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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Not the way we do things in Portland

A couple of readers have sent us photos of this billboard, down around where I-5 crosses Oregon 217:

It must have gone up on Thursday. Willy Week mentioned it on Friday, before we had a chance to comment on it.

We think it's funny as all get-out. Somebody actually acknowledging, amidst all the denial, that corruption is at the core of government in Oregon? It's wonderful. And they've got the right project. The folks forcing light rail on the 'Couv are every bit as corrupt as the ones forcing it on Clackamas County. It's the Goldschmidt People. They belong in jail. Instead, they run the region.

On the left there is Pat McCaig, who's leading the charge for the Network. She's getting a lot of unwanted personal attention now, but she's doubtlessly hard enough to handle it. Her wallet's getting fat, which is the key Network gauge of success.

Over on the right, however, is state treasurer and gubernatorial front-runner Ted Wheeler, whose connection to the CRoCk is not as clear to us. As we recall, Ted's actually made some statements that detract from the light rail people's arguments. Why the anti-bridge brigade has him on their corruption poster is puzzling.

It's a curious billboard, to be sure. Most of the people who see it will have no idea what it's about. It seems designed to embarrass the two people pictured, rather than sway public opinion.

But it may actually have the desired effect. We know from personal experience that criticism of Wheeler gets his wife Katrina really hot under the collar. Her head must be absolutely spinning around over this billboard.

Anyway, it's a priceless moment in Oregon history. A wonderful breach of Portland Polite. Kudos to whoever's responsible, and may there be many more.

Comments (47)

God Bless the Activists Everywhere!

Great idea!
There should be more.

According to your first link in your post, Wheeler as. tate treasurer as to approve the financial plan and I think the contested toll revenue predictions.

Also, the project is about much more than light rail (or just replacing the bridges). I'd bet that many advocates (not saying TriMet) would be willing to forgo light rail if it meant no huge highway expansion.

Ack. Should be "as state treasurer has to approve".

If it weren't for light rail, this bridge would already be built.

Wheeler as. tate treasurer as to approve

I still don't get how that tags him with the "corruption" label.

Maybe just the perception that he'll rubber stamp and green light whatever the backers put before him.

That, together with the fact that he stands in the way and he will be accountable to voters. Not that McCaig is accountable, who else accountable (in theory) should be up there? Kitzhaber?

Isn't this a classic case where a compromise is staring us right in the face? Build a freeway bridge. Lose the light rail. Next.

Is it really true that the feds are tying their funding for the CRC to light rail? No light rail, no funding . . . or significantly less?

I'd say that's why the planning vultures are not eager to lose light rail and why - against all common sense and a lack of support - they continue to cling to it.

The 850 million transit grant is tied into some type of transit improvement on the bridge (not necessarily light rail, it could be a carpool/transit lane type deal like what's common in Seattle)... but they haven't even applied for it yet. There is no telling how much (if any) they will get. My understanding is they have to first commit to building the thing, then apply; if the grant doesn't cover what they expect to get, someone has to cover the shortfall.

Is it really true that the feds are tying their funding for the CRC to light rail?

The feds or Earl and his gravy train followers?

It's a great billboard, but they should have put a ghostly image of Goldschmidt in the background.

As far as the bridge is concerned, one of the better options is leaving the I-5 bridge as is and building a new bridge east of I-205. Of course that doesn't give Metro and the smart-growthers a light rail beachead in Clark County, which is what this is really all about.

NW Portlander, tying CRC funding to light rail is a figmentation of our local Planners/Bureaucrats.

Tell me how many bridges in the past recent decades have been built across the USA WITHOUT light rail WITH federal funding participation. A lot. The newly reconstructed Oakland Bay Bridge doesn't have light rail, and many others.

The 850 million transit grant is tied into some type of transit improvement on the bridge (not necessarily light rail, it could be a carpool/transit lane type deal like what's common in Seattle)... but they haven't even applied for it yet.

The key - they haven't even applied for it yet.
Sounds like a pattern here.

In my opinion, they haven't applied because the insiders here want it their way for their special interests. Same with the water, they haven't seriously applied to EPA for a Waiver,
. . . . . because the insiders here have wanted it their way for their special interests. I think we need a few more of those billboards peppered around the area with pictures of elected officials who haven't been working for the public interest. Quite frankly, I don't know if there are enough billboards in our area to show all their faces!

Given it's location at the I-5/217 interchange, it should focus on the impending invasion of the light rail mafia into Tigard and whether travellers, residents and employees want a light rail train that will forever gridlock Tigard by removing half of its "Main Street" (Highway 99W), or a more sensible option of transportation upgrades and enhancements, including improving the bus system (which, of course, means no payback to the light rail crowd).

