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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Breaking news: Sam Rands were bad managers

The official audit of the Portland transportation bureau under the Adams "administration" is out, and surprise, surprise, it finds that the whole operation was in chaos the last several years, with the goofball mayor ordering up one pet project after another and no orderly priorities in sight:

City Council adopted a number of aspirational plans to improve the pedestrian, streetcar, bicycle, and overall transportation system throughout the city, but has not identified how to reconcile and pay for these competing, and expensive, priorities...

Despite this increase in transportation revenue, spending for many transportation programs has been reduced, including street maintenance, traffic signals, and structural maintenance. Some of the reductions resulted from increased spending in other areas. Programs with increased spending include streetcar operations, downtown marketing, and transit mall upkeep. The amount of spending dedicated to debt payments is also up.

When these new projects were approved, the potential impact of the new projects on existing programs was not quantified. Instead, Council often relied on uncertain future revenues to fund the projects, such as new parking revenues from parking districts that had not yet been created, and development charges that were known to be volatile. While the City Council may not have intended for new projects to displace other transportation services, this has nonetheless been the result of these spending decisions. Over reliance on uncertain new revenues that did not then materialize decreased the funds available to maintain existing transportation assets....

Priorities for use of existing transportation funds are not clear, and commitments to new projects have reduced funds available for maintenance and other existing services. Without greater investment in infrastructure maintenance, the condition of those assets will continue to decline, requiring even more future spending to maintain basic assets. We agree with the City Budget Office that the City Council should clarify the City’s transportation strategy and improve project-level risk assessment.

This is the city that's so big on "planning." It's a bad joke.

Speaking of which, we see that Sue Keil, Creepy's one-time transportation czarina, weighs in on the matter in the O, blaming it all on the ex-mayor. This is the career bureaucrat who on several occasions was supposed to check up on her subordinate, parking meter manager Ellis McCoy. McCoy's now under federal indictment for taking bribes. Keil investigated and investigated, but gosh, she couldn't find anything to can the guy for. Uh huh.

Adams and Keil in happier times.

Comments (34)

There is no honor among thieves.

But it made for fun TV. But I guess it is good to know that at least the auditor can see what every one of us sees everyday we try to drive through this city.

I'm glad they did this audit, but really all you need to get the same answer is to ask someone to drive from SE 82nd into downtown at noon and try to find a place to park. The misplaced priorities is obvious to anyone living in the real world.

Still, if the election were held today, he'd best Charlie by ten points.

I love how Adams tries to take credit for moving PBOT 'in the direction' of the oversight and priority setting this independent auditor is advising. Why, it's as if this auditor's advisement is just an extension of the good hard work Mayor Adams started himself. Way way back in 2006. Classic Adams.

That picture of Adams and Keil "in happier times" is a bit blurry. I can't tell which finger she has extended in Sam's direction.

"I can't tell which finger she has extended in Sam's direction."

No, but we can sure see what area Sam is protecting.

It is a shame that these types of reviews happen AFTER the fact. Where I work, I get a review WHILE I'm still on the job.

Agreed...this type of thing should be implemented two years into the elected's four year term, and then followed up so that the report is released a month prior to potential re-election.

Yes, and then there's this story, released only after you-know-who is out of office.

Yes, surprise surprise. Reports to follow may reveal that riders on the MAX line are more likely to become crime victims, and distributing composting buckets to city dwellers was a real stinker of an idea.

When Adams became the Transportation Commissioner in 2004, the Bureau started its downhill slide. Keil, whose career was spent in Environmental Services, was a perfect Bureau Director for Adams because of her lack of Transportation experience. If she didn't like the Adam's directions, her 190k salary helped her keep quiet. This onion is going to take a lot more peeling. Keil hired know-nothings who turned around and hired more know-nothings.

Mayor Hales has raised morale for Bureau employees significantly by removing Tom Miller and temporarily assigning the Bureau to Toby Widmer. Hooray for Charlie!

