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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Frohnmayer's folly

We interrupt the relentless flow of stories of the financial disaster at OHSU with a flash from Dave Frohnmayer: He thinks the murky, semi-autonomous, nonaccountable "governance" model on Pill Hill is so wonderful that it ought to be extended to the state's other big universities.

Yes, let's replicate the kind of boondoggles perpetrated by Peter Kohler and the rest of the Goldschmidt crew systemwide. Let's make the U of O public when it wants to be, and secretive when it wants to be, just like OHSU. It's working so well.

And of course, the Scone, a Goldschmidt man from way back, thinks it's a wonderful idea.

Just think: Maybe the U of O will soon be opening a research campus in Florida.

Comments (9)

And we all know the value of promises issued by this type of institution...right up there Portland's rainy day contribution to the Willamette.

Does anybody else remember OHSU promising the city that they would not use the South Waterfront property for parking while Pill Hill? I ask because their parking people are now encouraging those who wish to park on the Hill to use South Waterfront and take the tram (like it's going to be really exciting, too).

So...Get ready for empty promises and specious policy. The next thing is, "You've got a university...how about a streetcar?"

Do you think the Monmouth streetcar will run clear into Independence?

They're private until they need money, then they're public again. Great model if you can fool enough suckers into letting you adopt it.

Check out footnote 2 in Frohnmayer's report:

... I am deeply grateful for the legal insights of former Deputy Attorney General Peter Shepherd and his present colleagues at Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick, who have special expertise dealing with the legal status of independent public corporations. ...
If the legislature goes along with this, what do you think the chances are that Harrang, Long, etc. and their new "of Counsel" Dave Frohnmayer will get the contract for legal services to establish the corporation?

What should be done is to give the entire lottery business to the higher education folks to own and operate as they wish. Then tell them not to come to the state ever again for any money.

Set them out to sea so to speak.

OHSU embodies the "too big to fail" philosophy that some organization strive for.

This may be old news, but I heard OMSI was trying to follow OHSU's footsteps by renovating, expanding and asking the State to foot the bill in the middle of the Great Recession. Please correct me if I am wrong on what OMSI is doing it.

The only thing is, arts and humanities nonprofits such as OMSI will never (with the exception of the Smithsonian) get too big to fail. Their line of business is leisure that competes directly with the television, sports, video games, and on. They are just not in the line of providing a lucrative product that everyone wants such as credit default swaps to enable individuals with no history of credit to get a home loan or in OHSU's case, first rate medical care coupled with an MD mill and research.

I just find it funny that nonprofits whose line of business is not an absolute necessity or a highly demanded private good would try to get too big to fail.

When I read the headline I thought, "Oh no".
The quasi private plan for OHSU has not worked out very well. This has led to the boom and bust cycles that go on up there. Right now for many departments, they are having to do with less. And with the exodus of top people leaving, it makes matters worse. What Frohnmayer is suggesting would IMO ruin the state Higher Ed system. I'm not holding my breath, but somebody in Salem needs to be paying attention,

Anyone know where we can read the actual white paper?

UO Matters --

You do understand, don't you, that Harrang Long Gary etc. is the alumni club formed by former Frohnmayer insiders from his days as state AG?

Those folks will affirmatively "vet" any proposition Frohnmayer puts forth.

Noony -

there is a link to the report in this post:


UO Matters

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