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Jack Bog's Blog, by Jack Bogdanski of Portland, Oregon

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June 2004 Archives

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Quotation of the Day

"Take it easy on Goldschmidt -- he's done a lot for this city and the state." -- Jim Francesconi to Vicki Walker, last January, according to Walker.

Three reasons to live in Portland

High temperature: 82
Low temperature: 56
Daytime humidity: 40%

Tuesday, June 29, 2004


A reader writes:

You know, your retirement or sabbatical reminds me of an episode of "Leave it to Beaver," where the Beaver lies to friends that he's moving. He gets all kinds of going-away presents, all of which he must sheepishly return later when it comes out that he isn't moving at all.


Visit no. 150,000 took place here today around noontime. That's 46 days after no. 125,000 occurred. The traffic's slowed down just a bit lately, but it still amazes me that so many folks pass this way. Thanks for visiting.

Banned from the Portland zoo

Photo (c) 2004 by Jane Lightfoot. All rights reserved.

I had the great privilege of seeing Steve Earle and the Bluegrass Dukes up close at the Aladdin Theater in Portland last night. Singer-songwriter Earle was in fine voice, and he and his bluegrass chums ran through an excellent program for an enthusiastic, sellout crowd.

The show was done in the traditional style -- one mike, all five band members sharing it -- and the sounds were high, sweet, and lonesome. The songs were mostly all Earle's, with a couple of Gram Parsons-Chris Hillman numbers (including "Willin'") thrown in. The band -- Tim O'Brien on mandolin, Casey Driessen on fiddle, Dennis Crouch on bass, and Darrell Scott on banjo and dobro -- was extremely tight and smooth, sometimes running literally like clockwork, as the players weaved around the mike to "mix" the sound. O'Brien in particular is a master of the mandolin, and Scott coaxed some unfamiliar licks out of the banjo that didn't seem physically possible.

Earle, as many readers know, is a very political man these days. He performed a few of his more controversial numbers, which were very convincing when you're 15 feet away. He's got a highly political rock-band album coming out toward the end of August that will likely make a splash, and he's planning to spend a lot of time thereafter in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and other battleground states stumping for Kerry. "This is the most important election of my lifetime," he said, and you could tell he meant it.

Earle proudly told the story of how he has been "banned from the Portland zoo." The last time he did a bluegrass show in town, up at that outdoor venue, he found out that the concert series was sponsored by a certain California-based bank. He proceeded to spend a good chunk of time on stage discussing with the audience how that particular bank specializes in bankrolling companies when they take over union shops and try to run the union out. Representatives of the bank were on hand to hear it all, and they threatened to pull the plug on the show right there. They reconsidered and let the Dukes finish, but Steve won't be invited back.

Good for him. As he said at one juncture last night, some people are criticizing artists these days for making political statements about what they see going on around them. "Hell, I thought that was our f*ckin' job," he said. Quoting from Pete Seeger, he reminded the audience that every song is political. "A lullaby is political -- to a baby."

Whatever you might think of his politics, Steve Earle is one of the very greatest artists working today. To hear his stories, told by the author himself in this compelling, uniquely American musical style, was balm for the soul. If he's coming to your town, run, don't walk, and get a ticket.

Monday, June 28, 2004

How to eliminate a hornet's nest

As demonstrated by a young Orkin guy earlier today:

1. Park truck 100 feet away from tree containing nest.

2. Spray nest with nasty poison.

3. Run back to truck.

4. Whack nest with long stick, knocking it to ground.

5. Run back to truck.

6. Smoke break.

7. Spray broken remnants of nest with more nasty poison.

8. Leave poisoned nest on ground for other hornets to return to.

9. Send videotape to Al Orkineera for broadcast to surviving hornet population.

The way we were

If you're like me, and you like old photos of Portland, head on over to this site and click around. A fellow by the name of Thomas Robinson has got some interesting images, like the one above, looking north along the Willamette River waterfront from well south of the Morrison Bridge.

I think the photo was meant to show that there was a flood, but check out what Naito Parkway (Front Avenue) looked like before it was ripped out for Tom McCall Park!

Mission Accomplished II

With more sequels, no doubt, to come.


Now that it's become clear that the preferred way of executing Western hostages is beheading, is it news any more?

Does the Western media help the safety of Westerners in the Middle East by continuing to show images of blindfolded hostages and their captors?

If you were George Bush, why wouldn't you just bomb Al Jazeera off the air for good?

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Blogroll add

Looks like Raging Red's gotten way into the blogging thing. As they say on Letterman, I hope she's not neglecting her studies!

Anyway, she's off to a great start.

Keeping busy

Across the street from our house, hanging from a branch in the big tree that the neighbor kids love to climb, is the largest freestanding beehive I've ever seen. I've seen bees build their homes under eaves and along roofs, and of course I've seen the big boxes that professional beekeepers provide for them. But to see how it's done out in the wild is pretty impressive. The thing is straight out of "Winnie the Pooh," only real.

