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Saturday, April 30, 2011

We completely agree

Here's the latest election porn from the Portland school tax bond measure proponents, which arrived along with our ballots yesterday:

They're right, of course. That the school buildings have been allowed to deteriorate is an outrage. Management has been poor.

The question of the day, however, is whether to hand over a ton of money -- the largest bond measure in Oregon history, we're told -- to the managers who let things get this bad, and expect them to spend it wisely. Given their obviously poor sense of priorities so far, it's hard to get to a yes answer.

We're voting no on both measures, and our message to the school board is to come back next time asking for about a third as much money. In the meantime, fire some bureaucrats in the main office and use their salaries to do some basic repairs.

And tell the football coaches that if they want Astroturf, someone will need to find private money for it.

Comments (24)

I was ready to vote "no" because of the give-away of Washington HS to private profit and 100 other PPS shenanigans opposite to community interest, but any lingering guilt I had about it evaporated when I saw that Astroturf. Astroturf and covered play areas? When 1/3 or worse of kids aren't even making it through HS? Really?

Neat system. Avoid paying for any maintenance for 20+ years. Issue bonds to fill West Hills wine cellars. Repeat until bankruptcy. How could anyone vote no on that?

Its time to think about the average annual teacher pay (with benefits):

$92,800 for less than full time!!

Again, that is just the average!


Jimkarlock, I'm not going to dispute your number but I do want to see where you got that from.

We got our ballots Friday. Hope Portland Schools aren't counting on us, Three ballots, three NO votes on both bond issues. Between Marysville being closed for two years after the fire, and a lack of basic maintainence, we can't see giving them more money to waste

It's deferred maintenance to pursue wetdream legacy 'sustainability' projects.

I wonder how much of these basic repairs could have been accomplished with the money spent on these deceptive pro-bond advertising propaganda.

"We wouldn't allow this in our homes... We shouldn't allow this in our schools"

Then why the hell did you?

When I see the pile of fallen acoustic ceiling tiles on that tear-jerker of a TV promo, I think $5.00 a tube of caulk, a ladder and an hour or so.

Canucken: Jimkarlock, I'm not going to dispute your number but I do want to see where you got that from.
JK: Directly from the school district. Here's the actual email (bold added). Also note that the total cost of both measures on the average home owner is $711 (not discounting for the existing levy.)

Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2011 11:54:16 -0700
From: "Sarah Ames"
To: "Jim Karlock"
Cc: "Jack Bogdanski"
Subject: Re: Property Tax Value File

Sorry, I was rushing to get the info out late last night before leaving the office, and didn't review the actual requests the three of you sent. So I missed your questions.

You are right in that the local option's rate is $1.99, but it would "load on" 74 cents compared to the current tax load.

The median TAV is $143,140.
The average TAV is $320,166.
(I added those calculations to the spreadsheet, see attached.)

$178,281 times $3.99 = $711.34

The average increase is:
$178,281 times $2.74 = $488.49

We have used median, as we think it speaks to the typical homeowner (half pay more, half pay less).
If you look at the average, 87,410 property owners are under the average, or 66.36% of the total (one third pays more, two thirds pay less).

The average teacher compensation is $92,802 this year. $63,812 in salary, the rest in benefits (health, workers comp, social security and PERS are the big items). It's worth noting that PPS teachers, unlike many other government employees, pay 7% of their health care premium and their employee share (6%) into PERS. That comes off the top of the salary.


Sarah Carlin Ames
Department of Community Involvement and Public Affairs
Direct: 503.916.3212
Department: 503.916.3304

E-mail messages to and from this account may be made public under Oregon law.

Screw it. If:
- TriMet can drop $1.5B on a MAX train
- CoP can drop $65M on SW Moody
- $10M to help Gerding fix their building for Vestas and god knows how many handouts to Homer
- PWB can raise our water rates 50% in 2 years and another 50% the next 3 years.
- $75M on a tram

They have enough money.

Before you start with the color of money argument:
- Why is it my problem if Earl earmarks money for streetcars and doesn't care about school funding
- It's all the same color when it comes out of our pockets.

According to the advertising, Portland Public School buildings average 65 years of age.

