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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 14, 2011 10:42 AM. The previous post in this blog was A-park-olypse for Timbers fans. The next post in this blog is They're everywhere. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

"Urban renewal" about to get whacked in Chicago

First Jerry Brown is killing it. Now Rahm Emanuel is reforming it. But here in Portlandia, the kids are still putting a bird on it. How dopey.

Comments (16)

Jerry Brown and Rahm Emanuel must be raging libertarians, because here in True Blue Portland, we know that it is "progressive" to never question what the local government is doing.

My favorite line in the article is where Sam Adams says: "Sure we already had an urban renewal there for 20-plus years, but that was before bioswales, so we have to start over."

Well, at least one former proponent is getting out of the business.

Speaking of bioswales, they just put some really large ones in my neighborhood. Both are full of standing water. Given that these are going in all over town, I expect we'll eventually have a full blown malaria outbreak right here in Portland, Ory-goner, where everything is done the right way by the world's smartest people. In Portland We Trust.


Over the years, it’s kind of morphed from a tool for blighted economic communities into an all-purpose vehicle.” “We need to return it to its original purpose — it should not be used for high-rent areas.

Such an appropriate comment by Emanuel not restricted to Chicago. It bears repeating in Portland over and over until they get the message.

Kiddie Hall in Portland is totally deaf on this.
The TIF masters call the shots here and will continue to do so until the city hall has a good old fashioned total clean out.
I don't see that happening soon.

I always thought bioswales were to catch as much as possible surface water off our streets and let it percolate back into the ground.

The new extensive bioswales costing over $120 thousand in front of St. Clare School and Capital Hill Grade School on SW 17th does just the opposite. The bioswale is located at the highest grade point of all the 20 block surrounding area. Thus nothing drains to the bioswale, not even the extensive paved playground and parking areas of the two adjacent schools. Where were the CoP engineers?

Additionally the bioswale eliminated over 5 parking/drop off spaces for the schools which are sorely needed. Thus, there is even more traffic backups.

When are we going to get some common sense even at the bioswale level besides at the urban renewal level? Maybe bioswales are impetus for urban renewal, they help create "blight" with there hatred of commerce and parking.

"That money would be diverted from the city, county and school district. But recent changes in Oregon law limit the loss to the school district."

I know Cogen was trying to get URDs limited, but what exactly is the law besides getting more people to approve it? Besides that'd only last as long as Cogen doesn't work for CoP.

Perhaps drainage is only some vague secondary purpose of the bioswale, the primary purpose being street obstruction and parking space elimination?

"“We know it’s a sacrifice to take dollars out of the tax base, but we are also asking them to make some investments here,” Desrochers says."

Could the gentlemen point out how the return on these "investments" is coming along?


I love that quote pdxjim. It sounds like he's saying:

"We're asking you to sacrifice some of your tax revenue, and in return we will allow you to make an investment in us."

So gracious!

Desrocher, how are the returns on investments coming back from SoWhat after 12 years of SoWhat Urban Renewal? The tax base has hardly increased and partially due to the fact that OHSU and PSU pays no property taxes.

Yes, we've got more potholes, more bio-swales, no greenway, torn up streets, parking meters over two miles from the city center, not one transportation improvement, more bond debt because SoWhat property tax increases aren't keeping up with the expenditures, not one bio-tech job, not one affordable housing unit......; but yes, we have a tram and a trolley.

Steve: From what I understand, the law is not that new.

URAs formed before 2001 take money from all school funds. Money taken from the State School Fund gets "topped up" by the state (that's how the rest of the state pays or our urban renewal). Money taken from the local option and capital bonds don't get replaced.

For URAs formed after 2001, the money is taken only from the State School Fund, so all of the money is topped up by the state. Local option and capital bond money is not subject to TIF.

For someone who's been fired, Desrocher sure takes a long time to leave. She's like the secretary who'd been around so long that she thought she owned the company. Then Sustainable Wim came in and unsustained her.

“Right now we have 4,000 employees and an economic impact of $1.4 billion,” Wiewel says. “That will go up proportionally as we grow.We will contribute greatly to making Portland globally competitive, which helps create well-paying jobs in the region.”