Here's a photo, which doesn't really do it justice. You'll forgive me for not getting closer. There's no way I wanted to disturb these little guys:

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Kerry is like Hitler

It's been years since the internet first taught me that when you play the Hitler card in a debate, you reveal that your position has little real merit. Once you make reference to the Holocaust in discussing your adversary, you're revealing that you want to shut down all rational discussion.

As in the Bush administration's new video, "Faces of John Kerry's Democratic Party."

If we re-elect these people, we deserve whatever sh*t we get over the next four years.

Ain't it funny?

We have millions of dollars to run a new streetcar to the vacant apartments at the RiverPlace.

We have tens of millions for a new aerial tram from OHSU to a new development in "South Waterfront."

But the Sellwood Bridge? It's falling apart, and we haven't got a clue what we're going to do about it, or when. In the meantime, people who take mass transit can forget about crossing it for many years.

I propose that the county immediately sell the Sellwood Bridge to Homer Williams for $1. Then I'm sure we'd quickly find the tens of millions to fix it -- plus, build 10 stories of "luxury" lofts above.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Friends don't let friends vote for Nader

You want to protest? Chain yourself to a fence somewhere. Put a hood over your face and head over to Starbucks. Camp out in front of governmment buildings singing Joan Baez songs with Tre Arrow's close personal friends.

But kids, please, please, please don't do anything to support Ralph Nader's so-called campaign for the Presidency. Voting for him is political masturbation at best, and a vote for Bush at worst.

Don't think so? Come on. Look at this.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Want a great meal in Portland?

Go to Lauro at 34th and Division. Thank me later.

New GOP slogan

Dick Cheney just tried it out on Pat Leahy. He told him the same thing W. has been telling the rest of the world for about three years now. (Via AboutItAll, Chuck Currie, etc., etc.)

News in haiku

If you like news blogs
And also like poetry
This site is for you

They don't call him "the hanging judge" for nothing

Oyez oyez oyez ah ah ah ah ah oh yeah!

Cher, Prince, the Who, and me

In the two days since I announced my retirement from blogging, I've received the nicest wishes from many quarters. A number of bloggers have even commented about my imminent departure on their own blogs.

Thank you all for these expressions of appreciation and support.

I've especially taken to heart the suggestion that I make the upcoming downtime a "hiatus" or "sabbatical," rather than a permanent termination of the blog. That's an idea worth considering.

So let me be as upfront as I can about this -- I don't want to be one of those performers who puts on six or eight "farewell tours" -- and say that I've revised my plan. On July 6, this blog will go dark -- no new posts -- for a month. During that time, we'll evaluate where we stand. In August, I will either bow out for good, or unveil some new guidelines designed to facilitate life's great juggling act while keeping blogging in the mix.

Apologies for the inconvenience. Thanks again for the kind words.

Tech fun

Cousin Jim selects a "ringer type" for his cell phone. I'd suggest that he download "Moon Dawg," but that whole process would probably make his hair hurt.

What we really need

Why move the old one? Let's have a new one.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Go, Ducks!

We've made the big time!

This place feels more like a cold, drizzly version of Alabama every day.

At least he moved in with her

After he serves his time, I'll bet he's thinking of getting into politics.

Not work safe

If you're reading this at work, don't click here. This image has been accused of creating a "hostile work environment" for female employees.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Revised official statement

O.k., now that they're out-ing me, let me give you the straight skinny. The real reason I'm pulling the plug on this blog is not to spend more time with my family. It's not to get more paying work done, nor to start getting some sleep at night.

No, I'll shamefully admit that the real reason I'm stepping down is because, in the late 1970s, I had sex with a Republican. Multiple times.

It screwed up her life. She voted Democratic for a while, then started calling my office, screaming, "I went to a rally for Walter Mondale, you bastard! You owe me!"

She was a very progressive Republican, but I should have known better. And I've lived with the secret guilt and shame all these years.

Gagging on Gragg

What is the deal with this Randy Gragg guy, and what are he and his developer buddies doing to Portland?

A while back, I hurled some brickbats at Gragg, The Oregonian's "architecture critic." Or whatever he is. And his defenders came out from behind the woodwork to tell me how wrong I was. He's just doing his job writing about architecture, they told me.

Hey, look at this column. Is this about architecture? Or is this just some hip guy in a beret and a turtleneck playing the apologist for the ugliness that has become Portland development?

Well, now that Neil's gone for a while, I guess somebody has to do it.

Look at what's going up all over Portland right now, while the city sits mired in an economic slump. The taxpayers are effectively paying people to put up big, boxy, unimaginative, out-of-place, ugly cr*p. The accompanying sales job is that we need all these multi-story "luxury" apartment and condo towers so that we don't exceed the urban growth boundary. Boy, if that isn't a Goldschmidt speech -- and accordingly, a steaming load of shinola. You could build two or three stories high from here to the furthest ends of Hillsboro, Tualatin and Gresham, and have way more housing than Portland will ever need in the next century. You don't have to wreck the small-town feel of our city with this appalling collection of grotesque, New York-style six- and eight- and 10- and 15-story boxes.

In 20 years, people will look on those buildings the way we look at the Marquam Bridge and the eastside freeway now -- a gigantic mistake that somebody must have gotten rich off of. And wait 'til you see how rundown Portland's older apartment stock, in Northwest and Southeast, gets as the vacancy rates in those neighborhoods go up. We're overbuilding, folks, and when you do that, some places have to go vacant. And then the owners run them into the ground, wait and see.

