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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lake O. streetcar foes eye Monday evening showdown

One of the opponents of the proposed $458 million* streetcar from Portland to Lake Oswego writes:

Last night the Lake Oswego Neighborhood Action Coalition held a forum re. the Streetcar, and roughly 70 people showed up -- almost all of whom expressed opposition. The discussion was substantive and fact-based, though Roger Martin, who was there representing the pro-Streetcar side, really struggled to try to defend it on its merits. John Charles from the Cascade Policy Institute made a very compelling case that there is, in fact, no transit benefit for the community in this project (but, of course, we already knew that this is really about development and Homer Williams!).

Monday night there is a very important public hearing being held before the project Steering Committee. While, as usual, the SC is a stacked deck, I think it is really important that they, and other elected officials hear loud and clear that the community doesn't want this. I know that you have lots of fans in Lake O, and am wondering if you would be willing to put something on the blog about the hearing and the need for people to show up and testify:

5 to 8 pm, Monday, January 24th
Lakewood Center for the Arts
368 S. State Street
Lake Oswego

Should be an interesting event.

* - Preliminary liars' budget.

Comments (49)

Prof. Bogdanksi, you can't pass on information about a public event without calling the people you disagree with liars? (Or you can't reprint the email without doing so - from the post, it's not clear.) What an alienated, negative, and destructive approach that is.

It reminds me of what Commissioner Leonard said about you on here a couple weeks back:

"You don't disagree with people, you attack them personally, very personally. And when a personal attack isn't enough, you engage in name calling.

"You create hostility towards those you choose to focus on. Your more enthusiastic readers click their cyber heels in unison and off we go on a "why I hate Government so much" rant that tears down any politician that is your favorite crook of the day or whatever other vitriolic tag that may roll off of your key board that day.

"You more than anyone has worked to eliminate the possibility to have a civil debate in Portland on any one of a number of important issues we are always tackling."

I'm not Commissioner Leonard's biggest fan, but he's right on the money here. Randy 1, Prof. Bogdanski 0. Your blog is one of the most negative and condescending place for Portland commentary outside of O-Live's comments sections. It's too bad, because your good ideas could be taken a whole lot more seriously if they weren't cloaked in such contempt.

Mr/Ms Murdoch - do you work for Homer Williams, or Gerdling/Edlen? Jack used the term "liars" in regards to the budget. Name me a single project, especially in the transportation realm, that has been completed within 5% of the original budget. What Jack has pointed out is that these budgets look good so the public will buy in, then escalate to 2 or 3 times the original budget.

The Yellow Line came in under budget, is my understanding. No inside info, I just remember riding it ahead of schedule in '04, and report what Wikipedia tells me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAX_Yellow_Line

And I'm not arguing that the LO Streetcar extension budget is correct or that there won't be overruns. What I'm arguing against is the fundamental presumption of bad faith that Prof. Bogdanski and many of the people on here have of people they disagree with.

That presumptive bad faith is rampant on here. Vote by mail is Pollyanaism. Riding a bike is more dangerous than flying a rocket ship. People who prepare budgets for streetcar projects are liars. Etc. The tone is appalling and based more on name-calling than fact. In the quote I excerpted from above, Randy called a spade a spade.

Also, Mr. or Ms. Umpire, I don't work for a public development company. In fact, I'm not even on a public pension (gasp!). But thanks for the ad hominem (and for crystallizing my overall point).

Taylor - My problem is that we can find money for stuff like this (TriMet has one vote and decides to spend $725M while CoP does the same and blows $30M on one street.)

Meanwhile, we can't find money for schools, potholes or to fix the Sellwood bridge. If I call them monomaniacal instead of liars, is that better?

Steve - I support the project, and think that the need for investment in long term mass transit infrastructure linking Lake O to downtown is needed, regardless of other issues. I also think you're right and that in the scheme of the things you mention, a streetcar line doesn't come to the top of the list. That said, significant federal funding is in place to assist with the costs of new public transportation projects like the streetcar, but not necessarily bridges, schools, potholes, etc. The merits of that situation may be highly debatable, but for me, it's a question of timely investment. I think now looks like a great time to invest in the future and take what's available.

