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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 11, 2012 11:46 AM. The previous post in this blog was Rah rah siss boom blah. The next post in this blog is Been here, done that. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Like several of our readers, we keep getting come-ons from Portland's zany Metro government, urging us to take one of their "Opt In" surveys, where the people who agree with them can answer a bunch of loaded questions telling them what they want to hear. Not only do they have high-priced in-house public relations flacks working on this, but there's also a paid outside consultant involved. Phony public involvement doesn't come cheap.

The other day, though, the pitch was unusual. Now Metro is asking about Tri-Met's budget woes:

Metro helping Tri-Met? Sounds natural -- one set of developer slaves pitching in to help another. But there's a subplot to this one, because if we recall correctly, Metro has the power under state law to take over Tri-Met if the Metro board decides to do it. Now, we all know that Tri-Met is doomed from a financial perspective, and when the house of cards starts blowing around in a few years, a lot of questions will be asked about the transit agency's future.

Will Metro take over Tri-Met? The fact that it's now involved in budget planning for the transit system may just push the answer to that question one baby step closer to yes.

Comments (11)

I don't know if Metro wants Tri-Met, but I the survey is typically leading towards "acceptable" conclusions. None of the cuts I would favor are on the table.

Become a part of the well-paid Multi-Agency team implementing the Columbia River Crossing project! Tri-Met is trolling for a CRC Transit Manager to the tune of $93,360-$140,138 a year.

It would be interesting to know what the other involved agencies are paying their CRC diddlers and squatters.

I took a look at the survey. Reducing Red Line service is the only rail cut they are considering.

Go by train ... to Milwaukie!

I love the question that lets you choose between the following three answers (and no others):

I own a car but prefer to ride TriMet
I don't own a car
Can't/don't drive

No, I'm not making that up.

Sounds like one of those "elections" under a dictator...

A few months ago, I was offered a $15 gift card if I filled out one of these transportation surveys trying to figure out how best to spend the taxpayer's money. I took the survey and my answers reflected the fact that I rely heavily on my car and want money spent on road and traffic flow improvements. When I was done with the survey and hit the "submit" button, a little message popped up telling me they had received enough feedback from people in my demographic and couldn't use my responses. I wish that also meant they had received enough taxes from people in my demographic and won't be collecting any more.

Friday morning, January 6th, the Portland Business Journal reported that $10 million of a new $200 million OHSU-PSU-OSU Collaborative Life Sciences Building, along the future Orange Line just north of the South Waterfront, is coming from TriMet. Because even though they're in financial difficulties they apparently can't help throwing increasing amounts of money at new and unrelated projects.

Interestingly, none of THESE suggestions are being allowed on the survey:

1. Eliminate WES.
(If WES cannot be eliminated, then all extra amenities shall be discontinued such as Wireless Internet and Transit Tracker signs, fares shall be moved to a distance based fare (i.e. minimum fare of $3.00 for a Beaverton TC-Hall Boulevard ride, and $7.00 for a ride from Beaverton to Wilsonville) with no transfer privileges, and daily parking rates shall be instituted. Also, WES should reduce service to a 40 minute headway, allowing two-train operation and eliminating one train from service.)

2. Eliminate the City of Portland Streetcar subsidy. TriMet has no legal or moral obligation to subsidize a transit operation that is directly in conflict and in competition with itself.
(If the Streetcar funding cannot be eliminated, then TriMet shall move to eliminate duplicative service within the Streetcar area - the 77 line would be truncated at Rose Garden, the 17 line would be merged with the 16 line along Front Avenue, the 15 line would be eliminated, and the 35 and 36 lines would run express through South Waterfront without making local stops.)

3. Eliminate the Capital Projects Division. (We can't afford what we have; we surely can't afford to add more.)

4. Institute fees to park in TriMet Owned & Operated parking lots, between $5 and $8 per day depending on the lot and location.

5. Restructure the fare system:
$2.00 per boarding on the bus. $1.00 for seniors, disabled citizens and youth.
$3.00 per boarding during rush hours and on Express buses (no discount for seniors, disabled or youth)
$5.00 all-day bus pass

Distance-Based Fares on MAX

See above for WES; no discounts on WES for seniors, disabled or youth.

If Streetcar cannot be eliminated, TriMet's subsidy WILL be reduced using a formula of the number of Streetcar riders who do NOT pay the regular fare, multipled by $2.00. (This includes riders who use the "$100 Annual Streetcar and Tram Pass". TriMet will also require that the City of Portland pay for audits of ridership (that must be verifiable) to calculate this. In addition, TriMet shall annually post on its website an audited report showing the costs of services provided to the City of Portland for Streetcar service (labor and maintenance costs), the "subsidy" TriMet pays to the City, ridership, and what amount of the ridership is actually paying a valid TriMet fare.

6. Outsource all ancillary but non-operating TriMet functions, such as H.R. and I.T. Determine if cost-savings can be obtained if these functions are merged or aligned with other government agencies to combine resources.