Whatever the appropriate size is for a building, double it, or triple it in some cases, and that's what the developers are getting away with in Portland now. Look at what they're doing to Hawthorne. Look at what they're doing to Beaumont. Look at what they're doing on NE Weidler. Look what they're about to do next at the Uptown Shopping Center. Luxury apartment tower at MLK and Multnomah? Surely you jest. And in the classic residential neighborhoods, old single-family homes are being ripped out for 15-foot-wide "luxury" particle-board duplex townhouses.

Continue reading "Gagging on Gragg" »

Packing it in

July 6 will be the second anniversary of this blog.

It will also be the last day of this blog, at least for a good long while.

The reasons for pulling the plug are as complex as the reasons for starting were. Over the past two years, the role of this hobby in my life, and my relationship to the people who read these pages, have changed. With a few hundred people a day coming here now, there's an essential rhythm that should be kept up. And though the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.

There are other aspects of life that need my attention right now. For example, I've converted to Judaism and changed my name to Esther. Oy! But seriously, there are only so many hours in the day, and some other very important things that I need to work on.

I think I've accomplished much of what I set out to do with this site. Granted, some blog-related dreams and ambitions haven't panned out, at least not at this writing. I don't see myself getting that nice-paying summertime talk radio gig I fantasized about out of this, nor are the literary agents calling to clamor for the hard-copy, book-length version. But I've met a lot of nice folks, I've learned a lot, and occasionally I've struck a chord with some of you.

Maybe I'll continue in some other format at some point. I'd like to do a book about something other than tax law someday. But the days are numbered for a daily-post, sidebar-of-links, multiple-topic weblog.

This is going to be a hard habit to break -- there's a power in it that's very seductive -- but I have to.

In the two weeks we've got left, let's have some fun. Go out in style, like Johnny Carson did. And if I think of anything more profound to say about the ending of this project, you know I'll post it.

UPDATE, 6/24, 9:12 a.m.: I've downgraded my retirement plan to a sabbatical, at least for now.

Attention: Northeast Portland neighbors

Are you the proud owner of a new-looking green or yellow Volkswagen Beetle, Oregon license number 329-BCR (or maybe it's 329-8CR)? Or a different model dark Volkswagen vehicle, license number YAA-642?

Did you know that at hours like 12:45 a.m., groups of teenage boys regularly park those cars at the corner of NE 23rd Avenue and Klickitat Street in Portland, sit inside them, drink (and who knows what else), and then drive off, often leaving their empty bottles behind?

Does your auto insurance carrier know?

This has been a public service of Jack Bog's Blog.

Izzle Pfaff on mushrooms

Amusing story, as usual.

Monday, June 21, 2004

The latest in divorce law

Dog support.

A Salem blogger visits the Pearl

And he loved it.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

A day of gifts

It has been the most amazing Father's Day one could imagine.

It started in the usual Sunday way -- me having stayed up too late the night before, screwing around on the internet. Dragging my carcass out of bed with not enough sleep, and barely enough time to scramble around and get ready for church.

My beautiful wife and kids had some gorgeous gifts ready for me shortly after I awoke. Two great photos of the kids, a homemade card by our older, and the news that we were all going to church together. Normally the older and I head out that way together, leaving Mama and the baby at home for a couple of relatively quiet hours. But today, we'd break that pattern for the sake of being together.

Sunday Mass was spectacular in a number of ways. It was an extraordinary combination of darkness and light.

First was the light. A couple had decided to get married at the regular Sunday service -- something that rarely happens -- and a busload of well-wishers in their finery were on hand for the occasion. The choir is off for the summer, and there wasn't even a keyboardist on hand, but the congregation, led by one of the superb cantors, put forth some inspiring singing in the perfect acoustics and bright solstice morning light.

But also came the darkness. Whispered in the pews, later confirmed with an announcement and a prayer. One of parishioner couples lost an infant child in a fall this week. "They just turned their backs for a minute," said one man in front of us.

Unspeakable. The kind of horrifying event that turns every reflection into an instant cliche. I'm not sure I know who the mom is, but I think it's that nice gal who sits just a few rows in front of us. I know that baby. I touched that baby.

There were some broken-up people in that part of the church today, pretty obviously family members of the lost child (though the person I think is the mom wasn't there). A few rows back, I held my own bouncing baby daughter on my lap, and I put my hand on the head of my other daughter next to me, and I closed my eyes for a minute.

Our pastor was incredibly "on." He gave a sermon that lifted you right out of your seat. He made every word read from the good book really come to life, as only he can. He tied the wedding party in to the rest of us. He made us laugh, he made us think. He moved the ceremony along at exactly the right speed. Nobody turned around to look at the clock. When the time came for applause for the newlyweds, it rang out strong and long. It wasn't canned at all.

The pastor will be leaving us soon, transferred to a new assignment. No one could replace him. We will all miss him.

