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Friday, August 31, 2012

Portland peddling Milwaukie light rail bonds, too

While many eyes focus on Clackamas County's desperate rush to issue $20 million of bonds for Milwaukie light rail before voters reject the project at the poll on September 18, the City of Portland is also planning to borrow big bucks -- $38 million -- a week from Tuesday to pour into the Mystery Train maw. That infernal MAX system is sucking our children's future dry.

Although much hot air is being generated about all the wonderful sources that may eventually pay off the Portland bonds, the fact is that the $38 million IOU is backed by property taxes. Because of that backing, Moody's rates the bonds at Aa1 -- just one notch down from the Aaa rating that the city likes to tell people it has. The official sales pitch for the bonds is here.

Like Clackamas County, Portland will be borrowing for 20 years. And when the Portland bonds sell on September 11, they will push the total of the city's long-term bonds and interim financing over the $3.37 billion mark. Our Portland debt meter, which currently reads $3.33 billion and rising, is even more accurate than we thought it was.

And it doesn't stop there. Portland plans to borrow another $185 million for the sewer system in October (guess it's still not fixed), and $70 million for the Sellwood Bridge in December. The Sam Rands will leave office with the city at $3.7 billion in the red -- plus another $3-billion-plus unfunded liability for pensions.

You've got credit cards -- you know the story. All this wild borrowing is going to end quite badly.

Comments (8)

I think the real reason behind the push to quadruple the area's population as quick as possible is becoming increasingly clearer...

... it increases property taxes and ratepayer headcount to hopefully pay off all these pipe dreams no one wants but politicians, bankers, developers, and a few insiders.

"The Sam Rands will leave office with the city at $3.7 billion in the red -- plus another $3-billion-plus unfunded liability for pensions."

What were the numbers when they started?

I am not surprised at all, with Portland helping to send money in any way they can for this Milwaukie train!!
All the latest revenue raising ideas coming onto the scene have made me wonder.

You voted these people into office.

Beautiful world isn't it - Sam gets to spend now and future generations get to pay for it (unless you want to count robbing schools now to pay for this junk.)

I'm just waiting with bated breath to see what life lessons Uncle Randy told Little Stevie Novick. He's already bought into the raising income with parking meters brainstorm.

Steve, it only works if the parking-meter manager doesn't steal the proceeds.

Live in Portland? Possess anything of value? I humbly suggest that you blow this popsicle stand before you're left with just the stick. Work in PDX? You might still get dinged (as with the arts poll, er, "income" tax).

Sam L, I never voted for them; but the tyranny of the majority ensured that it didn't much matter. Once there were many such as myself, but few remain to pull the cart who also notice they never get to steer.

What were the numbers when they started?


Randy arrived on the City Council in 2002. Creepy got elected in 2004.

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