Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 3, 2011 8:39 AM. The previous post in this blog was Last of the 'dogs. The next post in this blog is Arrest no. 38 at Occupy Portland. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Guess who doesn't have to play by the rules

There's a fascinating piece in today's Trib about code enforcement by the City of Portland. The city says it acts only on complaints, but then it admits that many complaints go unheeded. This leads to the perception that politics plays a role in code enforcement in town.

Gee, d'ya think? Get on the wrong side of Admiral Randy, and you'll have your head handed to you. This is the city with a roving "Hit Squad" of inspectors, who pounce when the boss commands it. "Know who your friends are," indeed.

Buried at the bottom of the piece is the news that Hoyt Street Properties, the Pearl District real estate firm founded by Homer Williams, is running an illegal parking lot in that district. The city's only action has been to fine the company, and the fine is far less than the profit that can be made renting out parking spaces. And so the violations continue. It's been going on for three years. "It fell between the cracks." Uh huh.

But get this: The city says that they'll force Hoyt Street to shut down the lot if enough people complain. Here's a complaint form. Maybe it can be called a "zoning violation." The address of the offending property is the block bounded by NW 10th, 11th, Northrup and Overton. Or perhaps one should call in one's complaint to Mike Liefeld, the city enforcement chief. His phone number is (503) 823-7332.

Comments (14)

And the complaints are anonymous !
Let's get those phones at the BDS a ringin'! this morning.

Code Enforcement

If you know the code you can disable the enforcement! What's the problem?

Do we necessarily ipso facto want to shut down the parking lot? Do we agree with the central city moratorium on new parking lots? Or do we shut them down just because we can? Or just for the sport of it? Not arguing, just wondering these things.

If Hoyt has to shut down its parking lot, soon the city may have a change of heart about that moratorium. The City Council answers to those people.

Rules, regulations and laws should be enforced equally!
Why should Hoyt St Properties be "more equal" than Michael Wright, or anyone else?
The way the city of Portland is run on all levels is a crime and a disgrace!

Note that for the first three years after the complaint, the city wasn't even fining them. They did nothing.

Them getting away with it is one thing, but those engaged in private profit-seeking activity will always get away with as much as they can. That's the nature of that beast. I worry more about graft by public officials --the supposed regulators-- who exploit that nature for their own direct or indirect personal enrichment. Those are the guys to target.

So to file an anonymous complaint, I have to register an account with Portland Online to get the form? Right. No wonder nothing happens.

When the city wants to play tough, they can do it. There for awhile there was no enforcement of new billboards that were popping up. The city then started to fine the offendees a large daily amount and the signs came down. The one I remember most is Oregon Outdoor Community on I-84. Guess the city does not want to ruffle feathers in the Pearl.

In substance, I think this mirrors the historically traditional roles of government and businesses in Portland. That is, anything goes as long as government gets its cut.

With that in mind, this system makes perfect sense. The city dogs business owners who are able to write checks or incur property liens, who aren't using that money to support their politics, and who have other enemies to deal with (the rats) to sap their will to fight the city. The HSP's of the city redevelop those business owners' properties when they finally move away.

Also, with HSP, sure it may pay $1200/mo tribute for the parking lot, but how much direct or indirect help has it received from the same coffers? It really is all "just business," exactly how Tiffany S. described in the article.

I think someone needs to "complain" about this whole ridiculous mess of land use sticks and carrots in the courts. An even playing field for businesses in Portland would be a beautiful thing that could revive our city.

Some years ago I knew someone who moved here from Seattle to take a job for one of the city's planning and permit bureaus. After about 5 years he quit and went back up north. When I asked why, he said this place was more crooked than a box of corkscrews.

BDS Director Paul Scarlett wants to hear from you:

"My current priorities and focus areas for the bureau includes [sic]:

* Service Level/BDS Level Communication Plan

* Technology

* Maintaining good working relationship with Labor, customers, and Industry partners

I am constantly looking for new, creative and improved ways to best serve our customers. If you have questions or concerns about our current services or ideas for improvements please feel free to contact me at I look forward to hearing from you."

If you obtain a response from him, which would be a rare event, please recount the interaction in this forum.

So, is the reference to CoP being run like a modern day Tammany Hall not so outlandish after all?

PPS violated numerous parts of the zoning code and their conditional use permits over the past decade.

More than 200 complaints were filed with BDS, were acknowledged as valid by both BDS and Planning staff.

BDS put them on hold until that time which they along with the Mayors office, could find a retroactive means to make them go away.

They could not do so by legal means so they fabricated a rationalization to do so. This took over two years, and during that time PPS redefined grades, and "completed" a high school redesign, and constructed a disposition policy to better enable them to pass along the most desirable elementary and middle school properties to private parties. Watch out also for those high schools which have around 30 acres of open space each.

