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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wild cowboy action on Paulson stadium deal

While critics fret that the City of Portland is going to pass a resolution to allow Little Lord Paulson to start banging away on PGE Park, even without a definitive development agreement with the city, they're likely missing the real outrage: Apparently the construction work has already started, even though the resolution won't be presented to the City Council until tomorrow.

Not one but two alert readers point out that some sort of crane-like device rolled into the stadium last week, and that they've seen construction activity going on from their viewing spot at the nearby Multnomah Athletic Club. "There was a big apparatus that looked like a big well-driller along the first base line," one wrote in an e-mail message. "I don't know what it was, but it was definitely heavy equipment."

The permit that the city proposes to issue Paulson shows that the work being planned in advance of the development agreement -- and apparently already started -- is not minor. Indeed, it's fairly invasive. He's going to be ripping up turf, tearing down the outfield wall, relocating an electrical transformer, and installing new urinals and plumbing, among other things. Once he's in that deep, any leverage that the city might have in any financial negotiations will be gone.

There's also concern that the creaky old Tanner Creek sewer, which runs under the part of the stadium that Paulson's going to be whacking on, might not be able to take the stress of the renovation project. As explained here, that sewer is old (as in a century or so) and overtaxed as it is. Since His Lordship is in such a hurry to get his soccer team upgraded, however, there's apparently no chance that the sewer situation will be improved as part of this re-renovation of PGE.

Moreover, as we pointed out yesterday, the number of different Paulson companies that crop up in the documents make it impossible to know who the city's really dealing with, and what assets those entities really own. The city has said it has never seen the financials of Paulson's various business entities. If that's true, and if damage is done in the construction, the city doesn't really know what it would be able to get in a lawsuit. For all the city knows, it could be dealing with an empty shell.

It's more obvious than ever that this deal is a runaway train. Mayor Creepy and Fireman Randy are letting Paulson do whatever he wants. They say they're negotiating a deal with him that will be good for the city's taxpayers in the long run, but their actions are lawless and reckless. It's a real shame that the other three members of the council are looking the other way and allowing a serious trespass to city property -- not to mention the extraordinary foolishness of starting an eight-figure construction project with no sense of how expensive the financing is going to be, or whether it's going to be available at all.

Comments (23)

Nick Fish is still a member of the bar, right? He should know what "Cease and desist" means.

Paulson is just going to hurt himself in the long run: imagine the irony of tanner creek sewage bubbling up behind third base (whoops, I mean the goalie) like some omen of scams long forgotten.

Can the city council or just plain the city be sued for malfeasance? And I don't know the answer to this. I know that government in general tries to hold itself outside of judicial review but I know there are exceptions.

You should know this is the typical - "we've started and its too late to stop now" approach that City Council has honed since the days of Vera.

Very stimulating!

Let us try doing that! Start a project without all the approvals & red tape. I waited months to get a stupid sign permit, and they would of caused me nothing but problems if I started ahead of their stamp/approval.

The most obvious apsect of this is the middle finger Creepy and Co. hold up at their critics here and elsewhere.

These entrenched politicians enjoy being fully insulated from consequences.

Quite a system, huh?

My spidey sense is that Paulson has a set of people skilled at digging up dirt on politicians and then uses that for his tactical advantage. And you can bet he has plenty on Creepy and Steroid...

Of course LLP won't be standing over the sewer pipe when it gushes up...but one can visualize and hope he stops by. He might get his feet wet.
Tanner Creek is one of those legendary Portland icons.

Everyone should watch the DVD Movie "Choose Conner" to understand how politicians work on the west coast.

Free Tanner Creek!

Shenanigans like this occur because the majority of citizens don't bother to get involved in their governments. They don't vote, they don't voice their opinions directly to their elected representatives, and they don't take to the streets. They just passively watch the stupidities and outrages unfold, and become more alienated.

It's my sense that our form of government - representative democracy - doesn't work very well when the population reaches a certain threshold. I'm not sure what this threshold is - 100,000 people, 500,000 or whatever - but we've reached it. People began to think, "I'm one of hundreds of thousands of citizens, so my vote [or voice] doesn't count anymore." They stop participating in the system. This creates an opening for knuckleheads like Sam Adams and Randy Leonard to gain power and then abuse it.

Unfortunately, the citizens probably won't wake up until it is too late. Wish I could be more optimistic.

"Paulson has a set of people skilled"

Let's not discount Sam's skills either. Why do you think he always asks who is complaining whenever he hears there are complaints. For reference, see Bob Ball.

Civil work and sitework bids are due to Turner today. Turner's had the call for bids out for several weeks. Take a look in the DJC. Turner is certainly moving full steam ahead.

Where are the permit documents that would show what has gone through building review and approval? The approved plans are public records.

"Permit: new plumbing fixtures (urinals) added to existing restrooms, new restroom added"

This is the only permit active and it isn't even approved yet! Hysterical!


Does anyone know what happens to the legal enforceability of the rules when the city gives out free passes to some people or companies? It seems like someone who gets busted for a permit violation could argue that the rules are unconstitutional as applied, since some people get an under-the-counter exemption. Is that the legal consequence of cowboy rules?

Interested reader: great question. In contract law, the actual behavior of the parties often trumps the provisions of a written agreement.

It looks like Sam and Randy are making new law. Now we must wait to see if anyone steps up and challenges it. Like Kroger or our own City Attorney?

Hmmm... if the City Attorney knows that the city is breaking the law and does not take action to stop it, would that make him eligible for censure but the Bar Assocation? Just asking.

"... the majority of citizens don't bother to get involved in their governments."

I may be unsure how the devilish details might work out, exactly, BUT like we conscript ordinary citizens for jury duty (out of a qualifying pool, which is winnowed more later to be qualified and acceptable), who define and dispense Justice -- perhaps the greatest treasure of civilization, so too we could conscript ordinary (resident, legal, sober, literate ...) citizens to be mayor, commissioner, department administrator, recorder / clerk / bailiff, bureaucrat, police person / chief, fireperson / chief, teacher, bus / train driver ... and on down the list of every Public Employment job.
From a qualifying pool of citizens.
Narrowed further by aptitude 'interviewing.'
To be displaced from our 'day jobs' for two years or whatever the term of office is -- like the Peace Corps, maybe call it the Public Corps -- and everyone has to serve at some position sometime between age 16 and 42.

Any snarly haters of Union labor standards / quality / education: this is your chance to 'bust the Unions' just by every one taking a turn -- this means YOU, for a 2-year hitch DOING the work instead of hiring the cosmopolitan liberal-arts work to be done by 'servants.'

Athens and other city-states did it this way back when they were inventing democracy. 'Citizen' meant, and still means, doer not dweller.

Who was it said something like 'the riches of a city are its citizens'?

- -

If I was the cop on the beat near Civic Stadium, I mean PGE Park, I'd have Paulson in the pokey and brought up on charges of corruption, graft, and influence peddling, so fast that my coffee would still be warm and doughnut moist by the time I finished the chore and sat back down.

Tensk, your idea about a "Public Corp" makes some sense. It has possibilities. It's one of the few times I could follow your thinking without a flow chart.

Thanks, Lee. Y'know, upon review, perhaps this Public Corps already exists as the so-called Political Class. or Political Careerists.

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