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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 14, 2011 1:36 PM. The previous post in this blog was Supreme Court takes local sewer tax case. The next post in this blog is Regular students at U of O tired of paying for jocks. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Survey says Lake O. residents don't want streetcars

While Portland was being driven to distraction by the Occupiers last week, there were several interesting news developments in the suburb to the immediate south -- Lake Oswego, where the real estate developers have captured a majority of the City Council and are poised to loot decades' worth of property taxes with which to build hideous apartment bunkers along the river.

The real fireworks came with respect to the Portland-to-Oswego streetcar plan, without which the evil condo-meister Homer Williams says his development of the so-called Oswego "foothills" can't happen. First, an engineer who has studied the streetcar plan took off the gloves in the O last week and called the proposal out for what it is:

Suresh C. Paranjpe, an Indian-born mechanical engineer who founded ColorX and holds 34 U.S. patents in printing technologies,... -- a Southwest Portland resident whose executive experience includes high-level positions at Xerox, Tektronix and Mead -- has been spending a lot of free time dissecting the Portland-Lake Oswego streetcar plan.

His conclusion: The promoters of the project, who stand to gain in various ways by the selection of streetcars over buses, "used incorrect assumptions to present exaggerated benefits of Streetcar."

As a result, Paranjpe contends, they have invalidated the findings of the draft environmental impact statement. In other words: If this thing is built, it will be done so on a foundation of lies.

It wouldn't be the first time.

But the big news is that the City Council's own survey of Lake Oswegans clearly shows that a majority of the city's residents do not want a streetcar line -- and their opinion didn't change much after the survey team used their best push-poll questions on them.

Since Williams says his condos can't be built without the streetcar, it's time for the folks down that way to show him the door. The longer they let him hang around, the greater the chance that he'll do to L.O. what he did to Portland with the utterly failed SoWhat District.

Comments (32)

Overall, this survey indicates that both the streetcar project and development is rejected by a sizable majority of voters in Lake Oswego.
Voters have many other priorities they would like elected city officials to do something about.
With 58% wanting "no build" and "other things accomplished" there is inadequate support for continuing the project. Voters’ opinions appear motivated more by ensuring that other options are pursued which preserve funding and the character of Lake Oswego.
The fatally flawed project has now been shown to be incappable of providing worthwhile transportation beneifts and unwanted by the community.

Adding insult to injury for proponents is the survey also showing the community rejects the Foothills development plans that were to come with the streetcar.

Quote:
"The most acceptable community planning principle was to restrict additional development so that Lake Oswego maintains its existing character"

&

Quote:
"The least acceptable principle was to mix different development types together, such as buildings in which people can live above retail shops and offices"

Overall, this is as big a blow to the 4 proponent LO city councilors as the county wide 70% victory of 3-386 is to the 4 county commissioners who tried to thwart it.
It will be interesting to see if any of them are cappable of responding honorably, adapting and/or altering any of their Portland-esc objectives.
If they stick to their track record they will be again insulting the voters with more of the same while at the same time advancing into the election cycle.

They've tried just about everything to force their unwanted Portland agenda upon the city and county.
Is it over for them?

It sure looks like the survey firm tried their best to soften the actual poll results as to not offend someone? Who really wants this answer?

Excerpts from The Oregonian Article (link below). You don't even have to read between the lines to see what they have planned for us.

http://www.oregonlive.com/lake-oswego/index.ssf/2011/11/lake_oswego_streetcar_survey_f.html

“I think what we’re seeing in the survey is that a lot of folks are uninformed about the streetcar or just aren’t paying attention to it,” said Horvick. “Even though it was the top-rated issue, 82 percent of the people didn’t mention streetcar as the most important. This was probably the first time they were hearing any cost information at all.”

“We knew we wanted to test an amount we felt we could get the project down to,” said Williams. “It wasn’t just pulling a number out of the air, but at the same time, we haven’t had anything that would back up the numbers until we fully go through the refinement process.”

Project consultants and officials are in the process of attempting to refine cost and design estimates. The re-polished plan is expected to be presented to city officials in January. The Lake Oswego City Council will discuss the survey results during a meeting on Tuesday. Williams said increased efforts to educate the community on the streetcar will come after the refinement report is complete.

Lake Oswego is slated to put an advisory vote to residents no later than May 2012 on whether the city should move forward with the transit option.

They DO try to put a spin on it:

"In an open-ended question to start the survey, 18% of voters said the streetcar was the most important issue they would like their city elected officials to do something about. This was more than any other single issue, but it also means that a large marjority (82%) felt that some other issue was more important. Other important issues were education, taxing, and city finances."

Interesting and intelligent, but the man bespeaks heresy here in the heartland (and flypaper) of car-haters.

A lot of people who didn't live here (or weren't even alive) in the 1970's will recite as gospel the myth that Portland is the only city ever to tear a major freeway away from evil cars and give it back to The People.

"has found that a “slight majority” of residents oppose the project."

Ha-ha - I'm sure that means something like a 75-25 ratio oppose/support.