Well, that was four years of a desperate need for someone to stop Adams and tell him "Shush. Grown-ups are talking."

Portland Polite would not support a recall.

Better late than never. Still, rather staggering. The roads in Portland pre-2004 were no model.

Street maintenance is so very much more expensive when done in an untimely manner, even by a factor of threefold. And never so invigorating -- oops, vibrant -- as wholesale social redesign.

Quel Suprise!

Nice buncha grifters youse guys elected.

Again. . .

New projects, including the streetcar, new sidewalks, and Portland Milwaukie
Light Rail line, assumed future revenues that have been slow to materialize and then required cuts to other existing services.

See page 3 on Transportation revenue Source and use.

Parking fees and fines – No restricted use.
Discretionary General Fund - No restricted use.
(Utility License Fees)

Page 18-19
In 2008 Council voted to
dedicate all utility license fee revenue above forecast levels to PBOT
for operations, maintenance, and safety.

There is more to read on the State Highway Fund and Multnomah County Gas Tax in the document.

How much money was moved to the Milwaukie Light Rail project?

I am surprised that former Mayor didn't get a cushy executive position at Tri Met.

With a transportation funding credit card in hand, Sammyboy was like a little immature kid in a candy store prioritizing this novelty treat now, that pet project over here and another extravagant hobbyhorse creation over there without any consideration for maintaining the infrastructure already in place, or for who will be paying off his depleted charge account in the future. He often spoke of sustainability with no concept of financial self-sustainability, continually asking for more taxes from the people who already pay them while giving away the store to those who don’t. As Will already posted, it is “Classic Adams” to twist the candor in the audit report and take credit for the good hard work he started. One wonders if that particular paper table napkin with his mark on it has been saved in the City’s archives.

What I can't believe is that the City Club hired the guy. They will be sorry.

One wonders if that particular paper table napkin with his mark on it has been saved in the City’s archives.
. . . or any other envelopes of cash that might have accidentally dropped
on the way to the desk clerk?
Portland Polite gives passes.
Aren't some lucky?

Sam's next job will be Party Planner specializing in 18th birthday parties or running a driving school geared to pants-down driving.

Another example of why it's a shame that LaVonne Griffin-Valade didn't run for Mayor last year.

Complain all you want, but the streets are now safe for unicycles.

Another example of why it's a shame "career politicians" are elected again and again.
When will people learn we cannot afford those who aren't working for us?

I misread Cary's comment as closing with unicorn. perfect both ways.

The debt service has gone up 30% in the last five years and is projected to go up another 80% in the next four years.

We are not going to dig out from this for decades.

I was shocked and dismayed. Over and over again. So I moved to Clark County.

Thank God I live in Tigard. Shortly after moving into our home (on a one-block long street with a cul-de-sac on one end, and another street with a another cul-de-sac on one of its ends) a city street crew did an excellent job fixing a depression right in front of my driveway. No complaint made to request they fix it, they just showed up.

Last week, the crew was back fixing several other minor problems on either side of our house. Again, no complaint from me to come out and fix it. And that first patch job has held up perfectly.

Too bad my employer still has to be in Portland, though, but fortunately my commute into downtown Portland gives me the choice of one of two state highways, requiring only a couple blocks of city-maintained slop.

We are not going to dig out from this for decades.

Do you think millions more are wanting to come in to help us dig out from this?

Guess they will just have to increase my property taxes to the point where it is no longer affordable for anyone to buy.

Clinaman, millions more are wanting to come in, but only for the weed and PBR. The moment you mention "work" in any context other than graphic design or social media (or that ever-elusive goal of seemingly two-thirds of Portland's new arrivals, "a position with a weekly newspaper"), they'll skitter like roaches.

I haven't seen much skittering. I read rent is something like $3000. for an apartment in NY. I wouldn't be surprised if ads aren't being run in NY or across the country to come to hip, eco, affordable "NY-like Portland" so that the apartment bunkers can continue to be built. I wonder how many ads/articles have been placed to entice bicyclists?

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