Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 6, 2012 3:54 AM. The previous post in this blog was Wyden residency issue gets weirder. The next post in this blog is She asks me why. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Friday, July 6, 2012


It was 10 years ago this morning that this blog was born. Since then, we've written more than 17,000 entries here, and readers have left more than 183,000 comments. Many opinions have been expressed, on many subjects. Some of the conversation has been thoughtful, and some it has been flippant. Some of it brilliant, some of it stupid. There have been moments of beauty and grace, moments of rudeness and ugliness. We have broken some news, and repeated some rumors that turned out to be false. We've been censored by Homeland Security by day, censured by Admiral Randy late at night. We've laughed, cried, prayed, sworn, bragged, and apologized, but rarely have we been bored.

If you had told us on the morning of July 6, 2002 what this site would be today, we probably would have laughed in disbelief. The evolution has featured many twists and turns. Some messes have been made, but we think we've done more good than harm, which is sufficient reason to keep going.

We're grateful for the countless folks who contribute to this blog in all sorts of ways, great and small. It's a joy and a privilege to know you and to learn from you.

We must confess that we didn't come up with any great ideas for celebrating this occasion. But given that the anniversary may attract some notice, we thought we'd make up a greeting card of sorts. It's the City of Portland's long-term debt over the past 15 years, not counting unfunded pension liabilities. It's been nuts ever since Mother Vera went to Paley's with Homer Williams, but in particular, check out the last five years, under the Sam Rand Twins:

This blog came on line at the second bar from the left. It's pretty scandalous what's happened since then. People tell us that we're making a difference, but you couldn't tell it from those numbers. Obviously, we're not stopping some real damage from being done.

Here's another one -- what's happened with the Portland police and fire retirement time bomb over a decade and a half. This doesn't count the army of PERS recipients from the city payroll, who have also become partially unfunded over the last four years:

Notice that the last bar on the right there is two years old. The city faces up to the reality of its crushing pension debt as infrequently as possible. We think the current liability is around $3 billion -- probably higher, if you count the PERS shortfalls, factor in retiree health care costs, and make realistic assumptions about the pension funds' investment returns for the foreseeable future.

And if you think the city's growing fast enough to handle all that extra debt, here's one last chart to set you straight. It's the City of Portland population figures. Increasing at almost exactly 1% a year:

Lots to watch out for there, folks. And there is so much other drama ahead. The Obama-Romna, and Nutsy vs. Char-Lie for mayor, all on the same night. A big holiday sendoff for two, and maybe three, Portland City Council members. The Clackistani rebels battling away against the Mystery Train. The Barburian rebels in their King City strongholds. The Fukushima ooze, or worse. The mainstream media diminishing in content, month by agonizing month. The compost carts getting ever stinkier. Bunkers without parking going in all over the Rose City. Craziness galore at U.C. Nike. Water bills with a comma in the number. The death of Tri-Met.

We'll be busy, but today let's stop and note the milestone. Here's to a second decade in the blogosphere. It promises to be a wild ride.

Comments (28)

Bojack: congratulations on this milestone. Keep leading with "the facts" and being tolerant of others whose views may be different from yours.

All the best for the next 10+ of!

I just stumbled onto your blog about 2 years ago but, boy oh boy, have I received an education!

I am an outsider, (I actually live outside of Oregon and work in Portland.) so, a lot of the Portland and Oregon area hijinks don't directly affect me, but it is great entertainment. For the life of me, I can't figure out why Oregon voters (Portland, particularly) don't wake up and see what is happening to a once great, proud state.

Thanks for all of your hard work. I don't always agree with your positions on some issues, but, I consider myself more informed because of them. Keep up the good work.

P.S. Will the Admiral be signing autographs at the anniversary party?

Maybe, Clayman. If so, they'll either look like this: "X" -- or this: "$x0,000,000,000."

THe charts are interesting, since you've started:

1) Longterm debt (excluding pensions) has almost doubled
2) Unfunded pension debt has way more than doubled
3) Population has gone up 10%

Good luck on the next ten years. I plan on being gone by then and paying my taxes elsewhere.

Happy 10th, Jack. I have been impressed with your dedication over the last decade - much good has come of it (along with plenty of frivolity). Best wishes for the next 10. Oh, and BBQ & Jam 8/12 (#19, we skipped one year).

I always come here 1st every am, even when I am physically far away, as I am now.

