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Friday, January 21, 2011

Tri-Met board goes full steam ahead on Milwaukie MAX

Although opponents of the mystery train to Portland's southeast suburb swear that the rail project may still be abandoned, you'd never tell that from the agenda for next week's Tri-Met board of directors meeting:

Resolution 11-01-04 Authorizing Four On-call Contracts for Environmental Site Assessments on the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project

Resolution 11-01-05 Authorizing Contracts with Emerick Construction Company, Konell Construction and Demolition Corporation, Staton Companies, and Westech Construction, Inc. for On-Call Demolition Services

Resolution 11-01-06 Authorizing a Contract with CH2M Hill, Inc., a Corporation of Florida, for Engineering Services for the West Segment of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project

Resolution 11-01-07 Authorizing a Contract with David Evans and Associates, Inc. for Engineering Services for the East Segment of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project

Resolution 11-01-08 Authorizing a Contract with LTK Engineering Services for Systems Engineering Final Design Services and Design Services During Construction for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project

Resolution 11-01-09 Authorizing a Contract with Kenndy/Jenks Consultants, Inc. for Engineering Services for Relocation of Portland Water Bureau Facilities for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project

Resolution 11-01-10 Authorizing a Modification to the Intergovernmental Agreement with the City of Portland for Design and Construction Management Services for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project

Resolution 11-01-11 Authorizing a Contract with Stacy and Witbeck, Inc./Mowat Construction Company, a Joint Venture for Construction Manager/General Contractor Services for the West Segment of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project

Resolution 11-01-12 Authorizing a Contract with Stacy and Witback, Inc. for Construction Manager/General Contractor Services for the East Segment of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project

They are obviously rushing to get to "Too late to turn back now" before the project's infeasibility becomes apparent. And it sure looks as though they are going to get there. What a waste.

Comments (30)

All aboard the ghost train!

Visions of Wile E. Coyote zooming right off the cliff into a freefall come to mind. Of course he never took unwilling participants with him...well, except for some pesky fleas.

Not that I am implying that some Tri-Met board members consider us annoying parasites. As for the other way around....

Funny, I guess they didn't need that bond that failed after all.

As far as reaching the "too late to turn back now" point, that was several months ago. Who in govt is going to stop them?

Like most local agencies, Trimet seems to be driving 110 mph towards a fiscal brick wall and wondering why the pedal doesn't go down any further.

An insane agency,
insolvent & over extended,
forcing a $1.5 Billion project that's not affordable,
upon the taxpaying citizenry who does no want it.

We need to open the Wapato Jail and turn it into a Bastille for the local lunatic public officials?

Is there room enough for all of them?

The current citizenry may not want it, but I'm sure they're banking that the future citizenry that's supposed to land full-force any day will see it as a dream-come-true.

Trimet's board is appointed by the Governor - is there really any local control over this agency?

Perhaps, if Metro took over control of Trimet (it's in there charter). Then citizens (who Trimet servers) will have direct local control over their MTA in the form of Metro elections. At least this way Trimet can become a topic during campaign debates and electeds can be held accountable.

Right now there is too much of a disconnect between the citizens and a Governor appointed Trimet board... which is exactly the way they want it.

Just lie back and try to think of all the people who won't have to be on food stamps.

You do know the Metro council is effectively identical to the Trimet board?
In many ways even worse.

Any effort large enough to
successfully require Metro to take over TriMet would be better aimed at disbanding and/or dimantling either or both of them.

The army of tax paid, full time, staff they have, (along with the PDC and other jurisdictions), will make any grand effort very tough.

That's why it's important for people to understand the regional value in the Clackamas County battles.

Those efforts are the genesis for the expanded battle and defeat of this madness.

Jasun, I get what you're saying but I have to agree with Ben. Metro is just as committed to trains as TriMet, if not more so. And Metro is also totally mysterious to most local voters. They can basically do whatever they want, because no one follows them except other true believers.

Of course Metro is very committed to trains: just look, the former head of Metro, David Bragdon was an avid rail buff - the obsession at work!

