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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Missing the story

The O's Brad Schmidt has been reporting yesterday and today about Homer Williams's latest great deal for Portland taxpayers: He and his buddy Dike Dame will build a Residence Inn in the Pearl District. Leaving aside how much public money they'll probably be able to wring out of their water boys at the Portland Development Commission, the scam aspect to the deal -- not reported by Schmidt -- is here:

PDC’s existing agreement with Hoyt Street calls for a residential project on the site with at least 30 units set aside for households earning 120 percent of the area’s median family income or $59,280 for a two-person family.

More broken promises from Homer. You were expecting something different? Old Brad sure seems to be.

Comments (8)

It is kind of hard to know what the best answer is given the meager details in the reports.

My guess is that the subsidized housing would cost taxpayers a ton more than changing the charter and allowing a hotel there. Subsidized housing is almost always a bad investment for the taxpayers. (maybe always a bad investment?)

I guess I've never heard of a successful public housing project but maybe they do exist. I really doubt Portland would know how to do one though. Just last week we were treated to the news about the "workforce" housing that cost taxpayers a bunch of money so some middle class folks can live in a nicer place than they were willing to pay for.

The PDC is basically a home for scam artists and fools. I can't imagine any reason it exists other than a way to funnel money to friends and family of elected officials.

Hi Jack: What's the story behind the dig at Brad? So far almost everyone east of the Willamette (Eastern Oregon to the west hills snobs) thinks he's great. So, what's the scoop?

He's quite good at regurgitating the pap he's fed by city bureaucrats. Rarely challenges any of it. He's certainly no Hank Stern, Anna Griffin, Maxine Bernstein, or Ted Sickinger. Those people actually ask hard questions, and don't accept pat answers.

We shouldn't be involved in either of these projects. I can't see why we would put public money towards housing for people at 120% of the median income.

My wife and I made around that amount not too many years ago, and we didn't feel entitled to a home in the Pearl. We went to a neighborhood we could afford.

Public officials in Portland seem to think the goverment needs to get involved in every thing. That a developer can't possibly build a hotel by himself, and if he can't that maybe there isn't demand for a hotel there. And a family with above average income can't possibly be asked to move somewhere affordable on the eastside. No, the local government has to get involved to straighten out these issues, to the tune of multi-millions of dollars.

'I guess I've never heard of a successful public housing project but maybe they do exist.'

Only as prisons.

See my other corollary regarding people screaming for government solutions are only drowned out by the complaining by people who've actually gotten government solutions.

I'm with the Old Curmudgeon on this one. Brad Schmidt has done a great job, particularly on Water Bureau issues.

Anna took her lead from Randy L.

Maybe the "New Media" should have a rating system. This story is an exact reprint from the press release =one star. This story is 1/2 direct reprint and 1/2 I changed some of the wording=2 stars. I tried to make it look almost original=3 stars. I took 1/2 the press release and used it to ask original questions from a live person (former journalist)=4 stars.
I heard a rumor, and with an inside source, blew the lid off with an original investigative researched story (buah ha ha!)= 5 STAR!

The PDC summary referenced in Schmidt's article said in item #6 that the obligation for affordable housing at Station Place Lot 4 was eliminated. The 30 units of affordable housing originally planned when HSP was going to build condos on the site in 2004, and then apartments, was transferred to another location in the Pearl when the project became a hotel. The new requirement is for 30 units of housing for those at or below 120% MFI under the Hoyt Street Yards Development Agreement.

A couple of thoughts:
So condos are not profitable any more, or PDX doesn't have the bucks to pour into condo development to make it "pencil out". Just don't know why the apartment plan wouldn't work if housing is so tight in the area. Are they saying that rents are still not high enough to cover construction costs, or just not high enough for their liking?

For the government to consider affordable housing to be that which is suitable for families with 120% of median family income or less ($59,280 for a family of 2) is nuts. Most apartments require gross income to be at least 3x rent. In this scenario, we are talking about an apartment suitable for 2 people that would rent for about $1,600/month. I am not familiar with the Pearl rent structure, but one can get a pretty nice 2 bedroom apartment in inner east side for around $950/mo or a one bedroom for $850. The apartments are newer and bigger with more amenities in Beaverton, just a Max ride away, for a similar price or sometimes less. You can buy a lot of Trimet passes for $650 - $800 per month. Other neighborhoods would be less expensive with good transportation options included. Maybe affordable housing does not exist where one prefers, but that has always been the case. That is what provides one with the motivation to work hard - to be able to choose where and how we want to live. And shame on any government that takes away that motivation and achievement or deals some an advantage.

So why does the government think affordable housing doesn't exist? It does. What doesn't exist are enough jobs with good wages. For those who still fall through the cracks we should fund Sec. 8 vouchers and let people live where they choose in private housing.

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