7. Eliminate all management and administrative staff who are not mission critical. Mission Critical is defined as a person, task, responsibility, department or function that is DIRECTLY involved in either the operation of public transportation or the maintenance of public transportation to the extent that a failure of maintenance could result in a service disruption. This includes any employee involved with bike projects, "sustainability", "equity", "diversity" or similar titles.

8. Eliminate all planning for future MAX and rail lines. This includes Barbur and Vancouver MAX proposals.

9. Eliminate all TriMet motor pool vehicles that are not directly used in the provision of public transportation or maintenance of the system. (If a TriMet staffer can't get to an off-site meeting by TriMet's own public transportation services, they don't need to go.)

10. Eliminate all out-of-town travel. No exceptions.

11. Eliminate all landscaping for TriMet facilities.

12. Eliminate TriMet's involvement in "social media"; eliminate any and all outside "feel good" messaging and advertising - any advertising or publicity MUST be related to actual service delivery or a legally mandated notice.

13. Eliminate any and all involvement in real estate aside from what is required for service delivery. TriMet is not a development agency.

14. Eliminate any and all TriMet "sponsorship" of events.

15. Require that TriMet take all steps necessary to secure paid advertising on TriMet vehicles and facilities. Contract advertising at all MAX stations.

16. Install timers that shut off electric supply to TriMet MAX and WES stations and P&R facilities when not in use.

17. Eliminate Transit Tracker - OR, remove schedule information and plyons from MAX stations. (This was done for bus stops.)

18. Immediate, across the board 25% salary cut for all managers and above.

19. Immediate, across the board benefits reductions for all managers and above - managers must pay 25% of healthcare premiums (for themselves, and the entire cost for spouses and dependents), eliminate pension and convert to a 401(k) (or the public government equivalent of such) with a fixed contribution rather than a fixed benefit, and reductions in other benefits that are paid for by TriMet.

20. TriMet shall immediately institute plans to renew its entire bus fleet, including a purchase of at least 100 high capacity articulated buses and 100 to 200 smaller community buses (to replace the 1600 and 1900 series and to right-size service on routes that must use a larger bus simply out of necessity due to a lack of smaller vehicles), all of which must be brand new, hybrid-electric propulsion buses. TriMet shall without limitation seek any and all funding sources, including city, county, state, Metro and federal funding for these buses. Doing so will reduce ongoing maintenance and fuel expenses compared to current bus operating costs.

21. Once articulated buses are in service, TriMet will reduce mid-day and weekend service on Frequent Service routes (where applicable) from 15 to 20 minute headways; this will result in three buses per hour instead of four, or a 25% decrease in fuel and labor expense on those trips.

22. TriMet shall end the practice of interlining unless it can be proven that such practices improve customer service AND decrease operational expense. Far too often interlined buses are delayed far off of their route causing dissatisfaction and increased overtime expense. In addition too many Operators are fatigued from long trips without breaks, and shorter routes will ensure drivers are properly rested for their trips - eliminating overtime, healthcare expense, absenteeism, the cost of extra board trips, and improving customer service (and ridership).

23. Eliminate the Free Rail Zone.

24. Ensure that LIFT service is only being provided in accordance with federal law. Currently TriMet allows a "door to door" service, meaning a LIFT rider can request a ride from their home in Forest Grove to a destination in Gresham if they so desired. This is clearly outside the intent of the LIFT system which is ONLY to connect riders who cannot access regular transit points to access transit, or cannot get from a transit point to their destination. TriMet shall reduce LIFT service so that it does just that - gets a rider TO a TriMet Transit Center or stop or station, or "door to door" service within three miles only. Also, LIFT service is only supposed to be available when the transit service for the general public is available. If the rider lives in an area where the only bus service is weekday rush hours, then the LIFT service - PER FEDERAL LAW - is only required during those same hours. If there's no Saturday service, there should be no Saturday LIFT service. LIFT service was never intended to be "above and beyond service" for a select group of riders. And TriMet needs to eliminate the use of the larger cutaway buses and use only sedans and minivans (for those who use wheelchairs and scooters) that cost less to operate. I have never seen a "full-sized LIFT bus" with more than two or three riders in it...yet those vehicles are designed to hold 20 passengers (and thus require a CDL to operate.)

Metro and Tri-Met have been working together for years, but Metro won't take over the agency - heck, they can't even run the zoo decently.

Like Snards, those choices gave me a real chuckle.

I then realized, (I'm kind of gullible sometimes) that the time I spent participating in this survey was valuable time I will never get back, and all my responses are are either being disposed of, laughed at, or twisted to the exact opposite of my intentions.

I have taken my last Opt In survey, which gives me more time to kill flies and separate my trash. Oh and I have a bird to give Metro to put someplace and make it art.

Erik H, thank you for your sensible list.

I think if saved dollars were totaled there would be more than enough to pay off TriMet's budget deficit. There would be a surplus.

Then Sam could do his famous co-mingling of money like he did when he took $20 Million in city taxpayer TIF dollars from SoWhat to give to TriMet's Milwaukie Lightrail. Then he should logically ask TriMet to give the surplus savings back to the city to pay for the $15 Million road maintenance deficit. Many problems solved.


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

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
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: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
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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