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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 8, 2013 3:09 PM. The previous post in this blog was HP: We'll do you a favor and take back our defective product. The next post in this blog is Portland food slop to be trucked all the way to Crescent. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday afternoon stinker: Metro pays ransom for baby elephant

Portland's "unique" metropolitan area government is paying $400,000 to the sketchy California carny outfit that owns the new baby elephant at the Portland zoo. For that, the zoo also gets the baby's sire, a 42-year-old stud named Tusko. And don't worry! It's not tax money. No, no, it comes from a different pot of private money. Of course, now public money will be used to pay for the things that the private money would have paid for, but taxpayers shouldn't care at all about this! Honest.

Meanwhile, Metro is using bond money that voters authorized for public open space to fence off a bunch of land in Clackamas County for an elephant sanctuary. It's also blowing millions to expand yet again the elephant pen at the zoo.

Keeping elephants in zoos is a questionable practice to begin with, and the "training" the animals receive at the hands of outfits like the one that's getting $400,000 from Metro is cruel. We think these new elephants should be the zoo's last, and the whole subversion of parks money into a larger elephant captivity program should be reversed. Metro is hoping that that's a conversation that the public will never have. But maybe the local animal rights people will step up and make it happen. We sure hope so.

UPDATE, 10:23 p.m.: Metro's chief p.r. flack, Jim Middaugh, tells us that no open space bond funds were spent on the elephant sanctuary operation. We take him at his word, but then we wonder why we needed an open space bond if we had money lying around for a worthless, possibly even evil, elephant sanctuary. More next week.

Comments (17)

Doesn't the carny outfit still have ownership rights to some of the future offspring of Tusko, meaning METRO could be repeating this sordid process again in a few years?

No, the story says that contract has been cancelled.

"Metro is using bond money that voters authorized for public open space to fence off a bunch of land in Clackamas County for an elephant sanctuary. It's also blowing millions to expand yet again the elephant pen at the zoo."

If you don't spend it all, how can you go back and ask the voters for another bond?

This is OR, we just aren't that smart.

I think the zoo is poo. Let the Foundation pay for the whole thing.

And Rex is going on about saving elephants from extinction. What a nut.

Oooo....just like China buying elephants for zoos.
China gets their elephants from Zimbabwe. Portland gets theirs from the shady carnival outfit in LA.

You guys are just being mean.

Remember when we successfully returned Keiko back to the wild? We're going to do the same thing with elephants to Mt Hood.

Jack, you need to take down the David-from-Welches con man side-bar and put up rotating Metro/PDC/City of Portland banners instead.

Regarding the Zoo Poo, I thought Metro was giving that away, now I see it's just being sold under a different label.

Mr. Bogdanski,

You are mistaken. Natural area bond funds were not used to exercise the option on the Roslyn Lake Property.

Jim Middaugh

Well then, whatever funds were used to start up your new elephant breeding business should have been used to buy the parkland instead of the bond.

Please do let us know what funds were used. Property taxes? Magic beans? We'll report your answer in full here.

Then ask the taxpayers if they want you expanding your elephant breeding operation in some crazy sanctuary operation. I dare you.

Thanks for the follow up Mr. Bogdansky. The source of funds is a donation from the Zoo Foundation.

Wow, Metro's leadership in addressing the NW elephant shortage is really inspiring.

I am now advocating that the Eastside Street cars be re-purposed as hay storage units for the elephants.

Is it just me, or is Metro turning into an extended Monty Python skit- perhaps the Department of Silly Walks?

If things continue in this vein, there is a risk that voters will toss Metro.

Memory lane reminds me of the Metro Zoo/Zoo foundation money laundering scheme some years ago when $800,000 in gate fees were diverted to the Zoo foundation and then donated back to the zoo to avoid the Metro excise tax and spending restrictions.

No one was held accountable.

Perhaps this type of creativity was used to fund some current ventures?


"With an unprecedented budget shortfall for the City of Dallas looming on the horizon, Dallas City Council voted unanimously to turn the Dallas Zoo over to private management in August, 2009 after two months of intense negotiation. The public-private partnership originated from the Dallas Zoological Society and the City of Dallas exploring opportunities to save the City of Dallas money while providing ways to operate the zoo more effectively?

Tusko has limited value to a breeding program. He's already been used several times. Note that they aren't using Packy anymore. Tusko calves won't be bred to each other and soon there will be a new hunt for another elephant stud to enable diversity in the herd. Haven't these people heard about buying frozen semen or doesn't that work with elephants?

No sensible dog breeder, let alone an elephant breeder, keeps a stud around unless they choose to. It's less expensive and more flexible if they go out for the stud service or inseminate. In that way, the entire male elephant community is at their disposal.

And if anybody is arguing some kind of necessity for the herd, remember that with elephants its matriarcal and the bulls general hang out with each other a good deal of the year - not with the females and calves.

The finances of the zoo and the zoo foundation deserve a thorough investigation. Metro is a huge, largely unsupervised pot of public money -- that usually means corruption.

Elephants are endangered in the places where they are indigenous. I don't have a problem with creating an elephant sanctuary in Oregon. One day there may be no elephants in existence outside of captive populations.

How much does that work out to a pound?

Seattle coverage of the story here:

Oddly scrubbed from the Internet is a quote where the zoo official states that the family will remain together. I can't find it now, but the inference was that the father, mother and offspring would remain together. Can anyone find it?


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