This is all ancillary to the point of my original comment- the tone on here is just disgusting. When calling people you disagree with "monomaniacal" is a real and actual improvement from the previous tone, I think it's a sign.

Calling the advocates of this project liars is entirely apt. They place editorials in local papers without identifying their agenda, some of whom are paid consultants. Their committees have no balance in representation. The leaders heading committees are dismissive and contemptuous of the general public. Their arguments promoting the project are riddled with dubious assumptions about the cost, and even the impacts on local crime. Other than that they are highly regarded by people familiar with their tactics and strategy.

"I think now looks like a great time to invest in the future"

I understand, but we keep getting told that our population will be 1B in 20 years (I know, exaggeration) as a scare tactic to justify these.

Meanwhile, while they solve the 50 year out problems (which conveniently can never fail) we have real today problems they do not want to address.

As far as Fed funding, Sam has no trouble flying off to Earl to get earmarks for trolley money. Why can't Earl earmark the same money for the Sellwood bridge?

To me "significant federal funding is in place to assist" is like a drug-dealer telling someone the first taste is free.

It is a matter of priorities, if we don't maintain today stuff and tolerate lousy schools and would rather build new stuff (don't get me started on G-Es handout for the sustainability building) what kind of place are we building?

None of this stuff is attracting employers based on the giveaways we have to do to make anyone come here.


Long term mass transit seems best served by buses not by rail. WES and its pathetic ridership would allow a large number of cut bus rides to be restored. It turns out I know a WES rider. He makes a lot of money. His family has 2 vehicles. He likes to read on his commute and doesn't mind the time he spends transferring to the other line to get to Aloha on MAX. Meanwhile there are a lot of people who have no other transportation choices being hurt by the bus cuts.

I suggest you think hard on reality and understand why it prompts comments you deem as unnecessarily negative.

Look, right now the rich are mostly getting one hell of a lot richer, the middle class is being squeezed out of existence and the working poor are taking a big screwing.

And its projects like this that majorly contribute to the situation that I describe.

T. Murdoch,

To begin with, we are not the ones responsible for the negativity, as we don’t create it.

We have however, over and over again for years had to live with it, so yes, eventually we do respond writing about it.

"You more than anyone has worked to eliminate the possibility to have a civil debate in Portland on any one of a number of important issues we are always tackling." . .
That quote which was by Randy Leonard and you referenced, seems a bit strange for Mr. Leonard to be upset about.

In my opinion, it is somewhat of a mirror here, is it not, I ask the readers?
Wouldn't it be more appropriate to say that Randy Leonard has worked to eliminate the possibility to have a civil debate in Portland on any one of a number of important issues we are always tackling?

Important issues kept under the radar screen by whom here to prevent a civil debate?

Then by the time citizens find out and see the hypocrisy and devious manner in which the city operates, well, what are we to do?

If we had true investigative reporting around here and then a fair process with integrity from the city on matters, there wouldn't be such negativity around here. This is a good forum for those who genuinely care about our city and the welfare of the people. We know we are not alone in the despair regarding our city's actions.
Some of the ones writing here have years of experience and witnessed much.

For those who are upset about negativity, don't have to read here, instead do us a favor, contact those in the city and ask them to respect the people, the process and our interests for a change.

T. Murdoch, you make a valid point that there are personal attacks on this blog. But I think there are more that are not attacks. My beef is that many here give out factual information, insight that is seldom responded to, to continue the discussion. And I think the "other sides" don't have reasoned answers.

In Jack's earlier post this week,"West Linn catches on", I posted 6 issues.

1) PDOT Matt Brown postulated, planned that 45% of trips in SoWhat would be transit, vs. 17%.

2) Traffic counts on 43 causing failure F in several places, trolley would add congestion and more failure, especially when trolley is in ROW.