How old will the average Portland Public School buildings be if the bond measure

This is my point, just because infrastructure is aging, doesn't mean you don't take care of it and maintain and take care of it as you go along. What do you do with your 100 year old house? PPS has done this on purpose, not spending the money, putting all their eggs in one basket. Look at Benson, would you tear down that building to build a new one? No, you would not. It is historic, for heaven's sake. I will vote yes for the teacher thing (sigh) but not for the repair thing. Sorry, am tired, hard to be exact. They need to dig deeper, do their jobs and PROVE THEY NEED THAT MONEY. But that will have been wasting the $1 million donated by sucker parents for this ballot measure, right? If only the the tops of the lockers at Fernwood/Beverly Cleary had not been so filthy and the doors covered with graffiti that no one took care of, to say nothing of the peeling wall paper, I would have voted for this measure. But this has been going on for years. They have not been doing their job with the dollars given. And I am sorry, because the schools do need the seismic upgrades, but the ballot measure does not have enough allocated for that either. Preparedness, people!

My husband's job takes him into school buildings all over Portland--PPS, David Douglas, Parkrose, etc. He has noticed a direct correlation between how well a school building is maintained and how well the school itself is run. It's all the same mindset: if you take care of the day-to-day details, then the big stuff becomes easier to deal with too.

According to the advertising, Portland Public School buildings average 65 years of age.

How old is Portland City Hall? Sam seems to find the restrooms suitable.

Steve: TriMet can drop $1.5B on a MAX train.

Part of that went to paying PGE to buy a new building in Tualatin and moving PGE's SE 17th Street maintenance facility there. Paying to send more jobs out of the City of Portland and removing more good property from paying property taxes and less money to the schools. The word is TriMet could have done it without the PGE property except that TriMet wants the new trains to go in front of its headquarter building!

Lets not forget the over $100 million annual property tax money that ends up in urban renewal instead of basic services, including schools.

Thanks Sam
Thanks Randy
Thanks Dan
And a special thanks to all the planners that made it all possible.


Let's see how many times we can say no:


and continue until you've got one NO for every dollar in national debt that we have, then times it by a trillion.

I see a pattern here.

Selling me on ceiling tiles and asbestos while spending money on the following doesn't make me want to vote yes, from PPS (

Covered play areas at schools that have somehow managed for 80 or more years without them.

At several high schools: "Educational opportunities may be addressed through the provision of improved outdoor learning environments." Including landscaping, lights and signs. What we used to call "grass" is now an "outdoor learning environment."

And at virtually every school: "a managed access system for staff will be provided at exterior building entrances" and "mobile interactive audio-visual presentation system." We used to call those "locks" and "rolling carts."

Well, if all else fails and PPS shuts 'em down, there's always this:,0,7820754.story

One answer and one answer only to the question of the school bond measure:

(or ride the magical mystery train to milwaukie)

Another answer is to attend the next Portland Development Commission Board meeting and demand that Sam's proposed PSU Urban Renewal District be denied. Then demand that all the other 11 UR Districts be left to expire their terms. Then demand that no more bonds be issued for URD's, that they have to live only by the TIF dollars generated by each. In just 5 years that would generate over $380 Million for PPS and solve the whole problem.

Ran the numbers on my house and I'm gonna get a tax hike of $1677 in year one. Thank God I just did a refi, so I can now pay $140/month of my savings for the bond measures. This after paying $600/month this year to send my twins to full-day PUBLIC SCHOOL KINDERGARTEN. After 10 years and nearly 20K of my after-tax money going to the schools, my entire house is going to look like the "worst of PPS" photos.

Why can't they do the bond measure like the leaf collection? All homes pay $35 for the leaf service, so why not have everyone pay the same amount for the schools?

Why should a fixed-income senior living in a home in Irvington with an FMV of 591K (assessed at 253K) get a tax hike of $1009, while a gainfully employed attorney in Piedmont whose FMV is 647K (assessed at 179K) gets a boost of $712?

Whether the bond measure goes through or not, we need to remove the "no uniformity tax challenges" clause from the Oregon constitution.

Our message to the school board is to come back next time asking for about a third as much money. In the meantime, fire some bureaucrats in the main office and use their salaries to do some basic repairs.


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