This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 28, 2013 1:53 PM. The previous post in this blog was Lake O's Carollo. The next post in this blog is Hey, City Council! While you're tweaking.... Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

A guest post from Dave Lister

[Dave Lister is an area businessman, former Portland City Council candidate, and erstwhile opinion columnist for The Oregonian. -- J.B.]

Metro bogeys at Glendoveer
by Dave Lister

Eighteen months ago Metro announced that they would begin a competitive bidding process for the management of Glendoveer golf course. The contract that had been in place with Glisan Street Recreation for 25 years was due to expire at the end of 2012. Metro President Tom Hughes said that Glisan Street Recreation, who wanted to renew their contract, would be considered, but added that it was only appropriate that other firms be given a chance to bid. Glendoveer's golfers and employees expressed grave concerns, but in a series of public meetings they were assured by Metro that Glendoveer would continue to be managed as a high quality golf course and little would change. We were even given that assurance in person by Chairman Hughes when we had him out for a round of golf. But Hughes and Metro, as usual, lied.

I had occasion to see first hand what has happened to Glendoveer, my home course for over a decade, just two and half months since the "management" change. What has really happened is that Metro has engineered a shameless money-grab to the detriment of the course, its golfers, and its employees.

The deal between Glisan Street Recreation and Metro was that Glisan Street got 56 cents on the dollar of all the greens fees and golf range revenues and Metro got 44 cents. In exchange, Glisan Street maintained the course and its amenities and paid all the course employees. When Hughes and company started talking about putting it out to bid, they made a big issue about some perceived problems with the irrigation and drainage on the course, intimating that Glisan Street hadn't been getting the job done. That was a smokescreen.

Metro did not contract with a new management firm. Instead, they paid a one-time consulting fee to a company called CourseCo out of California to make recommendations on how to improve the course. Going forward, Metro will get 100% of the course revenues and will not be paying any third party to manage the course. All the course employees are now on Metro's payroll, but they’ve been cut from full time to part time. You can decide if it's coincidental that their new hours do not require them to be insured under the Affordable Care Act. The head greens keeper, who had taken care of the grounds for 18 years, is gone.

And what were the fruits of CourseCo's recommendations? Well, the clubhouse has new carpet, but the area that used to be filled with golf clubs, hand carts, and golf apparel for sale is now empty. They have a few gloves and a few balls to sell, nothing more. Along with their huge pay cut, the employees got spiffy new name tags and a new point of sales system, which they hate, because it takes multiple keystrokes to do a simple transaction.

And the course itself? I have never seen it in worse shape. All the benches at the tees have been removed, presumably for future replacement, but who knows when? The greens are unkempt, bumpy, and full of moss. The tees are mostly mud pits. The sand traps are packed earth with virtually no sand. The fairways have always been rough in the early spring, but worse this year than ever.

When it was first announced that Metro was studying the future of Glendoveer, they said they wanted it to more closely conform to Metro's values. Well, they have succeeded in that. Grab all the money, screw the employees, and cut out the private sector.

That really is a reflection of Metro’s values.

Comments (55)

Once the public loses interest in the now degraded facility, I think I see a large, mixed-use, high-density real estate development project in the picture with a nearby streetcar running down Glisan.

Suspect anything from liars and knaves.

Indeed sad, but there is a missing piece: comparison of revenue before and after.

It would of course be an even worse shame if Metro is getting even less than before.

Another fine example of our government at work...

Glad to see you blogging here, Dave, I miss your column in the Oregonian. Hope you'll continue.

What is the difference between golfers and bicyclists? Golfers pay to maintain the green space they utilize. Bicyclists just provide lip service and freeload with the green wash of other taxpayer paid funding. Metro is obviously using the green fees from Glendover for more of that kind of social engineering. Clearly, Metro can not be trusted. This is along with the purchase of more rural land for natural areas, taking it off the tax rolls and far from Metro‘s jurisdiction near Gaston, are both good reasons to vote NO in May on Metro’s five year levy to maintain such properties. Metro simply can’t be trusted with that money either – likely finding a yet another way to grab some of it for more social engineering purposes.

And just as Alley said in the O last week, Metro is a ham-handed extra layer of government that we don't need....they are clumsy and inept, and should not be running golf courses, convention centers, expo centers or performing arts centers.

Said more simply, they shouldn't BE at all. Eliminate this buffoonery.

