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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

Decade

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 bojsck.org!

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).

Congratulations!
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?

Jack,

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.

ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/cpi/cpiai.txt

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!

Cheers!!!!

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.

Raleigh,

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.


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Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
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Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
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William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
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Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
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In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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