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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

County sells out to Portland "urban renewal" money grab

The Multnomah County commission has foolishly voted to go along with the latest "urban renewal" scam in Portland, involving the Portland State Patronage Center and Lincoln High School (motto: "We're underutilized"). The vote was 3 to 2. Voting against were the two commissioners who are currently up for re-election -- funny thing.

"We have other really pressing priorities," Kafoury said.

Urban renewal zones, generally speaking, take money from other local governments to create funding for large capital projects inside designated areas. Adams' new zone at PSU would drain about $50 million from the county's coffers over the zone's 30-year life. It would also divert about $60 million from Portland Public Schools.

To soften the blow, Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen negotiated a multi-million dollar deal with city officials. If the Portland City Council approves the zone, the Portland Development Commission will carve out $19 million so the county can build new Department of County Human Services headquarters at PSU.

"You end up trading service dollars for new buildings," Kafoury said. "And, at least in my opinion, they're not equal."

Voting in favor were the county chair, "Little Big Pipe" Cogen; Loretta Smith from Wydenville; and Diane McKeel of East County, who really ought to know better. All three have lost our confidence, which wasn't great to begin with, from here on out. It was a better board, much better, when Ted Wheeler was running it.

Comments (23)


Shouldn't the TSCC be stepping in to say that this can not include Lincoln HS in the URA? The schools should not be linked to this sort of funding. At least it would take away some of the support for a poorly conceived and timed project.

Can I get in on this deal too? If Mult. Co. will give me $50 million, I would be more than willing to give them $20 million back. (I'd give them a better deal.)

"You end up trading service dollars for new buildings," Kafoury said. "And, at least in my opinion, they're not equal."

Hasn't that been the name of the game here for years, trading much needed service dollars for new buildings?

Jeff Cogen (from Saltzman's office)
Loretta Smith
Diane McKeel
Three who should not be elected again.
Three who telegraphed they favor more development over our needed services.

I really wish the PPS teachers' union would get upset about this. The diversion of millions of dollars from an already desperately stretched school budget seems nearly criminal at this point.

At least the school kids were out protesting today.
Maybe the young will break out the pitchforks?

Is there anyone who is pro-UR who can explain why these things should continue to exist? All I ever hear from the politicians is stuff that sounds like fluff. They never seem to either understand the negative side effects, or they just ignore them. There must be someone in town who is an expert on UR and who can explain why it is still a good thing even though it has all of these negative side effects. Maybe Jack can find someone at PSU to give us an explanation.

Or is it as simple as graft? The politicans vote for it becuase it funnels money to developers who then funnel the money back to the politicians?

Why else would they keep doing it when the schools don't have enough money and the roads can't get fixed and the parks are being closed???

Give'em hell, Jack!

I really wish the PPS teachers' union would get upset about this.

Also the PTAs and Site Councils and all the rest of the parental-involvement groups. The city's dubious redevelopment schemes are effectively stealing money from their schools, yet we hear nary a peep from them.

Is there any word on how they would pay to build a new Lincoln High? They can't even do basic maintenance right now.

All of the pro-UR experts (bureaucrats and consultants) are making income off of it.
That's why they are pro-UR and why they only use all the fluff politicians want to hear.

Cogan, like nearly every local politician, is thoroughly inept when it comes to UR. Most falsely & willingly believe UR generates revenue.

Cogan is either lying or doesn't understand that his so-called softening of the blow is actually making the blow to Mult. Co services worse.

The $19 million he thinks comes form the tooth fairy is really just more borrowed UR money requiring even more of a raid on schools and city/county services to pay it off.

The Portland Development Commission calls it "carving out" $19 million.
Close. But it's more like a gutting.

Urban Renewal should be restricted to voter approved levy funding just like school bond measures.

The "Tax Increrment Financing" scheme is a cold blooded instrument of public deceit.

Portland is one of the worse offenders in the county.

There is a reason California abolished UR agencies.


"California property taxes going to TIF
grew from $1.5 billion in 1995 to $5.7
billion in 2009, representing a 10 percent annual growth rate.

In the short run, eliminating TIF will help states close critical budget gaps. In the long run, eliminating TIF will prevent cities from taking ever-increasing amounts of money from schools and other programs that are supported by property taxes.

