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Monday, December 7, 2009

The pungent odor of scam

Tri-Met's new Willamette River bridge is going to be a no-bid deal. Let's see -- who does the Goldschmidt network want to give the job to? Could it be... these guys?

We won't put a $135 million (liars' budget) bridge out to bid? This region really is slipping into oblivion quick.

Comments (21)

Just like the reservoir lids for Salzman's buddies will be.

Ah, another "public/private partnership" so even more money can be wasted, scammed and stolen from all of the rest of us who actually might work for a living!
We can now all go to oblivion by street car, tram, and MAX.

Wow, it take 25+ years to plan a replacement bridge for a obsolete and gridlocked freeway mainline (and still no plan has been finalized) yet they can pull this thing that was turned down by voters twice out of thin air and have funding and construction started in less then two years.

Something is wrong here.

If someone or construction company had the $5.000,00 to file a law suit this crap could be tied up in the court system for a long time, ending the timely stipulation. Speaking of corruption, haven't heard anything for a long time regarding our esteemed mayor and the recall thingy. Maybe some envelops have changed hands and nothing will come of it.

No rush on the Sellwood bridge even though buses and trucks must go the long way around on bridges farther downstream. Each bus or truck burns extra fuel, continuing our dependence on fossil fuels imported from from abroad. And each extra gallon burned melts a little more ice. Smart Sellwood residents! I'm so glad I own a couple of boats.

Curiously there's a huge rush on a transit/bikes/peds bridge. Are the leaders at TriMet and City Hall afraid of a public discussion?

As for the Goldschmidt network and Bechtel, keep your eye on who gets the CRC contract. From the Portland Tribune, 12/28/04:

"Goldschmidt's firm set up two meetings between Kulongoski, his staff and two large construction firms -- Bechtel Corp. and Parsons Brinckerhoff -- angling to build a major Columbia River bridge connecting Portland and Vancouver, Wash. The Oregonian had previously reported that Goldschmidt lobbied Kulongoski to make the bridge a top transportation priority."

I work in the construction industry and have worked on "design-build" projects. In my experience, anecdotal though it is, these projects are more expensive than competitive "hard" bids. And "design- build" always seem to have as many, or more, problems as hard bid projects. Seems to me it's just a way for the architect and builder to push more risk onto the subs (the guys actually doing the work) and for the owner to direct projects to his buddies.

Makes me feel sick to see it happen on yet another public project in this area. Wake up folks, it's a rip off!

I like when they announce the estimated budget beforehand. I wonder where the bids are going to come in? Right around $135 million?

But when tens of the thousands of people are riding the light rail to and from Milwaukie every day, it will all be worthwhile. Watching this city "plan" is seriously like watching 12 year olds play SimCity. But the kids are probably better at it....

Portland is gaining quite the reputation for gaming the system to ensure it gets the outcome it wants... in this case a bridge that will accommodate a streetcar. The result: not only a bridge that is more expensive, but five homeowners will face eminent domain proceedings and loose their homes when other viable, less expensive option were presented.

(Referring to the Sellwood Bridge Project of course)


You mean when "tens of peoples" are riding the light rail, right?

Scams just keep coming. As I posted under "Crooks" at 11:24AM, several months ago PDC started secretively working with Homer Williams and Jack Onder to develop Block 3 in SoWhat's URA next to River Place. Even though public proposals (DDA) requests had been made three times before with different use requirements, now PDC goes behind closed doors. No Bids-no DDA's .

Then when the URAC asks why they weren't notified on these ongoing meetings, changes in project scope they were essentially told to shut up by Steve Shane of PDC. Then when asked if any tax dollars, subsidies, TIF dollars were to be used in the project, the URAC was told; "...it was not within the scope of an advisory committee to vet every project and proposal..."

It all makes you wonder who is in control. Does even the PDC Commissioners and City Council know of these exclusive, no bid, secretive arrangements? Is it legal? Is it within City Policy? What do the trade unions think of these exclusive arrangements? Where is Sam and Randy who like to do things by the book and to honor open processes, fair trade, unions? Then where's the media, the Oregonian has reporters that go to the URAC meetings and read the minutes?

Why the no-bid:

“The prime reason is the schedule,” said Neil McFarlane, TriMet’s executive director for capital projects. “We have very limited ‘fish windows’ when we are allowed time for construction in the Willamette River.”

I wish I was making this stuff up...

Are the leaders at TriMet and City Hall afraid of a public discussion?

That's a rhetorical question, right?

I was all set to defend their decision, until I saw the quote about "fish windows". FISH WINDOWS! That's the best you can come up with ! Have you seen the Willamette? It's a cesspool. There haven't been fish in that river for years. There is definitely something sketchy about this decision.

Fish windows?


On fish windows: At first I thought they were talking about giving Portland City Councilor Nick Fish a better view, but I couldn't see why they had to have a timeline.

As it turns out, though, fish windows are actually determined by the US Army Corps of Engineers - which last year forced Lakaa Swego to stop building her dock on the Willamette because delays pushed the project into the fish window. They have to re-start next year, and I think the decision cost the city around $400,000.

I think it's a typo. They meant "fish widows".

Yeah fish window


Lake Oswego was forced to remove seven pilings and other portions of its partially installed dock from the Willamette River after the city failed to complete construction by the end of October, the deadline to finish in-water.

The setback was the latest of several delays since the city won funding for the project more than four years ago.

Now the city must start installation over in July 2010, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' in-water work period reopens.

It's possible to build a bridge over the Willamette with fish windows being tight and under tight control of the US Army Corps of Engineer. The newly opened Sauvie Island bridge even came in under budget, four months early completion, and similar length as the Sellwood Bridge crossing with two piers in the Willamette.

And what is more astonishing is that it was built with a bidding process and not behind-doors scheming with Bechtel. And it was built by a local contractor based out of Spokane using mostly local employees.

The fish window concern is a scam. Most of the bridges in the past 25 years built in the region have had fish window requirements and always endless Corp of Engineer reviews and inspections.

Watching this city "plan" is seriously like watching 12 year olds play SimCity. But the kids are probably better at it....

Ahh, SimCity 2000, loved that game. Remember the arcologies, those self-contained bio-dome things you could build that would house like 50,000 people each? I remember building a whole city of those to greatly increase my tax revenue so I could build sport stadiums and expensive commuter rail trains. Only problem was the high crime; couldn't build enough police stations to keep the crime under control.

Overall, not a very realistic game. City officials would never be that wasteful with real tax money. And everybody knows high population density and rail transit have no effect on crime rates.

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