So Sad.
Really a reflection of what we are all in for with takeovers. Unfortunately, in many cases corporate, global, whatever you want to call it these days.
It looks like the elected officials are in on the plan, not caring about the people and having any say in matters.
I hope someone will begin to initiate some legal avenue to rid Metro and/or control, big endeavor for sure, but then so is this constant dictate of theirs to deal with as well.

Amen to that. It is too bad we were duped into creating Metro in the first place. Metro was to work hand in hand with Oregon's centralized land use planning. The elected regional government was touted to be the way of the future in the mid 1970's. All these years later, it is still unique to Oregon.

By the way, Glendoveer was acquired by Metro from Multnomah county in a land swap deal a few years back. Multnomah county, when they acquired it from the private owner, knew they didn't know how to run a golf course so that's how Glisan Street Recreation came to be. Metro is not smart enough to know they don't know how to run anything, despite poisoning zoo patrons and losing their a** on the convention center.

One correction: CourseCo's consulting fee may not have been one-time. Metro may in fact pay them from time to time as a consultant.

But the main point is CourseCo is a consultant and the employees are all being paid by Metro and Metro is getting all the revenue (after making sure they cut the employees out of benefits). So it is not a management contract in the sense of what Metro said they were putting out to bid.

Dave Lister,
Since you are political and may know people, not that you would divulge it here for any "insiders" to read, I am wondering, is there any movement towards at the very least reducing Metro? Can we really afford them? Not only financially, but the livability dictates? I think our community has had enough of Metro.

"Once the public loses interest in the now degraded facility, I think I see a large, mixed-use, high-density real estate development project in the picture with a nearby streetcar running down Glisan."

I think that's exactly the plan - degrade the course while extracting as much money as possible, have the public lose interest in playing there, and then turn it into "higher-use" apartment bunkers.


I think there have been efforts in the past to get signatures to put an initiative on the ballot to get rid of Metro. I've only been paying attention for about ten years and I think those efforts were before that. I'm not sure if it ever made the ballot. If it did, it obviously wasn't passed.

Someone whose political activism predates mine might weigh in here and educate us. I think Metro was originally set up just for garbage and the zoo and they have grown like the blob. I think the voters gave them planning oversight through a ballot measure sometime since their creation.

I would love to see a successful initiative to get rid of Metro, but it would be tough. You would be up against voter apathy and a lack of education. It's hard enough to explain what Metro is, let alone why we don't need it.

Public golf courses are not part of the plan going forward - they are considered UNSUSTAINABLE and NOT GREEN.

To make that happen a little sooner, "managing" a public golf course into an unusable eyesore is being enacted.

We might be able to slow them down by declaring the place wildlife habitat. The course is full of coyotes.

Dave Lister, Thanks for the information.
This time around, if initiated, might work.

I too can see that all that land looks mighty appealing to the housing advocates. Picture the place with those firs and cedar trees chopped down!! . . . replaced of course with the little urban street trees!

This then fits in with what several of us lament here, no place left undone and by the time the planners/who they work for are done, a complete "redo."

My understanding is that Metro has a contract with a private circus to sell them the Coyotes.

Apparently they have a new routine where they drag a clown out of his dirty stinking clown car and rip him to shreds until he gets on his tiny clown bike and rides away to his tiny clown apartment bunker.

On the bright side, having layer upon layer of Byzantine bureaucracies does create jobs for insiders and other "correct thinking" people.

Mr. Grumpy,

Yes, and not to mention the fact that those enlightened folks can help guide us unwashed and uneducated in correct living.

A fine piece, Dave. Will you be filling in for Jack while he is away?

>>>>All the course employees are now on Metro's payroll, but they’ve been cut from full time to part time.

An all too familiar theme -- not just at Metro. I am certain a lot of readers see this happening all around them. Right?

Imagine how many cr-apartments they can fit on the property that is now Glendoveer Golf Course. Of course, all with NO parking due to the proximity of the precious choo-choo.

Full time to part time has been happening a lot, but the economy is supposed to be improving. What I find ironic is that Metro, who espouses progressive values and whose council is composed of the sorts of people who I would guess are supporters of universal health care, would deliberately cut employees hours to prevent them from having health care.

I'm betting money the Greenies running Metro loathe golf courses and the intention is to turn this into another natural habitat park, i.e. Graham Oak Park and Cooper Mountain. To them a golf course has a huge carbon footprint.

As for ever getting rid of this bloated layer of government, good luck. Ask any 10 people on the street if they know what Metro is or what purpose it serves and you will be met with 10 blank stares.