This is, "Jack Town USA"

Jack, I have a wish. Yes, I know it's just a dream. The wish is that the local media would read you and take a few lessons.

Congrats on a great run Jack. Looking forward to the next 10 years of posts and comments.

I love how you start each weekend (or end each week) with a Friday video musician. Do you have a special one to kick off the next decade?

It's ironic that the politicians who talk the most about sustainable Portland, have turned in numbers that are not sustainable.

There's another number we should ponder today though: How much would it cost if we had to pay a tax expert to analyze a city for 10 years?
Just on that basis alone, Jack has given Portland a multi-million dollar gift.

Thanks for doing this. I sense you were hoping it would make more of a difference in Portland's economic decision-making, but it could still happen. Besides, there's very little that's as important as knowing what's going on. You've helped thousands of Portlanders really understand how this city operates, and that's worth it. That's important.

P.S. The photograph stirred up some memories for me. I had my picture taken with Mohammad Ali in downtown Portland, back in my banquet captain days, and I saw Pele play soccer at Civic Stadium.

Long before our city council gave the stadium to the Paulson family, there used to be baseball games and soccer. On the 4th of July there was a huge crowd to watch the fireworks after the baseball game. And Civic Stadium - before it became PGE Park - was host to the likes of Pele. We've lost a lot of Portland and America since then.

Keep up the good fight, Jack.

Jack, I too like the numbers and facts that your blog produces, as well as the humor. I have a slight hope that it's been a game changer.

In the past week I've had two friends with longtime interests of what is happening with our city, state and nation ask where to go for information. I always direct them here, and they're already hooked. Now I hope they join in the conversation. Thanks.

Jack B for Mayor in 2016!

Stop the madness, vote for the adult!

Thanks Mr. B. We wouldn't know what's really going on without you. How about a little Ten Years After for your weekend vid?


Finding and reading your blog was a major factor in my political activation. With local media that prints government press reports as news, you can always count on Bojack for the straight scoop.

Thanks for continuing to run this great site and kudos on your milestone. I'll drink to ten more years of Bojack.

Dave Lister

A voice of reason in an unreasonable world! Keep it up Jack.

I see we're on pace to add a little more than 100,000 new residents over a 20 year period. A far cry from "The Million" that we supposedly must transform our city to accommodate.

Those are some eye-opening graphs and some good information about the growing COP debt.

One thing that might help paint a more accurate picture would be to factor in inflation in these numbers. If go by the government's numbers (which many think are on the conservative side) inflation has grown about 44% since 1997 so that $1 billion in debt in 1997 is closer to $1.5 billion in today's numbers.

Also with a 16% growth in population that 1996 number jumps from about a billion to $1.67 billion factoring in population growth and inflation.

Still, growing way too darn fast.

Congratulations, Jack. Yours is my favorite source of news. Can I be unfrozen for comments soon? PLEASE!

Great project, Jack. Your perspective is always thought provoking. It's hard at times, but keep your sense of humor and enjoyment.

There is a strong correlation between the existence of your blog and the growth of the public debt burden. Just saying.

Dear Jack,
You ROCK! Thanks so much for opening our eyes and keeping us informed for 10 years...and becoming nationally recognized in the process for your blog!

Thanks to your family,too, for their understanding and patience with your passion!

A celebration is in order!


There is a strong correlation between the existence of your blog and the growth of the public debt burden. Just saying.

That's like saying "the more you call someone out for lying, the more lies they'll tell".

Congrats on your milestone. I enjoy my daily visits. Thanks. Regards, Hal

As many others have said, congratulations on your milestone. I wish that you had greater impact in city/state sanity, but in order to do that, your readership has to exceed that of the vintage media - not easy to pull off.

But...small steps. I know that people in the Republican party (yes, there still is one in Oregon) visit on a regular basis; on chairman mentioned that your site is required reading. High praise indeed from a "tighty righty".

In the words of Spock: Live long, and prosper.


I understand how to correct for constant dollar, but fail to see how Portland's population is subject to inflation? It's already included in the rising population counts that Jack accounted for in the side bar (per capita debt = "Your Share")

You can't possibly believe that City Hall is expanding their service delivery on a per capita basis, or that debt issuance results from population inflows.

Each new resident occupies a residence that pays property tax (or a couch, that doesn't), so (excluding the couch surfers) the property tax and payroll tax revenues are climbing with the influx of new residents.

