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Friday, December 18, 2009

It's got to be a hoax

An alert reader forwarded us an e-mail message yesterday that indicated that the Metro parking garage in Northeast Portland was being shut down for safety problems. And we thought, "Wait a minute! People who work for Metro, our innovative, green, sustainable regional government, actually drive cars to work? I thought that was a big no-no -- that the bobblehead politicians and planners over there all took mass transit!" Anyway, here's what the e-mail said -- it's got to be a fake:

Committee members:

Recent routine inspections of the NE Irving Street parking garage have revealed some issues that require immediate maintenance work. To ensure your safety and to expedite needed repairs, Metro is closing the first three floors of the parking garage until further notice. During the closure Metro will conduct additional inspections and repair work.

Metro hopes to complete the additional inspections and repairs quickly; however, the extent of potential repair needs will not be known until the additional inspection work is complete.

Metro and State of Oregon employees with monthly passes may continue to use the fourth floor of the Irving Street garage. Other monthly and daily patrons may use the parking lot at NE Martin Luther King Boulevard and Multnomah Street (enter between Burgerville and Starbucks). Monthly patrons should display their monthly parking passes to avoid a ticket. Daily patrons should contact the attendant.

Beginning on Monday, Dec. 21, additional parking will be available nearby at the Oregon Convention Center. Please enter the Convention Center garage via the P2 entrance on NE First Avenue just off NE Lloyd Boulevard. Monthly patrons showing their passes will not be charged. Daily patrons will be charged the Convention Center’s regular rates.

For more information about parking at the Convention Center please visit http://www.oregoncc.org/directionsandparking/parking/. Additional local parking options can be found at http://www.oregoncc.org/pdf/occ_nearby_parking_map.pdf.

Because the situation with the Metro garage is uncertain, please visit www.oregonmetro.gov/parking for the latest information and updates.

Metro apologizes for any inconvenience. Your safety is our top priority and we are working to resolve these issues as soon as possible.

Kelsey Newell, Regional Engagement Coordinator
Council Office

They drive? I'd be crushed. Say it ain't so, people!

Comments (19)

Nah, when the Church of Green says that we should drive less, they mean you and me, and not them. Oh, and poor people. Wouldn't want us ascending the class-ladder now, would we? The best time to hog-up the whole pie is, of course, after you're already feasting on your own piece of it.

wtf is a Regional Engagement Coordinator?
Seriously, I would have a difficult time telling someone my job title with a strait face.

Back in 1993/4 I had a job at the state office building, which was a few blocks away from the new (at that time) Metro office. I lived downtown and back then you had to pay a fare to take the Max to that area. I decided to try biking. Turned out to be very fast and free --- partly because cops did not care if you went through stop signs, as very very few people used bikes. Another guy in my office saw me do this and he started biking. Then some guy a Metro did (we worked with them a lot). Here's the funny part ... a few Metro workers would lock up their bikes in front of the office. Metro heads got furious. They prohibited it because it made the place look dumpy and like an elementary school yard.

Will they have text-exempt stickers after the first?

They don't live in little condo boxes either.

Puh-leeze. METRO makes rules for other people - not themselves!

Metro has not just one, but two parking garages at their headquarters on NE Grand. One garage is directly beneath their office building and the other is next to it.

The primary reason they moved from their prior building located downtown was its insufficient parking.

How dare those Metro employees use a TriMet bus, considering that there is a 6-MLK bus stop right at the Metro building?


Well, then again, it's towards the back of the building, there's no shelter or Transit Tracker sign so they actually have to wait for the bus like the rest of us schmoes, and it looks like it's 40 feet away from that door...

And if you're coming from the north, you have to get off at this 6 stop at the Convention Center (another Metro facility):


Also note the lack of a shelter or any other amenities...and that there's no safe crosswalk across EIGHT LANES of traffic (on MLK and Grand).

Transit is only good for Metro when their developer buddies win. But you can't expect Metro staffers to take transit. I went to one of Metro's little "High Capacity Transit" meetings and the facilitator told me that buses only exist to feed into MAX. Nevermind the fact I was in Tigard, and took the 12 bus to the 76 bus to get to the meeting at the Library; the nearest MAX line was a long ways away; WES hadn't even opened yet...I gave her a piece of my mind. There were a lot of cars in the parking lot with E-plates on them.


From former Metro Executive Mike Burton's State of the Region Speech, 2000

"Traffic congestion is bad and getting worse.
It is a nightmare for commuters and it is choking freight mobility.
There is no more clear illustration of our inability to meet growth needs than our failure to address our transportation needs.
Within the transportation arena we are facing utter chaos."

After leaving Metro, Burton and his SUV moved to a big house on a cul-de-sac in the suburbs.

His cover at the time was his tall tale about looking at 80 homes before buying to find the right one which had to be within a 1/2 mile of West side MAX.
Not to use it of course.

Anyway, in short Metro sucks. Is that OK?

The best way to turn it upside and shake it and the rest of the planning community would be to elect JK, Jim Karlock, to the Metro President position.

Why not?

There is a TriMet bus stop on Grand Ave. just a few yards from Metro's front door. Perhaps someone would like to take the time on a weekday morning to observe just how many people get off at that #6 bus stop and proceed to enter the Metro offices.

