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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 22, 2013 9:47 AM. The previous post in this blog was Dead giveaway. The next post in this blog is Two weeks' notice. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Mayor Char-Lie to the rescue

Portland's new mayor has stepped in and halted the backroom deal made by the city's "development services" bureau with a Beaverton developer weasel who's decided to wreck an inner Portland neighborhood. In the past, this kind of deal would have slid through with no questions asked. Because in charge of said bureau was Admiral Randy, the all-time bully on the City Council, in close collaboration with the resident real estate tycoon, Legend Dan Saltzman, who never met a soulless development project he didn't like.

We feel a little sorry for Paul Scarlett, the Randy minion who's in charge of the permit bureau. He apparently didn't realize that now that his Great Protector is gone, he has to play by the actual rules. We wonder whether he even knows what the rules are -- other than, do what Randy tells him. And no doubt Randy gave a few marching orders, before he left City Hall to contemplate his navel. We wish Scarlett well in his next position, to which we hope he gets shown soon.

Meanwhile, Portlanders who are inclined toward wishful thinking are probably seeing this as a sign that Mayor Char-Lie will stand up for the neighborhoods against the developers. That would be a mistake. Char-Lie's in the developers' pocket -- just not this particular developer. Wait 'til you see what he tries to deliver to his owner, Homer Williams.

Comments (17)

Any guesses on what sort of costs the city is going to incur after Sackhoff sues when this building will be out of compliance with the new parking regulations? I'm on the city's side in this fight, as Sackhoff's buildings all look like cheap particle board crap, but a lawsuit is absolutely inevitable.

Why restrict the parking to over 40 unit projets. Anything less than 1 per unit is malarkey. Too bad no one will remember when election time comes. 6B

I think Charlie reversed course on this corrupt little deal because he knew he was about to have his ass handed to him by Novick, Fish and others on the council – who, from what I hear, are anything but pleased by the way he's been keeping everything to himself down at City Hall.

Phil,
Wouldn't it be great it we could just return to "Portland Confidential" corruption? Cash in manilla envelopes was so much less damaging to the neighborhoods than crooked development deals. And who really cared if the Mayor had PBOT repave his driveway?

Why restrict the parking to over 40 unit projets.

It's the "Sackhoff Special," coming soon to a neighborhood near you! A 39-unit, particle board beauty!

So far Charlie has shown more integrity than we have seen in a Mayor for a LONG time. I know of an individual who hovered around Charlie's campaign, tried to get his face in there with Charlie when the photographers were around and donated in large amounts to the election fund. His job skills were lacking beyond being a mindless yes-man. To date he has received nothing. How appropriate.

Jack, I am hoping that Charlie will continue to surprise you and eventually prove to be one of our best Mayors.

"He apparently didn't realize that now that his Great Protector is gone, he has to play by the actual rules."

It's not clear to me that BDS wasn't following the rules, and Charlie is the one who is off in wilderness. Like Dave J., I smell a lawsuit that won't go the city's way.

But don't get me wrong, no one is a bigger opponent of these zero parking buildings than I am. This one is particularly bad because the greatest bulk is off Division and on the neighborhood side. Where he wanted the building entrance for his 80 tenants as well.

I liked Steve Novick's take on this:

Paul, I appreciate your years of service to the city, and especially your and your office’s work on seismic issues, and Ed, you and I go back a long way and I love ya, but this situation is (to use a genteel phrasing) messed up six ways to Sunday.

That's the guy I used to kid around with up on Mt. Tabor, telling my latest Mitt Romney joke. I was also impressed that he went to the scene of that tragic traffic accident involving the child crossing the street, and walked the route himself. I think he's a good person, even if he'd tax the changing seasons if he could.

There were two Harvard Law School grads in the last Portland City Council and Mayoral election and the voters were right about both of them.

Snards,

The biggest issue is BDS telling the RNRG that
the permit was void (thus they won & did not appeal). Then, when the appeal period expires, boom- they change their position to help the developer.

