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Monday, June 21, 2010

Delayed-recognition scam

Add this one to the Oregonian bury-the-truth-on-Saturday pile: Remember when the OHSU aerial tram [rim shot] was exposed for running over budget, and Homer Williams and Dike Dame (not a typo) came up with $2.5 million toward making up the difference?

Well, get this: The city loaned Williams and Dike that money in a sweetheart transaction, at a below-market rate of interest:

With the developers, the city used its favorable credit rating to get a 5.75 percent loan from Bank of America. The city then lent the money to North Macadam Investors at 6 percent interest....

If the developers failed to repay the loan and the property couldn't cover the debt, the city's general fund would be on the hook.

Keep moving, folks -- nothing to see here!

Comments (19)

When are those worthless feds ever going to indict anyone involved in this scam stuff?

No price was too high to pay for this catalytic lynchpin!

Now bring on the Milwaukie MAX line! I'm sure the city will strictly adhere to their "different pots of money" rule on that deal, right? I'm sure none of that money intended for affordable housing will go into financing the MAX line, right?

Bill Tweed would have felt very comfortable in today's Portland.

I want a cheap loan too!!!

The fact that the City of Portland made that loan and then hid it from the citizens indicates just how much of a stranglehold a small group of developers has on the City Council. This may not be illegal, but it's disgusting and it will eventually bankrupt the City. And for what purpose? - to enrich a small group of people at the expense of everyone else.

I sure hope the citizens of Portland wake up before it's too late. Unfortunately, I don't see any signs yet that they will.

This is an age-old politics strategy called "taking out the trash." You release stuff you don't want anyone to see on Friday, mixed in with lots of unrelated non-stories. Very few people watch or read news on Saturday, so there's less eyeballs scanning through the lowered signal-to-noise ratio to find it.

This is just the City of Portland figuratively taking out the trash (but there's still plenty inside City Hall), and the Oregonian loose-leash walking right along with it watching intently for that reward biscuit (that property deal off NW Yeon Ave?)...

Pat:I sure hope the citizens of Portland wake up before it's too late. Unfortunately, I don't see any signs yet that they will.

Some of us are awake!

Anyone else having trouble sleeping?

How is this not a bribe? I give you money, and you -- pretending it's yours -- give it to the cause of my choosing.

The fact it was structured as a loan seems immaterial.

Maybe Kroger could issue a press release on this one?

Anyone want to try and resurrect Dorothy McCullough Lee?

If the O would only connect all the shenanigans of Homer and Dike just in SoWhat, it would make a good series of cartoons shows titled-"Homer and Dike".

Homer and Dike's: "The Strand Public Parking Lot". Story line-getting $65TK for each parking space from taxpayers while the average underground parking space cost $30K.

Homer and Dike's: "Buying and Selling Block 49". Story line-buying and selling the block with taxpayers several times with a benefit to Homer and Dike of over $7M, and then getting exclusive rights to build affordable housing.

Homer and Dike's: "Screwing SoWhat's Amendments 1 thru 8". Story line-having requirements to build affordable housing, contributing to Tram, Trolley, Streets, Greenway, Park, you name it, then screwing it.

How long is this series going to last?

lw:How long is this series going to last?

As long as it is OK with the insiders.

Unless we act.

Good idea.
Let's wait till we know exactly how we stand.
On the other hand it might be better to strike the iron before it freezes.
I'm curious to hear what he has to offer. Then we'll take it or leave it.
What exactly did we ask him for?
Were you not there?
I can't have been listening.
Oh . . . Nothing very definite.
A kind of prayer.
A vague supplication.

From "Waiting for Godot," Act 1.

It's hard to know what to do to be effective. I would however, encourage people to keep up with the "Portland Plan", better known as the comprehensive plan. It is replacing the one from circa 1980, or approx. 30 years ago, which is the typical length for one of these plans.

The old one's not bad reading. We were coming off the 70's and still kind of hippy dippy/back to nature in this part of the country. It had, and still does have much to offer in terms of what we now call "sustainable" and "green".

Interestingly, the plan from 1980 has protected neighborhood character and view sheds, neighborhood schools and open spaces in ways many citizens appreciate and value and want to protect in the future. Yet, our quality of life in these areas is under assault and apparently will be at greater risk once the new comprehensive plan has been enacted.

As written currently, the new plan will better protect much of the city's questionable acts that citizens have been calling foul on in recent years, by raising the bar for what triggers a public process around many things, including zone changes in neighborhoods and new uses for park properties.

Homer tried to transfer the rights to that block Serving as collateral to the City for a @Peace Institute" a few years ago. The appraised value of the site is absurdly high, but useful if you plan to Donate it.

Ditto to Shannon's comment. If you're pi**ed off about all the surreptitious land deals and condo bunkers and lack of meaningful public process that have been happening in recent years, you'll want to tune into the Portland Plan. Sam Adams is writing the Plan -- need I say more?

I admit trying to follow the process can lead to much eye-glazing. It's breezy and abstract in places and mind-numbingly technical in others -- perhaps deliberately so. But the volunteers on the land use committees of the neighborhood associations have been valiantly trying to stay on top of developments and can get you up to speed on what the Plan could mean for your neighborhood. You can find them here.

And it will have real impact, from raising height limits on buildings along key transportation corridors to upzoning land to allow for mixed housing and residential and other infill. Not that Pearl-izing other parts of the city would be all bad; some areas could use it, frankly. But without any meaningful input from the public the planners are going to do their own thing and, like Sam Adams and his budget, assume that lack of dissent proves there is widespread public support for what they're doing.

With BPS now decimated by layoffs and the survivors in a protective crouch, many of their efforts to engage the public are being scaled back. All the more reason to keep as many watchful eyes as possible on them.

If it means having to look at Sam Adams for more than a total of five minutes over the rest of my life, I'll have to take a pass.

It's all madness.

Quite an optimistic collection here.
and Lovely pics too


But TriMet is listed as a developer for this.
The Allegra
Proposed/Possible Dispute?
21 stories (250 ft) - 228 condominiums
Goose Hollow/Stadium

and there's this

Convention Center Hotel
23 floors - 600 hotel rooms
Lloyd District - NE Holladay St. & NE Grand Ave.
Completion: 2008+

Plus this is interesting


LucsAdvo, re: "When are those worthless feds ever going to indict anyone involved in this scam stuff?"

The feds have been busy elsewhere:
(And lo! JPM's name led all the rest.)

Recall that under the previous administration, the DOJ's white-collar crime staff was severely reduced while anti-terrorism was greatly expanded. Recovery -- perhaps even recognition that friends and allies are thieves -- has been slow.

Of course, OR's AG should not feel inhibited from pursuing more locally oriented systemic scams. MA's AG, Martha Coakley -- infamous for her appalling senatorial campaign -- for example, realized some success going after Goldman Sachs for the benefit of the citizens of that commonwealth:

Meanwhile, isn't there a City Auditor (the Gang of Five's "+ One" who imagines she could run the PPB better than it has been run) and doesn't her job entail the identification of municipal fraud:

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