3) Claims a month ago by PDC, PDOT that no action would be taken to increase density/zoning; month later, they said just the opposite.

4)Examples of trolley elsewhere in the metro area causing more congestion, not less.

5)Requiring 2 or more transportation modal changes dramatically decreases transit ridership.

6)Process of considering no build, better bus service, trolley, 43 improvements hasn't been equally considered in public and government forums.

I think discussing. refuting those kinds of issues would be better than attacking attackers.

Thank you lw,
You are one who apparently has years of experience and has facts. Very much needed by all.

Apparently the one thing that has not happened is any discussion about opening the transit market in the metro to competition.

Taylor Murdoch,
The hostility and aggression is coming from the TriMet-Metro cabal attempting to force upon communities and taxpayers what they do NOT want. Your ideas of what is needed wreak of the same.
You obviously have no grasp of what is going on here. Are you "staff", a journalist or a politician's aid or a bike activist?

This is more of the Clackamas County Rebellion

Clackamas County rejected the recent TriMet Levy by a 60%-40%.

& Portland is catching on too.

The City of Lake Oswego is going to try and avoid voters and create a new Foothills Urban Renewal scheme for the usual Gerding Edlen/Homer development and to pay their share of the Streetcar.
People are going to stop them.
The same way the two Clackamas County Petitions are already gathering signatures to stop the Urban Renewal & Vehicle Registration Fee schemes to fund Milwaukie Light Rail and more of the same development.

If you've ever wanted to see or get on board a BIG pubic uprising come to the Monday evening event in Lake Oswego.
Who knows, there may be another "gavel down" episode.

Help them all out! No Urban Renewal, No Light Rail, No Streetcars,

Kathie Worsley, katheworsley@yahoo.com . Kathie’s phone number 503-636-5057
Linda Eskridge, db@molalla.net. Linda’s cell phone number is 503-349-1551. Her home phone is 503-829-4464.
Tom Eskridge, tde@molalla.net 971-404-9158 503-829-4464
Dan Holladay 503-344-4713 occommish@aol.com

Blue collar,

The Boring Community is working on joining Sandy, Damascus, Mollala, Canby & Wilsonville (who already are out) & secede from the TriMet district. http://www.sandypost.com/news/story.php?story_id=129237510681933100

A super majority of Clackamas County residents would like both TriMet and Metro out of their county.

For very good reasons.

It's not hard to imagine this growing rebellion reaching that level.

This is why Metro is gearing up with more ways to "communicate".


Allow me to "wreak" a little logic on your last post. You:

- Call the elected officials and people who disagree with you a "cabal;"
- Engage in ad hominem attacks;
- Celebrate disrupting democratic civic meetings.

Your post just about sums up the Jack Bog's Blog approach to democratic participation. And it's anathema to everything I believe in. It's the desperation of these kind of armchair-oriented stunts that make me all the more certain I'll be riding a streetcar to get from Millennium Park to downtown in a few short years.

...a BIG pubic uprising ...

No thanks Ben. I've seen my share!

Who's got Taylor's bow tie all ruffled? Why he never hears such talk in the parlors of Lake Oswego! The Duchess would be scandalized by such blue language!

The biggest lobbyist for more government is government.

The promise of federal funding for any pork barrel public transit program is like getting a 'free' St. Bernard puppy. Once you realize how much he eats is only topped by how much waste he leaves in your yard.


Bow ties are actually kind of cool, I think. And although I'm actually from the sticks, I've been in a parlor once or twice. Or a pantry. I forget the difference.

But look, either investing in a streetcar is a good idea or it isn't. That's a good debate to have. I think it should be built & that it'll help alleviate traffic on 43. I'm open to evidence it won't. I'm sympathetic to bus rapid transit as a cheaper option. But that's all complicated, and apparently not in people like Ben's oeuvre. SAY NO TO L.O.! must rhyme better.