On the way home, we noticed that our neighborhood had been badly vandalized last night by some taggers. Nasty purple paint all up and down one of the main streets near our house. After lunch, I grabbed my graffiti cleanup bucket and headed over to put in an hour in the hot sun trying to take some of it down. I wasn't able to erase all the garbage that had been painted on all the benches and signs, but at least I made the tags unreadable, which ought to serve as a deterrent of sorts.

Continue reading "A day of gifts" »

Happy Father's Day

Friday, June 18, 2004

Lousy Scam of the Day

Over the last 16 hours, I have received no fewer than four e-mail messages from someone purporting to be U.S. Bank. They tell me that someone's been tampering with my account, and that I better head right on over to their site via a link they provide to clear things up. When you click on the link, there's a site that purports to be U.S. Bank, asking for your account name and password.

It looks pretty good, but it's phony as hell. If you get this message, don't fall for it.

Help wanted

Need work? How about a gig as an IRS agent?

In other IRS personnel news, here's a bureaucrat whose name suggests a possible SNL reunion skit featuring Julia Sweeney.

Off the hook

Looks like some of the boys down at the U of O chapter of SAE had a heck of a weekend in Sunriver last fall.

Exclusive photo!

Here is a photo of the rumored out-of-wedlock child of former Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt. This was released to us by a cousin of the former girlfriend of a close confidant of former City Hall custodian Tony Bertucci.

And he should know.

Thursday, June 17, 2004


The final campaign finance reports from the recent City of Portland primary elections are being posted on the city elections website tonight. The big spender: Commissioner Jim Francesconi, who dropped $972,579.07 to come in second in his bid for mayor, nearly 8 percentage points behind new frontrunner and former police chief Tom Potter. Potter spent a grand total of $87,820.87.

Additional shocking, obscene numbers come from the Nick Fish-Sam Adams race: the Fishmeister shelled out $367,874.58; Adams spent $435,933.18.

You math majors out there will note that that's more than $800,000 spent on a primary in a Portland City Council race! Folks, this has gotten way out of hand. The Sten-Blackmer campaign finance reform plan looks better than ever in light of these numbers.

Ted's testy

In an interview on KGW-TV in which he reportedly became "testy," Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski has denied that ever heard that former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt had had sex with a 14-year-old girl while he was mayor of Portland. This flatly contradicts what Fred Leonhardt, a former Goldschmidt speechwriter, has told The Oregonian -- that he had talked with Kulongoski about the rumors several times many years ago.

"I have never heard a rumor about a sexual abuse of a 14-year-old child," [Kulongoski] said. "I never heard that. No one has ever told me that." ...

Kulongoski also said Leonhardt has "told so many people so many things, he's confused who he told and what he told to them."

"The reality is he didn't find the link to all of these things until May 6, when he read it in the Oregonian like I did," he said.

Kulongoski said Leonhardt spoke about many rumors that "some of them are just ridiculous.?\"

Among the rumors was that Goldschmidt had an illegitimate child. Kulongoski said he never asked Goldschmidt about the rumor.

"I did not ever ask. That is something I would never ask anybody," Kulongoski said.

What an oddly vague and weak denial. And now a new rumor! Media hounds, get going! Where is the illegitimate child?

Class act

Portland Trail Blazer big man Theo Ratliff sent Mayor Katz a dozen roses to wish her well with her health challenges.

That's the nicest gesture a player on that team has made in many a moon.

That summertime feeling

I wondered whether it was ever going to get here this year -- the glow that comes over us professorial types when summer sets in. Things have been so hectic for me since the school year concluded several long weeks ago that I was starting to worry that the summer vibe might pass me by entirely.

But last evening, I felt it.

The scene: Vegetables roasting on the barbecue. Sprinkler on the backyard grass. Boom box pumping out some nice Wynton Marsalis standards. Glass of cold Spanish rose in hand. Baby in the back porch swing. Preschooler over visiting with the neighbor in his garden. Spectacular blue sky. Sun setting at that northerly angle that you get only around the time of the solstice. Some work on the desk in the den inside, but it can wait a few hours.


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

The race cars are here

I know nothing about auto racing (except that Dave Letterman had a piece of the winner of the Indy 500 this year). But on a noontime errand today, I was held up by a long, police-escorted caravan of 16-wheelers headed west over the Broadway Bridge into downtown Portland. Many of the trailers on the big rigs announced that they were part of an auto racing team. Presumably the fast cars were inside.

There's no race track downtown, and so I guess these guys are headed somewhere -- the Hilton? To show off the cars before a Rose Festival race this weekend?

Wonder what kind of mileage those guys are getting.

Today's resolution

I shall not complain about land use problems in the City of Portland.
I shall not complain about land use problems in the City of Portland.
I shall not complain about land use problems in the City of Portland.
I shall not complain about land use problems in the City of Portland.
I shall not complain about land use problems in the City of Portland.
I shall not complain about land use problems in the City of Portland.
I shall not complain about land use problems in the City of Portland.
I shall not complain about land use problems in the City of Portland.
I shall not complain about land use problems in the City of Portland.
I shall not complain about land use problems in the City of Portland.


