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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cha-ching! Another $50 million of debt on tap for SoWhat

The City of Portland recently played its annual check-kiting game with some of the taxes it collects for the scandalously unfunded police and fire retirement system. In the course of borrowing money on a short-term basis to pay this year's benefits, the city disclosed in this document that it's got two more bond offerings planned for this summer: a $450 million whopper for the sewer system, and another $50 million of "urban renewal" debt for toys in the SoWhat District.

That "urban renewal" IOU is likely to be a spendy one. When the city borrowed for the Lents neighborhood "urban renewal" boondoggle earlier this summer, it got whacked for interest rates that run as high as 6.284% on a 14-year term loan. Who knows what the banker gods who now own our city will be charging for another piece of the financial black hole known as SoWhat?

Comments (9)

I think the voters who keep these morons in office need legal name changes to Ben Dover.

Go by corruption...

I note that page 22 of that document mentions the city's "debt management policy". I'm guessing our policy is something along the lines of: "borrow more money to cover the interest payments on previous debt."

Or maybe you look in the place where the policy is supposed to be and there's just a note saying "I.O.U. one debt management policy."

I wish they would kill the Milwaukee light rail project. The state and Portland localities will pay something like 800 million dollars to invest in this thing, after federal (shell game) dollars. So each person in the affected areas will incur something like a thousand dollars of new public debt (not even considering the urban renewal hoax that will undoubtedly follow); but for a family of three this works out to three thousand dollars. And of course, it's property owners who'll get tagged with most of the cost. I doubt very much I'll ever ride this leg. (I cringe most every time I ride the Max to Lloyd Center from downtown. If it weren't for security officers on board, I would be too creeped out to ride it anymore.) It would be better to re-direct these funds to something like the Sellwood bridge replacement, instead of jacking up car registration fees. Buses can use the Sellwood Bridge whereas the economics of bus transportation in the area takes a hit with the light rail project.

The city had a mass of consultants and urban renewal "experts" swarming SoWhat a few months to figure out if the district really could generate the huge property tax revenues they have been promising.

I wonder if what the consultants found matched what they wrote in their reports ...

Garage Wine, it is unlikely that the SoWhat URA can generate the revenues promised.
In the past ten years of existence, the amount of property that can be taxed has diminished. Schnitzer's 35 acre property now given to OHSU is off the tax roll. Block 49 with low income housing is off. Two blocks of 33 is off the tax roll. OHSU's newly built health club building of two blocks is mostly off the tax roll. PSU has several blocks, and more, they are considering that will be off the tax roll.

And now there are several more properties being considered for tax relief or no property taxes. Plus, we have the Transit Oriented Development properties that are and will get tax abatements because of the new trolley line, and MAYBE the Milwaukie Light Rail line.

When will the public figure out that all the tax burden is being diverted to all the rest of us with our little homes on small city lots?

They are living it up as if they believe in the Mayan Calendar theory...

lw... excellent points and one reason getting the hell of PDX dodge is on my plans.... I don't like subsidizing the rich...

LucsAdvo; I don't neccessarily see it as "subsidizing the rich" with a broad brush. It's only a select few of the rich like developers Homer Williams, Mark Edlen, Dike Dames, then their builders like Hoffman and Walsh Construction, then their architects, engineers, attornys, and planners request and expect the "subsidizing". Most of rest of the rich are tired of the pols and others giving subsidy to the few. Time for a change.

Why are our officials determined to have us join the list of debt swamped cities?


We pay their salaries and time after time the public interest and financial accountability are not even their concern.

It is like they are on a drive to drive us to bankruptcy. This may seem unbelievable to some, however, what are we to think?
They act like they are playing Monopoly; in this case it is the citizen's money and bailout if there is anyone or anything left to pay. As we have heard many are planning to leave, as they want no part of this demise. This is rampant throughout our country, so where to go? Perhaps in smaller communities a closer eye can be kept on shenanigans?

Are the corporations standing in line to collect our assets?

What is wrong with these people who either do not have a conscience are inept or corrupt?

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