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Friday, October 5, 2012

Portland City Council covers up truth about West Hayden Island

This is so typical of the arrogance that emanates from the Goldschmidt people at the Port of Portland and the circus performers on the Portland City Council:

Those are crossed-out sections of a consultant's "economic opportunities analysis" that relate to the paving over of bald eagle habitat on West Hayden Island for a useless Port shipping terminal. At the Port's behest, the City Council eliminated these references from the document this week before it adopted an ordinance revising the city's almighty comprehensive plan (Motto: "You will live the way we tell you to live, comrade"). Of course, Sustainable Susan, czarina of all things planning, recommended the censorship, no doubt as instructed.

Well, they can censor all they want, but the public knows the truth. Another shipping terminal on Hayden Island is not needed. Portland is a second-rate shipping destination, and that situation is only going to get worse as ships gets deeper. Besides, there are plenty of other nearby ports, like Vancouver, that can handle whatever traffic is mysteriously going to appear 90 miles in from the ocean on the Columbia River. The wildlife values of West Hayden are being sacrificed to construction dudes and union bosses and other cronies of the Goldschmidt cabal, with little public benefit. And nobody's supposed to say anything. "Green" Portland, my eye.

Comments (34)

"Look, I’ve got five city commissioners. I’m used to people saying something that’s not always true, but just keep on repeating it, and ultimately hoping I’ll believe it."


While I agree that capacity in Vancouver is an important part of the analysis (and the Planning and Sustainability Commission has insisted on understanding it), Portland is NOT not a second-rate shipping destination. It is a very unique location where you get the confluence of the North/South and East/West freight rail networks and North/South and East/West freeways with an ocean-going marine port.

I'd love it if we could just be the open source software capital of the world. But freight transport is a very real part of our economic base.

It will never compete with true deep water ports. Give my love to Sustainable Susan.

jack is right. ships will get bigger, you can only dredge the columbia so much, freight will increasingly be diverted to deep water ports meaning PDX will be a niche shipping market only.

plus with the opening of the enlarged panama canal - more and more freight that traditionally landed on the west coast will by-pass the WC entirely.

these morons have to jam this through now, as it will become more and more evident as time goes by that this is totally unnecessary. once that land is paved, there is no going back...

Portland is NOT not a second-rate shipping destination. It is a very unique location where you get the confluence of the North/South and East/West freight rail networks and North/South and East/West freeways with an ocean-going marine port.

Portland is absolutely second rate, if not third rate. Just look at the numbers of Portland's marine traffic compared to Vancouver, Seattle, Tacoma, Oakland, Los Angeles or Long Beach.

Guess what - ALL of those cities have north-south rail access (which actually isn't that important - UP is only running about eight trains a day north-south and only two of them are intermodal trains.) ALL of those cities have west-east rail access - the only benefit Portland has is a sea-level route through the Columbia Gorge; yet both BNSF and UP are more than happy to run trains from Seattle to Portland and Vancouver (notice how BNSF/UP run over 40 trains a day north of Vancouver; yet UP can only manage eight trains south of Portland. It's because the vast majority of the traffic makes that turn either at Vancouver or North Portland Junction and heads east.)

And all of those cities have I-5 - and west-east freeways.

Portland's not the worst, but let's face it: Shippers are going to Long Beach and Los Angeles; Oakland and Richmond; and Seattle and Tacoma, before they go to Portland.

What? A self-styled transportation expert saying moving things is a second rate activity?

To highlight the brain-dead thinking behind the Hayden Island port expansion, other ports around the country have already dredged to a depth of at least 50 feet to accommodate the new panamax container ships that will enter service in 2014. The Columbia River is 40 feet deep on a good day. Unless the port expansion is accompanied by a herculean dredging project, container traffic at the Port of Portland will continue to diminish, as everyone here except Chris Smith seems to realize.

Also, consider that the plan-killing original proposed height of the Columbia River Crossing bridge over I-5 was 95 feet, which is far too little clearance to accommodate new panamax 190-foot air draft. This further illustrates the myopic incompetence of the Hayden Island port expansion and the Columbia River Crossing planning processes.

"...and the Planning and Sustainability Commission has insisted on understanding it.."

And after "understanding it", decided that because it was an obvious and practical solution (i.e., there is PLENTY of space in Vancouver) that is not consistent with our parochial needs, we removed it from our report.

Don't worry, we know what's best for you.

Chris Smith provided the meaningless default blather excuse for every boneheaded idea in sight.

"While reality is important pretending Portland is very unique allows us to ignore it."

Smith, your concocted confluence of uniqueness is nothing but utter BS used to retard significance.
This is how every asinine thing happens around here.

