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

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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