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

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October 2006 Archives

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Fireman Randy on Mount Tabor sale: "Displeased"

He's the highlight of this excellent clip from KGW. Go get 'em, Randy!

The Zari Santner interview portion of the video is also a scream. Put away your polygraph -- you won't be needing it for this one.

That time again

Have a great night.

Emilie Boyles sighting?

Unconfirmed reports -- and I stress, they are unconfirmed -- say the crown princess of "clean money" is working here.

If true, it's probably not much of a paycheck, but shouldn't the City of Portland try for at least a little piece of it?

Those behind-closed-doors Mount Tabor Park sale talks

The secret dealings between the City of Portland and Warner Pacific College over the sale of part of Mount Tabor Park continue to come to light. Here's the college's fall newsletter (a large-ish pdf file), which (on page 4) states that the city and the college signed a memo of understanding about the proposed transaction in August. Right around the same time, good ol' Tom Potter was touring the campus and being schmoozed by the college prez (see page 5).

As best I can tell, the first neighborhood association meeting at which the planned sale was even hinted at was on September 20, at which time it apparently was revealed that the college had made an offer for the property in May. That would be a long, hot summer's worth of chit-chat before the neighborhood association was clued in.

If you don't think this is a done deal, I've got an aerial tram I want to sell you [rim shot].

The college apparently has a subscription to the local newspapers. It's trying to pull the same stunt that OHSU did to get itself a billion dollars' worth of city money for its new Shangri-la in the SoWhat district: "If we don't get our way, we'll move to the suburbs."

Earth to the City Council: Call. Their. Bluff.

Joy ride

Very scary

Happy Halloween!


The O's suddenly got religion about benzene pollution in Portland's air.

Fine. But do they really think it's going to get cleaned up if their candidate Saxton becomes governor?

Who says Bush and Cheney are mean?

They're really nice to some people.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Neighborhood updates

The soccer field that we've been watching appear in our neighborhood has a fence around it now. And the soccer goals have appeared. Here's the latest look:

The school to which the new field is attached even sent us a "Dear Neighbor" note, asking us to keep an eye on the place after dark. We've lived here eight years, and that's the first "Dear Neighbor" letter we've ever gotten from the school. I think they're making some strides in the p.r. department.

Meanwhile, if you were around back when the power pole across the street from our house was replaced, we're pleased to report that sometime in the last few weeks, a crew removed the stump of the old pole when we weren't home. And so that story is over:

"It is time to go"

Man, I am going to miss Bob Borden. Maybe one of these days my sister will run into him at the laundromat in Nutley. And we'll have his jokes on The Late Show. Good luck, Bob!

Quotation of the Month

“I think the council should just level with the people and say, 'We’ll listen to you when we want to, and we’ll ignore you the rest of the time.'"

-- Former Portland Mayor Bud Clark, on current Mayor Tom Potter's strategic planning exercise, VisionPDX.

Whoop whoop.

Another reason to mistrust OHSU

Human experimentation without consent. I guess I wasn't kidding when I said we all need one of these.

More from Saltzman's smoke-filled room

The gossip swirling around the pending sell-off of part of Mount Tabor Park in Southeast Portland gets hotter by the day. A reader forwards this eye-opening e-mail message that appears to be from Cascade Anderson Geller, a defender of that park:

According to our best research efforts, given the documents that have been made available to us by the City, it appears that there are well-developed plans to relocate and sell Mt. Tabor Park Maintenance Yard. The apparent plan is to discontinue all nursery operations and dispose of nursery lands adjacent to the Yard. Although we saw one design to demolish all buildings and rebuild on the existing maintenance yard, there is apparently no plan to continue the tree nursery and plant propagation services.

Many components of the strategy to dispose of the maintenance yard appear to be either completed or well along in the process. These include: zoning and comprehensive plan changes, including removing the historical designation afforded by the National Register of Historic Places listing, environmental assessments, surveying, etc.

There is also a Memorandum of Understanding that has been drawn up between Warner Pacific College and the City of Portland. Although officials say this agreement is non-binding, and apparently is unsigned, at this point, it calls for the City and the college "to enter into a purchase and sale agreement no later than 15 November 2006."

On Wednesday, November 1, 2006, Portland Parks and Recreation (PPR) will bring before the City Council the final draft of a feasibility study, called Facilities Maintenance Report, to City Council. A "time certain" has not yet been established, but the estimate is that it should be presented about noontime. Although we have yet to see the full report, we have seen portions of it and discussed aspects of it with PPR officials. This report includes information about Mt. Tabor Park along with other sites in the City. We have been informed by Commissioner Saltzman's office that the report should be available for review tomorrow, Wednesday, October 25.

The report calls for the reorganization of the maintenance facilities throughout the city. This includes a series of buildings to be constructed in the newly established park zones throughout the City.

Some buildings will be constructed on open space in existing parks that currently don't have maintenance facilities. For example, it appears there's a proposal for an approximately 4000 square foot building to be constructed in Gabriel Park, a huge facility (maybe 40,000 sq. ft) at Washington Park, something at sites on SE McLoughlin Blvd., SE 136th Ave. and NE 21st and Pacific. The report apparently also makes a request for $650,000 to deal with "life and safety" improvements. This includes possible repair of immediate needs, such as, “water leaks at Mt. Tabor Park Maintenance Yard, etc.”