Hey ho, Metro's gotta go!

I think Metro was originally set up just for garbage and the zoo and they have grown like the blob. I think the voters gave them planning oversight through a ballot measure sometime since their creation.

As I recall, Metro was the replacement for CRAG (Columbia Region Association of Governments). CRAG replaced the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC). The entire role for each of these agencies was planning. The Metropolitan Service District (MSD) replaced CRAG in the late 1970's; its first president, Rick Gustafson, now runs Portland Streetcar. Gus decided that MSD should be renamed as Metro (likely tired of jokes asking if anyone knew if their district had been "serviced").

It should be noted that the role of each agency was restricted to planning, mapping, and data analysis. However, in a marked change, MSD took over Portland Zoological Gardens from the Zoological Society. Subsequently, Metro grew to encompass other entertainment venues, parks and management of the various Pioneer cemeteries. They received considerable negative press in regard to the latter, when it was revealed that skeletal remains were dug up and dumped at a site across the road from Blue Lake Park.

Metro evolved from CRAG, Columbia Regional Association of Governments in 1978 with Oregon Legislature's input. CRAG consisted of Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington and Clark County in WA. It was primarily only a planning agency used to process federal funds for regional planning. It has morphed into it all encompassing entities under Metro.

I served as a representative for Clackamas Co back in the early 70's. Our tasks were merely planning issues with advisory consensuses without dictatorial consequences for all the governmental entities within all the counties.

Poor Glendoveer. My mother didn't golf but used to enjoy walking there on the paths with friends. She used to say it had more rabbits than San Juan Island's English Camp. Glendoveer wasn't broken and is one of the few public golf courses left. Why couldn't they simply leave it alone?

I suppose that in the near future Glendoveer won't be there. And when it goes down, there will be Metro hovering like a vulture to broker some kind of development deal which will not be to our advantage.

As usual, Mr. Lister is wrong. Worse, as usual he didn't bother to check his facts with a simple phone call or email. Glendoveer's employees don't work for Metro. Metro is investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve Glendoveer. Metro, witht he help of golf, tennis and fitness trail users selected a private sector company with expertise to run the facility in a competitive process. The Metro Council has repeatedly committed to maintaining Glendoveer's golf, tennis and trail facilities. The lack of honesty and integrity in posts like this is shameful.

Not as shameful as you Metro PR flacks, Jim.

Jim Middaugh,
Sorry if negative response here to Metro is troublesome for you, what is more troublesome is what we have had to deal with as a result of Metro policies. Have you taken a look around at what once was our beautiful City of Roses and what negative changes have happened, we are told due to Metro dictates our neighborhoods have had to take extreme density. . . we have lost quality of livability.
We can no longer even just take a little jaunt over to Blue Lake to have lunch without having to pay $5. to enter with a car that is, how about bikes? This was/is our public park, what next $10.?
Tell us Jim, what the future plans are for that land, honestly, will those grand trees stand in perpetuity? We all have reason to have our antennae out after the many many negative changes and "redo" blazing throughout our city that we have witnessed.
It doesn't stop, can we assume that it will stop at Glendoveer?

I am sure Mr. Lister can speak for himself.

What I did get from the story is that the employees health coverage has changed, hours cut and they are not happy, and the grounds are not up to par. Whatever, I got the picture the end result is negative.

By the way, I would encourage people to come view the grand trees. I would hope that Mr. Middaugh can assure us that they will stay in perpetuity and there are no condo plans in the works with only a sprinkling of a few trees left here and there. East Portland has lost enough trees as a result of extreme density developments.

Hey I like you Mr. Lister.

Are you going to keep this thing running while Jack is off slaying dragons?

Lets get the dissolving of metro on the ballot along with all the other wasteful government operations. Its time to take back our city from the children currently running it into the ground.
We must stand up to the bullies NOW!!
I will help anyway I can.

Jim Middaugh, spawn of Erik Sten, obscene twister of public involvement, and grossly overpaid Metro flack: Please send me copies of all the contracts between Metro and the private Glendoveer contractor.

I might add that Dave Lister has more integrity in his pinky fingernail than you'll ever have.

And when he sends them, you'll post a prominent correction, right? Because you care about accuracy?

A shortened link since my earlier one got wrapped:


Regarding Mr. Middaugh's response:

I wouldn't expect Metro's mouthpiece to say anything different. The people that work on the course personally told me their checks are issued nu Metro and my observations of the conditions of the course are first hand. And Middaugh's response does not address my main criticism that Metro said they were hiring a management company and did not. Nor does he address the revenue issue.

