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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 14, 2010 2:48 PM. The previous post in this blog was I don't think we're in Oregon any more. The next post in this blog is What a gig. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A match made in heaven

It looks as though good old Homer Williams has gotten into it with the IRS and the folks at the Oregon Department of Revenue. And his lawyers say he stiffed them on the fee for the tax work. As they say in charm school, that's fascinating.

Comments (12)

To quote my old high school's battle cry, "Squeal like a pig! SQUEEEEEEE!"

I'd sue Williams for the South Waterfront, but he declared moral bankruptcy first.

This is especially interesting since law firms are reluctant to sue clients, especially those that have brought significant business.

Thus the better story might be in the why the firm felt compelled to sue.

They can start by taking his Segway and Tommy Bahama shirts.

From the 2003 WW article:

"Dressed in a golf shirt, frayed khakis and scuffed boat shoes, Williams, who never finished college and whose absentmindedness led him to quit driving a car, seemed more Mr. Magoo than Mr. Wizard.

But the City of Portland and Oregon Health & Science University are betting their cash and their credibility that Williams, 58, can transform a waterfront wasteland into a $2 billion urban utopia.

Where today only Canada geese live, Williams envisions 3,000 housing units, 10,000 new jobs, a 125-foot-wide Willamette riverfront greenway and a space-age aerial tram connecting to Marquam Hill.

"Homer is unique," Katz says. "He sees possibilities other people don't see."

Katz, who last week announced she will not seek a fourth term, is counting on Williams to provide a capstone to her 12 years as mayor. "This is the biggest, most complicated deal the city has ever done," she says."

It's not the city's cash it is OUR cash!

"Homer is unique," Katz says. "He sees possibilities other people don't see."

Like the collapse of the condo market, the lack of "10,000 new jobs", and getting sued for the bill he didn't pay?

Where today only Canada geese live, Williams envisions 3,000 housing units, 10,000 new jobs, a 125-foot-wide Willamette riverfront greenway and a space-age aerial tram connecting to Marquam Hill.

I'd encourage everyone to read the adopted city plan for the district. Then, chuckle as you read it and compare it to today's reality.

Particularly humorous is the City's gradual allowance of increases in building heights, after promising sternly that it wouldn't be a "forest of skyscrapers". The Greenway morphed into the Chuck E. Cheese version of nature, thanks in part to the quiet acceptance of it by Environment Lite(tm) folks like Mike Houck.

Isn't it strange: Katz couldn't have been *more* wrong about the South Waterfront, yet there it stands, routinely praised.

Correct, Ecohuman. Mike Houck served on a couple of SoWhat Planning Committees, including Greenway. He said many times we have to accept a little more density and height to achieve the 75 to 100 ft Greenway.

He told those that tried to paint a clear picture of what the proposed FAR and heights would mean, he ignored those concerns. He never addressed the City and State's requirement that buldings were to have a stepped down height requirement as they neared the river.

Then, when after SoWhat's adoption and the first tall buildings asked for three variances to the four meek controlling Standards, Houck never spoke up to the disintegration of the Greenway. He agreed with Katz at council hearings that only three or so buildings would be 250 to 325 ft tall. The environmental community was nowhere to be found in SoWhat.

What you wrote is a sad picture of the environmental community nowwhere to be found in SoWhat.

Other than the Audubon, where are the others in the West Hayden Island and other matters such as our presently sustainable Bull Run Water System?

Note that in August 2010, the City of Portland announced the formation and composition of a new Planning and Sustainability Commissions. Mike Houck, Executive Director, Urban Greenspaces Institute is part of this 11 member new Commission. This new Commission will consist of 11 members, including eight existing Planning Commission members, one existing Sustainable Development Commission member, and two entirely new members.

Another comment on SoWhat.
Saw it recently, so sad.
Those tall spires so out of character in that location. That entire development needed to adhere to the step down height requirement as it neared to the river. How did that get past the state's requirements?
We might get upset at the development community, but it is Katz and the city council who let this happen despite their codes that would not have allowed this.
In my opinion, the whole property should have remained an open green space by the river for some public use. What was once a great visual character of that part of our city has been devastated by SoWhat.
If I could name it, SorryWhat might fit.
Sorry for what might have been.
Sorry to the citizens who truly could have had something wonderful planned.
This turned out to be like a bad sculpture that cannot be hidden in a warehouse.

"Homer is unique," Katz says. "He sees possibilities other people don't see."

No one else has the nerve to shake down CoP like Homer does, not even G-E or Ashforth.

The latest SoWa deal (sell CoP land at 3x what Homer paid so CoP can sell to a non-profit for a $1 then for said non-profit to give Homer $1M to manage it) it just the same old crap for the past 20 years in this town.

the City of Portland announced the formation and composition of a new Planning and Sustainability Commissions. Mike Houck, Executive Director, Urban Greenspaces Institute is part of this 11 member new Commission.

Houck and the UGI are a joke to me--they always have been. Compare what lw said about Houck above to the almost Orwellian (or at least laughably false) first paragraph of the Urban Greenspaces Institute's statement of intent:

"The Urban Greenspaces Institute works to create great cities-cities where the built and natural environments are interwoven, not set apart. We promote the integration of urban green infrastructure-parks, trails, streams and wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, urban forest canopy, and greenspaces-with the built environment. Our motto, In Livable Cities is Preservation of the Wild, reflects our philosophy that well-designed, nature-rich cities are beautiful, equitable, compact, and ecologically sustainable places to live, thereby reducing urban sprawl across the rural landscape."

I'd better go look at the South Waterfront again--I think I must have missed seeing the few blades of grass amongst the concrete pads surrounding the skyscrapers. "Preservation of the wild" indeed.

The issue of "step-down" of building heights/FAR to the Willamette was instituted in our planning documents clear back to Oregons Planning Goals in 1973. Our CTLH NA (now South Portland) challenged three proposed buildings on this issue in the 70's, 80's and 90's to LUBA and beyond. We were successful to limit heights. For example, the River Forum in Johns Landing was proposed to be 11 stories. It became 5 stories. Others around Willamette Park were proposed to be 4 and 7 stories, but reduced to 3 stories after LUBA challenges. Not once did Environmental organizations question the step-down requirements for SoWhat. Neighborhood organizations did.

The moral of the story is that besides citing our regulations and codes in planning issues, we need legal followup from organizations when there's discrepancy. We need leadership and action to at least have a sincere discussion of these disparities, and legal action is a good way to do it.

Another course of action are petitions to require voting on major issues if our pols aren't willing to get a true consensus of the public's opinion. Sam's Townhalls, Surveys, or Twitters don't cut it.

It is time for these actions because our leadership has and continues to fail.


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Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
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Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
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Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
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Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

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