I'm surprised there isn't a resolution calling for Neil McFarlane's proposal to purchase 60 new buses to be cancelled.

Nothing is too good for light rail.

Ben: You do know the Metro council is effectively identical to the Trimet board?

Yes, and no. I do agree that they both act in lockstep with each other. But Metro's board at least is elected (albeit the majority of the Board has some tie to Portland, with, IIRC, only one or two positions that don't touch Portland), while TriMet's board is nothing but people who are rewarded for their political contributions to the Governor and thus do not represent the interests of the public nor are elected by the public.

Because of that, I don't agree that Metro should take over TriMet...I think Metro has its agenda and will not budge from it, no matter what the public thinks (at least we got Tom Hughes in as the Metro President, so we have the beginnings of change, if baby steps.) It would be simpler to force that any transit district organized under ORS 267 have an elected board of directors (which would require a statewide vote, and would impact only TriMet and LTD) and also have provisions that would require that Portland not have a supermajority of director positions (since Portland city does not have a majority of the population, it is somewhere in the 30-40% range if you look at just the TriMet district; if you include the entire MSA it's only 25% but that includes areas outside of TriMet, like Clark County.)

I have a whole slew of ideas of how to reform ORS 267 and TriMet...

"Like most local agencies, Trimet seems to be driving 110 mph towards a fiscal brick wall and wondering why the pedal doesn't go down any further."

>>>> We should cheer them on! Then they will have to declare Chapter 9.

The Tri Met board should be elected by citizen vote, and not any body like Metro or the governor.

I had to laugh when the local media this past week hailed the Sellwood Bridge project "savings" found by city paid consultant (CH2M Hill). The fix was already in for this finding. This was last summer's Adams Cogen deal, transferring $20 million of $40 million from the Sellwood Bridge project to the city of Portland so the latter could help fund its Portland (milwuakee) light rail boondoggle. It really isn't savings but more like scaling back the Sellwood project. Funny, if there is such savings, why shouldn't Multnomah County car owners get a share of the savings, lowering the new County car registration fee? Guess the latter are not really stake holders but chumps.

Maybe the handwriting is on the wall. The federal tranporation Administration's ability to fund such boondoggles may be coming to a stall if the GOP controlled House holds to its campaign rhetoric.

Rail was the answer in the 19th century, and by golly it's going to be the answer again! It can actually move hundreds of people along a fixed line all at the same time, in one direction! And it only costs a fortune!

Lyle Lanley:
... I swear it's Springfield's only choice...
Throw up your hands and raise your voice!

The Simpsons covered this subject in episode 4.12 'Marge vs. the Monorail'. Funny how people forget.

The Oregon constitution needs some fundamental fixing so that the appointment of governmental bodies is not fully appointed. The Port of Portland is also part of the problem of appointees taking care of business at the expense of taxpayers who have no real say. Their rulers are appointed by the governor.

The term "Boondoggle" may also be used to refer to protracted government or corporate projects involving large numbers of people and usually heavy expenditure, where at some point, the key operators, having realized that the project will never work, are still reluctant to bring this to the attention of their superiors. Generally there is an aspect of "going through the motions" – for example, continuing research and development – as long as funds are available to keep paying the researchers' and executives' salaries. The situation can be allowed to continue for what seems like unreasonably long periods, as senior management are often reluctant to admit that they allowed a failed project to go on for so long. In many cases, the actual device itself may eventually work, but not well enough to ever recoup its development costs


The federal tranporation Administration's ability to fund such boondoggles may be coming to a stall if the GOP controlled House holds to its campaign rhetoric.

Many claimed that the Bush Administration had an "anti-rail bias" that held up all sorts of planned rail projects, and that the Bush administration demanded that travel time savings was a key metric in determining the feasibility of a transportation project (while development advantages and land use changes were all but ignored). The "Small Starts" program was established during the time period to get smaller projects, like streetcars, off the ground, but the streetcar champions complained that even those projects, if they were rail, took forever.