The overheated rhetoric and public gnashing of teeth gets old. This is a local debate about whether to build a seven-mile long frickin' train route, it's not about killing grandma. Almost everyone has decent interests at heart. POTUS called for a more honest and civil discourse last week in Arizona, and I'm just trying to be the change I want to see, so to (cornily) speak.

Bow ties are actually kind of cool, I think. And although I'm actually from the sticks, I've been in a parlor once or twice. Or a pantry. I forget the difference.

I forget your relevance, Reverend.


Mr. Murdoch, let me address some of your statements:

Your blog is one of the most negative and condescending place for Portland commentary outside of O-Live's comments sections.

I've seen much, much more "in your face" fighting blogs elsewhere that deal with transportation issues. I've been called my share of names because I have stood up against more rail investments which have resulted in the gradual drawdown of our bus system and disinvestment in our bus fleet. I have been personally - yes, in person - "shut up" by a City of Portland PBOT streetcar manager because he refused to address my concerns about the streetcar taking away from bus system.

report what Wikipedia tells me

You should know that Wikipedia is a user-editable database and as such cannot be relied upon for accuracy; it should rarely if ever be quoted as a source, and if used as a source should be second-sourced using an independently verifiable source of information.

What I'm arguing against is the fundamental presumption of bad faith

Take a look at any of the planning materials used by the City of Portland, Metro, TriMet, etc., for rail planning. They consistently shut down anything involving bus transport, using false statements about transit mode preferences and even go so far as to create a social rift - higher class citizens simply will gravitate to rail; while lower class citizens will use the bus. What is this, India's caste system?

That said, significant federal funding is in place to assist with the costs of new public transportation projects like the streetcar

And why does Metro and TriMet consistently turn down federal funding for new buses?

As you can see, and I am a daily TriMet bus rider, there are questions that when asked of those who support the rail options, we are on the receiving end of the attacks and are basically told - by OUR elected, democratic government - that we are not worthy of our mode of transit and that it's our fault that we use it. It's frustrating - very frustrating. The buses are later. They break down. They're crowded. And our government is playing SimCity designing streetcar lines to benefit greedy, out-of-state developers using local money. But we can't vote out TriMet's Board of Directors because they're all appointed by the Governor; and Metro's Councilor map is so gerrymandered to favor Metro's own self-interests - Portland is represented by most of Metro's councilors by some form, yet only 1/3rd of Metro's population lives in Portland.

I have no problem debating the issues and leaving the attacks at home, but it takes both sides for that to succeed. When the other side breaks down the door, don't expect me to give a warm reception.

Wow! A whole paragraph on trashing Wiki.

Cross referencing is SOP with ANY source. If you look at that particular article, it has a flag concerning the information in one section.

So, what are your independently verifiable sources to back up your statements about Wiki? Why should I believe you instead of Wiki?

Taylor Murdoch:Bow ties are actually kind of cool, I think. . .

I used to think so too, until Blumenauer!

Mr. Murdoch, me thinks thou dost protest too much. .
like I said you don't have to stay.
Some of us have seen too much of shams and shabby processes. These officials have lost our trust, respect should not be shown to those who abuse that trust.

Let's see... Taylor Lane Metteer Murdoch... recent graduate of U of O Law School... not yet a member of the Oregon State Bar, although applied to take the July 2010 bar exam... worked as an intern for John Kroger... went to Thurston High in Springfield... son of a bureaucrat in Springfield city government... worked in the Springfield city attorney's office for a while... moved to Portland... wants to get into politics, no doubt... and still has an awful lot to learn...

Say goodbye to Taylor, everybody.

I stand in awe of your mastery, Jack.

Jack Bog: Say goodbye to Taylor, everybody.
JK: Oh, darn, I wanted him to answer a few simple questions:
1. Please name any streetcar line that has actually reduced congestion.
2. Please explain why it is good public policy to get people out of $0.25/passenger-mile automobile for over $1.00 per passenger-mile streetcars (or light rail)\
3. Please explain why it is good public policy to get people out of fast cars and onto mass transit, which nationally takes an average of double the commute time of a car.
4. Please explain why you think it is our duty to show your pet project won’t relieve congestion. You are the one proposing spending ½ billion - prove that it will reduce congestion. AND prove it will money.