By dismissing the greater significance of the most germane considerations while fabricating, then inflating, significance which does not apply.

The convention center is at the confluence of the North/South and East/West Light Rail & Streetcar networks and North/South and East/West freeways with close proximity to the Rose Garden, Lloyd Center and the city center.
Yet it can't spur a convention center hotel or mixed use TODs unless the taxpayers throw millions at it.

Oh and this,
"But freight transport is a very real part of our economic base."

Oh gee thanks for providing the most obvious, kindergarten point with such informative delivery.

Who'd a thunk freight transport is a very real part?

What a typical remark. As if Freight Transport is not part of every region's economic base. And somehow that lame and useless mention is supposed to offset the omission of vital considerations? You betcha. That's how they do it round here.

And all the naive saps like Smith run with it every chance they get.

The only reason the City Council eliminated those references from the document is to corrupt the responsibility to perform due diligence by removing any consideration of those references.

All of this is standard operating procedure.

Looks like Vancouver has plenty of room to move all of those pesky Eagles and other critters...

For full disclosure I am a member of the West Hayden Island committee and have volunteered 100+ hours to this project.

The information was redlined out because it is not accurate. More than half of the 750 acres mentioned is already committed to users (Potash plant and Far West Steel). Some of the remaining land is not even on the Columbia, thus cannot be used as deep water marine land.

In my opinion, the City of Portland cannot absolve itself from the responsibility of providing adequate industrial jobs land. We cannot rely on another state, even if there is land available (which there is not as Vancouver has a shortage of land just like their neighbor on the south side of the Columbia).

Port activity provides many many thousands of jobs in Portland. Generally the types of lower-education, but better paying jobs we'd like to keep.

That doesn't mean we need to build a new terminal on Hayden Island, but those here being dismissive of the importance of our port activity should be a bit more careful. Those are among the remaining good blue collar jobs that City Hall has yet to chase out of town.

Give them time.

It's not the importance to Portland that's laughable, it's the importance of Portland to the rest of the world. The need for another terminal here simply has not been demonstrated, and probably can't be.

Meanwhile, here's some more disclosure about Brian O., who's been kissing the hind quarters of the rich and powerful since he moved here, from Cleveland of all places, a couple of years ago:


What public job he's angling for is anybody's guess. But he sure seems to be working the Goldschmidt crowd hard to get it.

Not angling for any public job. I am focused on job creation for our region. Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. When my three young kids grow up I hope they return to Portland. Without jobs, that won't happen.

Here is a link to a study by the Brookings Institute regarding the important role the Port of Portland plays in our regional economy.


The goal is to double exports from $21 billion to $42 billion from PoP over the next five years. This could create 113,000 jobs in our region.

Your sermon would be much more convincing if (a) you weren't exposed as a loathsome internet troll, and (b) you actually spent some time living here before telling everybody how everything is supposed to be.

The Port is wrong about West Hayden Island. Just as it was wrong to put somebody like you on an advisory committee that's supposed to represent real Portlanders.

It's also interesting that you post from an IP address located here. How much business does your company do with the Port? And gee, you represent apartment developer weasels -- why am I not surprised?

Have been here for almost 5 years. How long was it for you to be considered a "real" Portlander when you relocated from Newark, NJ, Jack?

Crucified for being anonymous. Now crucified for using by name.

No, crucified for being one of the people who are ruining Portland. Goodbye, Brian. Remember, you aren't fooling too many people other than the hopeless Chris Smith types. Have you thought about the Bay Area?

Interesting the way available land in Vancouver is discounted by the city because it is "outside the UGB". As always, this gives politicians license to pave over everything inside the UGB and actually feel virtuous about it.

Brian O. It took about 10 years when I came here in the 70s for my mostly college-educated coworkers to understand I was not going back to New Jersey. With all the influx, maybe that time is shortened some, especially for bike riders.

More on topic: I am much confused about the debate of our importance as a port. Wiki says PDX imports more wheat than anybody, more soda ash then most places etc. We are not much for oil, but that is what the biggest ships carry.
So is there really a future regional demand that needs meeting? Is it impossible to relocate balds eagles, perhaps by strewing mice and kittens on some nearby open space? I honestly don't know.
But if there is a market and an environmental compromise available, and the only argument is based on anti-growth sentiment, I would go for the jobs.

There are so many other places where this could go -- places with no little or no wildlife value. We're not talking about pigeons and squirrels in a park. We're talking about bald eagles and other valuable species. They are not going to coexist with a shipping terminal -- that's just bulls**t.

As for the jobs, this place will probably end up either mostly empty, or cannibalizing jobs from the other terminals. Whatever Portland does as a port, it's not going to do a lot greater volume of it in the future.