Why would someone pay for a billboard implying that the one guy who has called the question on CRC numbers, Ted Wheeler, is corrupt?

I don't get it. There is so much corruption to go around on this deal, I can't fathom why anyone would try to demonize the one guy who has tried to point out the project's financial absurdities.

To call him corrupt is just dumb.

Here's the only way it makes sense: the billboard campaign is trying to intimidate Wheeler into shutting up. It sends the message that even if you try to inject common sense into this issue, the Go,dschmidt cronies will just attack you as corrupt. So shut your mouth.

It's a cynical, yet brilliant way to make sure that critics who hold high office stay in the cone of silence.

And it will work.

These folks know the levers to push.

Not the way we do things in Portland

This may be the start of the way we ought to do things in Portland. It is time to focus on the decision makers and unwise decisions that we all have to keep paying for and paying for, not only financially but in our livability.
More ideas for billboards:

"A million more coming? - NAH!"

"Stop Metro - sign petitions!"

I'm confused. I thought Ted Wheeler has said no matter what Kitz, Cylvia and the Legislature say,he, as Treasurer, has final say on whether bonds for the CRC should or could be sold and that decision will be a process. I think he said that one issue will be Oregon's bond rating, which will be very very bad after it's shown the Legislature cannot balance the budget due to PERS. That means interest rates will be too high to sell the bonds.

Observer: Perhaps it is trying to goad Wheeler into doing the right thing?

I've been pestered about that sign, demanding I judge it as photoshopped. So, I took a drive, took a look and voila!

It isn't!

You need to drive south on 217 to see it.

Anyway, I said no to photoshopped, placed a bet on it (Before taking the drive) and won 1/2 case of Deschutes "Red Chair"!

I'd say the jury's out on Wheeler inasmuch as he has raised questions but has yet to give or withhold approval. That makes his picture on the billboard with McCaig puzzling, unless someone believes the fix is actually in (something that seems often to happen around here -- key people "reluctantly" going along, or asserting opposition when it doesn't count).

Clearly, the party line is that the Feds are paying for most of the bridge, but only because it includes light rail. They'd like us to think that the rail part is cost-free and attracts federal dollars for 75% of the total project, so we're getting a $4 billion bridge for $900 million of state money. Now that's really a CRoCk.

I had the distinct displeasure of working with McCaig when she was Gov. Roberts Chief of Staff. Major ego and took personal credit for other people's work.

If this CRC moves forward with enormous tolls, then I suggest right after having to pay, some "burma shave" type signs with the name of each official who voted for this, as a nice little reminder to not vote for them again!
Since investigative reporting seems to have gone, signs may be the way of the future!

My understanding is that CRC hopes that the federal government will contribute about $850 million. Some CRC reports I found indicate that the hard cost of the transit portion is about $650 million in 2011 dollars, so maybe $750 million by the time the thing gets built. I haven't figured out what soft costs to allocate to the light rail. This means that if light rail and the federal funding both drop out, there might be a net loss to the CRC project of about $100 million. Or there might be no net loss, or even a profit.

Too bad it is not an electronic sign where they could have a different rogues gallery every few days.

I went to some meeting at a pub years ago when McCaig was I believe on Metro. Anyway, I brought up the subject of options to our density plan and she did not like that at all, brushed it off by saying essentially that that wouldn't do as too many people would want to live in the option/scene that I had presented! These people have a way of ending discussions when things are brought up that don't adhere to the "big plan!" Like I said this was years ago, I was just beginning to attend these kind of meetings. Now I would have been more persistent, but even so, being persistent would most likely not have been liked by the other Portland Polite attending.

Where does one begin w/this? I know, how about Joe Cortright.

Or how about Tina Kotek telling the 100 or so - mostly against - citizens at the last public input meeting @ Concordia " Mr. LaHood's bridge is a done deal."

Or how about Sam Adams, yes, Sam Adams, when I asked him point blank @ a City Hall meeting about CRC - " just when were the residents of N Missouri going to be told their properties are condemned, because you cannot keep lying about not widening I-5 south of Victory.
He told me they didn't need to widen I-5 because a "traffic thermostat" his words, I kid you not, would take care of flow demands.

From it's inception, CRC was designed for only one reason - and that reason has nothing to do w/livability or infrastructure "improvement".

So far it has lived up to (corrupt political) expectations: 150+million spent w/o a shovel-full of dirt tossed.