In yesterday's Tribune article on the new look of Jim Francesconi's campaign to become mayor of Portland, the candidate specifically mentions the OHSU aerial tram as among his proud accomplishments. (I noticed him doing the same thing in another recent interview, but I can't find it at the moment.)

Anyhow, does he think he's going to close the gap with that one? Instead of "push" polling, he ought to take a poll on what the public thinks of the projects he's touting.

UPDATE, 5:17 am: Big news in The O this morning: The Schnitzer family is donating to OHSU their huge chunk of land just south of the Marquam Bridge. Even a skeptic like myself must admit that there's going to be a very impressive OHSU campus down that way some day. But the transportation issues just get bigger as the size and spread of the project increase. And the city's share of the costs is still way too big.

Sports quiz

Rasheed Wallace, former Portland Trail Blazer, is now the proud owner of a championship ring, won last night with his new team, the Detroit Pistons. After leaving Portland late this past season, Wallace suddenly changed from a moody, sullen, hostile, disrespectful lout who refused to cooperate with the team, the league, the fans or the press to a gregarious team leader and media favorite. How can this transformation be explained?

A. Rasheed Wallace is a serious head case.

B. The Portland media are jerks.

C. The Blazers badly mismanaged Wallace, as they do most things these days.

D. All of the above.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I love this game, sometimes

Congratulations to the Detroit Pistons, the new champions of the National Basketball Association, who blew out the loathsome Los Angeles Lakers, four games to one.

To the Lakers -- particularly Kobe Bryant and coach Phil Jackson -- I'd just like to offer these words of condolence.

The Pistons were clearly the best team in the league. They deserve this.

I hope the Detroit fans don't riot too badly.

Let me call you "sweetheart"

And if that doesn't work, honey, I've got another little pet name that I know you'll love. Just ask the president of the University of Colorado. (Via AboutItAll: Oregon.)

Travel advisory

For those of you heading to Montana for a summer vacation, the following alert just crossed our desk:

The Montana State Department of Fish & Wildlife is advising golfers to take extra precautions and be on the alert for bears while in the Helena, Gallatin and Lewis & Clark National Forest golf courses.

They advise golfers to wear noise-producing devices such as little bells on their clothing to alert, but not to startle the bears unexpectedly.

They also advise you to carry pepper spray in case of an encounter with a bear.

It is also a good idea to watch for signs of bear activity. Golfers should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear droppings on the golf course.

Black bear droppings are smaller and contain berries and possibly squirrel fur. Grizzly bear droppings have little bells in them and smell like pepper spray.

Work to do

As Cousin James would say, Life 101 is taking precedence today. See you this afternoon or evening.

Monday, June 14, 2004

More rotten news

Here's a Trail Blazer connection to another bright young adult, gone.

"Under God"? We may never know

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled 5-3 (with Justice Scalia sitting this one out because he made a speech about it) that the atheist dad who successfully sued to stop his daughter's public school from saying "under God" in the daily Pledge of Allegiance does not have standing to bring his suit.

This does not mean that the High Court believes the school's practice is constitutional. It means that the father did not have the right to bring the claim because he was too removed from whatever harm was allegedly suffered by the daily recitation of the pledge. Mostly it has to do with the fact that the dad is divorced from the child's mom, the mom has custody of the daughter, and the mom didn't want her daughter involved in the lawsuit.

This also does not mean that the constitutionality of "under God" won't come up again. Legally, it's as if the lawsuit in question simply had never been brought. Another disgruntled atheist parent with custody -- or even a disgruntled atheist student -- would likely have standing.

But few are likely to be as offended, as persistent, and as effective as the plaintiff in the case decided today, Michael Newdow. And so we may not know for a long time whether the phrase is o.k. or not.

Rotten News of the Day

Mayor Vera Katz needs 12 weeks of chemotherapy.

As much as we disagree with her about official matters, we wish her well with her treatment.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Reagan, Rummy and Saddam

Here's a great photo and remembrance. Don't miss the streaming video!

(Thanks to an alert reader.)

Did Ted know about Neil?

That's the question being screamed by a front-page article in today's O -- the first decent reporting that paper has done in the month-long Neil Goldschmidt scandal.

Bad for Ted. Very bad for Ted.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

"Don't show me into Portland"

Interesting piece in the Trib yesterday on the looming fight about the City of Portland's proposed 1 percent "transfer fee" on real estate, or as its opponents put it, the proposed "sales tax on housing."

The realtors are the main opposition at this point, and they're complaining that the existing local tax burden on Portland residents is already driving buyers out of town:

"Realtors are running into a situation now where buyers are telling them, 'Don’t show me into Portland, don’t show me into Multnomah County,'" [realtor spokesperson Jane Leo] said.

"In the times in which we’re losing residents in the city of Portland, we’re losing businesses in the city of Portland, why do we want to implement an additional tax on the middle- and upper-income groups that potentially pushes them out of Portland?"

Friday, June 11, 2004

In the old mailbag

My day of mourning

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Done deal

The Portland City Council has voted unanimously to approve the building of the OHSU aerial tram.

It also voted 3-2 to buy out residents along the street below who don't want to live under an aerial tram.