Much has been made of Metro's "stated" policy goal of trying to force people to take mass transit by passively ignoring improvements to freeways, roads, and bridges, to create a traffic "nightmare" in the Portland metro area. However, that policy ignores one obvious fact; the desired traffic "nightmare" will affect bus and streetcar service accordingly. Does Metro really seek to increase transit ridership by making bus and streetcar options less desirable?

I'm sure Metro employees have long been given both free parking and free TiMet passes. So they have the luxury of free stuff to help them plan for the rest of us.

Write-in Karlock for Metro President!

Metro employees don't get free parking, but they do receive free TriMet passes each year. Many of them bike to work, but certainly not a majority. The number who bike to work drops dramatically in the winter, as one would expect.

This isn't a defense of Metro - just the facts.


Erik H; Regarding your comment "There are a lot of cars in the parking lot [at High Capacity Transit meetings] with E plates on them".

All these public employees attending these meetings help prove my point (in Jack's Dec 15 post "The Bureaucratic Mind at Work") of how "crowdsourcing" is mostly calling the bureaucrat crowds to meetings to inflate the "citizen participation numbers".

Metro also rents a parking lot several miles from the zoo for zoo employees. In the summer metro runs a shuttle back and forth exclusively for zoo employees. Remember the zoo sits on top of the west side MAX. all zoo employees should be required to use mass transit.

Maybe this is the ticket to reality: Metro and all other local government employees should be required to use mass transit or bike, if not pay a fine. I'd even accept that the fine dollars are to be spent only on mass transit/bike projects contrary to how gas taxes are beginning to be used primarily for mass transit in this region and not what the law requires for the gas taxes.

I bet if this is enacted-not by the politicians I'm sure but my a voter referendum-then all the public employees would let their bosses know that they won't stand for the fines and tell them the real reality of how mobility has to work. We would begin to see a philosophical change about mass transit and mobility.

Then some real reality changes would occur.

Not just the employees but all elected officials and their families should be using Trimet at all hours of the day and night. Got to go to the doctor's for an emergency? Use Trimet. Got to take Johnny to soccer on Saturday morning? Use Trimet.

Perhaps someone would like to take the time on a weekday morning to observe just how many people get off at that #6 bus stop and proceed to enter the Metro offices.

Brilliant idea. I'd love to, but I have to, well, you know, WORK. Gotta keep the income flowing so I can pay taxes to Metro. If I had the time it sounds like a really good idea though to hang out there with a lawn chair. Maybe even ask the Metro staffers why they don't take the bus as they walk from their car (in the parking garage) to the door.

Does Metro really seek to increase transit ridership by making bus and streetcar options less desirable?

I am entirely convinced Metro wants to make bus service less desirable. That's why Metro - which controls the regional transit dollars - has not invested one penny in improving bus service.

New bus stops? Nope. Sidewalks to bus stops? Nope. New buses? (Nevermind that the feds pay 80% of the cost of a new bus; we only have to pay 20%.) Nope. High-capacity articulated and/or double-deck buses? Nope. Transit development along existing, established bus route? Nope.

Basically bus service provides transit; while Metro sees light rail as providing development. Metro is a development agency. Since bus service just does what it is asked to do, it isn't sexy enough for Metro to bother with - so light rail comes into play. (Even though many light rail stops have very poor development near it - it's that potential that Metro likes.) So urban sprawl to Sherwood and Tualatin is bad because there is no light rail. But urban sprawl to Orenco and Quatama is good because light rail goes there.

More than anything, the mindset of these people is best encompassed by the phrases "social engineering," and "unmitigated hypocrisy."

They aren't stupid, these folks. The reason they don't use Portland mass transit is more than likely because they have access to undoctored statistics regarding just how dangerous certain parts of it are. This is inherent in the laughably naive "honor system" design of the MAX system. Go to any real city...there are turnstiles and armed guards and controlled access train stations.

Remember that survey that came out a while back, rating the safety of the various transit systems in our rotting republic ? IIRC, Washington DC, one of the most dangerous cities on Earth, had the safest Metro. Dear Reader, guess where "crime-free" Portland's MAX ranked ?

It's not good or bad, it just is what it is, to use a phrase currently in vogue.

It's not just about making the developer cronies of the bureaucrats even richer than they already are...though that is certainly a major component of the fraud, lies, and waste we call METRO.

Consider the ongoing disaster known as Rockwood. Where do you put all the poor people and (hopefully) contain the massive amount of violent crimes they commit ? Why, you zone a section of the city for it, far, far away from the white liberals who both run and continue to support the idea of METRO, and locate it along a rail line. Subsidized housing, the various welfare offices, all of it contained in one area along transit, over 10 miles from the boutiques and condos downtown.

If you talk to the stunned, furious long time residents of Rockwood, you will hear that once upon a time, it was a safe, normal suburb. I would have loved to have been the fly on the wall at the METRO meeting where they zoned that part of East County to be a violent, crime-ridden slum for the next half century.

Who wants to bet that not even one single higher-up at that agency lives out there ?

Again, remember that these people have access to the undoctored statistics we never even see.

I'm not arguing that we don't need a train system...far from it. A city this size needs commuter rail, and perhaps more to the point, I need customers who don't own automobiles. What we need is an underground system like BART, with controlled access stations and turnstiles.

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