From Middaugh's link:

CourseCo, for instance, will receive an annual management fee starting at $105,000 in 2013 and climbing to $145,000 in 2015. Increases after that will be tied to cost-of-living indexes.

It's a consulting fee, not a management contract. Metro gets all the revenue and pays these guys for whatever they think they're doing out there. Just go play a round of golf and see what they've done. There is no way that CourseCo could pay the employees and maintain the course for 105 grand this year. Obviously Metro has taken it over.

And how about putting all the employees on part time from full time? That's pretty progressive, isn't it. I don't see Metro's flack responding to that.

And I could really give a rip if I have lost the respect of Erik Sten's former chief of staff, a man I doubt has ever had a real job in his life.

From Middaugh's post:

"The Metro Council has repeatedly committed to maintaining Glendoveer's golf, tennis and trail facilities."

That's the whole thing. These government bodies make bold statements, repeatedly "commit" to things, insist they are "committed".

And then you go take a look. And realize the emperor has no clothes. Metro, Portland, MultCo, the State of Oregon... all the same. All talk, no action.

But in their weird alternative reality saying something somehow makes it true.

The expansion of Metro and their dictatorial footprint has a real life similarity to the Tribbles episode of Star Trek, especially as it relates to the ever-increasing numbers of Metro Tribbles – elected or not - endeavoring to prescribe lifestyle choices in this region of the planet.

To Jim Middaugh - I didn't really work much with you or know you that well when you worked at BES, but in the days since your attempt at political office and your flackateering, you really have become quite full of yourself.

Had you read Mr. Lister's post with even a miniscule amount of comprehension, you would note that he has actually been at Glendover on a regular basis, and probably knows a number of employees on a first-name basis. I doubt you could find Glendover with a GPS device in each hand.

Many of us, including COP employees past and present, are very tired of the micromanaging, the "green" imperative that is leaving our region more grey than a Soviet-era city, and the outright lies coming from various government entities. Given that the local press seems to have lost any interest in actual reporting, now we get arrogant flacks like you to tell us how things are. We are tired of it.

Mr. Lister et al.,

The employees at Glendoveer have not, do not and will not receive paychecks from Metro. They work for CourseCo. CourseCo decided whom to hire and what salary they deserved and the hours they should work. Metro required that CourseCo interview all GSR (the previous operator) employees, but nothing more. Some who weren't hired are upset, but that is a matter between them and CourseCo. Many GSR employees were retained by CourseCo. Metro has a five year contract with CourseCo to operate Glendoveer. They receive a fee plus a portion of the revenues. Per his request, Mr. Bogdanski has a copy of the contact.

Personal attacks by Mr. Bogdanski and Mr. Lister aside, they remain wrong about the facts. No amount of personal attacks can change that.

People can oppose Metro if they want. When they spread false information I personally believe it warrants a response.

You started the personal attacks, Middaugh, not us. For $135,000 a year, you should learn some manners. I think your job is supposed to be public relations -- and today you're doing the same bang-up job there that you did in your years on the public teat at City Hall.

And for the record, I don't have the contracts.

Well, I don't understand why the employees would be telling me they are paid by Metro if they are not.

But regardless. In order to buy Middaugh's explanation you have to believe that a company manages the course, pays the employees, takes care of 350 acres of landscaping, pays for the fuel for the mowers, pays for the water for the irrigation and all other overhead for $8,750.00 per month, and that's assuming CourseCo makes no profit.

As a business owner I can say with certainty that is mathematically impossible.

Dave he did say "They receive a fee plus a portion of the revenues." So Metro supposedly isn't getting 100% of the fees, who knows what CourseCo's portion is.

It would be interesting to see the contracts.

Mr. Lister, CourseCo gets a share of the revenue too. Under the CONTRACT Metro has with them to operate facility.

Mr. Bogdanski, I sent the contract again attached with the original message I sent earlier.

Mr. Lester's assertion the Metro lied was not only a personal attack, its false as well.

Hell Middaugh, Metro lies about everything all the time. That's not a personal attack. That's just the simple truth. Anybody with a pulse who is paying attention knows that. Ask the Troutdale City Council if you don't believe me.

