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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 27, 2012 9:48 AM. The previous post in this blog was Portland City Hall: Bike boxes count as spending on motorists. The next post in this blog is Another sellout?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Coliseum mess sets stage for bigger disasters

The future of Portland's Memorial Coliseum is a muddled mess. Little wonder, with the mayor and the Admiral's money guy in charge. Resolving the future of that building, reviled by some by cherished by others, will have to await a new administration at City Hall.

But the latest news surrounding the facility goes beyond the lack of progress in figuring out what to do with it. There are signs that it will lead to a bailout of the Portland Development Commission, which seems to have outlived its usefulness and is due for a major downsizing. In the chatter about the Coliseum, one hears signals that the PDC will figure out new ways to raid the city treasury and keep itself in its current bloated state:

The PDC... is willing to take operational responsibility of the coliseum, but such a structure is risky, officials have acknowledged.

Under the deal being negotiated, the city would be required to cover losses at the coliseum up to $375,000 annually and PDC would pick up losses beyond that. Right now, [Paul Allen's company] covers all losses, which in the last year were $165,000, PDC board chairman Scott Andrews said....

For the PDC, risk comes from how it would pay for operating losses -- and how big they could be. The agency couldn't use urban renewal dollars. But the proposal would instead give the PDC development rights for property at the Rose Quarter owned by taxpayers, which the PDC hopes to use to turn a profit through future development deals.

This "entrepreneurial" approach, leaders suggested, could be a model for the PDC in future years. After being flush with cash for years from urban renewal districts, PDC is now facing smaller annual budgets as districts expire.

It's time to lay off half of the PDC, or more. Its economic development and housing missions can be served by other city bureaus. "Urban renewal" scams, and their drain on resources for essential public services, should be curtailed. The last thing the city needs is more "entrepreneurial" activity by bureaucrats who could never cut it in real business.

Comments (12)

"the proposal would instead give the PDC development rights for property at the Rose Quarter owned by taxpayers, which the PDC hopes to use to turn a profit through future development deals."

Taxpayer-owned property that the PDC will gamble away on "development deals" sounds like a can't miss business opportunity.

I mean if it all goes South, the PDC loses nothing. But it does set them up nicely for private gigs once the hammer finally comes down on one of the most bloated, costly, and damaging government schemes.

Isn't this proposal a violation of City Charter and all the Agreements between the PDC and CoP and their operational and organizational arrangements?

126 days left for Sam to figure out a way to mess up finances there too!
It is like he is on a rampage to cause as much of a mess as he can before he leaves.

I hear that half the senior female management staff at PDC have left or been fired anyway since Patrick Quinton took over. My neighbour who was pushed out, told me at least 10 senior ladies have left after conflicts with Quinton. Guess its jobs for boys at PDC with our tax dollars.

Where do the Winterhawks fit into this? They're spending a few bucks this summer upgrading the ice surface, but spending zilch on other improvements. Meanwhile, their owner is rumored to be VERY close to buying the New Jersey Devils.

Add to that swirling rumors that the Blazers and Seahawks may be on the block, things in the Rose Quarter seem a bit unsettled. I wonder how this fits into all that.

"This "entrepreneurial" approach, leaders suggested, could be a model for the PDC in future years. After being flush with cash for years from urban renewal districts, PDC is now facing smaller annual budgets as districts expire."

There is nothing "entrepreneurial" about this new government racket idea. It's just another scam to support the planner class and their crony capitalists who help justify it.

The PDC was never "flush with cash". They were flush with TIF borrowed money they used to pay their own bills, overpaid bureaucrats and rest of the racket.

All of which raided essential services to repay.

Now that the increment is failing miserably to keep up the paying of bills while at the same time allowing more debt to pile up the PDC needs a new scam to delay collapse.

Just enough to get more of their hierarchy clear of consequences and dialed into some new gigs.

And of course all the planner bureaucrats want their comfy compensation and play time jobs to keep flowing as long as possible.

Some day there will be independent forensic auditing of these development agencies and the full living color of malfeasance
will be exposed.

PDC Director Patrick Quinton made these remarks at the 5/31/12 South Waterfront URAC Meeting:

"PDC is running out of money"

"All eleven URA's will expire in 11 years"

"ERA of TIF is over"

"Political climate of UR is challenging"

"TIF dollars are drying up"

At least he sees the reality. But now we have this new proposed solution to keep PDC running even though it violates the City Charter.

Look at your property tax bills soon to come out in October. Notice that PDC takes 23% of the bill. That is on top of the Tax Increment dollars that robs our schools, police, fire, parks of your tax dollars that should be going to those basic services.

It's time to shut down the PDC, dispose of all of its assets and return them to the taxpayers.

The PDC was formed to attract development in blighted areas of Portland. Since Portland City Hall/Metro/TriMet and buddies all agree that Portland is such a hot destination for so many people that love our vibrant, hip, eco-friendly vibe, there is no blight. Certainly not anywhere near the Coliseum which is home to one of the hottest NBA franchises, or the Pearl District, home to hip condos, clubs and employers, or Portland State University - the state's largest university.

The only blight is down in Lents and they got their MAX line that took all the blight and moved it away. Interstate Avenue has been gentrified and the blight went away. Rockwood is outside Portland city limits. The PDC is a success. Shut it down.

I think i know where the Winterhawks fit in this... they (and the fans... like me... a STH) get screwed over AGAIN... Even though Bill Gallacher is willing to put 10 Million of his own hard-earned into a 50+ year old building that he RENTS, the city still dithers and screws around...

GRRRRR

Should be obvious - Portland Memorial Convention Center Hotel.

"PDC is now facing smaller annual budgets as districts expire."
"TIF dollars are drying up."

Somewhat misleading. . . . The PDC, as many have noted, is collecting ever higher amounts in tax increment financing. The effective citywide tax rate was $2.45 per $1,000 last year - up more than 50 percent since 2002-03.

In fact, according to the Tax Sup report, PDC imposed $100 million in property taxes last year, even after accounting for the Measure 5 loss. Ten years earlier, the total was about $45 million. That's a pretty nice growth trend, and TIF collections aren't dropping.

The challenge for the PDC, though, is that they've maxed out their credit cards, and they are reaching the end of some districts' ability to issue new debt. That doesn't mean the districts stop collecting TIF - TIF isn't really drying up - but that ALL of it has to go to debt service. They'll keep collecting property taxes, often for 20 years, after the districts "expire."

Sarah, I guess PDC's Director Quinton doesn't know the facts, right?

Then why are the budget figures for SoWhat showing the TIF dollars in the previous years greater than this years and the years projected out to 2015? The spread sheet was made by PDC's own financial staff. Generally it was in the $16 Million range and now it's down in the $9 to $10 Million range. And it may go lower as property tax challenges are made by property owners (condo owners)in SoWhat. And most are succeeding.

Listen to the tape of the PDC URAC meeting and download the financial report. I think when Quinton said "TIF dollars aredrying up" he was making the point that TIF dollars are decreasing.


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Louis Jadot, Pouilly-Fuissé 2011
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Walter Scott, Pinot Noir, Holstein 2011
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Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
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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
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Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
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Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
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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
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Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
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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: 111
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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