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Monday, February 28, 2011

Great news! Another $5 million for bike stuff!

This latest hunk of pork will be courtesy of the upcoming school bond measure, if it passes. It's for the children, don't ya know.

Comments (24)

Would we call this a smash-and-grab, or just a garden variety extortion?

Wow! Where do these people manage NOT to find bike path money? I thought the proposed school bond was for school building upgrades, not traffic alterations. Well, I was going to vote against the bond anyway. I just can't afford another 10% added to my property tax bill.

So to forgo $75,000 in city fees, the PPS will commit $5 million to the Pedo mayor...?

Just think of it as cost savings !!!

The bond measure will swing on the mood of Portland State voters who have nothing to lose.

dman--I was wondering if I'd misunderstood those same figures. How can the school board (or the City Council) look the voters in the eye and say they're spending our money wisely???

Michelle -

You have to remember that the majority of voters who actually bother to vote are extraordinarily ill informed.

Wait, PPS has already filed the paperwork (PDF) for the bond measure. Nowhere in the filing does it say funds will or could be used for transportation infrastructure around schools, nor is there any clause about funds being redirected to new projects. Is this $5 million deal they cut with Sam illegal, somehow? Do they need to amend their elections documents?

Even if it's not illegal, this bait-and-switch should make anyone considering voting for the levy think twice. If I'm going to vote for it, I want every last penny put into school buildings, not bike lanes or traffic-calming devices or handicap ramps in sidewalks. All of those things are nice to have, but it's the city's responsibility to pay for them.

Since when did the city get involved to this degree with schools? Somehow "this marriage" of city and schools doesn't feel right. That close alliance with the city and PSU as well, seems like perpetuating their agenda onto the students.

I don't think the bond's going to pass anyway.

A huge chunk of the funds is supposed to go to raze/rebuild Jefferson. While the building needs a lot of help, it's not even clear that Jeff-area parents and kids think the building is the main problem--there's no proof at all, in other words, that a spiffy new building is going to make them actually go to Jefferson. Then, Round 2 (the presumed NEXT $500MM bond they'd ask for) is supposed to include rebuilding Lincoln (are you kidding me???).

At least half of the buildings in the District need to be seriously rebuilt--ones that kids actually attend. Real kids, not "consultant-projected students," the kinds of kids who could be hurt in earthquakes, fires, etc. in these popular but frighteningly sub-modern code schools. Prioritzing to rebuild the very newest/elite schools and older ones (that no one wants to attend for reasons other than the building) is completely idiotic.

It's unclear who supports this bond, or why they would. In other words, the bicycling/Sam Adams Factor should be one of the least of our concerns. Why can't PPS prioritize the big allocations any better? Consultantitis?

The unfortunate side effect may be that the many PPS families who attend popular, outdated schools will lose out if they are put off--at best--to a Bond Measure, Round 3. Lincoln families will be enjoying their third high school in 100 years, while Cleveland and Grant students will be hoping their 1940s desks will hold up where their 100 year-old buildings don't.

You seen the recent Brazil footage where the driver steams through a critical mass ride? Excellent footage. I really hope that a discussion group can be formed that includes this renegade driver so that he might learn lessons of acceptance.

Latest thing in public school design is upscale, covered bicycle parking -- check it out.

Exactly what is needed to go green.

Jack, I don't see the word "bike" or "bicycle" anywhere in this WW article, so I doubt the money mentioned would be for bike paths. More likely it's for parking redesign, vehicle pull-outs, signage, speed bumps, etc. The article is vague throughout, not even mentioning the schools involved, so who really knows? The real question is whether the work discussed is happening on the actual school campuses or on city owned property surrounding them.

Eric: Ramps probably are included in the bond, as "handicapped accessibility" is clearly stated in the measure's summary. Traffic calming devices probably fall under "grounds renovations" or "student safety," mentioned in the explanatory statement. Point being, I don't think they're straying from the original intent of the measure, so calls of illegality or bait-and-switch probably aren't applicable.

Even if this agreement were illegal, as long as it isn't challenged by an officer of the court it doesn't matter. That by itself it one of the remarkable things about our current city hall...

steal from a store and everyone including the store manager pretends they didn't see anything.

I supplied Jack a summary of the issues a couple weeks ago with scanned copies of the relevant letters. I hope he can post those letters.

Among them, a June 2008 letter from Eric Engstrom to then Director Kelly summarizes the Planning staff and BDS acknowledged code violations. They were numerous and varied in nature.

Both PPR and PPS had made changes to public land or facilities that required land use reviews. Both agencies knew that by circumventing this process they could avoid the public scritiny in code 33.910 (notification or recognized organizations)and the requirement that they show how these changes comply with the existing code in the application.

