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Sunday, June 12, 2005

Oregon: Things look no different here

Commenting on the veto of the proposed football stadium on the west side of Manhattan, New York Times columnist John Tierney offers some words that ring so true here in the Rose City:

The victims of this urban-planning syndrome believe, like some Roman emperors, that a leader's prime civic responsibility is to build entertainment palaces for the masses. American mayors haven't yet built anything quite like the Circus Maximus, where a quarter of a million Romans watched chariot races, but their combined output makes it look puny.

They've endowed downtowns with stadiums, arenas, theaters, concert halls, museums and aquariums. They imagine drawing hordes of out-of-towners to the new convention center, and when the visitors don't materialize, the mayors' solution is to build an even bigger convention center with a subsidized hotel next door.

Tierney's column, from yesterday's paper, is here.

Comments (6)

A short lesson.

The PDC will deliver fiscal calamity if not stopped.


Costs and More Costs
"Faced with convention centers that are routinely failing to deliver on the promises of their proponents, many cities wind up, as they say, “throwing good money after bad. A new center is thus often followed by a subsidized or fully publicly-owned hotel."
Look for an Oregonian editorial to do this:
"In endorsing a city plan for providing deep public subsidies for a new 1,000 room hotel, the Dallas Morning News recently editorialized:
Dallas has a great convention center. Dallas has great hotels. It just doesn’t have a great hotel attached to its convention center. A hotel is a good investment in Dallas’ future. We’ve already spent the money to build
one of the nation’s largest, most advanced exhibit spaces. We’d be foolish to let it sit idle much of the time for lack of an attached hotel."

The same lame nonsense is about to usher along Portland's Convention Center Hotel and the losses will soar.

Just read this next paragraph and know that Portland is promoting certain fiscal failure which will NOT deliver it unto the "World Class City" list but will add it to a list of cities reinventing broken wheels.

"An October 2003 consultant study for the Oregon Convention Center, for example, described an annual operating loss at Seattle’s Washington State Convention and Trade Center of “approximately $5.3 million,” and an operating loss at San Jose’s McEnery Convention Center of $5 million in fiscal year 2002.30 And the numbers for the new Washington Convention Center are even worse. A 1998 financial forecast estimated that the center would bring in about $20 million in operating revenues in 2004, against some
$25.6 million in operating expense, leaving a loss of $5.6 million. A recent auditor’s estimate for fiscal year 2004-05 puts the likely operating loss at $16.2 million.31 Added to that is another $36.2 million in annual debt service, and $7.8 million in marketing costs for a total annual cost of some $60.2 million.

An immediate suspension of all expenditures towards the Convention Center Hotel, Cascade Station, Tram and other major PDC decisions must come now.

Look out! The PDC is scheming with Bechtel and others out at Cascade Station. Mazziotti is preparing documents to turn over development rights to the 36 acres at Cascade Station from Bechtel to the PDC. Who know's who pockets will be lined in this upcoming dea?
Mazziotti and company cannot be allowed to seal any more deals as he leaves the PDC.
The mounting problems from the advancement of public policies and investments under false pretences must be stopped.

I bet if the PDC built a Circus Maximus, we would all stop futzing at them.

lisaloving says,
"I bet if the PDC built a Circus Maximus, we would all stop futzing at them."

Oh and like we won't love them when the Tram is done? Built with their funny money Urban renewal?

Fast and loose folks. With your money.

Man, that line:
"They imagine drawing hordes of out-of-towners to the new convention center, and when the visitors don't materialize, the mayors' solution is to build an even bigger convention center with a subsidized hotel next door." Really hit home.

The Convention Center is losing money like crazy and yet the fix is to expand it? I'm sorry, I really meant to say it needs a huge hotel next to it. There was an article in Forbes about how these Conv Centers are losing money everywhere and yet they never seem to learn.

Perhaps if Mr Bragdon would stop getting aroused when he looks out his window at the Convention Center and then go off on a tangent because it is not big enough.

The truly distressing part is that only government-approved circuses get built.

When your local Indian nation proposes to build a casino/hotel/stadium with no taxpayer funds needed, it is told to stay on the reservation. "Portland doesn't need your dirty casino/hotel/stadium!" And in the next breath, the government-approved casinos (aka, the local taverns) get slots added.

It's not the gambling government objects to, it's the lack of control. Indian-owned casinos and hotels and stadia are not subject to the same level of control (read: regulation, taxation) as other entities. This. Must. Not. Stand.

OK, the convention center loses under Tierney's analysis, but the tram wins, right? Unlike the usually-empty hulk that is the convention center, the tram will operate at least 75% of the time and will be an iconic Portland structure - like the Parthenon. They _are_ both on a hill.

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