From the standpoint of legal ethics and due process, tricking the RNRG out of appeal rights
is pretty dirty. I bet LUBA is steamed. BDS basically gutted the effect of the LUBA decision.

Let Sackoff sue the city- maybe it will break up the loving relationship between BPS, BDS and Sackoff.

Once the protectors vacate a corrupt institution, the house of cards will fall. Maybe this isn't the case here or maybe it would be a really good time to be an investigative reporter.

Yeah, I see the issue with telling the RNRG one thing and then letting the appeal period pass. I'm just not sure about the rules there. It could be a cruddy and dishonest thing to do that is nonetheless within the letter of the rules.

Again, I am no fan of this building, but if I have pick who is more likely to be following the rules to a T: a city staff person with a hundred eyes on him dealing with a very high-profile and public project; or a mayor quickly flipping positions in the face of blowback. I'm going with the first.

LUBA said the entrance of the building needed to be moved, and that is what Sackhoff did with his "revised permit." So I'm not sure what BDS did to gut their decision.

But the details and decisions the city made regarding that appeals date is the biggest question.

And no doubt Randy gave a few marching orders, before he left City Hall to contemplate his navel (IN HIS ILLEGALLY-BUILT SAUNA).

"Why restrict the parking to over 40 unit projects"

You do realize almost all apartment construction within a several block walk of the MAX line has a

You have to realize the planners know better than you do.

Snards,

I usually agree with you.

Please trust me on this- BDS was unethical.

If an attorney recommended this course of action (and I don't think the city attorney did) there is a possible disciplinary issue.

You don't trick the opposite side into missing a deadline. You are not allow to trick citizens when you are a city employee.
That's why Sackoff and BDS lost.

Tell them one thing, and do another. Estoppel, me thinks, may help.

The biggest issue is BDS telling the RNRG that the permit was void (thus they won & did not appeal). Then, when the appeal period expires, boom- they change their position to help the developer.

I know of a precedent here from my old NA, and I'll have to try to dig it out. It sort of foretells what might happen on this matter. In a nutshell:

(1) BoD staff makes decision on what they call a Type I review. NA wasn't notified, only immediate neighbors, as required by CoP code.

(2) NA finds out and tries to argue it was a Type II matter. Staff denies argument and accepting the appeal, but NA at least gets on record with the matter.

(3) Commissioner notified and asked to intervene. Commissioner does.

(4) Staff admits it was Type II, but appeal period has now expired. Commissioner allows staff to prevail on the matter and tells NA to forget it.

(5) NA takes it to LUBA, who agrees that not only ws the orginal matter a Type II land use decision, so was the staffperson's denial of the appeal. And since the NA went on record with their attempt to appeal, they had legal standing at that point.

(6) LUBA remands matter to CoP, and commissioners realize they are in trouble. Thus, they decide at council to avoid potential litigation from the developer and give him what he asked for in the first place.

Re. (1) above, what is legal and what is moral are two different things; things the City currently is allowed to ignore.

A few years ago when developers were purchasing old apartment buildings and courtyard complexes and converting them to condos (either by razing and rebuilding or evicting tenants and remodeling) all they were required to do (and only if a variance hearing was in the works) was to notify property owners within so many hundred feet of the proposed structure. They were not required to notify people who actually lived in the structures even though those people were taxpayers and residents (in some cases of very long standing) in the City. In our case, we only found out about the plans for our apartments when the neighbors told us about the notices that they received and their intention of challenging the variance.

Anybody who is a stakeholder and who lives within a reasonable distance of a proposed project should be notified. They should not be required to be a property owner. Some property owners do not even live in the State or the neighborhood in question; the property is merely an investment for them.

The owner who failed to convert our apartments to condos (and then to apartments), sold the property to someone who lives either in Corvallis or Eugene. I don't believe the gentleman has even seen the property and whatever happens to it doesn't impact his lifestyle, except economically.


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