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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 21, 2009 9:42 AM. The previous post in this blog was And Mother always told me, "Be careful who you poke". The next post in this blog is (Legal) tender is the night. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Utterly out of control

It seems Portland's water bureau really does have way too much time on its hands. And the Fireman really is reaching the point at which he needs an intervention. Amanda, you're the psychiatric nurse -- you tell him.

Comments (21)

Successful builders in this area spend around $45-60 per square foot (hard costs) for houses of this size. What do you bet Leonard spends 2-3x that much.

Look closely at the City Council’s consent agenda for tomorrow, and you’ll notice an ordinance to accept the donation of “services and products used for the construction of [an] energy efficient and nature friendly single family home.”

Riiight...donations. Because builders right now can afford to donate all their time and materials.

We could have just sold it, but then we would have had to deal with neighbors who might have been upset with what was built.

Really? Here's a news flash, Sparky...that could still happen. (And probably will.) But I think what he really means is "someone might build what THEY want, not what WE want."


Maybe he will use Duct Tape

"A caretaker will live there while it is on display" (for a year!)

Hmm. What a perfect little love nest for house some young interns.
Then, I'm betting it will be sold to someone with close ties to Sam or Randy for the grand sum or $1.00 ! just watch.

I'm with Jon.

"We could have just sold it, but then we would have had to deal with neighbors who might have been upset with what was built."

This ridiculous rationalization is such a meaningless, shallow sound bite. They're doing it for the neighbors! Riiight. So now instead of a neighbor or a family living next door, the current residents get to live next to a public museum, left "... open for a year so Portlanders can tour the model home. A caretaker will live at the site and keep an eye on the home, too, Shaff says."

That's real consideration for yer neighbors, yuh-huh!

We could have just sold it, but then we would have had to deal with neighbors who might have been upset with what was built.

Say what you will, but this is one of the first official comments I've seen that show the city is aware that a lot of people hate the cheap infill that replaces older homes.

For those who aren't aware, the "consent agenda" is the part of the council meeting where they vote on things without debate of any kind. Leonard also had his armed water agents on the consent agenda and claimed he thought it was not worthy of discussion, just approval.

Completely ridiculous. The government has to build a showcase house in THIS town? There is already an annual tour of eco-houses, put on our sustainability department.

Instead of paying to build a house which will no doubt end up costing about $400,000, why don't they give some homebuilder an extra $30,000 to make the place extra "green"?

Why don't they just sell the 40 properties "they don't need"? Everything has a price. (How did they get them in the first place?)

PDX Lifer, I couldn't help but notice the "caretaker" spot, too. After all, isn't that the dream of every aging hipster to have someone make them a full-time housesitter in exchange for free rent, so they don't have to do anything but stay at home all day? Brilliant idea, and I'm just waiting for the screening process for said caretakers. Will they be Sam Adams supporters, or will Randy do something really stupid and announce the positions as part of a contest to encourage the "creative class"?

"you’ll notice an ordinance to accept the donation"

Isn't that how Gerding/Edlen keeps getting their projects?

I told you Randy was bored and looking to stir up stuff just because he can.

"to turn it into a showcase for sustainable and affordable homes"

This is code for a 500 sqft housr that costs $500K (without subsidies of course.)

Say what you will, but this is one of the first official comments I've seen that show the city is aware that a lot of people hate the cheap infill that replaces older homes.

That doesnt make sense.. the ones running the city are the ones dictating the "cheap infill" in the first place.

As I stated on the city's blog:

---But if the city SOLD the lot, then it would go back on the tax rolls, fostering income for the city both from the sale and from annual property taxes.

But no, let’s just keep the tax-exempt status for years to come.

Go figure…

Water Bureau Chief Shaff's quote is very odd-"We could have just sold it, but then we would have had to deal with neighbors who might have been upset with what was built.".

First, isn't the city zoning and building codes an assurance that what is built would be proper for the neighborhood? This is the city line that they sell to all the rest of us and we live by.

Isn't dealing "with neighbors" a part of the city's responsibility? The rest of us try to.

Does this now mean that every city owned property (and even beyond to other government owned properties) shall be developed and built by the city? Is this the new "Leonard Mandate" that the city can use for any given land and some interest a public official may have to sow?

I think that the majority of voters and taxpayers don't buy into the "Leonard Mandate".

Lee: "First, isn't the city zoning and building codes an assurance that what is built would be proper for the neighborhood?"

Actually, most Portland neighborhoods have been "up-zoned" for about twice the density of whatever is there historically. Any teardown in an existing neighborhood is likely to be replaced with at least two units.

Out in East Portland, where this property is, all bets are off. They probably could cram a new apartment project on there.

This is part of the wildly popular movement here in Portland to "accommodate 1 million new people without expanding the UGB". If you think this is some abstract plan, think again. They're talking about that old teardown house on YOUR block. It's going to be a triplex. Enjoy.

wonder if they get a permit....
why not there is no one getting permits anymore , and no employees to help you. WEEEHAA

Also curious that no where is the address listed, and that it's an emergency ordinance, meaning it's heard just once, than takes effect immediately. Hey, we don't want to wait around for those approximately $180K in donated goods and services!

Snards, I agree with you on all the up-zoning. I had my tongue pushed hard into my cheek with your quote of mine.

Lets see if we can get a condo in that spot.

Isn't this kind of thing...demonstration projects...to encourage and educate private market builders in doing the actual kinds of work and familiarizing themselves with the materials, part of the deal?

Doesn't BES already do this kind of thing?

I agree, it sounds like the Water Bureau has too many folks with too much time on their hands. And where are they going to get the lumber and concrete?

Y'know... The more I watch Randy, it seems to me he's trying to build his own little empire within the city structure. He didn't have police on his team, so he decided to create one at the Water Bureau.

I really do think it is time for Randy to move on...but, remember, that would just put him out there with Vera. At least he'd be off the city dime and he might even decide to go somewhere else. Then we'll have to thin his friends and family at the Water Bureau. And the Fire Bureau.

Snards, let's add a little perspective to this zoning issue for this house on water bureau land-taxpayer land.

According to the planning gurus in city hall "ALL property should be developed to it's maximum use".

This policy is based on their readings of the Metro Maxims, More Density is Good.

So if the property is zoned allowing more density, living units and a commercial space or two, then it should happen.

Randy is pitting his Water Bureau against his Building/Zoning Bureau.

I've had experiences where myself or clients have wanted to build with less density than zoning allowed. We couldn't do it. Sometimes you never know what to think in this Hypocrisy City. Only those in Randy positions or similar can swing their thinking either way.


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