Perhaps the most alarming news to emerge from the hearing was testimony that the real budget for the construction, originally pegged at $15 million and recently increased to $28.5 million, is going to be more like $40 million. And counting.

And that the tram's operating budget is going to be more than $3 million a year. And that there's still going be lots of increased street traffic on account of various shuttle buses that will be running up and down the hill in addition to the tram.

Congratulations to Homer Williams and all the other developers who will profit enormously from the massive outlay of scarce city tax dollars that this project will entail. And to their political fixer, wherever he may be hiding.

(Via a helpful pointer to the City Council webcast from Portland Communique.)

Lawsuit of the Week

An alert reader sends us this clipping:

Where the rides are

Think I'll head down to the Rose Festival waterfront carnival and buy some crank from the guy operating the Spin-Out.

Thought for the day

I've got a great money-saving idea. Rather than building a $30 million aerial tram, and then spending a million dollars or so each year to operate it, why don't OHSU and the City of Portland buy, say, 100 stretch limousines for $100,000 each (total: $10 million) and drive the rich doctors up and down Pill Hill in them?

For $100,000 a year, I'm sure you could get some great snacks catered in. And Commissioner Sten could get the whole hill hooked up hot for wi fi, with monster laptops in every limo. The docs could read their stock quotes in real time. Once a week, some of foreign residents from the hospital staff could give foot massages in the back seats. Maybe patients could ride along and have their exams en route.

All this and more, with a fleet of drivers, and it would still be cheaper.

And you wouldn't be wrecking anybody's neighborhood.

And you wouldn't be gambling with very expensive, prohibitive-to-insure, unprecedented people-moving technology.

And you wouldn't be building ugly ski-lift towers.

But no.

Please, Mr. Postman

Well, I heard they would track me down. It was just a question of when. They find everybody.

My registration form and "temporary membership card" in the AARP arrived in the mail yesterday, less than five months after I reached the Big Five-Oh.

But I really can't afford to join, what with all I'm paying the neighbor kids to come over every other Saturday and shave my back.

Death to hrie@yahoo.com

Cousin Jim over at Parkway Rest Stop has a few choice words for the comment spammer who goes by the fake e-mail address hrie@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

All in favor, step outside

I love it when municipal politics get real.

What I have in common with Jay Zidell

Now that the budget for the OHSU aerial tram is out, people are starting to focus on the $30 million question, Who's going to pay to build it?

Nearby landowner Jay Zidell, one of the Crown Princes of Old Money Portland, thinks the $2.1 million tab his family's going to have to pungle up, as part of the proposed local improvement district, is too high. Normally, guys like that would just pick up the phone and call You-Know-Who to get that sort of thing fixed. But Y-K-W isn't answering right now, so Mr. Zidell's complaining publicly in today's Oregonian business section. (Via AboutItAll Oregon.)

Finally, Mr. Zidell and I have something in common. I think my share's going to be too big, too. I'm interested in seeing how much "urban renewal" (read, citywide property tax) money is in the construction budget. Whatever my share is, it's too much.

In that regard, I'm trying to get my hands on the new tram budget itself, which was aired before the City Council the other day. Does anybody have a link to that, or are they keeping it off the internet so that none of us little people can complain about it? Perhaps mayor-wannabe Jim Francesconi, who sits on the tram board of directors along with Mr. Zidell, could shoot me a copy.

Meanwhile, for comic relief, you can read architecture dandy Randy Gragg's latest gushing column about this monstrosity here. Randy's black turtleneck, raspberry beret, and groovy goatee have never seen a pork project they didn't like. He must be the nephew of one of the Oregonian executives that they even have a job for him. Here's his latest:

Since at least the Middle Ages, humans have understood that the fastest, easiest way to travel between the top of a mountain and the bottom is on a rope.
What profundity.

Get well soon, Bob!

One of my very favorite bloggers, Bob Borden, has wound up in the hospital with a partially obstructed bowel. Ick! Bob, get well soon, dude!

This has been, Best Wishes for a Speedy Recovery to Bob Borden. Tell your friends.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

And the Law Prof Hunk of the Year is...

The votes have been tabulated, and it's time to announce the winner of the Law Prof Hunk of the Year contest.

Let's start with our Second Runner-up, who also wins Mr. Congeniality. Here he is.

Next, our First Runner-up. If for any reason our winner should become ugly during the course of the next year, the First Runner-up will wear the crown for the rest of the term. And here he is.

Which brings us to our winner: this year's prince of professorial pulchritude. The Law Prof Hunk of the Year is here.

Congratulations to all our winners, and nominees. It's an honor just to be nominated.

Which brings us to the Babe Division of our contest. We have received several nominations, and we agree with the nominators that there are some truly beautiful female law professors out there. No doubt the minds of these professors are beautiful as well. However, upon reflection, we have decided that for a male law prof to sponsor a competition that features good-looking female law profs is hazardous at best. It's sort of like the "n" word -- some people can say it, but I can't. And so, with regret, we announce that the Law Prof Babe of the Year competition has been cancelled.

If there are any female law profs who would like to take over the contest, however, I'll gladly forward the nominations to them.

Thanks to everyone who nominated and voted!

