This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 14, 2011 9:47 AM. The previous post in this blog was Half the story. The next post in this blog is More gunplay in broad daylight in NE Portland. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Schrunk had crack at Portland parking meter scandal in '08

KGW's got an excellent followup to Wednesday's bombshell FBI raid on the City of Portland's parking meter office. It has uncovered documents showing that the office of Multnomah County district attorney Mike Schrunk was sniffing around that office less than three years ago in connection with the now-notorious theft of coins from the city's old parking meters when its more modern ones were being installed. A memo summarizing that effort is posted here.

The memo concludes that Ellis McCoy, the city employee who is prime target of the current FBI probe, made it impossible, through his unreasonable and irregular conduct, for the police to conduct an adequate investigation into the missing money. He did his own search, and the contractor he had promoted into doing the replacement work gave his employees polygraph tests without police involvement. After that, a legitimate police investigation apparently wasn't worth pursuing.

"A review of this case suggests that the City might have some issues regarding their management of parking meter retrofits," wrote Deputy D.A. Steve O'Hagan. That much was undeniably true -- but the three thousand bucks stolen from the meters was peanuts compared with the huge contracts that McCoy was vigorously steering to his favored contractors.

The memo was presented by Schrunk to McCoy's supervisor, Sue Keil, and then-Transportation Commissioner Sam Adams. The letter of transmittal was dated Oct. 31, 2008. As best we can tell, McCoy was never disciplined. A few months later, the city apparently sought out a "management coach" for him, and later in 2009, he reportedly got a merit raise.

A commenter on the story raised an interesting point that we hadn't considered: Both of the mayor's major bureaus, police and transportation, are now officially under federal investigation. That's got to be a first for any Portland mayor -- but then again, this guy's racked up all kinds of firsts, hasn't he?

Comments (17)

As you said Jack, "Tip of the iceberg".

I am shocked simply shocked that there is incompetence in the DA's office..... NOT

Even more fascinating - CoP investigates itself and finds nothing wrong with itself.

I sound like a broken record but I'm glad I moved away from Portland in the mid-1990s.

From reading your blog, Portland makes Washington state and local government seem downright rational and sane (and that is saying something.)

Portland: From Wierd to Stupid.

Just when you think it can't get any more so, it does.

Yes Portland has issues but don't compare it to Washington

Every major metro has the developer influence over local government problem.

But the reason people in Portland go along with some of the excesses of our local pols is that we don't want to end up like Vancouver.

Now granted there are awesome places in Washington, mostly on the other side of the Cascades, but if you live in the I-5 corridor in WA state you live in an armpit compared to this city. What you see here is concern about an amazing city and trying to keep it that way, not some desire to be like Tacoma.

Wondering why his premature notification of the company did not constitute Hindering Prosecution...

jay jay mack:...but if you live in the I-5 corridor in WA state you live in an armpit compared to this city. What you see here is concern about an amazing city and trying to keep it that way, not some desire to be like Tacoma.

Attended a gathering on the other side of the 205 bridge, about 30 miles north of Vancouver, and I must say it felt like a breath of fresh air to get away from our "amazing" city. You must be one who drinks the kool aid here if you think we still have an "amazing" city...or you don't live in parts of the city that have been so negatively impacted by "amazing" plans?

People were talking about that it is too sad what has happened to Portland, used to be such a nice city.

By the way, even off the interstate, their roads were beautifully marked and a comfort to drive at night compared to our road markings that are severely faded.

Back to the topic of the thread, in my view,
the corruption is what has made our livability here more troubling.

According to the O, it was more than $175,000.

Next please.....can you say Portland Water Bureau?

.......if you live in the I-5 corridor in WA state you live in an armpit compared to this city.

Gosh, now there is a Chamber of Commerce moment: Our corruption is more scenic than your corruption.

The thread's Good Snark award to "Clayman"!

Those seeking reasons to strengthen their view that corruption is a function of government in general are missing the point of this whole story.

This sort of thing is happening all over the country. It is always likely to happen when infrastructure problems are "solved" by privatization schemes. Parking meters and toll roads are in the category of things that should be 100% municipally held and operated. Sorry, libertarians.

Old Skip:Next please.....can you say Portland Water Bureau?

Our water should be 100% municipally held and operated, however, the rate our PWB is going with debt, and in my opinion deliberately adding more debt, we may be pressed towards accepting privatization one day.

This should never happen to our water, and many citizens and groups are working diligently that our water and water rights be saved.

Too bad that our elected officials are not.

Look at the ex-employees interviewed. Naysayers are pushed out. How sad for all the hard work those people put in over the years.


You need to find another example of "privatization schemes" leading to corruption. Portland still owns the parking meters: the vendors allegedly bribed a CoP employee.

Unless you believe the city should be manufacturing their own parking meters, they have to buy them from somebody.

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