Instead of reforming TIF, state legislatures should simply repeal the laws that give cities and counties the authority to use it and similar tools to subsidize economic development."

Unfortunately because of the Portland Creep the legislature is terminally infected with what Cogan and Admas have.

So the only remedy is extensive surgery to remove the politicians.

Well it would be quite funny if they took away Lincoln HS in this deal , and then could not pull off funding
for a new super-fancy school for all those precious lil rich west hills kids. Gads , they might have to go to our other HS's with regular PDX kids.

The Horror...

Eric:Also the PTAs and Site Councils and all the rest of the parental-involvement groups. The city's dubious redevelopment schemes are effectively stealing money from their schools, yet we hear nary a peep from them.

Why do you suppose that is?

Cogan is either lying or doesn't understand that his so-called softening of the blow is actually making the blow to Mult. Co services worse.

If Cogen doesn't understand he shouldn't be in such a decision making position and has no business being the Chair of Multnomah County!
If it is going along with a lie, another reason to stop revolving doors of career politicians.
Seems too many are lock step with each other and their plans.

I don't get this, the schools and Mult COunty lose future tax revenue with these URDs. Somehow, they can't roll over fast enough to vote for them.

Multnomah County Commission

TRANSLATION: A panel of enablers that does three things: 1) Takes property tax money from the entire county and redistributes it to a few connected insiders. 2) Finds various schemes to allow connected insiders to not pay their fair share of property taxes. 3) Takes whatever is leftover and argues about who is going to get it, based on pet projects and campaign contributions.

Why do you suppose that is?

Probably they're too busy busting their a**es trying to raise funds to keep the music and PE teachers that they don't pause to think about how larger forces are working against them. Reminds me of the river babies parable.

I can believe that some of the politicians don't understand the implications of UR. Some of these folks are fairly dim. Just good looking glad handers reading from cue cards. But there are usually at least a few smart folks on staff who can explain in short words where danger is.

The fact that even a clueless moron like Gov Moonbeam in CA saw fit to get rid of UR should be telling. He has fallen for almost every money giveaway invented in the past 40 years.

I really can't figure out why groups like the PTA aren't protesting this stuff. Most of those folks aren't getting any graft or kickbacks from the developer crowd. They are usually just people trying to stay involved with their kids.

I did read a story the other day about a politican in Stockton (they are going bankrupt) who said that she voted for the pension plans because they were told that the increased benefits wouldn't cost anything. Evidently she was so stupid that she actually believed that increased benefits wouldn't cost anything. I guess we could have the same level of dullness from our elected officials here in Portland?

It may be that the parents are way too busy with fundraising just for books and some basics.

It will be a great day when our schools have all the money they need, and our air force has to have a bake-sale to buy a bomber.
Robert Fulghum quote

Elected officials?
In my view, the time has come to stop voting for those who can be run in campaigns, and then when in office, are not capable of good decisions and then get to the point where every turn they take depends on another election to stay in??
We cannot continue in this vein.
Look what is happening to our country and to our city!

Fulghum quote... when our schools have all the money they need...

So clinamen, the problem is a lack of money?

Well then the solution is easy! More money... for the children.

Why can't teachers, PTA's, parents, citizens do the math? Why can't Cogan, Smith and McKeel?

For the county we get $19 Million while losing $50 Million which equals a loss of $31 Million. And that loss is even higher if you read the fine print of the Agreement. That $19 Million includes space for PSU reducing the benefit for Multnomah Co. even more. Even worse is that Multnomah Co is a non paying property tax entity that will not be helping to pay down the UR debt. That puts more burden on the few of us still staying around. It's funny they call it the Education URA when we have public officials that can't add and subtract.

Cogan is not dumb, he's been bought off. His political future is dim because citizens are catching on like in the surrounding counties.

I hope there are many more whose political future will be dim...

Whatever happened to Statesmen?
Stewardship of our country, our constitution...
our city....?
I can't go on now,
the list is too long.

Someone should sit the folks in City Hall down and carefully explain the difference between the words, "Steward" and "Enabler" and why one falls within their job description and the other does not.

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