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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 28, 2011 8:43 PM. The previous post in this blog was Familiar story, unfamiliar source. The next post in this blog is Two seniors badly injured on MAX. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

You'll never guess what just happened with Milwaukie MAX

All together now, kids:

It's too late to turn back now!

Public process in the Portland area is such a bad joke.

Comments (18)

Light rail from Milwaukie to Portland will move money to Portland, not the other way around. It will be an economic drain on Milwaukie. And it will further take money out of the County budget and transfer it to TriMet. Maybe the commissioners need to hire a County counsel who will look for ways to support what the people want.

Milwaukie light rail is a risky project likely to need major taxpayer subsidy from now on. Shall we take the money from schools, police, fire or all three?

In the plus column, the price of street drugs will coming down in Milwaukie. More competition results in lower prices.

Tweakers and crackheads REJOICE!

I guess no bid contracts are the new way to enact laws now.

To paraphrase a comment buried in an Oregonian article yesterday, "corporate and private wealth is leaving the area".
I wonder why.

To paraphrase a comment buried in an Oregonian article yesterday, "corporate and private wealth is leaving the area".
I wonder why.

It's going to be difficult to get bike riding homeless people to pay for all these nifty "public" amenities.

How dare the residents of Clackamas County think they have a right to approve a multimillion dollar project.

Go home, sit down, and shut up.

The all-knowing representatives of the elites will make all the decisions.

Who the hell ever gave these folks the idea that we live in a democracy?

This is one of the best lessons on Urban Renewal (Tax Increment Financing) I have ever witnessed.

In this work session audio Clackamas County Chair Charlotte Lehan talks about her experience with UR and the need to make sure it's used on projects that generate new revenue. She gave an example of a park built with UR does not generate revenue.

at 11:28 into the audio
http://media1.co.clackamas.or.us/CCSO/MediaPopUpPlay.asp?q_sURl=mms://media1.co.clackamas.or.us/ClackAudio/work20110726c.wma


Of course this is an astounding admission, and hypocrisy to the extreme, given her long track record as the Wilsonville Mayor and her advocacy for using $25 million in borrowed UR funds for Milwaukie Light Rail.
It's the mother of all misuses of Urban Renewal by Lehan's own statement. Not one dime will be generated by MLR. In fact due to the buying of property for MLR and removing it from the tax rolls a depletion of property tax revenue will result.
On top of that, and the borrowed $25 million, the cost of debt service will devour another $15 to $20 million in property taxes paying interest on the debt. All told around $50 million in property tax revenue will be lost from the county budget with nothing generated to replace it. This is classic Portland dysfunction and fiscal irresponsibility resulting in the eroding and reversal of spending priorities.

Importantly this admission by Lehan shows that the advocates of Urban Renewal funding schemes for their "plans" and "projects" are fully aware of what they are doing.
Lehan's slip of the tongue acknowledgment of how many Urban Renewal projects generate no revenue is a money quote for all Urban Renewal debates.

Here in this spectacular video from yesterday's County board meeting former Wilsonville Mayor John Ludlow details how former Wilsonville Mayor Lehan spent millions in borrowed UR funds on projects she knew would not generate any revenue.

23:30
mms://media1.co.clackamas.or.us/ClackVideo/CableLibrary/BCC7-28-11.wmv

What's more appalling is they signed the contract without a clear idea of where the money would come from.

I'm no expert on municipal law, but I seem to remember that one city council can't bind a future city council on some things. I'd bet that whatever agreement was signed, it's not specifically enforceable.

The contract is a useless piece of paper with no defined termination clause.

Such as in a rental lease agreement.

So Clackamas County Commissioners could
do the right thing and pass a board action terminating their participation.

There are only 4 parties to the agreement. TriMet and 3 Clackamas County entities.

The board action would need only state they have no source of funding and inadequate public support.

If TriMet thinks they are entitiled to some termination payment they can go to court.
Now that would be fun!

Recall time!

Interesting questions...

I'd like to know, if Clackamas County did (now or in the future, or through voter action) terminate the contract, AND if TriMet actually decided to sue.

How would damages be calculated? TriMet doesn't earn money on any project, it operates purely at a loss. So there's no lost revenue or profits to calculate a loss on.

TriMet could in theory argue that it is losing future payroll tax revenue...but how can that remotely be calculated? There are other areas in our region that are growing jobs and have nothing to do with light rail or are not anywhere near a light rail line.

To me, the idea that it's too late because TriMet could sue is just another false argument (right after proclaiming the false value of a piece of land that can't be sold or used for anything BUT a railroad). I don't see any value in TriMet actually suing Clackamas County...because if a future Board was sued by TriMet...the Board could just turn around, de-annex the entire county from TriMet, and TriMet would be stuck with operating the Green Line into Clackamas County with no local operating source (and in fact Clackamas County could go a step further and assess property taxes on the light rail alignment.) I think TriMet has more to lose by fighting the county...

I guess the voters of Clackistan County are getting what they deserve by electing this group of commissioners. (Just sayin' since the outliers are always ripping on Portland with that rhetoric)

Erik,

IF TriMet actually decided to sue they would have a tough time establishing any damages since the inter-governmental allows for all sorts of adjustments in funding and scope of the the project. The $1.5 Billion project is underway and not at risk because of CC $25 million share. Neil McFarlane has already responded to the notion of that share not being secured.

He said, they would seek other revenue and consider phased construction. There has also been significant mention of the PMLR Bridge alone sufficing as an interim accomplishment.

The idea that Clackamas County MUST write check because TriMet could sue is just another phony ploy by the racketeers.

This is like someone signing an earnest money agreement to buy a house, then not able to get financing or a down payment and having to back out of the "deal".

Is the seller going to sue claiming "a deal is a deal"?

It's an easy phone to TriMet for the county. "We can't pay, we're out. Stop the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail in Portland."

Clackamas County has no possible way to come up with their $25 million unless they borrow it and pilfer $45 million from county services for the debt servicing.

There is no value in TriMet actually suing Clackamas County. The PR nightmare would be more damaging than CC backing out.

Really the project should not have been approved and started. Most of the rest of the local match is just as shady as the Clackamas County sham. Borrowing against
revenue already allocated.

One does have to wonder just what is the big emergency to slam these projects through come h*ll or high water like the world were ending tomorrow? If it were, a train would be the last thing I'd get on.

...slam these projects through come "h*ll or high water like the world were ending tomorrow..."

It may just feel like that to those who have been on the gravy train.

It's too late to turn back now!

I would love to play poker with people who believe in throwing good money after bad. The good money is in your pocket, the bad money is in the pot.

The gravy train is running so thin now
it is hard to tell the difference between gravy and diarrhea.


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