A big part of the problem is that you have all sorts of people sitting around at the Port with nothing to do but plan and build unnecessary facilities. Like a new headquarters every 10 years, and now this. And construction contractors and unions that are way too tightly connected to the Port brass.

sorry -- not imports more wheat, we ship it.

I suspect the PoP is trying to keep from becoming the step child to the port of Vancouver
while doing everything possible to keep from criticizing their friends at metro, the ugb and planning regime

"The goal is to double exports from $21 billion to $42 billion from PoP over the next five years. This could create 113,000 jobs in our region."

Sounds great but how does that happen w/o the Port shipping coal? I don't think we're going to start growing and shipping more grain than we do now. Nobody disputes that the Port is not going to move a lot of containers - and West Hayden Island isn't proposed to be a container terminal. Potash and scrap steel? Autos? The only "new" thing I've heard of is coal. But the Port says it's not looking at coal.

Looks like an "economic development" pipe dream to me.

And does anything ever happen at Terminal 2? The last several times I was by there it looked abandoned but sounds like it was recently renovated?

"They are not going to coexist with a shipping terminal -- that's just bulls**t."

Well poop, I think it depends on food supply. If there are salmon and little critters and even raccoons along with tall trees they will probably stay, at least in nearby quieter areas. There should or could be enough fish in the river to sustain the current population. Their main requirement, the books says, is a large body of water. So I would guess the nesting pair that settled in densely populated Harlem fed from either the East or Hudson Rivers as well as garbage.
I am just fact-checking here. I don't live near the port anymore and have my own pair of eagles as well as spotted owls in nearby trees.

Well, they can censor all they want, but the public knows the truth.

Except that in many instances, the public is so busy trying to make a living to keep up with expenses, that often they don't have a clue, although they know things are not right somehow, but. . . with no investigative reporters on corporate owned press, these circus performers can go on with the show. Shame on the city and those who facilitate in the cover-up of the truth!

Sorry Jack, I agree with much of your port posts, but I agree with niceoldguy. I'm an avid boater and see bald eagles and all the rest of the predator birds in the most unlikely, unserene places in our metro area. Mike Houck had tours of Ross Island with Pamplin's active gravel business making all kinds of disruptions, and still less than 100 feet away there are nesting eagles, peregrines and blue herons. Just adjacent to Zidell's yards there are nests. All along the north harbor there are all kinds of birds.

There may be eagles, etc. in other areas, that doesn't mean we need to pave this area over. I read recently about the Panama Canal and huge ships.



. . . . By the end of 2014, the Panama Canal is scheduled to have completed its greatest expansion, more than doubling its capacity and allowing it to handle the world’s most massive ships.

And U.S. ports are scrambling. State governments and their port authorities all along the Gulf and East coasts are seeking to spend billions of dollars building bigger ports as quickly as possible, in a rush to accommodate the larger ships that will start traveling through the canal. (Ports on the West Coast, which are naturally deeper, can already handle the bigger vessels.) It’s a high-stakes investment, and in a sense, they’re all competing with one another. The ports that become the first go-to destinations for larger vessels will have a huge competitive advantage over their peers. “They’ll be established as the destination to be,” says South Carolina state Sen. Larry Grooms, an advocate for expanding the port in Charleston. “It will be hard for the other ports to take business away.”

Found this information rather interesting, it looks like some here want to make some money and run even though it appears we are not even in the running.

. . . As always, this gives politicians license to pave over everything inside the UGB and actually feel virtuous about it.

The mantra of the UGB also gives many others in our community reason to overlook the hypocrisy and feel OK about not standing up for various matters in our city.
Examples: OK to change certain codes that were in place that provided neighborhood livability. In some areas solar access standards were in the way of density and changed. The environmental groups quiet about selling Johnswood Park in St. Johns for a housing development, and not speaking out about the loss of huge firs and cedars in our city destroyed to make room for the "smart growth" developments.
Yes, unfortunately this fits the profile then of "inside the UGB can be sacrificed."
Sad, that where we live is being sacrificed.

I was thinking of this today while listening to one of the great albums of all time ... It popped into my head when I heard that unique voice begin "Five names that I can hardly stand to stand to hear . . . ."

Please delete second "to stand" above.

for clinamen re the really big freighters to come: A good point, but from wiki and Google, it seems the new ones won't carry bulk loads like wheat, but more expensive stuff.
There are about 1800 wheat-sized ships at sea, with more to come and few are being scrapped.
So I am not sure the Columbia depth will soon be a major factor so long as the fleet floats, no matter what Newt said in his campaign. The river keeps some freighters from taking full loads as things stand, and they still make a buck on bulk.
And years from now it might be profitable to find a way around the limitations -- especially if we get more people working again.

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