This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 4, 2009 5:03 AM. The previous post in this blog was The game nobody watched. The next post in this blog is Andre, we hardly knew ye. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Edlen leaves town

Right now we’re trying to take advantage of our sustainable solutions to help others outside of Portland with their buildings. But it’s not as much fun as working in Portland.
He says he'll be back. But let's hope that by then the city has new leadership that will stop handing him the taxpayers' money any time he wants it. He's had enough "fun" on our dime.

Comments (7)

"But when job growth goes backwards, you’re creating excess capacity with new projects. We have to have enough job growth to warrant new construction.”

I hope Edlen communicates this to the City Council.

As in: if you want to keep playing SimCity with your urban renewal districts and trollies, stop doing things that make it hard to run a business here.

As in: if businesses are telling you that they'd like a larger bridge over the Columbia, why not listen to them instead of listening to bike nazis?

Not that the city should spend money on a bunch of ineffective "economic development" programs. They should just get out of the way of business, cut fees and red tape to the extent possible, and support a working street grid and ample parking.

But damnit Jack, Portland needs more condos, more trams, more trolleys, more max, more wes, more bikes, more weed and more green! We'll have to collaborate on a community contest to make that into a music video... ;-) Cheers!

In a final egotistic flourish, as they leave a burning stage, they blame the failure of their project on the recession.

It's got nothing to do with the fact that people (even idealistic students) really want to live in big houses in the burbs or big penthouse condos, not stuffy 450sf dorm rooms with a $500/sf price tag. This is Portland, not Battery Park City.

Instead of building what buyers want to buy, they built what city council envisions as a good place for poor people to live. Then they expected people with money to buy their own slice of PDX Neoghetto. Good luck with that.

This distorted sense of the market is what happens when developers grow accustomed to selling their visions to city council instead of actual property buyers. We're seeing the result of this dysfunctional simbiosis already: A city full of new buildings that nobody wants to live in, and consequently, more sprawl to build what people really want.

Good riddance.

He likes to gamble with other peoples' money and has had a great ride out of our pockets. E-nuf.

Here's a technical question: can TIF districts be closed by public initiative vote?

Here's a factual question: can somebody get a total of taxpayer dollars that have gone to Edelen?

Like a bad penny, he'll be back. And Randy Gragg will be there to greet him when he does.

Edlen will still be around, as his firm quietly sits on all kinds of committees, commissions, blue ribbon committees, and charettes.

Right now there is the innocuous planning by PSU, OHSU to turn the southern portion of downtown Portland and Lair Hill into a new urban renewal area-it's "blighted". Edlen is lobbying for his firm to provide student and workforce housing to get TIF dollars and all kinds of other subsidies with collaboration of OHSU and PSU.

In fact PSU just came out with a two volume "It Is About Progress- Portland State University's Economic Development Strategy"- "A 10 year plan for strengthening PSU's contribution to regional economic growth". Ask President Wim Wiewel or Jim Francesconi, Gil Kelly, Abe Farkas, Ethan Seltzer...for a copy, they all helped to put this Plan together.

PSU is now transforming itself from a learning university to a development company with the aid of Gerding/Edlen and Dames and Homer Williams. As the documents states:

"As a leader in our community, Portland State is: AN URBAN DEVELOPER AND COMMUNITY BUILDER. Portland State is committed to the further evolution of a dynamic, energizing, and inviting University District and Central City. To this end it has partnered with the City and private interests [Edlen] to develop a 50 b-block mixed-use campus that strengthens the fabric of surrounding neighborhoods. It also invests in infrastructure improvements-such as the streetcar and light rail systems-that improve the quality of the urban experience."

Like OHSU that lost its Mission in SoWhat and its Pill Hill locations, PSU has lost its Mission to become a developer.

Edlen has already developed with PSU student housing on SW Broadway that sucked over $10 Million dollars of city tax dollars besides the OR tax dollars from PSU.

Edlen sees the future in "partnerships" like he has in building student housing at Pacific University, East Oregon University and OSHU. When one source of tax dollars diminishes they find another with politician's help. Now he and other developers want to add Workforce Housing to be eligible for tax dollars and even TIF dollars. A person making 125% of the Medium Income Average would be eligible.

Edlen has shown that moving elsewhere to get taxpayer dollars is their firm's mantra-like they have done in San Diego, Seattle, Bellevue, LA, Bend, Phoenix, Tucson, etc. Follow the tax dollars and you'll find Edlen. And that's why he really hasn't left Portland, it's just a little hibernation time.

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