindicated by this. Finally, some respect from the rest of town!

Golly, with all this Paulson flap I almost forgot about Sam having legal problems. Wasn't somebody doing an investigation?

When did the gruff, working-class hero Randy Leonard turn into such a pouting, stubborn little diva?

I'll tell you when, Bill...he was always that way. It's just harder to hide it when you're in the public eye 365 days a year. It's much easier for no one to notice when you're only in Salem 6 months every other year.

All this Lents stuff raises a question. Why did anyone east of I-205 ever want to join the CoP? Other than the "horse head in your bed" everyone got over getting sewers forced down their throats back in the early 80s that is...

The city is proposing parking meters in a outer eastside, single-family residential neigborhood? That kind of talk alone should crush this deal.

Go get-em Amanda

Amen LexisLibertatrian!
Randy has always been a spoiled brat!
Now if Danny Boy will only "just say no" to LLP, and not embarrass himself...again.

Amanda Fritz: the voice of moderation and sanity within a group of impetious, impulsive, lying, self-serving incompetants.

Lents neighborhood association might take a cue from the neighbors in Eliot, adjacent to the Rose Quarter. They've been picking up trash, chasing urinating fans out of their yards at night, etc. and hit the ceiling at the thought of even more fans crowding them off of their curbs:

http://eliotneighborhood.org/2009/04/23/baseball-stadium-opposition/

In the great NIMBY tradition, the baseball stadium fiasco has become the flying Dutchman/ typhoid Mary/public landfill/halfway house that nobody wants in their neighborhood.

Even designated hacks like HVS (who make a living providing "third party" rubber stamps) find the Lents site to be inappropriate. The parking numbers are a joke, and would doom the project to failure even if the remainder of the concept was sound.

Portland is a great city that has evloved, in many ways, due to the complexity of the development process.

When a private developer creates a project of this magnitude, neighborhood group input is often required, traffic and impact studies are required, lengthy design review is often required, and open space requirements are often mandated. This is the process for private development in this city. Sure, it is political and the skids get greased at times, but it is a very lengthy, complex, and expensive process. Ask any developer that has also created projects in other markets, and they'll tell you that good 'ol Portland Oregon is the most complex. It is a fact.

What bugs me about the stadium deal in general and the Lents location specifically, is that the COP has exempted itself from the process it has long imposed on the private market; those requirements listed above are ALL being waived so Sam and Randy can have their ego project.

We can all look at the economics of the Paulson deal and see that the public benefit is highly questionable, that's a no-brainer.

What really stinks here is that Portland has long touted itself as a place where good development happens as a result of input, common good and consensus (read The City that Works). In Lents, it is simply a cram-down and Portland is ignoring its own rules.

okay, I keep getting ignored-
BUT how much is this effort costing us in tax revenue,resources-staff time and pay.

Does the City staff have nothing else to do?
Where in the City budget is this money coming from to pursue the stadiums? I hope it is from the budget of those City Commissioners proposing it.
reese

Reese - not to state the obvious, but it is coming out of your pocket and mine. The city gets to pursue these pet projects with "their" various resources and departments at taxpayer expense.

How do you use your baseball game ticket as as a light-rail pass if you buy your ticket at the stadium box office, which is what many (most?) people who are not season ticket holders do?

Where are the parking meters going to be located? On Lents Park property? On the parkway strip in front of private homes? Would you like a parking meter or Smart Meter in front of your home?

Will people who want to go to Lents Park during baseball games or other events have to pay to park?

Who is going to pay for the overtime hours of the parking patrol?

As folks have already suggested on this blog before, put the new stadium out at Cascade Station. Plenty of open land left for a parking lot, two MAX Red Line stops in the area, easy access from I-205, no one living in the area (and so no neighbors to piss off), shops and restaurants nearby that would love increased traffic in the area. Heck, if Bechtel still owns the land they might even build the stadium for free if they get development rights to adjacent parcels like they did when they built the MAX line to the Airport.

How do you use your baseball game ticket as a light-rail pass if you buy your ticket at the stadium box office ... ?

I'm sympathetic ... but honestly, Hopeful, if you can't get a free ride on the light rail, you're not trying very hard.

What I don't understand about this is why the Blazers get to force the city into taking the worst of these two choices. They've had 15 years to develop the Rose Quarter and done nothing. Now, they are preparing to reach into the public till for this Cordish monstrosity, something for which there is absolutely no demand. Does Portland really have a shortage of nightclubs and chain restaurants?

". . .if you can't get a free ride on the light rail, you're not trying very hard."

Tri-met Fare Inspectors take note: game nights at PGE Park are a potential gold mine.

From the newspaper:
"Peregrine's projections assume that an average of 855 cars per game will pay $5.55 to park at the stadium. The Portland Bureau of Parks & Recreation, however, estimates room for only 260 parking spaces in Lents Park."

Actually, over 5 years the pro-forma estimates an avg of 901 cars paying parking fees to LLP (ie on-site). But the real kicker is the first year when high attendance is expected, 72,900 cars over 72 games = 1,013 cars per game parking on-site. 'nuff said.

Randy's response to the consultant report is just wonderful. Why hire a consultant when you are going to substitute your own interpretations every time they say something you disagree with?

Here's what puzzles me: the proposed number of parking spaces (200/360/whatever) only makes sense if actual attendance at Lents will match current actual attendance at PGE.So either Randy is totally crass and expects the stadium to fail (400 or so actual attendees per game) or he's off his rocker and practicing magical thinking.Crass or crazy, neither explanation sounds very good.

The Cascade Station location for the stadium is perfect. They could shred the Airport UR plan to incorporate a stadium just as easily as they shredded the Lents plan. C'mon Randy, we'll even let you take credit for the idea (like you won't do that anyway!)

"Why hire a consultant when you are going to substitute your own interpretations every time they say something you disagree with?"

Ummmm, how about so that they only say things you agree with and that give you something to point to and say "See, it's not just me, the real experts agree."

The joke about consultants used to be that they were people who borrowed your watch so you could pay them to tell you what time it is.

In Portland, the development and construction industry are consultants don't bother with the watch. They just ask you what time you want it to be.

Cascade Station is perfect, because UNLIKE HOLGATE, there are on and off-ramps from I-205.

It hasn't been noted here yet, but that's the next taxpayer folly after construction of the park..."necessary transportation infrastructure improvements to provide freeway access". Just wait and see.


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