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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 14, 2012 8:42 AM. The previous post in this blog was Another 128 jobs flee Sam Rand Portland. The next post in this blog is The next Fuku. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Linchpin alert! Another big loser for the PDC.

The Portland Development Commission has a pretty lousy track record of doing anything but making the real estate sharpies in town richer. But under the Adams "administration," the agency has outdone itself in failure. It's been a complete and utter black hole, achieving pretty much nothing but at enormous taxpayer expense. The whole shop should be dismantled and its few useful functions farmed out to other bureaus.

Anyway, here's a typical PDC deal: Buy a wreck of a building for $3.71 million, blow a million or two making up fruitless plans for it, then sell it to some pals for $550,000. And then subsidize said buddies as they renovate the building into something no one in his or her right mind would ever think Portland needs.

[O]fficials with the urban renewal agency say it's the only way to forge ahead with a plan for private developers to renovate the old Grove Hotel into a youth hostel, giving the gritty area an anchor and attracting young people who someday could fill local tech jobs.

Have you ever read such a crock of nonsense? Tech jobs in Portland? And oh yeah, the Stanford engineering students are really going to want to spend quality time amidst the pitiful denizens of Old Town. This is stupidity, corruption, or both, and so obvious for all to see.

It wouldn't be complete, though, without the classic line from the car-hating bobblehead currently running the PDC into the ground: "We think this is kind of a linchpin project for Old Town." Indeed, buddy. Linchpin City.

Comments (25)

They needed to kill this project - It was taking funding away from the CC Hotel.

"and attracting young people who someday could fill local tech jobs."

God, I'm tired of Sam Adams and his way of thinking.

Clue: create the tech jobs first.

You would think that Adams' approach of encouraging the "educated" unemployed to Portland (most of whom don't have the background to fill a tech job anyway), in the belief that companies will flock to Portland to use all that "talent", would be thoroughly debunked by now.

It's also obvious that to the extent we get tech jobs, they're going to be in Washington County - are they expecting the hipsters to commute from Old Town to these jobs?

What bothers me most about this is not the story itself but the reporting. The reporter does use a single bit of critical thinking but instead regurgitates exactly what the bureaucrats want released. I realize this is not a new problem but it is truly disturbing. This city is desperate need of actual news reporting with critical thinkers analyzing the multiple sides of every issue. Oh, and by the way. Quinton is abysmal and needs to go.

Youth Hostel?

The Youth Hostels I've stayed at predominately attract foreign tourists, generally in their late teens and early 20s, who lack the legal right to work while they're visiting the U.S.

A youth hostel is for travellers, not long term workforce housing.

I think they picked the wrong word.

Make a Venn Diagram showing "people who are going to come to Portland and stay in a youth hostel" and "people looking for tech jobs in Portland." The diagram will look like two donuts lying side by side. THERE IS NO OVERLAP BETWEEN THOSE POPULATIONS. God! What a stupid, stupid project.

And ground floor retail and dining too!
Oh goody! I really want to shop at the Value Village store and eat at a grubby Subway across from the homeless camp!

What a marvelous way to get all the heroin/crack dealers to quit hanging out on lower Burnside! Build a youth hostel right there!

Yes, an inability to attract aimless young people is definitely Portland's greatest problem.

I wonder how Washington's recreational marijuana law will affect tourism by young people? And older ones too.

We could have just taken a big hit - so to speak.

Did you see the 60 Minutes piece on medical marijuana in Denver? They have more outlets for it than Starbucks and McDonald's combined. Depending on how the federal government reacts to the recreational laws, Washington could see a boom in tourism business. Dude, they have to be pretty stoked about that, especially after the gnarly situation with getting busted for pot.

Things are changing and Portland is behind the curve on this one: "Let's stay in Washington where we can get ripped. We can visit Portlandia on a day trip."

What's wrong with the two hostels Portland already has? One's in NW and the other is on Hawthorne. Toss in the large numbers of couchsurfer places available and I can't really see an sort of need for this.

It's almost a shame we don't have more evil/smart political leaders. If you want to "jump start" Old Town you'd figure out a way to drive out all the social services past 205. Part of me is surprised the Pearl sharpies have managed this yet.

Know an easy way to determine who in Portland has never been to 4th/Burnside? Just look for anyone wondering aloud why nobody wants to run a business at 4th/Burnside.