From the O:

"A central point of contention with the streetcar project has been an initially projected $380 million to $458 million price tag by the project’s estimated completion date."

Dear god, this is going to be a $1B project, isn't it?

Will Homer meet his Waterloo in Lake O?
I wonder....will he have to retreat to Jumby Bay or Milwaukie?

No he'll just retreat to Beaverton and join "The Don" and rip us all off with more UR

Suresh is discovering what a lot us already know. Everytime, TriMet helps publish a light rail Impact Statement, it fails a key test, that being, the action should be "a prudent use of taxpayer dollars." Train projects in Portland do not usually come even close to this criteria. TriMet always reports how the rail commuter project will save on operating and maintenance costs. But what TriMet does not advertise is its various projects do not save on total costs of mass transit, as the capital costs (debt and interest) by far outweigh any operation and maintenance savings.

It's easy to lower operating costs when you provide less service.

What Tri-Met also never mentions is how often one of the Max lines is delayed, holding up numerous trains behind the problem. Car/train accidents, pedestrians being hit, a jammed door in one of the cars, a bridge lift - and trains are delayed a few minutes, to a few hours. Sure, they tell you they "arrange for buses to transport passengers" - but they could have done that to start with. Had Occupy Portland decided to hang out on fifth or sixth yesterday, the Green and Yellow lines would have been out of commission. Buses, however, can take detours.

Plus, I can't wait until a major earthquake renders much of the train track inoperable.

"the utterly failed SoWhat District."

Sorry, it is a major success - it accomplished its main goal of showering money on buddies of the elected officials.

That its secondary goal of being viable was not met is irrelevant.

Thanks
JK

"Williams said increased efforts to educate the community on the streetcar will come after the refinement report is complete."

You will be educated, citizens. I imagine the scene from Clockwork Orange where Alex is getting the "treatment" with his eyeballs pried open.

Don't forget how MAX can't run at all when the weather's too cold or too hot. How cost-effective is that ?

“I think what we’re seeing in the survey is that a lot of folks are uninformed about the streetcar or just aren’t paying attention to it,”

They trot that line out every time: people are "uninformed", and just need to be "educated". It never occurs to them that they might be the uniformed ones - they're certifiably smart fellers.

Oooh.... RE-education; just like Stalinist Russia, Myanmar, and N Korea.
Now who will get those contracts? Or will the unused Wapato Jail be the location of reeducation?

The most offensive angle of this is how much the proponent politicians are willing to lie for what they mistakenlythink is for our own good.

"2 million people are coming here and we have to accomodate them in existing communities."

etc.

The MANY lies from these city and county politicians regarding the Sellwood bridge/Milwaukie Light Rail fee scam, UR measures, McLoughlin, streetcar & Foothills have been sickening.

Any elected official who suggests we need to be "educated" about this project ought to get a fat lip.

Get over yourselves - on occasion, the voters know what they want and can afford and we don't need the gracious shepherding of a local politician who owes a favor to some developer.

We don't need to go through this scene again with Homer, politicians, and the aid of THEIR studies saying we'll pick a new budget number for the LO streetcar from the $1/2 Billion projected and now call it $200 Million.

Neighborhood associations and citizens went through this scam with the tram. Our neighborhood association was first told it would be $9 Million. A sales job. The true cost came in at over 13 times that. Now they want to employ that scam for the streetcar.

And where's the survey for the streetcar segment in Portland which constitutes more than 1/2 of length and impacts much more of our already built environment.

And where are the environmental groups opposing the line where the Streetcar Study strongly questioned it's environmental impact?

...And where are the environmental groups opposing the line where the Streetcar Study strongly questioned it's environmental impact?

Good question - where are they?

Cannot imagine that all that building along the riverfront can be a good thing, erosion,
cutting the greenery and trees down for the built environment.

How did they ever get by with bypassing the height restriction in SoWhat? I thought that the earlier planners anyway had the concept of a step down in height to the river, would not have allowed those out of scale towers. Who was the Planning Commissioner for South Waterfront?

A lot of people who didn't live here (or weren't even alive) in the 1970's will recite as gospel the myth that Portland is the only city ever to tear a major freeway away from evil cars and give it back to The People.

Must be the same people who repeat the story of how General Motors and Standard Oil killed the Red Cars in Los Angeles.

Which, of course, is an utterly false story.

I live in West Linn and believe me, there is no need or no great outpouring of support for such nonsense. I regularly drive by the 2 main bus stops in L.O., the one in front of Safeway and the one in front of Albertsons, and you have maybe 3 or 4 people who get on the bus(es) at any time.

The people at Metro (and the city planner types) just can't seem to get through their overpaid noggins that people move to Lake Oswego and West Linn to GET AWAY from the craziness of Portland. It really must drive them crazy.

You had better get out of your cul-de-sac and work to rid the towns of the politicians that are getting elected down there. Most of them are Blumenauer extremists. You may need to relocate south of Hubbard to get away from them if you don't take a stand soon.