I was on you and Hughes' side when you came out with the big opt-in program. You said you wanted divergent opinions and conservatives to weigh in. You conned us all, and everybody believed you. Then you went back to your bullcrap of weighted questionnaires, push polls and choreographed public input. All you guys care about is reaching your foregone conclusion about how all us peons live and work while you pull down 135K a year plus PERS and bennies for being a mouthpiece for the politburo.

Even if everything you are saying is correct, that doesn't change the fact that the course is at its worst in decades, the employee morale is at its lowest point in decades and the assurance that Glendoveer would be maintained as a first glass golf course has been proven to be bull.

I point out that the Glendoveer employees have had their hours cut so they won't receive benefits. I don't give a damn if it is you or CourseCo or Kimn Jong Un who caused that. You own the course. You could intervene. You could do the right thing. You're good progressives, right? You believe in universal health care, right? But you say "oh it's not us, it's CourseCo" and you wash your hands of it.

Pontius Pilate did the same thing on this day a couple millenia ago.

And rather than saying CourseCo gets a share and you are sending the contracts to Jack, how about you just tell us what the share is? What is their share?

Tell me that and I will factor it in to my business analysis.

And remember that you are talking to a guy that has signed the front of paychecks since4 1979, something you have never done.

And it is probably easy to cut some poor golf course employees out of their benefits when you are getting yours, isn't it Jim?

Let them eat divots.

Another classic exchange. I love it.

There does seem to be some classic 'know nothing' excuses here. Pontius Pilate indeed, but with no mob of sheep threatening revolt. But I guess you don't need ship if you have pigs at the trough.

You're facts are still wrong. I don't care how many paychecks you've signed a lie is still a lie.

Metro's Fifty-Year Plan

In 1992, Portland-area voters were confronted with a ballot measure titled "limits regional government." In fact, the measure gave almost unlimited powers to Metro, including the power to do all planning in the urban area and to force three counties and twenty-four cities to conform to its plan. Voters, most of whom did not understand this, approved the measure by a modest margin

see article here

fancypants:Lets get the dissolving of metro on the ballot along with all the other wasteful government operations. Its time to take back our city from the children currently running it into the ground.
We must stand up to the bullies NOW!!
I will help anyway I can.

I agree.
It is time to take a stand here for our livability and while I am at it for our grand trees to stand, not being taken down continually because they are in the way of the "smart growth" agenda.
What I consider really galling is the attitude/treatment toward the public, the taking down of the spirit of the people to the point of feeling defeated or certainly what appears to be the attempt to do so, and the attempt to control too many aspects of our lives! We are better than to just witness this continual abuse of our city and area, we know better and we must act on our behalf.
The anti-fluoride people got over 30,000 signatures within the 30 day period they needed, that should be encouraging to others. We need legal assistance to get this rolling, I am sure there are plenty of people in this city who have had enough!
We should not lay back feeling powerless, we need not waste our time going to city meetings, keeping us busy working on "their" plans, Let us use our time for getting those petitions ready and Go! Save Hayden Island, Stop the Coal Trains, Save our Bull Run Water System and our water rights with a Waiver, Stop the unnecessary spending and debt, whatever the list may be, we have better efforts to work on. While we are at it, a list of people we can trust to be elected and a vow to clean up our elections and clear out those career politicians.

. . . those career politicians that we know have betrayed us.

The lie is yours.

Per your contract with courseco:

1.48 Revenues. "Revenues" shall mean all receipts from green fees, sales, food and beverage,

Driving Range and cart fees and any other proceeds attributable to Glendoveer except for gift cards,
deposits or other items where revenue will be recorded as they are redeemed. All revenues are properly
of Metro.

Please note "All revenues are property of Metro".

Uh oh, Dave Lister smokes Jim Middaugh! Ouch.

Maybe Metro should stick to its core mission: breeding elephants for private zoos and circuses.


Public's help sought on survey to reduce vehicles on the road

Oregon wants you to drive less, and Metro has to make that happen.

The state’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are believed to contribute to climate change. Metro, the regional government that includes Portland is required to present its plan to the 2015 Legislature. The cities and counties within Metro are expected to adopt it.

Metro wants to hear from you before that decision is made. It will be conducting an online survey on the issues and ideas under discussion in the first week of April. The results will be presented at the advisory committee meetings and and to the council. Metro has used such Opt In surveys in the past to measure public opinion on issues ranging from neighborhood satisfaction to maintaining its parks and natural lands.

You can register and take the survey at climatesmartsurvey.com.

Your personal information will not be sold or shared with other governments or private companies. For more information on the surveys, visit www.climatesmartsurvey.com.

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