Great line from that Boring article:

"During all the years he has operated a Boring business, Bates didn’t object publicly to the payroll tax – until this year (2011) when objections are allowed by law."

Can't complain? Its forbidden? No idea why debate would be heated after that...

I stand in awe of your mastery, Jack.

Well, Taylor had so much to say, I had to Google a little to see where it was all coming from. In about 15 minutes, the picture became clear.

Just another nice 20-something who's come to Portland to retire.

Me thinks Taylor is just a beard. Figuratively speaking, of course.

I always love these transit types that ALWAYS bring up the "Federal Funding" talking point about their costly projects. Yes - those dollars will be helpfull in paying for the usually over-cost building phase of these projects. Yet you never hear a word about maintenance of these projects after they are completed. A perfect example being the chronically unfunctional MAX ticket machines.

I think Herr Murdoch(re: we “click [our]cyber heels in unison”?)will come out ahead on this one. Given the job prospects for new lawyers nowadays this blog’s comments section has provided this up-and-comer with some real cred polishing on his way to securing a comfortable perch among the local establishment.

Careerism. Can’t really blame the guy, though, given our status obsessed society that still looks down on people who can’t make it up an increasingly high and slippery ladder that has a lot of missing rungs. But the things people will do to climb it. Reminds me of Weimar Germany where déclassé university graduates joined the SS in droves for the perks it gave them-spiffy black uniform, a secure job with the Sicherheitsdienst and all the prestige that goes with being a member of a perceived elite.

I'm invoking Godwin's Law on Geoffrey Duin.

Nice Portlandia reference, Jack. First ep tonight!

T. Murdoch's opening post: Without commentary on the merits of Randy's charges against Jack, for Randy to say that about anyone else in that oh-so-disapproving tone is hysterical. Coming from Randy, our local attack dog, seriously?

Maybe when Taylor gets a job, pays some taxes, and if he should learn a bit in the school of hard knocks he will be more circumspect and realistic in his out look.

I'm invoking Godwin's Law on Geoffrey Duin.

Yeah, maybe a flyswatter instead of a sledgehammer.

Dave A I always love these transit types that ALWAYS bring up the "Federal Funding" talking point about their costly projects. Yes - those dollars will be helpfull in paying for the usually over-cost building phase of these projects.
JK: The pathetic reality is that light rail is SO terribly EXPENSIVE that less than ½ of the LOCAL MATCH alone will build more road capacity than the rail line.

We could take the just local match for the Milwaulkie toy train and build a new 6 lane freeway from the Ross Isalnd Bridge to Milwaulkie AND a second one from the Ross Island Bridge to Lake Oswego and have money left over!


I think Taylor should be allowed to apologize, then return to the discussion. If he doesn't, you know this will just end up being another hit piece on Blue Oregon. Besides, I think a lot of us still have some questions we'd like him to answer.

I am not a fan of more lite rail that if used at all would be used by the pink collar folks waiting on the "Richie Riches" like Merritt Paulson III.
Would LLP promise to ride the trolley? I doubt it!

From my perspective here in LO, streetcars are a luxury public expense, and high-rise condos are luxury housing unit. Each one represents the extreme in cost for the end product which is transportation and housing, yet this is exactly what the streetcar advocates are suggesting for LO.

The reason streetcar/light rail is so popular is the federal money the locals get to play with: "Free" money in government speak. The state/county/local governments simply follow the money. The federal money give-aways has morphed into debt-ridden cities all over the country.

I read once that grant moneys (usually non-profit foundation grants) were like a Trojan Horse. They look like a gift, but expenses continue into the future, long beyond the scope of the original grant. Salaries, operations, etc. for projects started with "free" money expand government at all levels. Taking grant money gets the givers what they want, but may leave a huge debt service and dubious projects for the recipients.