Thanks Jack, we're trying. It is difficult to counter the kind of marketing (or is that education?) public-private partners LO and WDW can churn out. Regular citizens have a tough fight with city hall even when less is at stake. They use our money to pay staff to work full time to work against us. And when they need to, they get well-paid consultants to do the job for them. Gone are the days when THEY were OUR servants. Those public-private partnership things really have to go - but that's another topic.

It distresses me that the polling firm seems to be under the $pell of their masters. They are really putting their reputation at risk here. Their man Horvick explains to the crestfallen LO shill, Brent Williams, why things didn't come out the way the City of LO wanted and what to do about it: Educate the people.

So we can expect more of WDW and LO-funded printed material and opinion pieces oozing out, signed by the Chamber, Mayor and Friends of (insert politician, PAC, union, consultant, NGO and insider). They have a very well-organized machine, but I think they are only popular amongst themselves.

It really says something that in spite of all their efforts to date, the citizens of LO STILL DO NOT WANT A STREETCAR. Now comes the big push leading up to a citizen vote on the streetcar in 2012, though the date keeps being set back - guess it takes a bit of time to put enough shinola on those liar's budgets. It is an advisory vote only, so Big Jack and his buds can do whatever they want in the end. I hope the vote is a big fat NO. I hope at least one of them has enough integrity to do the right thing. I hope that Jack doesn't sign any irreversible contracts with the devil before he and/or councilor friends leave office at the end oof 2012. They are picking off their targets (codes) one by one now. Next LO council update Dec. 13. Be there - the local chamber will be!

When the local planning overlords consistently choose the most expensive, most obsolete and slowest form of public transportation imaginable then I would expect that people would need to re-educated on all the newspeak. High costs are GOOD and "create jobs". Fixed rail is "flexible and responsive" transit. Streetcars are "rapid transit". Streetcar = High Capacity Transit.

Those are just a few examples, I'm sure there are more. Myself, I can't think of any better way to sell a super-expensive Disney Land ride as a public transportation option.

Myself, I can't think of any better way to sell a super-expensive Disney Land ride as a public transportation option.

Don't insult Disneyland, people there actually walk around their ten-minute neighborhood (unless there's a fireworks show or a parade going on), use mass transit (people really do ride the trains, the Monorail, and the Omnibus and horse-drawn streetcars), and the city (Disneyland) makes a huge profit each year without assessing property taxes (so you have to pay an entry fee to get in...so what? There's also very little crime!)

And the trains really do run every 10 minutes...that's more frequent that most of TriMet's services.

In all seriousness...why does government have to educate us? Something is seriously wrong...

How did they ever get by with bypassing the height restriction in SoWhat? I thought that the earlier planners anyway had the concept of a step down in height to the river, would not have allowed those out of scale towers. Who was the Planning Commissioner for South Waterfront?

That one's not hard to figure when the organization writing the building code is also the developer.

The developers presented the "step down" concept to City Council, which approved it. The City started building infrastructure. The developers then came back and told the Council that they couldn't develop SoWa economically with short buildings, and would the City give them permission to build skinny towers? The City did. The developers then came back and said that skinny towers wouldn't be big enough, and got permission to build fatter towers.

So just who was the Planning Commissioner who changed our good codes we used to have that kept our city livable and then we saw documents called Code Language Improvement I, etc. and "adjustments" allowed?

Isaac, you're marginally right.

Neighborhood Associations, who in the past, had won legal challenges all the way to the Oregon Supreme Court through LUBA on the "step-down" requirements to the river, that our city and state regs require.

With those wins the neighborhood reps presented these facts back in 90's through all the Committees leading up to the Council adoption of SoWhat's 9 Agreements in 1999. The developers never advocated for step downs, in fact they tried to reason that "we need to create a new city response to our river". They additionally only wanted 45 ft set backs from the river edge. Neighborhoods asked for 100 ft. 75 ft was the compromise.

Now ask yourself, are the step-downs in SoWhat what most citizens think of really a step-down as previously our Planners in the 60's, 70's and 80's insisted on in our Central City? That is why the PGE complex right on Front Avenue, even though over 400 ft from the seawall has the highest building of their complex one block farther to the west, while the shorter buildings are right on Front.

The Planners recognized our zoning laws then. But we had a miraculous change in our Planners/Bureaucrats/Pols in the 90's. And again I ask, where were the environmental groups then?

Clinemen, I don't have my files to review, I believe, two Commissioners that oversaw the Planning Bureau through the SoWhat process. Plus, through that time Planning morphed into two additional name-called bureaus. In fact, I get so confused what to call it, I always revert back to "Planning". Even most staff down there politely know what you're talking about, but a few get ruffled. After the election it will be called something else with at least four names, plus they'll probably add "equity" in there somewhere.

Don't insult Disneyland...

Point taken. DisneyLand rides, on average, probably have higher productivity than a streetcar. Most rides seem to move faster than a walking pace and the lines at peak hour can stretch for several hundred feet so you know most of those roller coaster seats are getting filled up. And DisneyLand is actually making money, the same can't be said Portland's Magic Light Rail Kingdom.


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