There was no confusion about the language, as lay people, BDS, and Planning staff all easily determined they were in violations. The problem was in state law there exist goal post rules which require applicant to comply with the law in place at that time.

Planning staff and the Mayor understood this but could not figure a legal way around this.
I confirmed with the LCDC and State CIAC, that these violations would have to be reviewed under the existing laws, not those written retroactively to absolve the violators. The LCDC is the state agency that is responsible for compliance and review of land use decisions

Last January, the Planning Commission agreed with our position citing the documents and testimony, that these were intentional violations as described. Further that going forward PPR and PPS were to not be trusted, thus the recommendation for a type 3 rather than 2 review. A type 3 would allow citizens or organizations to appeal any faulty or political decision to the hearings office, then LUBA.

Certain Council members did not want this. They wanted their political land use determinations to be final with no appeal possible.

At the Council hearing last week, certain Council members determined that in spite of this letter from top planner Engstrom to Director Kelley, in spite of the Planning Commissions understanding and recommendations, there were no violations to overcome, therefore no compliance issues, again demonstrating just why a type 3 is necessary.

As for the $5 Million, this will be subject to the passage of the bond. It transfers discretion to PDOT and thus to the Mayor for determining expenditure with control of any matching funding. I'll let you guess how that might turn out.

$5 Million might improve the area around one or two schools when many need this so is nothing more than an empty promise much in the same way that redrawing boundaries and the high school redesign are about equity.

As always this is about our public land on which these improvements sit, and constructing ways to wrest it from public control.

Thanks for the info BoJack. That PPS can change course all of a sudden and drop $5 million from property taxpayers to appease a few interest groups and city government bureaucrats suggests most vividly Measure 26-121 (School construction bond and tax) is bloated. We are drowning in government over regulation. Measure 26-121 may be most bloated because of government's own rules: Historic preservation, prevailing wage, and now a squeeze from the city for more transportation funds.

How can one think Mayor Adams is sincere about helping education when his city government is running a surplus of some $3.5 million and then turns around and squeezes PPS and property taxpayers for another $5 million. This on top of the Urban Renewal programs which are shown to decrease education funding state wide.

Transportation in and around schools currently seems adequate, and it's hard to understand why replacing existing school buildings inplace without increasing class size changes transportation needs much. Even if transportation needs are increased, sometimes you adapt because you can't afford to fix the change in conditions.


Ramps probably are included in the bond, as "handicapped accessibility" is clearly stated in the measure's summary.

I read -- as any reasonable person would -- that as making the school buildings handicap accessible. And "exterior" and "grounds" improvements implies changes on school property. Making upgrades to the public right-of-way -- streets and sidewalks -- is the city's responsibility, not PPS'. You can make the claim -- and I buy it to a certain extent -- that improving our schools should ignore pesky things like jurisdictions and respective spheres of responsibility. But that should be disclosed upfront and/or the city and district charters amended to allow it, not sneaking it into a bond measure after the paperwork's already been filed.

Great. So the mayor's office has basically arranged for local children to be held hostage to further his and his planners' agenda.

How does this stuff keep happening?

No money for textbooks? But there is plenty of money for PPS to agree to give away $5M of facilities bond proceeds to the City for bike paths? Bonds don't buy books - but the operating levy can. What are our priorities? See attached articles:

I don't know what to make of this measure. Pretty torn on which way to vote.
But I look negatively on ANY money being siphoned from ANY source to the City, particularly for transportation. I have zero trust in the City of Portland.

Eric & Craig:

From the Oregon Constitution (pdf):

(5)(a) As used in this section, “capital costs” means costs of land and of other assets having a useful life of more than one year, including costs associated with acquisition, construction, improvement, remodeling, furnishing, equipping, maintenance or repair.

(b) “Capital costs” does not include costs of routine maintenance or supplies.

My reading of the Constitution does not allow for transportation improvement projects.

Just before the election, a friend of mine who is a member of the LBGT community had nothing kind to say about the person who wound up on the ballot, claiming that he was a lying, underhanded bully who would bring nothing but bad news to the city, and that the gay community was not inclined to support him.

Garage Wine,
A lot of arrogant people think that if no one calls the cops, you don't get caught, and if you don't get caught, you've done nothing wrong.

When these kind of people achieve positions of authority, rule of law can become entirely situational, and that puts us all in trouble, which we are.

Jack, I don't see the word "bike" or "bicycle" anywhere in this WW article, so I doubt the money mentioned would be for bike paths.

I don't see it on my sewer bill either, but that's where the money goes after the Sam Rand Twins steal it.

I have zero trust in the City of Portland.

Zero trust and zero respect.


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