The Boss

Former Gov. Goldschmidt's role as an East Coast- or Chicago-style political boss becomes more and more clear with every new revelation.

Now it turns out he pulled strings to get his statutory rape victim a job at the Portland public defender's office. This was after he persuaded his current or former general counsel in the U.S. Department of Transportation (from when he was U.S. Secretary of Transportation) to hire her as a legal assistant.

The guy's been a one-man employment agency for his pals over the years. Where I come from, that's called "political patronage."

You wonder how else he used his office and former office for private economic benefit.

Don't worry, though. Phil Stanford's chasing him down, suffering all the way.

Watch yourself downtown

A while back I suggested that downtown Portland is not an especially safe place to hang out. Particularly at night. Particularly if you're a female.

Several commenters, declaring themselves experts on the subject because they'd lived elsewhere once, told me I was wrong.

Well, they should tell Renee Mitchell of The Oregonian, too.

Reagan and Hanford

While we're getting all soft and fuzzy remembering Reagan, I recall that one his strategies in the Cold War was to restart massive nuclear weapons production. This move came despite the fact that our atomic weapons factories, at places like Hanford on the Columbia River in south central Washington State and Savannah River in South Carlonia, are among the most dangerous and environmentally most offensive industrial facilities in the world.

Environment be damned, "Dutch" went ahead and restarted much of the crumbling complex, including Hanford's N Reactor, which shared its design with another well-known reactor, called Chernobyl. American lives were endangered, and lots of lots of nuclear waste and other toxic pollution was created. Many said the new production was not needed, and both fiscally and ecologically irresponsible.

We won the Cold War, but at a high price.

They say Reagan should have a memorial. He's already got one that will last 100,000 years.

Not that I recall

Well, the effort to recall two of the Multnomah County commissioners who decided to allow gay marriages without so much as a public meeting has failed.

So be it. As much as I'm disappointed with the Sisters of Hawthorne, I would never have voted to recall them. Heck, they come up for election soon enough, and no credible alternative candidates seem to want their jobs anyway.

Ron McCarty against Lisa Naito? Come on. After a run-in I had with him during his anemic 15 minutes in the Legislature, I wouldn't vote for Ron for dog catcher.

And I'm sure he'll be running for that position soon.

No, for better or worse, I believe we're back to business as usual at the county building.

Monday, June 7, 2004

I'm not that sad

Is it just me, or does shutting down the whole country on Friday in "mourning" for Ronald Reagan seem like we're overdoing it just a wee bit?

I mean, the guy lived to be 93. Are we shocked that he's gone? He had a bad case of Alzheimer's. Do we wish he was still alive and suffering?

Are we going to do this for Ford, Carter, and Clinton?

Are all those federal employees going to get a paid holiday out of this? Would Ronnie approve?

He may roll over in his grave before he even gets there.

Sunday, June 6, 2004

Drive south

I'm off to the People's Republic of Eugene to give the annual bar review lecture on Federal Income Tax. See you on the other side of tomorrow afternoon.

The Gipper and me

When I moved from northern New Jersey to go to law school at Stanford 29 years ago, I met many types of people that I hadn't previously encountered in my 21 years on the planet. And my upbringing, which counselled me to accept them all, no matter how different from me they were, was regularly put to the acid test.

Take Mormons, for instance. Growing up in Newark, Jersey City, and surroundings, I had met exactly none. When I got to California, they were everywhere, and it seemed as though some people had a bit of a bias against them. I found out pretty early on that they didn't drink. O.k., I knew some teetotalers in Jersey. But then I heard that they didn't drink coffee, either. Or Coca-Cola. You don't say? Hmmm.

Another alien group were Republicans. Back in Essex and Hudson Counties in the '60s and '70s, they were as scarce as hen's teeth. And what few there were had little or no political clout. Whereas Stanford was a hotbed of Republicans, even young ones, members of Young Americans for Freedom or groups of that nature. I had to be very careful about what I said. The usual Democratic Party line was always subject to challenge on that campus.

And so it came to pass that I had my run-in of sorts with Ronald Reagan, who died yesterday.

I was a DJ on Stanford's student-run radio station, KZSU, for my three years at that university. College radio DJs are a curious lot, to be sure, and we were no exception. Unpaid volunteers, we were sickeningly enamored with the sounds of our own voices, with our own tastes in music, and with our own profundity before a low-wattage audience that numbered in the hundreds at best. We competed like crazy for "prime time" slots on the program schedule -- evenings, especially on weekends, were coveted, and morning "drive time" was also decent. Late morning and afternoon were less desirable, as was late night. The overnight shift -- 2 to 6 a.m. -- wasn't worth it at all, but there were people who were willing to take it.

I had a great run on that station (by my own standards, of course), and by the time I had reached my final term at Stanford, in 1978, I had a much-sought-after evening slot. I did my usual act -- Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, James Brown, Motown, and Bay Area faves, interspersed with me trying desperately to come across as another New York DJ Jonathan Schwartz (whom, of course, no one at Stanford had ever heard of, so it was a cool act to steal).