Wim might wish to check with the no growth cult at kiddie hall. Glad I am leaving the area behind.

Is there no comment section at the Trib story?


This is more BS than when OHSU claimed the tram would be a linchpin for a biotech cluster and 10,000 biotech jobs in SoWa.

It's nothing but a raid on property tax revenue because there is no other source of funding for these pipe dreams.

Where else would Adams and PSU get this money?

It's a corrupted use of Urban Renewal as most all of the identified projects don't and won't pay any property taxes to repay the debt.

That means it will take raiding the property tax revenue stream to pay the debt with interest .

This opinion piece is complicit in the public deceit used to advance these plans.

"Urban renewal plan adds fuel to PSU’s future"

"Fuel"??? It's free money that no one involved will be responsible for.

The "plan" is borrowed millions paid back by pilfering an existing essential services revenue stream.

"expands the university’s "area of influence"

"Portland State University’s drive to become a major player"

Adams now wants to concentrate it only around PSU.

focused on expanding Portland State University as a leading engine of economic growth, prosperity, and opportunity,” Adams said.

This is ridiculous. The projects in mind are not those that would ever deliver that pipe dream.

PSU and Adams are just scrambling for money.

Once spent there won't be anything recognizable as having "transformed Portland into a “small-and-scrappy, globally competitive city.”

No more than the Oregon Sustainability Center will or than the new MAX lines, Streetcar lines and transit mall have.

Those too were promised to spur economic development.

All they have spurred is more government debt spending with more urban renewal schemes like this one we see emerging.

Now this PSU plan is supposed to spur economic growth and prosperity?

The same thing is being said about Milwaukie Light Rail. It's now the linchpin for SoWa and planned PSU/OUS Life Sciences Collaborative Center.

"Wiewel says of PSU’s changing role.“Cities with quality educational institutions and highly educated populations will do far better than those without. Having a mayor who gets that is great.”

Well that's real swell, but this Urban Renewal plan is NOT the making of a "quality educational institutions" or a "highly educated population".

In fact those involved know they will never face any assessment to figure out if it was any net gain at all.

So where is the evidence these millions in property tax dollars are better spent on this plan? How does this plan become a higher priority than the essential services otherwise funded by the millions diverted for this scheme?

PSU’s vice president says urban-renewal assistance is essential.

Of course it is. The reckless spending practices in SoWa and on the Sustainability Center have PSU over extended. They are essentially broke and unable to borrow against their own revenue stream.

So raiding property taxes makes sense?

This is madness.

Adams and company are out of control fools who are stacking up debt against already over extended revenue streams.

Jeff Cogen and Portland Public Schools officials must acknowledge the madness and put a stop to it.

Urban renewal works like this http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:TIF_graph.pdf&page=1

What UR proponents never reveal is the continued rising cost of essential services that lose the naturally increasing property taxes needed to help keep pace.

The public deceit department at the PDC calls this taking of property taxes from essential services "generating $134 million for redevelopment projects during the first 20 years or so"

It isn't generated at all. It is simply taken. And if $134 million is borrowed for projects it will take at least $220 million in property taxes to repay the UR debt.

Honesty is always missing when Urban Renewal schemes are debated and officials present these proposed urban renewal plans.

If they were honest these plans would never get approved.

“To facilitate world-class research and commercialization, we need cutting-edge universities"

That is verbatim what was said to move the Tram forward.

Sam Adams and friends are not facilitators of anything but massive debt and programs of mass dysfunction.

There's nothing facilitating of research or commercialization about the "Urban Plaza that is served by the Portland Streetcar, where the College of Urban and Public Affairs is located."

Or a "new mixed-use housing tower and Campus Recreation Center along the Transit Mall extension."

These are the kinds of things PSU is looking to expand to the Willamette River.

Token addition of a paltry "2,600-square-foot bioscience lab" means nothing.

PSU is on a spending frenzy, has borrowed against future tuition revenue and Adams is attempting to misappropriate millions in property taxes others pay to quench their reckless thirst and addiction for more.


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