However, TriMet somehow was able to get the Red and Yellow Line MAX extensions funded and built during the Bush Administration (and Republican control of Capitol Hill), the Green Line was funded during Bush, and multiple Streetcar lines were funded during Bush - at the same time, TriMet continued to refuse easy-to-obtain federal funding for buses.

As much as I'd love to agree that maybe a new Congress will shake things up... I agree with the recent news story that basically said "cut, cut, CUT!"...I think our nation needs a good chopping block and get rid of the fat.

Let's all chip in and get the members of the Meto and TriMet boards some horses and mules, a couple of wagons and don't forget the hay and the shovels!

Unless I'm mistaken, isn't Blumenauer responsible for quite a bit of Federal funding through use of earmarks?
If true, I wouldn't be too surprised if Congress as a whole simply didn't care enough about Oregon to object and potentially put at risk or delay a bill more important to them.

Let's not forget that most of the appointed boards in the state are loaded with members of the Goldschmidt cabal. The puppet master still pulls the strings.

Well the good thing is you dont often see Trimet MAX operators passing up stops like this Trimet bus driver did yesterday:

The driver was looking back towards a passenger as she discussed weather, her cat and how mad she was at Trimet management for messing with her benefits.... due to her blabbing and not focusing on driving she passed up her stop even with stop request and people telling her to stop.

"often see Trimet MAX operators passing up stops"

Nah, just drivers that kill two people on the job for TriMet and then have the union try to get her job back.

Yeah when I called Trimet and gave all the info the lady said.... "Oh Gee that doesnt sound to positive" and I asked what is done with the info and she said "Thank you for the feedback we will use this to improve service"

I agree with Ben.

Write/call any congressman you can to tell them you do not support further spending of federal dollars for Tirmet trains. These are elected officials who might care about what their constituency thinks and how they might vote. Even reps who are not from Oregon might like the chance to direct the dollars to their home state if folks from Oregon don't want them. Cut off the supply of federal money and the rest of the snake will die.

Portland "mayor" Sam Adams was very insistent upon any new design for a replacement Sellwood Bridge: it had to have streetcar tracks. Period. Now, it appears that he's backing away from the requirement; as long as the bridge might be able to accommodate tracks at some point, he's indicating a willingness to save $13 million by eliminating the inclusion demand.

Left unsaid, of course, is the fact that he's been planning to siphon $20 million off this project to dump it into the Milwaukie light rail line. Of course, the article is in The Oregonian, so the omission comes as no surprise.

Trimet has already bought or contracted to buy most of the properties along the SE 17th Ave. The affected businesses have been told to move in short order.

So.....Clackamas County raises about $20M with a vehicle registration fee for the Sellwood Bridge...... then Adams says he can save about $20M by eliminating streetcar ramps for the bridge.... and the money saved goes to fund a light rail project to Clackamas County? Does anyone else smell something funny?


The stench is greater this time because most people know this is not a prudent course to take, yet those who insist this rail happen are moving ahead no matter what.

As I recall, didn't someone on the blog mention about URA dollars from SoWhat that Adams put towards the rail, without the URA committee approving? if so, where does that stand legally?

Creepy's $20 million is one of the many good reasons Clackamas County will vote to repeal Lynn Peterson's fee.

Her participation in JPACT that raided $200 million from Metro's flex funds that could go to the bridge is another.

That diveting of $200 million away from infrastructure other tri-county area is identical to the pattern of neglect that has the Sellwood bridge near falling down.

These people can't change their ways even when the evidence of their malfeasence is is a bridge near falling down.

And it's only getting worse.

Widespread neglect of existing infrastructure has never been greater.
And while the pattern of misappropriating countless millions worsens the government PR machines are cranking up to inform the public how and why they need more funding.

SoWa URA Committee voted unanimously twice to oppose the taking of SoWa UR money for MLR. The PDC staff omitted their votes from the minutes and did not pass them up the chain of command.
There are audio tapes that do not match the minutes.

TriMet was told of this in public hearings and they grinned with concern as they ignored it.

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