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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 21, 2010 9:20 AM. The previous post in this blog was Jesus would have loved it. The next post in this blog is Blazer front office bloodletting gets uglier. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Step right up and ride the Doesn't-Matterhorn

It looks as though OHSU is getting serious about trying to make a tourist attraction out of the aerial tram [rim shot]. They're marketing it as a fun thing to do over spring break, and starting in mid-May, they're going to operate it on Sunday afternoons.

Nothing says fun like a trip to a hospital waiting room in a tightly confined space with a collection of tourists, medical workers, sweaty bikers, and sick people. I wonder if the concierge is going to get paid overtime for the Sunday hours.

The folks down on Gibbs Street are no doubt thrilled to have their one day a week of rest from the creepy floating Twinkies taken away, just in time for backyard cookout season.

Comments (26)

In all fairness, the "hospital waiting room" is actually quite a walk from the Tram. You can walk off the Tram, and onto an observation deck off the Kohler building that is actually pretty neat and you don't even realize you're at a hospital. On a clear day the view is quite nice.

But it's still a $65 million boondoggle of waste. One can just go to the Rose Garden, or Council Crest, and get a similar view.

I don't think the boondoggle aspect was the most annoying - although all the guesstimates and the solemn chants of "This will never happen again" were tiresome.
The annoying thing about the tram was having them sell it based on lies. By now South Waterfront was supposed to be a Jeffersonian democracy where we'd be greeted as liberators. It didn't happen.

and...10,000 more jobs are coming to the site of the downtown post office which will be converted (by the PDC of course at a cost of 1-1/2 times the assessed value) to an office complex for a major employer.
And I got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell too.
Go by street car!

I can definitely appreciate the sarcasm about how this city spends money like self-righteous, manic fools (e.g. Max, WES, Chuckie Cheese Blvd, Streetcar, Zoobomb sculpture....), but my opinion is that the tram ride is something that perhaps should be emphasized as a tourist activity. I ride it most mornings as one of the dreaded bike commuters. The view is incredible/unmatched, the operators friendly and helpful, and the engineering is amazing. If they can make a few more bucks off of tourists on the weekends, it seems like a good idea to me. The damn thing is here, best to make use out of it. My two bits.

BTW, great site Bojack! I look forward to reading it every day. Appreciate the photography banner, really nice work. A balanced look at pdx life. And you're an LClarker to boot!

Emphasize the tram as a tourist attraction?

Okay, but at the time this was being sold to us, a city council member compared it to the Eiffel Tower.

That's the level of B.S. these politicians engage in and when it doesn't happen they just rest their hype muscles for a few days and start in again.

Hahahahaha! Boy did this post make me laugh!

Remember, the Tram happened on GW's watch. He bad!

For what it's worth, we take all of our out-of-town guests on the tram. It's a fantastic view of the city - and one you can't get just by visiting Council Crest or Mount Tabor.

$65 million is an absurd expense for a tourist attraction - but as long as it's there, it's a nice way to spend an hour in the afternoon.

Erik H, unfortunately you can't go to Council Crest and see the view very well anymore. Portland's illustrious Parks Dept, in its infinite wisdom - or maybe due to the influence of tree huggers - has let all the trees grow around the park and they obscure the views to a significant extent. It's a shame, as the sights from Council Crest used to be spectacular.

It sounds like those pointers on the low wall that direct viewers to points of interest are pretty much wasted then, huh?

That sounds like 'deferred maintenance' at Parks...once again.

I'm not sure why it is that a $4 three-minute ride is so much better than a free, unlimited duration view from the Rose Garden, Mt. Tabor, Rocky Butte, or any other high spot.

And when did the Damn Tram Scam escalate up to $65 million? Is that extra $8 million the accumulated debt on the frikken folly since it was completed at a cost of $57 million?

Ever notice how BlueOregon regulars always find some way to support or defend the Portland folly?

The City offered to buy the home of anyone who didn't want to live under the tram, presumably for "fair market value", which probably was higher then than today as it was near the end of the real estate bubble.

I know it's not the same as enjoying the home of your choice, in peace, without a fly-by every 10 minutes.

I wonder if anyone took up the City's offer or considered it and decided to stay put.

Erik H, unfortunately you can't go to Council Crest and see the view very well anymore. Portland's illustrious Parks Dept, in its infinite wisdom - or maybe due to the influence of tree huggers - has let all the trees grow around the park and they obscure the views to a significant extent.

Actually it's been awhile, so thanks for the correction.

I guess this is Portland's way of "being green". Let's let the trees grow in one place, while building a massive $65 million monument out of concrete and steel mined out of the earth, the huge amount of carbon pumped into the air during construction, and pollute the sky with something else.

at the time this was being sold to us, a city council member compared it to the Eiffel Tower.

I remember the phrase, that the Tram would be "Portland's Space Needle".

Once again we try to beat Seattle, only to fail spectacularly, while Seattle quickly snickers at us - and then goes about its business to grow more jobs and doing so using clean, green energy provided by its city-owned hydroelectric dams, which power its zero-emission buses, which move people around the downtown condos which have been there for decades because people actually do want to live in downtown Seattle.

5th amendment takings of the quiet enjoyment of property. Big time.

"5th amendment takings of the quiet enjoyment of property"... that seems to be one of the specialties of Portland/Metro. The Tram, the MAX, the infill developments, the airports, even the sewers: all built/expanded/mismanaged without compensation to the permanently effected members of the population. The smug, dismissive, "NIMBY"-callers in this region don't help the situation.

The tram is becoming a significant icon to the city, why not use it to generate a small amount of income? It acts as a gateway as one drives on I-5 northbound, the towers and cars are beautifully designed and engineered; art as function. A very positive symbol for Portland.

The tram is becoming a significant icon to the city

Right. Much like a throbbing zit on the tip of your nose.

None comment:The City offered to buy the home of anyone who didn't want to live under the tram, . . . ."

How about those of us who don't live in that area but just the same do not want to live under their folly?

I can understand if those that lived there did not want to be uprooted from their homes they had so carefully appointed, inside and outside.

How many of us will be uprooted now because of their continued folly all over the city? Leaving our place of refuge and friends and family because some of us can no longer or will no longer take the abuse financially or psychologically?

It has been painful to witness our once beloved city, The City of Roses turned into The City That Works and has worked us over with their "make pretend
democracy"!

I can;t see how this tram can last as a tourist attraction...

Chisholm doesn't have the Tram cost correct. As posted several times in the past years, the facility construction cost which he cites is not the total cost-it is around $129 Million plus.

This additionally includes the debt service costs, the land costs, the different city bureau administrative costs, all the committee costs of ten years, the Design Competition costs, Sam's media event cost to rappel down from the Erma (or whatever they named the car; how we forget), and the naming competition costs for the two cars. The city doesn't have an accounting method to determine real world, true costs of projects.

Portland wants to enter the big time like
THESE PLACES!

None: My wife used to work with one of the homeowners that lives under the Tram. She owns an old duplex and was going to sell it to help fund her future retirement. She had considered taking the City's offer for her property; and is now sorry she didn't as it will be a difficult sale at much lower prices. Aftre all, who in their right mind wants to live under such a privacy invading attraction?

How long before it needs $15 million or $20 million for an overhaul? "We've got so much into it, it's too late to turn back now."

If you want a tourist attraction, turn it into a zip line ride. Otherwise, give it to OHSU (or Vera)and let them deal with maintenance operating costs.

After all that blatant extortion, OHSU created its cutting edge bioscience jobs in FLORIDA. Still think some people should have gone to jail for that one.


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