Council further enabled future PPS violations by diminishing the code requirement from the Planning Commission recommended type 3 review to a type 2 bypassing the public and neighborhood notification requirement.

PPS took the position they were not subject to our zoning code (ie. above the law) in spite of managing real property within the City. The Planning Bureau and City attorney seemed to differ on this interpretation, but it seemed not to matter to those controlling this real estate slush fund. Our Mayor controls Planning.

Council looked the other way, and then voted to allow retroactive immunity for more than ten years worth of violations at numerous properties.

What PPS did was intentionally failing to file applications for permits, (no application, no proof or compliance required) Knowing what's done cannot be undone. This was preferred path due the the requirement at BDS that they provide proof of clear title and show how the changes would comply with the code in order for their land use application to be accepted for review, then approval.

PPS would not provide any evidence that they actually have title to their properties, so the pass in Council because they don't want the public to have the knowledge they may not be able to legally convey legitimate title in their plans to dispose of public lands both past and future; some of which have those inconvenient encumbrances such as reversion clauses placed on them by the donors in past generations who understood political manipulations and greed.

The whole debate over who owns public property is something PPS and the City does not want brought into the light of day.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Louis Jadot, Pouilly-Fuissé 2011
Trader Joe's, Grower's Reserve Pinot Noir 2012
Zenato, Lugana San Benedetto 2012
Vintjs, Cabernet 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White 2012
Rainstorm, Oregon Pinot Gris 2012
Silver Palm, North Coast Cabernet 2011
Andrew Rich, Gewurtztraminer 2008
Rodney Strong, Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Canoe Ridge, Pinot Gris, Expedition 2012
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Rose 2012
Dark Horse, Big Red Blend No. 01A
Elk Cove, Pinot Noir Rose 2012
Fletcher, Shiraz 2010
Picollo, Gavi 2011
Domaine Eugene Carrel, Jongieux 2012
Eyrie, Pinot Blanc 2010
Atticus, Pinot Noir 2010
Walter Scott, Pinot Noir, Holstein 2011
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
Coppola, Sofia Rose 2012
Joel Gott, 851 Cabernet 2010
Pol Roget Reserve Sparkling Wine
Mount Eden Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains 2009
Rombauer Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2011
Beringer, Chardonnay, Napa Reserve 2011
Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Schloss Vollrads, Spaetlese Rheingau 2010
Belle Glos, Pinot Noir, Clark & Telephone 2010
WillaKenzie, Pinot Noir, Estate Cuvee 2010
Blackbird Vineyards, Arise, Red 2010
Chauteau de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2005
Northstar, Merlot 2008
Feather, Cabernet 2007
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Alexander Valley 2002
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2002
Trader Joe's, Chardonnay, Grower's Reserve 2012
Silver Palm, Cabernet, North Coast 2010
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
E. Guigal, Cotes du Rhone 2009
Santa Margherita, Pinot Grigio 2011
Alamos, Cabernet 2011
Cousino Macul, Cabernet, Anitguas Reservas 2009
Dreaming Tree Cabernet 2010
1967, Toscana 2009
Charamba, Douro 2008
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend No. 12
Opula Red Blend 2010
Liberte, Pinot Noir 2010
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red Blend 2010
Woodbridge, Chardonnay 2011
King Estate, Pinot Noir 2011
Famille Perrin, Cotes du Rhone Villages 2010
Columbia Crest, Les Chevaux Red 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White Blend
Familia Bianchi, Malbec 2009
Terrapin Cellars, Pinot Gris 2011
Columbia Crest, Walter Clore Private Reserve 2009
Campo Viejo, Rioja, Termpranillo 2010
Ravenswood, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Quinta das Amoras, Vinho Tinto 2010
Waterbrook, Reserve Merlot 2009
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills, Pinot Grigio 2011
Tarantas, Rose
Chateau Lajarre, Bordeaux 2009
La Vielle Ferme, Rose 2011
Benvolio, Pinot Grigio 2011
Nobilo Icon, Pinot Noir 2009
Lello, Douro Tinto 2009
Quinson Fils, Cotes de Provence Rose 2011
Anindor, Pinot Gris 2010
Buenas Ondas, Syrah Rose 2010
Les Fiefs d'Anglars, Malbec 2009
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Conundrum 2012
Condes de Albarei, Albariño 2011
Columbia Crest, Walter Clore Private Reserve 2007
Penelope Sanchez, Garnacha Syrah 2010
Canoe Ridge, Merlot 2007
Atalaya do Mar, Godello 2010
Vega Montan, Mencia
Benvolio, Pinot Grigio
Nobilo Icon, Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2009

The Occasional Book

Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
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
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
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
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
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: 119
At this date last year: 21
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
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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