Billboard on 217


Where do I donate?

Why can't we just stop arguing and start building the frigging bridge? Metro and Tri Met need to just butt the heck out.

And Tri-Met suing Clackamas County to stop a vote on light rail? Sounds like bullying to me.

" . . .a light rail beachead in Clark County, which is what this is really all about." Dave Lister: You hit the rail right on the head!

I like the idea of where to donate for more billboards!

If I were researching, I'd be looking at the real estate transfers around both sides of the bridge landing at Delta Park.

Back in 2007 PPR told us they "had" to sell their property there (forestry) and it was worth nothing.
I offered to write a check for it immediately but alas no one took me up so I must not vote right.

Anyone else notice there are two new commercial sites underway in recent months...

Watch the juggling in and around Hayden Is. Did some title work five years ago in anticipation of what might happen so as to compare notes. Be interesting to follow.

The only bridge important to build at this point is a bridge of trust between the government and the people who elected them to office.

I had a memory surface which I thought was quote from Patricia McCaig.

So I called the source and sure enough, it was her.

When Patricia McCaig was approached with a concern about city hall not enforcing a neighborhood building code she brushed off the concerned citizen with,

"Well David, I happen to believe in government".

Indeed she does.

With all of her heart, soul and deposit slips.

So much is about land, isn't it?
Who knows, maybe it isn't about the bridge after-all?
I have often wondered who knew years ahead of the UGB concept and boundary and purchased property in and around. Must have been quite lucrative for some while in my opinion the loss of much livability for many others.

on another note, love the daffodils :-) Not long till Wooden Shoe Festival time.

clinamen-- Or those fortunate souls who "guessed" right on I-5's routing? Prescient land speculation has been intertwined with this state since it's birth. It's not unique to here either.

So the state "hopes" the feds will contribute such and such an amount and it "hopes" Olympia will match the funds our legislators voted that Oregon will spend. Meanwhile they've flushed an obscene amount of money down the toilet without progressing one step forward. Is this any way to do business? Is this responsible stewardship? I don't think I've ever seen anything so badly organized in my life.

What a fustercluck.

Re. the signs, maybe we need more cranky old guys with property next to the freeway like the one who painted messages on his roof south of Corvallis and the other with the Uncle Sam billboards south of Tacoma. When we were growing up in SE, there was John Bircher down the street who had an enormous sign in his front yard. He never gave up.

This one was my all-time favorite (NSFW).

My single memory of Tina Kotek is from about 1985. I was serving on a city advisory committee - a citizen's group - and we got word that this "rising star" was going to be dropping by for one of the meetings. She buzzed in and out and we never saw her again. We got a similar visit from Rex Burkholder who was so abrasive and insulting I would have welcomed his leaving earlier. Then there was the single memorable visit from Earl Blumenauer. Somewhere along the line, certain people who wanted favors and dangled power came to the debutante ball and asked the fresh faces if they wanted to dance. They've been dancing ever since.

NW Portlander,

Great description!

Somewhere along the line, certain people who wanted favors and dangled power came to the debutante ball and asked the fresh faces if they wanted to dance. They've been dancing ever since.

"Not that McCaig is accountable, who else accountable (in theory) should be up there? Kitzhaber?"

OK since I think Wheeler has been one of the few voices of reason in govt when it comes to spending money.

Might help if they said where McCaig gets her paycheck from (David Evans).

Think the Washington side is a little more interested in the actual numbers on the bridge, rather than the shinola being moved around Salem by the lobbyists.

It will be interesting to see whether Washington State still has any autonomy left or is also in on the Big Lie.

I wouldn't be surprised to find that caravans of Oregon supporters of this are now in "important" Washington offices trying to convince or seal deals.

Jack Bog:

This bridge would already be built if they were trying to build an 8 lane replacement instead of a 12 lane replacement. It stands to reason that if there's a 12 lane bridge across the Columbia that eventually the folks from Vancouver are going to advocate for the new bottleneck get expanded until we've got 10 lanes between Vancouver and I-405. Cut the light rail, cut the extra lanes, build the replacement bridge.

How about this idea.
Spend some money on earthquake for the exsisting bridges.
Add a local access bridge onto Hayden Is and close the current ramps from I5 onto the island.
Let transit commuters ride an express from the Couv to the train station in downtown PDX. C-Tran could stop sending busses all the way into PDX.

I guess the light rail folks do not want water ferries on the table for discussion. I enjoyed seeing the Seattle ferries transportation with people reading/laptops, etc., coffee shops. I would think a very relaxing way to commute. I would think the biking community would like it as well.


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