I found this blog by way of a certain blowhard on the local radio, and this blog and removing my head from where it was,led to my divorce from the GOP.

For that, I'm in your debt. May the next ten years lead us toward a new slogan...Make Portland Normal.

We need more like Jack and less like the twins.

I don't see it happening, but then, who really thought Roberts would vote the way he did on health care. Seriously.

...we think we've done more good than harm, which is sufficient reason to keep going

That's a significant understatement. Look at it this way: How much worse could it have been if you hadn't been here holding their feet to the fire?

But in any case, congratulations on ten, and my deepest appreciation for what you've done.

Jack, you are "O.G.". That's a good thing. Don't look back and stay the course. Looking forward to more non-boredom.

Bojack, where PDXers come to actually discuss what's going on - like a democracy is supposed to work.

Keep up the excellent work.

We are making a difference - one blog post at a time.


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

In Vino Veritas

Louis Jadot, Pouilly-Fuissé 2011
Trader Joe's, Grower's Reserve Pinot Noir 2012
Zenato, Lugana San Benedetto 2012
Vintjs, Cabernet 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White 2012
Rainstorm, Oregon Pinot Gris 2012
Silver Palm, North Coast Cabernet 2011
Andrew Rich, Gewurtztraminer 2008
Rodney Strong, Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Canoe Ridge, Pinot Gris, Expedition 2012
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Rose 2012
Dark Horse, Big Red Blend No. 01A
Elk Cove, Pinot Noir Rose 2012
Fletcher, Shiraz 2010
Picollo, Gavi 2011
Domaine Eugene Carrel, Jongieux 2012
Eyrie, Pinot Blanc 2010
Atticus, Pinot Noir 2010
Walter Scott, Pinot Noir, Holstein 2011
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
Coppola, Sofia Rose 2012
Joel Gott, 851 Cabernet 2010
Pol Roget Reserve Sparkling Wine
Mount Eden Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains 2009
Rombauer Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2011
Beringer, Chardonnay, Napa Reserve 2011
Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Schloss Vollrads, Spaetlese Rheingau 2010
Belle Glos, Pinot Noir, Clark & Telephone 2010
WillaKenzie, Pinot Noir, Estate Cuvee 2010
Blackbird Vineyards, Arise, Red 2010
Chauteau de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2005
Northstar, Merlot 2008
Feather, Cabernet 2007
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Alexander Valley 2002
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2002
Trader Joe's, Chardonnay, Grower's Reserve 2012
Silver Palm, Cabernet, North Coast 2010
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
E. Guigal, Cotes du Rhone 2009
Santa Margherita, Pinot Grigio 2011
Alamos, Cabernet 2011
Cousino Macul, Cabernet, Anitguas Reservas 2009
Dreaming Tree Cabernet 2010
1967, Toscana 2009
Charamba, Douro 2008
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend No. 12
Opula Red Blend 2010
Liberte, Pinot Noir 2010
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red Blend 2010
Woodbridge, Chardonnay 2011
King Estate, Pinot Noir 2011
Famille Perrin, Cotes du Rhone Villages 2010
Columbia Crest, Les Chevaux Red 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White Blend
Familia Bianchi, Malbec 2009
Terrapin Cellars, Pinot Gris 2011
Columbia Crest, Walter Clore Private Reserve 2009
Campo Viejo, Rioja, Termpranillo 2010
Ravenswood, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Quinta das Amoras, Vinho Tinto 2010
Waterbrook, Reserve Merlot 2009
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills, Pinot Grigio 2011
Tarantas, Rose
Chateau Lajarre, Bordeaux 2009
La Vielle Ferme, Rose 2011
Benvolio, Pinot Grigio 2011
Nobilo Icon, Pinot Noir 2009
Lello, Douro Tinto 2009
Quinson Fils, Cotes de Provence Rose 2011
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Buenas Ondas, Syrah Rose 2010
Les Fiefs d'Anglars, Malbec 2009
14 Hands, Pinot Gris 2011
Conundrum 2012
Condes de Albarei, Albariño 2011
Columbia Crest, Walter Clore Private Reserve 2007
Penelope Sanchez, Garnacha Syrah 2010
Canoe Ridge, Merlot 2007
Atalaya do Mar, Godello 2010
Vega Montan, Mencia
Benvolio, Pinot Grigio
Nobilo Icon, Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2009

The Occasional Book

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
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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: 119
At this date last year: 21
Total run 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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