Follow the money. Write or call your representative about how you feel about the Pdx-LO or the Pdx-Milwaukie rail projects. Let them know there is little support for the projects. While you are at it, write to the members of whatever spending or transportation committees are relevant. Without the federal dollars, local projects cannot succeed. Maybe some other lucky city will get the light rail and streetcars instead.

While I'm at it -- why do the transportation geeks that love rail transit never consider that in 20-40 years we may all have hydrogen-powered cars or that downtown Pdx is not the mecca for jobs and culture it once was or that more people are shopping and working close to home? Does everyone believe that things will progress pretty much as they have for the last 40 years? That's sad.

Let the govt buy everyone in the state a nice new hybrid car!
It would be way!!!!! cheaper than this ludicrous "rail lite".

I think, I hope anyway that the picture is becoming clearer, on the way the "system" has been operating. Has it gotten worse or just more apparent? At any rate, we cannot afford to continue. We are hearing about municipalities and bankruptcy. In my opinion, it seems that the people who ultimately pay for all of this are wanting to slow down and be prudent now, while those who are benefiting are most anxious to quickly set the deals for more while they can!

The Monday evening hearing in LOPT
Steering Committee Hearing.

COME ON, SHOW UP !!! The deciders will be there.


Lake Oswego to Portland Transit Project public hearing

Monday, Jan 24
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Lakewood Center for the Arts
368 S. State St.
Lake Oswego, OR 97034

The steering committee makes final recommendations to Metro Council and to jurisdictions along the transit corridor.
Councilor Robert Liberty, committee co-chair – Metro
Councilor Carlotta Collette, committee co-chair – Metro
Mayor Sam Adams – City of Portland
Judie Hammerstad – Portland Streetcar Inc.
Mayor Jack Hoffman – City of Lake Oswego
Commissioner Deborah Kafoury – Multnomah County
Chair Lynn Anne Peterson – Clackamas County
Neal McFarlane – TriMet
Ellie McPeak – Lake Oswego to Portland Transit Project Community Advisory Committee
Michael Powell – Portland Streetcar Inc.
Jason Tell – Oregon Department of Transportation

The committee makes final recommendations to the Metro Council and to jurisdictions along the transit corridor for their approval of the Locally Preferred Alternative to advance for further study


The Monday evening hearing is a LOPT
Steering Committee Hearing.

Yes,come to the hearing on Monday - 5 to 8 pm. Everyone in the Metro area has a stake in this. Let your voices be heard,or at least be present - numbers help. Just remember, Mayor Hoffman is afraid of constituents who show any amount of spirit. He and Lynn Peterson will insist on police presence for the safety of themselves and the committee members. Both of them would like the audience at meetings to raise their hands instead of making verbal comments. It would be laughable if it weren't so serious. The aim of all the committee members is to see this project through and I doubt if they will allow anything to get in their way. So come. We can use some new faces and voices too, if you can.

I truly hope the old LO primary school is filled to capacity. However by the time all those Metro Councilors say something it will probably be midnight! They will ALL try to out play and out last the opponents of this trolley scheme, and most if not all have more experience at this game than mere citizens.
Having said that I will tell you all that numbers DO matter; so show up and politely demand to give your testimonials.
Good Luck!

A couple of folks here have commented on the subject of hidden expenses, which I had planned to bring up. Alas, it seems that as usual, I'm a bit late to the game. I will note, however, that the old practice of giving a royal white elephant to a provincial leader was a ruse based upon that very premise: the "gift" quite naturally could not be refused; the subsequent and on-going costs depleted the provincial leader's resources, which rendered him less able to pursue troublesome meddling in royal affairs.

Ide note to Ben: didn't Robert Liberty recently resign from Metro?

"I truly hope the old LO primary school is filled to capacity"


Isn't it at the Lakewood Center?

The "old LO primary school" refers to the fact that the Lakewood Center building was an old elementary school before it was turned into a theater/meeting hall/dance and classroom resource.

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