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Thursday, March 29, 2012

What's the deal with Cully Boulevard?

For a while now, we've watched with puzzlement as the City of Portland has thrown money at re-doing Cully Boulevard, on the way to the airport in long forgotten Northeast Portland. It's a neighborhood that could use a break, and the biketopian street improvements there have been at least something. But with the way Portland City Hall operates, there's a lingering odor of scam about the whole thing. Besides, the neighborhood is infested with bad, unpaved roads, which make the shiny new bikey street a little more than comical.

Now we read that the planning children are upzoning a bunch of the street for commercial. And get this -- they're selling it with "It's for the children" and "Maybe it will help the Latinas with day care"! This kind of talk invariably sends our scam sensors into the screaming red danger zone. Fixing up Cully is wonderful, but come on, somebody's got to be cashing in here. Who might it be?

Comments (14)

The usual suspects are no doubt cashing in; they always do.

I miss the old days when it was the asphalt companies and the concrete companies that owned City Hall. At least the streets were paved and there were sidewalks - everyone benefited.

In the City's enlightened attitude of eliminating Big Oil from government influence...corruption is just more rampant, more fractured - and now it's affecting the citizens who are caught in the crossfire.

Not to mention the kickbacks that would flow from Sam's biodiesel factory, through Metro (the unique form of government), to the Cully Neighborhood Association.

Maybe Sam's got an inside line to some rental properties in Cully ...

I used to live off Cully on 62nd - first home, hoping for urban renewal. It never happened. That area was controlled by Vietnamese and other indonesian americans. On my street they lived in compounds of families surrounded by chain link, and of course that is their cultural bent - to live many families together.

Other than those very nice people (I say that without sarcasm, honestly, although they didn't mingle much, if at all), a few russians, but mostly white trash, strip clubs and it hasn't improved. What section of Cully are they talking about? They could start by improving that five or six way intersection at Cully and Fremont that caused a whole bunch of accidents when I lived there.

Maybe it's going to be the next Mississippi Ave? You know, quietly commence upscaling operations in an ethnic neighborhood to squeeze them out in favor of a more profitable use of the land and claim it's for the climate, for the children, for the jobs, for the people, blah, blah. The usual Portland "win-win".

You know the fix is in when they decide to change the name from Cully to:

Wyden Way
Leonard Lane
Breedlove Blvd

I'm sure you can add more.

It's probably all about a block of votes that someone thinks will help extent their term in office.

The really sad thing is that, if they just made an ordinary street, they could have improved, probably three times as many streets!

Pathetic waste of money as usual.


In other locales, a road upgrade is just a road upgrade. Here, in Sam Adam's Portland, it's also a land-use strategy (to trigger rezoning to higher density) and an opportunity for political point-scoring. I suppose we should be happy a city road actually got improved, as it's such a rare occurrence these days.

The old five way corner got stop lights at last....
During the biketopia rebuilding of Cully.

Re: "Not to mention the kickbacks that would flow from Sam's biodiesel factory...to the Cully Neighborhood Association."

Complete that thought, Garage Wine, after perusing the latest report from Beth Slovic:

"Mayor Sam Adams is advancing a new, more complicated plan to backstop the financing for a privately operated, green-energy plant proposed for the Cully neighborhood in Northeast Portland.

This latest version, outlined in documents The Oregonian obtained in a public records request, could head to the City Council as soon as April 11.

It still would use a 15-percent fee increase on commercial garbage haulers. But it would reduce the amount of money potentially drawn from sewer ratepayers by adding a controversial twist: The city would tap parking-meter revenues that could otherwise go to basics such as road repaving."


"It gets more complicated from there. Any loss to the Transportation Bureau's on-street parking revenue would be offset by money from the city's six downtown parking garages. This week, city officials raised monthly rates at two downtown garages by about 20 percent, hoping to generate an extra $100,000 to $150,000 per year."

Columbia Biogas wants to turn food scraps into electricity,...

The food waste holding facility proposed at Lents?

Eco-districts being proposed at various places?

I see a pattern here, with all these little eco districts and food waste material stored throughout our city having to be trucked to Cully, so they will need better roads to that facility, need to rezone, but it is all for the children and the neighborhood?

I wouldn't trust the city coming into my neighborhood with illustrations and fancy words.

What doesn't compute is no paving of roads for five years, but there is a lot coming out of city hall that doesn't compute.


There is cause for hope that City Hall's alienation from city residents is owing to elected officials and higher level management and has not permeated the bureaus. Yesterday's followup from the O's Beth Slovic notes that "[i]nternal city analysis" did not support taxpayer subsidy of the biogas plant:

"Columbia Biogas had argued that it deserved Portland's help because its facility -- which would turn food waste into electricity -- would produce savings for Portland residents and businesses. Its analysis, submitted to Portland officials for review, put potential savings at $8 million in unneeded sewer maintenance costs.

Internal city analysis obtained by The Oregonian in a public records request said savings were 'likely to be small.' Portlanders, the documents showed, could expect to save $104,000 in avoided treatment costs."

"In a recruitment project such as this, the mayor and his team explore all possible funding scenarios to determine which might be the best to move forward with -- if we more forward with city funding," Deputy Chief of Staff Amy Ruiz told The Oregonian on Thursday night.

In my opinion:
Internal city analysis report and/or public outrage may have stopped/slowed the plans, however, it looks like the city is still looking at possible funding scenarios.
City can pull many scenarios out of a hat as this Mayor was well trained under Katz. This is why he landed in the Mayor's seat and why he wasn't recalled. The "Queen or King" seat has been placed by vested interests to the public's detriment. People sense something is wrong in our city, but I suspect feel overwhelmed by the machinery running it. A population needs to be well informed and then willing to be engaged to make inroads to positive change for the community.

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