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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why Evraz is leaving Portland

Airline service is fairly crummy here -- the same reason that Portland will never be a good convention town.

Meanwhile, although the departing honcho wouldn't talk about what Chicago gave the company to move there, it's no secret.

The last thing Oregon needs right now is several dozen high-priced execs moving out of state. But so it goes.

Comments (23)

Aw, come on, steel is just a bunch of dirty filthy family wage jobs. Who needs family wage jobs when we can have green jobs like Spain has?

And all those new creative jobs. (And we wisely built living space for all the new millionaires thanks to taking school, fire, and social services money to build those subsidized millionaire condos in North Macadam.)

All Portland needs to be a world class city is a few more crackpot ideas from our airhead planners.

Oh, I’ve got it!! Lets not just cover the I405 freeway (that’s so last century) - lets be creative and think big and think green - lets cover the whole city with an eco roof and grow all of our food locally - right on top of us. We can put a dome over that and heat it with power from windmills and solar panels. We can capture and store all the rain water to water the crops. Of course the biowaste will make fuel for our hybrid mopeds. We could even put a deck under the eco roof for another layer of housing and roads, thus solving traffic congestion too. Now, that’s how to really have efficient the land use! And think of all the energy we will save!

Gad!! How totally green. How perfectly Sustainable. I just became a new creative! I nominate myself for the giant grand gargantuan green visionary of the year award.


But, but, but...Travel & Leisure magazine said PDX was the best airport in the U.S.

As I said during my campaign many times, retention - support for existing businesses and jobs during a downturn in the economy - is one of the best ways to grow jobs as we recover. Without a continuous stable tax base, we have nothing to build upon.

Existing businesses?
Aw come on Mary, existing businesses are nothing more than 20th century dInosaures. They should be in a nice diorama someplace...like the Field Museum...in Chicago!
And there are so few left now, mere fossils on deserted downtown streets.

The Field Museum? Didn't that get renamed The Macy Museum?

Portland native- maybe some are dinosaurs, but there are so many mid- and even large size busineses that have to outside the city and state for the materials and fabrications to make product.

Example: Portland is the art glass manufacturing Mecca in the US with THE two top glass manafacturing companies also doing all the research - Bullseye glass and Uburous. Every two years, hosts an internation conference and attracts thousand to Portland along with vendors who sell equipment to make art glass- kilns, furnaces, arge grinders, lap wheels- diamond coated tools- all expensive and manufactured elsewhere. My points why not attract the companies here where they can improve their product by being embeddedin a working glaas community. All of these companies néed "widgets-fabrication" materials that they would much rather obtain locally- building more business opportunities.

My point about retention is helping companies find what the need regionally- creating more jobs and tailored products.

Then, there's the sports shoe and apparel industry...headquarters with designers, marketing pros etc- we need to target based on our strengths - put people back to work.

We bribe companies like Vestas and others to relocate here, other places bribe our companies to relocate elsewhere. That seems to be the way things work these days. One big difference about here though, is we seem to care more about the appearance of being green than actual jobs and contribution to the local economy.

Ecoroof over the city?
That's hilarious. Genius.

Portland is all about appearances and if, by chance, something actually creates paid employment in something other than glass blowing or food carts, it will be trumpeted to the world while city officials scheme away to squeeze more tax revenue out of it. Excuse me, I meant "fees."

Should change from "The City That Works," which practically invites snickers, to "Committed to Symbolism."

Which ought to work until it's discovered that the commitment to symbolism was merely symbolic.

Look, it's all about funneling cash to developers and the Goldschmidt Mafia, which are not mutually exclusive groups, while maintaining the veneer of "sustainability" and "progressivism," whatever those terms mean.

It's always been like this (check out the vintage Oregonian "news" article and ad from a century ago that appeared on this blog) and it likely always will be. As long as the city is populated by large numbers of people who think government-enforced utopian planning is the panacea for all problems real and imagined and continue to elect its apostles.

Okay, so what we need is for a big business to move to Portland that's friendly to the "creative class" reputation. Something that's potentially valuable but that nobody can say for sure how much it's worth. Something that everybody uses, but only if it's free. Something that allegedly brings people together, but really allows fellow egomaniacs to shout at each other and pretend that they're listening.

I've got it. How much would it cost Sam to get Twitter to move its headquarters to Portland?

Proverbial "chicken and egg" argument.

Airlines are not going to come to Portland unless they can make a profit.

Companies are not going to come to Portland (or stay in Portland) unless there is decent air service in and out of the city.

There are a lot of airlines that, believe it or not, DON'T serve Portland. Some of the airlines that serve Portland have just a handful of flights connecting Portland only to their nearest hub (American, Frontier, US Airways, JetBlue, Continental) Delta's Tokyo and Amsterdam service is hanging by a thread; Delta has a much larger international presence at their existing hub at Salt Lake City as well as their focus city at Los Angeles; United has international flights at SEA, SFO and LAX. Portland simply isn't needed by the airlines, except for Southwest and Alaska.

"The City That Works" read the motto boasted on the sign greeting my 1966 arrival in (ironically) Chicago -- "Richard J. Daley, Mayor" (it also boasted).

About the "funneling cash to developers and the Goldschmidt Mafia," there appear to be many different names and epithets for The Beast eating Portland and everyone everywhere else East of here all the way (40,000 km) to Astoria.