One week I was informed that my show was going to be partially pre-empted. Former California Governor Ronald Reagan was coming to town to give a speech in the Stanford Memorial Auditorium. He was planning to run for President against Carter, and a huge, overflow crowd was expected for his talk. To give all the righties around Stanford a chance to hear him speak, the station's otherwise anemic news department had persuaded the station manager to broadcast the address live. So they informed me that the Twin R would bump my show.

By its very nature, the college radio DJ ego is easily bruised, and my reaction was resistance, followed by a begrudging acceptance. But if the news department wanted to run Reagan's speech, I told them, they could supply an engineer to sit in the studio and feed the speech from the remote location out over the airwaves. I didn't want to sit there and listen to him. I didn't like his politics and had no interest in what he had to say.

Continue reading "The Gipper and me" »

Friday, June 4, 2004

Let this be a warning, Randy Leonard!

You think the neighborhood associations in Portland are mean -- check out this guy. He don't need no steenkeen' LUBA.

Troutdale man to be featured worldwide

You know how the papers all love to print "dumb crook" stories? This one, out of the Portland suburb of Gresham, will make the cut everywhere, I'm sure.

Let's p*ss off Germany next

Bush and Rumsfeld are planning to pull two Army divisions (tens of thousands of soldiers) out of Germany. There's talk of a wing of our F-16 fighters being moved out of that country as well -- maybe six dozen of those aircraft.

The navy's European headquarters is going to be moved out of England and over to Italy. Perhaps we'll pull our fighter jets out of Iceland and alienate everybody there, too.

To add insult to injury, let's keep telling them that this has nothing to do with Iraq -- we would have done all this even without that war.

When the last of our allies isn't speaking to us any more, we can just erect a Star Wars anti-missile system and tell the whole world to go screw themselves.

As far as I can tell, that's George Bush's America. How embarrassing.

Father's Day is coming

And this story will start the warming of your heart.

I know some Ph.D. candidates

At the U of O, you can get academic credit for running around naked and acting like a jerk.

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Today's Blazer lineup

Another uplifting story about the "new" Portland Trail Blazers.

With sympathy

Condolences to Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, whose father, lifelong Portlander Jack J. Saltzman, died on Sunday.

Can I use you as a reference?


Sometimes an e-mail message should cool off a little before you send it.

The outer limits of PC

I'm all for gender antidiscrimination laws, but when they start outlawing venerable institutions such as ladies' nights in bars, you've got to wonder.

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

If I were governor

If I were the governor of Oregon, I would have the State Police show up at the Oregon Historical Society first thing tomorrow morning and take back what rightfully belongs to the taxpayers of this state. With guns drawn, if necessary.

And if somebody wanted to stop me, he should drag his felonious, truth-twisting ass back over here from whatever cushy little hole he's hiding in over in Idaho and face the music.

But I'm not the governor.

How much more bullsh*t do we take from this gentleman?

"If you drink this, you will die"

Yesterday's New York Times had a big spread on Oregon's assisted suicide law. Reporters John Schwartz and James Estrin interviewed a number of terminally ill people who have received prescriptions enabling them to end their lives if they choose to do so. Estrin also sat in as one such person ended her own life in her Eugene home.

Handing her the lethal dose of Seconal dissolved in water was George Eighmey, a Portland lawyer and my former state representative from the Buckman and Ladd's Addition neighborhoods. George now works for Compassion in Dying, a death-with-dignity group, and has presided over quite a few of these assisted suicides in recent months. The Times articles point out, however, that only a small percentage of Oregonians who get the prescriptions actually wind up taking their own lives.

Whatever you have thought about this issue up until now, the Times pieces may move you to a higher level of understanding. You can root around your local newsstand or library for the Tuesday paper, ask a neighbor who subscribes to the Times for his or her copy, or go here for a compelling presentation with photos and audio interviews. (Via AboutItAll:Oregon.) The rest of the articles are here and here.

The presentation is hard to watch. But it helped me remember something that I tend to forget:

Every day is a gift.

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Follow the money

Neil Goldschmidt's sex with a 14-year-old, and decades of coverup, are disgusting.

But the way he has shamelessly sold his influence to the highest bidder is almost as bad. It's statutory rape of the public trust.

Even the staid Oregonian is now connecting the dots among Neil, his clients, and the taxpayers' money. (Via AboutItAll: Oregon.)

Is there anything illegal going on behind the scenes here? Even if there isn't, it sure looks extremely sleazy. You wish there was a tough young prosecutor in the state who would take a hard look.

You wish.

Vote for Bush, get a draft?

You know it's coming. So do they.

You need another blog to read

No, really. You do. This one.

We're No. 1!

And we love it!

Unfortunately, there will be quite a few more searches like this over the next few weeks.

A great TV moment

I'm getting a big kick out of the television commercial that the AFL-CIO (that's a union, not a football league) is running against W., at least out here in Oregon. It shows average people talking about what they think this country needs, interspersed with Dum-Dum's famous "America will send men to Mars, and beyond" speech.

Very effective. He stumbles through his script as usual, and his message is one of his dopiest ever.

But then again, the majority of American voters don't usually care much about IQ. As Jon Lovitz's Dukakis once said of Dana Carvey's Bush Sr., "I can't believe I'm losin' to this guy."

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