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Monday, June 25, 2012

Surprise! Mystery Train prompts Tri-Met office upgrade

The shinola in Portland never stops. All of a sudden, light rail to Milwaukie means big office remodeling pork for Hoffman Construction. Oh, and guess who Tri-Met's going to rent a bunch of new office space from. Give up? The Saltzmans! Tax looting at its finest. No wonder they cancelled your bus.

Comments (16)

All in "the family"....Portland is now New Jersey or Chicago.
So hip, so iconic, so crooked!

Graftlandia! Put a plucked bird on it.

Greased-palm city.

With all this smash-and-grab politicking going on, do these people know something the rest of us don't, other than Portland voters are stupid?

TriMet in their mad dash to get rails in the ground before they get shut down, is way out ahead of the actual funding with complete disregard for the public will and the severe cuts to essential services that will be needed to pay for this unwanted madness.

"Milwaukie: Construction begins in just a couple of weeks for the Portland-Milwaukie light rail bridge over Kellogg Creek and McLoughlin Boulevard, and crews have started sewer and utility work in preparation."


"Crews start prep work around Milwaukie for Portland-Milwaukie light rail bridge construction"

Mr. Grumpy, you bet they know something we don't. Well, at least something that the crowd City Hall's been encouraging doesn't want to consider. The money is going to stop, the banks are going to call the loans, and people are probably going to go to jail. In the meantime, what you're seeing here is last-minute greed, where the developers are risking getting caught when the market crashes versus making a few more million.

If you want to know how I know this, it's because I've seen this before: Google up "Danny Faulkner obituary" to read about one of the big ringleaders in a similar scam in North Texas. And for extra grins and giggles, I'll note that Faulkner's scam also involved a mayor expediting the fraud, and that mayor got five years in prison. I'm wondering how much Sam is going to get, or if he'll be the unfortunate recipient of an accidental poisoning/shooting/chainsawing the day before the subpoena goes out for his testimony.

Interesting that TriMet has apparently already decided that Hoffman Construction will get the contract for the work.

How about just maybe some competitive open bidding? Maybe lower costs for the TriMet General Fund, which is uys individual and business taxpayers and farebox payers?

Silly me.

I forgot.

This is TriMet, and Neil McFarlane is in bed with Hoffman."

I'm still waiting for the news on the 'cost over-runs' on the new bridge.

My bet: They'll make the home office renovations look penny-ante.

I worked on a project once where the plan was to spend as much money as possible in hopes that the sunk cost would become so big that the project could not be shut down. We spent $0.5 billion before everyone lost their jobs!

In my opinion, we have people running things with mindsets, either inept or accepting corruption as a standard by which to make decisions. This has filtered down to somewhat of even a public acceptance when people indicate why bother, that is just the way it is.

This was always part of the plan. That's one of the reasons the 17th street route was so attractive to TriMet -- they could provide some of the ROW for rails with their own offices, creating a "need" for new, fancier digs downtown.

This is the way "cost-benefit" analysis is done in Portland on public projects; the cost IS the benefit (to a chosen few).

To me the significant part of the story was the reference to TriMet's "capital projects staff" moving downtown, meaning that TriMet has a permanent staff devoted to pushing forward large capital projects that TriMet can't actually afford. Warren Buffett once famously said that Berkshire Hathaway, which has acquired a lot of companies, has no corporate acquisitions department, because if it did, they would constantly want to buy something whether it made sense for Berkshire or not. As to TriMet's capital projects staff . . . .

TriMet has a permanent staff devoted to pushing forward large capital projects that TriMet can't actually afford

Not only have I brought this fact up repeatedly, but one of TriMet's chief apologists insisted that this department was absolutely essential to the day-to-day operations of TriMet.

I have a better solution. Many businesses rent modular office buildings for additional office space. TriMet has a fleet of 200 old buses that have no business being on the road. I suggest TriMet convert those old, barely ADA compliant buses into suitable office space; park it in the gravel lot that Union Pacific owns next door to Center Street...surely Capital Projects will have no problem working in the ovens that are used for revenue service each and every day to serve the public who is TriMet's real owner and customer.

Or better yet, explain why Capital Projects is even needed - an entire department costing millions of dollars each year, and for TriMet's riders a group of employees that do absolutely nothing to ensure TriMet's day to day function.

“Government is not the doctor. It is the disease.”

H.S. Ferns

At least Illinois had the good sense to incarcerate several of their high profile politicians.

What's Oregon's excuse?

Honestly - great reporting Jack! Thank you for pulling this information out into public view, in combination.

Thank you Isaac for bringing us the Buffet quote. Here's another one with a solution suggested in the quote.

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
P. J. O'Rourke

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