About the 'fairly crummy airline service' thru PDX, I found an article by a worldwide air traveller saying 'crummy' is pandemic; an article listing more (unused here) designations of The Beast; an article showing 'Veterans Today' says similar things, both Vietnam vets and especially 'war' veterans returning to USA thru airports from a Middle East tour, here:
9/11—Mission Accomplished?, By Nila Sagadevan for Veterans Today, January 24, 2011; and an excerpt:

This sweeping new disease, this plague of the new century, was clearly evident at the security-check area of a terminal at Heathrow, a cavernous warehouse-like holding tank of transient humanity. There I was, immersed in this thick throng of reasonably intelligent human beings, quietly observing, as we all inched along, like lava, in one fluid, fascinatingly eclectic mass. As this seemingly endless journey to reach some distant, glass-caged gatekeeper wore on, my fascination gradually began to turn to sympathy.

Here was a crowd of decent, ordinary people, of a multitude of hues; a fair cross section of this planet’s human constituency, one would think. Yet, they appeared vacant, distant-eyed, lost in their own worlds, pitifully docile as they unthinkingly responded to every order blared at them, seemingly stripped of all self-esteem, bereft of all ability to protest, and utterly brainwashed into believing one thing above all else:

“Al Quaeda’s gonna getcha!”

As you repeatedly stare into the same solemn faces at every serpentine turn of the crawling, roped-in queues, you occasionally see eyes beginning to flit about, stabbing fellow passengers with suspicious stares, wondering … could he be one of ‘em? ... It takes some doing to make a grown man suffer the crushing indignity of standing obligingly, in full public view, spread-legged, in his bare socks, arms outstretched, clutching his shoes in one hand, liquid toiletries in the other, looking like a perfect bloody idiot, while some goon’s wagging a wand about his groin scanning for ordnance.

What do you call such a pitiful caricature of the human condition?

You call it “Mission Accomplished.”

Maybe Mary Volm and many others in the cohort of elected and official positions in government might read the long essay, I hope. (Which is why I link it here -- to be read -- altho I'm aware that fewer people today read written words or learn by reading or read to get their day's News, than was the popularity of reading signs when I de-planed in O'Hare and entered the wide world beyond Oregon in 1966.)

Oh, BTW, almost forgot ... my prediction: Ervaz does NOT move to Chicago in June.

Why not? If I told you then you'd have to dispute it, deny it, and argue that the future is unpredictable. Too much effort to fathom so much going's-on ... besides, show's over, it's was only a flippant prediction, move along, nothing more to see or read here ....

The reason Evraz is leaving is because the CEO is a megalomaniacal boob who thinks that Portland is too much of a backwater for someone of his talents. The truth of the matter is he is probably right. The business community in Portland and in all of Oregon like to think small, beaten down by the pervasive notion that a large industry is a bad industry.

For sales people there are inherent problems with travelling from the West Coast. Even if you take the earliest flight it is hard to get anywhere in the East before 3pm and the day is lost. Making Chicago your hub allows for travel and business in the same day. Flying internationally is tough from Portland, but only marginally so. In some ways it is easier to fly from PDX to SFO, LAX, ORD or SEA and connect to a flight than it is to live in one of those towns and commute to the airport.

Lufthansa was a keeper and one of the best airlines to come in here. Once again POP was extremely stupid to let them get away, never to return.

From Sam's blog re: Evraz leaving:

"Mike made it very clear that it was not an indictment of Portland's good business and regulatory climate."

God, is this guy (our mayor) that dumb or conniving?

The guy is leaving Sam, don't you get it? To a place that is raising taxes sky-high (Illinois).

I happen to work for one of the last large white-collar employers left in Portland. There are constant murmurs of moving the entire operation the hell out of here for a wide range of reasons. We pretty much consider it a done deal, we just don't know when.

To a place that is raising taxes sky-high (Illinois).

Even with the tax hike IL taxes are lower than OR. The hike raised the top rate TO 5%....

"Even with the tax hike IL taxes are lower than OR."

Including sales tax?

> Airline service is fairly crummy here

I've flown SW Airlines many times in the last several years, and have never once had a problem. Far better than my experience with airlines when I lived back east....

"Lufthansa was a keeper and one of the best airlines to come in here."

The Port paid them to fly here. Lots.

Same with Mexicana and Delta.

I think Delta has managed to continue some international flight since the subsidy ended last spring.

I'm no fan of our recent tax increases nor of our ability to extend a "thank you" to our current employers to stay in our state and cities (as a previous commenter noted).

But Illinois is in much more trouble from a state finance perspective with a huge debt to budget percentage (one of the worst in the nation), now has a 9.5% corporate tax rate, 5% income tax, and +6% sales tax, and higher property taxes than most states.

Illinois does, however, give away .25 cents of its money to other "free-loading" states. But they'd be in financial trouble still.


Ain't nothing was keeping them from staying, but it would be nice to keep and entice a more corporate environment in Portland like other cities do. Obviously Portland is not going to be able to compete with the big boys while at the same time having similar or higher tax structure.

We need to be competitive to make up for our lack of airline flights and relative isolation on one coast.

Ben- Of course there was a short term incentive to come here at the beginning. So what? Does the $100 million Taj Mahal POP just opened make it a good business descision to trade away Lufthansa? No....
and Mexicana just got out of bankruptcy. Face it- we're circling the drain from poor decisions made by public servants.

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