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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 11, 2011 9:41 AM. The previous post in this blog was Digging in the dirt. The next post in this blog is Portland car-o-phobia goes off deep end. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Annoying Catchphrase of the Year

"We can't afford not to" has become tiresome.

The earnest mom in the pearls in the Portland school tax bond measure TV commercial: We can't afford not to jack up our property taxes for school construction.

Amanda Fritz: We can't afford not to build Milwaukie light rail.

Enough! As the President told us: Yes we can. We can afford not to. Easily.

So come to your senses, and get your hands out of our pockets.

Comments (14)

Right up there with "the cost of doing nothing."

The Milwaukie Max line will replace the old 41 bus that went across the Sellwood bridge to downtown Portland (even after the new Sellwood bridge is finished.) Bus lines #31, 32 and 33 will only go north as far as the Milwaukie transit center. The Harold Street Max station is gone. And getting to the marvelous Milwaukie Max may be difficult. McLoughlin and the RR tracks are among the obstacles. Also, if you live a ways away and want to drive to the station you'll have only Park Ave. and Tacoma with parking space--but probably not enough. All this for a little more than a Billion dollars. But it will likely take more customers from Milwaukie to spend in Portland. Yea for Portland!

Leadership renewal, not urban renewal is what is needed here. Stop spending on unnecessary projects and stop supporting the political figures who keep running us into the ground with the same agenda.

C'mon Jack, how did Poerland ever get by with out Interstate MAX?

Oh wait, we still could for all the ridership on non-Blazer game days...

But we CAN afford NOT to replace 21 year old buses...as a result we have a bus fleet that is older than the average for any major transit agency, a fleet that requires much more money to maintain than other agencies, that requires more fuel than modern buses, that emits more pollution (and as a result TriMet has spent money on retrofitting some buses but not all of them); the poor reliability of the bus system has resulted in a near consistent drop in bus ridership for the last several years...

The cost of building WES and the Red, Yellow and Green Line MAX routes, and the Portland Streetcar, has cost TriMet money that would have gone to replace those older buses; while now adding new operational expenses to TriMet with no funding source - so even more bus service has to be cut to fund those new services.

Yes...we can't afford not to. Amanda has just jumped the shark and instead of representing the people she claims to have been elected to represent, is sleeping around with the other commissioners and being pimped out by the developers who really control the city, Metro, and TriMet - and not the average citizen.

The Milwaukie Max line will replace the old 41 bus that went across the Sellwood bridge to downtown Portland (even after the new Sellwood bridge is finished.) Bus lines #31, 32 and 33 will only go north as far as the Milwaukie transit center. The Harold Street Max station is gone. And getting to the marvelous Milwaukie Max may be difficult. McLoughlin and the RR tracks are among the obstacles

Right now, the 31, 32 and especially the 33 buses north of Milwaukie run near-full or over capacity - this means those buses essentially turn a profit for TriMet and subsidize the rest of the route south to Oregon City. After they are truncated to Milwaukie they will lose much of their ridership to MAX and lose money.

Meanwhile, the higher operating and construction costs of MAX means that TriMet will spend more money - not less - per rider. Is this what TriMet should be doing in a time of tight financial constraint?

But what's even worse is the comment about the railroad tracks. TriMet has the power of eminent domain - but not over another railroad (which also has the same right).

Now, let's take a little history trip over to WES. See, BNSF owned the "Oregon Electric" line south of Tigard and a few years ago came up with a plan to donate the underlying right-of-way to ODOT, while selling the above-ground railroad hardware to the Portland & Western. (This also involves the Forest Grove Branch, the line from Banks to Linnton, and the Astoria Line - but not the line south of Keizer to Eugene. This also included the line from Beaverton to Hillsboro which is now Westside MAX.)

All is good, right? Except one little problem. See - WES doesn't end in Tigard, it ends in Beaverton. And BNSF didn't own that stretch of railroad, Union Pacific did. And construction had already started on WES, so someone had to buy the land.

Union Pacific, knowing that WES was a done deal, now had the upper hand. It wanted $24 million for a few miles of track that it didn't even operate (it was leased to Portland & Western - the same railroad that gets guaranteed revenue from TriMet, the one that gets to run its freight trains free-of-charge on the TriMet owned/operated railroad from Tigard to Wilsonville, the one that got many, many grants from ConnectOregon including one to build a new railroad yard in Tigard...) So UP said pay up or else.

TriMet, of course, didn't want to get caught. However it didn't have the money either. So it went to Washington County. Washington County found $24 million somewhere, and flew a team of managers to Omaha, Nebraska to UP's headquarters to present the golden check. This is part of the reason why the "low-cost commuter rail line" jumped from an initial estimate of $80 million, to a final cost more than twice that at nearly $162 million.

UP was happy and got the five miles of railroad sold. (UP still owns the railroad west of Beaverton, and the line that runs west-east through Tualatin to Lake Oswego...and to Milwaukie...)

Now...TriMet wants to run its MAX line using...get this - Union Pacific right-of-ways from OMSI down to Milwaukie.

TriMet wants to run MAX on the "Tillamook Branch" through Milwaukie, even through P&W still runs a train on it between Brooklyn Yard and Tigard.

Does anyone think UP is going to just hand over this now surprisingly valuable real estate? After all, TriMet can't just grab it, unlike the "average Joe" who owns a house or a business on the proposed path...this is Union Pacific, who trumps TriMet's right of eminent domain...

If you really want a history lesson, remember the "Portland Traction Company" that ran all the old trolleys and streetcars in the 1950s? Guess what - Portland Traction Company still legally exists, as a real estate subsidiary of Union Pacific.

Perhaps somebody should tell these folks that "you can go broke 'saving money'"

Sigh, you folks just don't get it. Buses aren't sexy to central planners. Trams, trains, and trolleys, oh my.

So come to your senses, and get your hands out of our pockets.


....and get your hands out of our children’s pockets.

The travesty is that children are being used
for promoting a debt that they themselves will have to bear.

The leadership in Portland should feel embarrassed
that children's needs were put aside until now,
after spending on themselves and pet projects first.

Trams, trains, and trolleys are fun take the kids for rides on and look good in real estate brochures.

This isn't about what's useful... it's about what makes certain people's real estates investments more valuable.

Central planning + goverment + big business = bad juju for the people.

Another catch-phrase that should go away is calling governmental spending "investments".

But they are investments ... Investments getting re-elected.

We can't afford:
- Sam/Randy's extravagant tastes
- More developer TIF handouts at the cost of schools
- Having Sellwood bridge as a hazard

Someone doesn't read your blog:


"We can't afford not to spend the money," said Ben Unger. "These schools are falling apart."


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Walter Scott, Pinot Noir, Holstein 2011
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
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Pol Roget Reserve Sparkling Wine
Mount Eden Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains 2009
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Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
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Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
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Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
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Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
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Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
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Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
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Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 115
At this date last year: 21
Total run in 2013: 257
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In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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