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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Post Office condo scam will include hazmat cleanup

Portland's insane obsession with pushing the regional postal distribution center out of downtown -- and with it, lots of family-wage jobs -- continues apace. So hot are the City Council members to hand that land over to developers for some more of their distinctive, East Berlin-style human warehouses, that they're getting ready to way overpay for the property, all with money borrowed by the taxpayers under the "urban renewal" banner.

If it has its way, the city will probably pay $80 million for the parcel, which is actually worth about half that, and then sell it to a Homer Williams-Mark Edlen type for -- when you cut through all the smoke and mirrors that Steve Janik can cook up -- about a dollar. Next thing you know, we'll have another jungle of multi-story, eco-roofed apartment buildings and blocks and blocks more of vacant "mixed use" storefronts, with the occasional Clearwire store and a Starbucks or two thrown in. In other words, planner Nirvana (no offense to Nirvana). Meanwhile, the Post Office will wisely pull up stakes for some place like Troutdale.

Anyway, the latest episode in the crazy story is the release by the state yesterday of a new environmental cleanup plan that will be needed only if the post office moves out and ground is broken on something different. The post office says it isn't presently planning to move, but it's collecting millions from the city to keep talking about a deal that would send it elsewhere.

No doubt the mayor has already made the routine backroom commitment to his condo weasel overlords. And the state doesn't write cleanup plans for nothing. One can only conclude that along with minor league baseball, Portland can soon bid a wistful goodbye to a bunch of Post Office jobs. Go by streetcar!

Comments (16)

I don't understand the rush to have this space (unless you are a developer). PDX is in sad shape with the people in office....
(scratches head)

Stan, the idea is probably to build as much as they can, while the money is still available, before everything implodes. I'm willing to bet that some weasel has a really good line of credit that he promises to use to pay for all of this, but only if the city fronts the building costs. Then, when it's actually built, the weasels disappear with as much money as they can steal, and the pit is now the city's responsibility.

Keep voting for those incumbents..they always know what's best.

moving it now may not make sense, and this deal probably has all kinds of insider scams, but just on the merits if you were starting from scratch wouldn't putting the dist center at the airport make sense?

"Next thing you know, we'll have another jungle of multi-story, eco-roofed apartment buildings..."

Actually, I think that's highly unlikely, for at least 10 years, probably more, so I don't understand what they're doing.

The obsession with development for development sake is pretty strange. It's tough to come up with any other explanation then that it is all just about money (for property owners, developers, and campaign cash for politicians).

The citizens need to ask themselves: what if we don't spend a zillion dollars to "renew" that district? What if it just stays as it is? Is that the end of the world? Is it worth a zillion dollars to change the status quo? If so, why?

We really need to force the PDC to explicitly justify all these renewal projects. You know, every city has some areas that are less nice then others. Maybe that's just how cities are, and it isn't some problem that we must fix at great expense.

Why would anyone in there right mind be building, financing, subsidizing condos in PDX right now when there are a glut of unsold places. This scam should be killed instantly.....

Actually, I think that's highly unlikely, for at least 10 years, probably more, so I don't understand what they're doing.

Why do you think that? These idiots create money out of thin air, or just steal it outright from other public sources. If they want it, they will build it.

Yesterday I commented: Shame on our City Council for just about everything they do now week after week. This last week's decision on West Hayden Island shows that they cannot be believed when they talk sustainable. Those who still believe Adams sustainable agenda, why??

Sure enough, first thing this week, again more on the post office deal.

The week isn’t over.

"If they want it, they will build it."

Jon, I'm saying that the private-side developers don't want it. They have a glut of residential space and office space, and can't get financing for either of them right now.

I wonder if there's any coincidence that the same week that Merritt Paulson goes public with his threat to move the Beavers, the City starts talking about developing this site. They've wanted to build a stadium down there forever, and now they can play the "but we'll lose the Beavers!11!!!" card to get a few extra votes.

clinamen commented "The week isn't over"

For KRICE sake, did you need to remind us and scare us?

anyone see this article from Denver? What are Portland's affiliations?


Last time I heard talk of that area they were wanting to put a baseball stadium there...

@johnnyj - have you ever noticed the striking similarity between Denvers urban renewal area with Portlands? its eerie. i'd bet its the same group of developers.

"Keep voting for those incumbents..they always know what's best."

Or you can be like Vancouver voters who tossed out the long-time incumbent mayor for the challenger, only to find that the new mayor now supports even more of what he opposed as a candidate . . .

The constant drumbeat against all incumbents reminds me of the GOP-led passion for term limits in the early 90s . . . a passion that evaporated as soon as they were in the majority. I am getting a strong sense that the people who constantly urge defeat of all incumbents are just hoping to run another trick play of the "all incumbents evil . . . until they're OUR guys."

Here's a MoJo story I just found that I think captures what's going on with the "anti-incumbent" fever -- a guy with a 93% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union isn't conservative enough anymore:


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