"The deal will lock in more than $3 million in taxpayer losses and require nearly that much more in loans. But officials with the urban renewal agency say it's the only way to forge ahead with a plan for private developers..."

The PDC is just about on par with the brilliant thinking coming from the military: "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."

From the Oregonian article:

"The project, across Northwest Fourth Avenue from the Right 2 Dream Too homeless campsite, is expected to have about 150 beds in more than 70 rooms, plus ground-floor retail and dining. "


I've done tours of duty on the Oregon Council of Hostelling International board of directors. They have a hell of a time just maintaining the facilities they have, much less take on a new facility that is five times the size of what they currently at least four times the present cost. Is this facility some sort of gift that the Naito family is providing to the hostelling movement, or did PDC just decide to piss away a shipload more real estate money? Or, perhaps they just intend to run the current non-profit hostels out of business with a glutting of the market?

Ah, well...If I had to choose between Nob Hill, Hawthorne or Skid Road, it wouldn't be amongst the marginals of Old Town.

Where ELSE can 20 something hipsters go to retire EXCEPT PORNLAND?

The conspiracy part of my brain wonders if this isn't just a back channel way to build a low-income (or no income, in this case) housing shelter without going through the required steps. When the hostel fails, they'll have this nice new residential facility sitting on prime real estate in the part of town with the most need for a new homeless shelter, and the terms they worked out specify that the building reverts to city ownership if it fails.

"The conspiracy part of my brain wonders if this isn't just a back channel way to build a low-income (or no income, in this case) housing shelter without going through the required steps."

That scenario would be vastly superior to what is currently proposed. At least that gets people who are already living here off the street.

That scenario would be vastly superior to what is currently proposed. At least that gets people who are already living here off the street.

Well, yeah, I agree. I just find the idea of a youth hostel that is designed to lure future high-tech workers to Portland to be completely absurd on its face. It's like they've got some sort of buzzword bingo game they used to come up with that one.

"Uh, this project will bring [draws card from hat] creative class members who believe in [draws card] living a car-free lifestyle and who want to [draws card] practice sustainability while [card] engaging other stakeholders in their community and [card] working in the biotech industry."

So that would be the vast and hugely successful biotech industry located in SoWhat, right?
Seems a bit of an arduous commute for the little darlings on the new and improved trolley...

You never know, maybe if we got enough aimless young people here bubbling and swirling around perhaps one of them will discover an endless free energy source and save the world.

I think that this news has just vindicated all Jack's rantings about SamRand/PDC/"Developer Weasels", et al for the entire last mayoral term and possibly the coming one. It leaves one speechless, but fortunately we know that it will not leave Jack speechless.

Wait, they spent $3,7 million in 2010 on a buuilding that's (now?) appraised at $660,00?

While the date of the appraisal is not stated and I know property values are dropping, who overspent by 500% to purchase this building?

I guess it doesn't matter when it's not your money.

It would be cheaper to tear it down and start over

And, how many PDC projects have need the exception on the loans? I'm guessing a high percentage of them lately.

The demonizing of the clackistanis for not wanting to follow Portland's ways has been one the most repulsive political wars in recent memory.
For years the stories have come out almost daily showing how the Portland creeping agenda is something to reject.
Yet the sickening politicians have insisted it's all a model to follow with no other choice but to accept it.
Clackamas and Clark counties are accepting any of it any more.

Clackistani news, are sure you met to write "not accepting any of it any more."

I've had too many years sitting through PDC meetings and not be amazed by Jack's quote from O's "Loses Inevitable..".

Just a few months ago PDC's Director Patrick Quinton went on about how PDC's money is drying up, TIF is going broke, our model has to change. Then you have the typical PDC formulary of words that ignores what Quinton said. It's almost like a dream reading about attracting young people to "someday", possibly fill tech jobs. I guess then, you and I will pay for their "work force" housing. After that we'll pay for their "senior housing".

PDC sure has a way with words. I've noticed through the years how staff searches for the obligatory PC phrases to politely step-toe through the morass of their many failures.

Portlanders, just keep on paying the 27% of your property taxes to PDC, plus the over $1 billion siphoned off through TIF that steals from schools, fire, police, parks, etc.

Dave J....It's like they've got some sort of buzzword bingo game they used to come up with that one.

I like that term buzzword bingo game!

If you think about it, you have to have the cards to play bingo to win and it seems to be the case for those playing buzzwords.


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