The feasibility study appears to be a part of the total restructuring of the Parks Department that is taking place internally. Citizens, other than the appointed Parks Board, apparently have not been involved in this restructuring process. The creation of zones and the redistribution of services appear to be part of the effort that PPR is making to create "park districts" and do away with the bureau per se and the oversight of an elected commissioner to be replaced by a board of some type.

At least since July, 2005, Warner Pacific College has been represented in their bid to purchase the south facing 7 - 13.5 acres of Mt. Tabor Park from the City by former city commissioner, Jim Francesconi, who was in charge of the parks bureau. Apparently, one member of the current Portland Parks Board also sits on the Warner Pacific College board of directors.

We would recommend that all parks' supporters attend the City Council meeting on November 1, 2006. When we receive word about the "time certain" of the agenda item, PPR Facilities Maintenance Report, we will post it publicly. At this point, the assumed time was about noon.

There will be an opportunity for public questions and comments at the City Council meeting after PPR’s presentation. For more information, please contact Commissioner Dan Saltzman: 503.823.4151

The meeting will be at Portland City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Avenue, Portland, Oregon.

If you would like to comment to the Mayor and your City Commissioners, here are their email addresses: mayorpotter@ci.portland.or.us, rleondard@ci.portland.or.us, sten@ci.portland.or.us,
commissionersam@ci.portland.or.us, dsaltzman@ci.portland.or.us (parks bureau commissioner)

A secret memo of understanding with a private party, selling off parkland? A complete re-do of the park structure in the city, without meaningful public discussion? So tram. So Saltzman. He didn't learn much from the reservoir cover fiasco, but then again, neither did the voters who re-elected him. He's "progressive," he knows how to play the game, his family's rich, and so he's running things. His buddy's about to start doing the same over at the county. So kiss your parkland goodbye. Condos, here we come.

The zoning of the system is definitely a done deal. Here's a map to which the city sent a link around on Thursday -- for the first time, to my knowledge.

Mmmmm... pumpkin seeds

Last night the Mrs. whipped up the best appetizer, out of the debris from a wonderful afternoon's artistic endeavor -- pumpkin seeds, roasted in a little butter and some Johnny's seasoning (I know, heavy on the MSG, but it's a holiday). Perfectly accompanied by a nice Oregon pinot gris. Yum!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Arrogance" and "Stupidity" would also work

Sam the Tram wants suggestions from the public about what to name the two aerial tram cabins [rim shot]. I suggest "Neil" and "Chapter 9."

Bah, humbug

Earlier this week, I linked to a touching "true story" that showed "how connected we all are."

I should have said, "how crooked some people are," or "how gullible I am." The story was a hoax.

Move over, Martha Stewart

Maybe somebody hacked into her website. Or maybe it's for real. But either way, it's hysterical:

Clean money, baby!

(Via b!X.)

Money talks

One of our favorite troublemakers shares the latest campaign finance reports in the Multnomah County commission race between Jeff Cogen and Lew Frederick. Here's Cogen and here's Frederick. Executive summary: Cogen's got lots of money behind him, Frederick not. (They're big fat pdf files, so wait them out if you click.)

Our previous complaint that the county should be posting these reports on the internet got this response, but it's not convincing.

There's also a Metro race out there for some voters, between Kathryn Harrington and Tom Cox, and their reports are here and here, respectively. Harrington has all the money, from the developers, the unions, etc. Without even looking at the race any closer than that, you can see that she's the overwhelming favorite.

Metro officially posts at least some of the reports. Here, for example, is the page devoted to Cox, and here's Harrington's. All the more reason to wonder why Multnomah County has never gotten around to the practice.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Starting over

Gordy down at RoguePundit has a neat post on the latest doings of former Portland Police Chief Charles Moose.

Out with the old

We got a new computer last week, and there was quite a bit of e-junk to dispose of from the old setup. And so, taking the advice of commenters on this blog a while back, today I headed down to Free Geek on SE Tenth Avenue, just a couple of blocks south of Hawthorne, here in Portland. These folks clean up old tech hardware and give it to nonprofits and others who can't afford new stuff. What can't be re-used, they dispose of responsibly.

Let me tell you, they aren't wasting any money on fancy digs. It's, shall we say, Spartan. And they hit you up for a donation as they take the outmoded gear off your hands. This seems to be the order of the day at many nonprofit thrift stores and similar operations these days -- they get you coming and they get you going. But hey, it's all for a good cause. A computer's about as essential as a toaster nowadays -- maybe even more so -- and everybody who wants one should have one. And if you can keep the castoffs out of the landfill for a while longer, it's worth it.


Oregon State just beat USC.

In football.


Rotten little problem

The freeway ride to biofuels has hit a speed bump -- E85, gasoline that's 85 percent ethanol, turns out to be pretty darn corrosive. Pumps that dispense it are corroding so swiftly that it's a safety issue. Even plastic parts are affected, apparently.

Makes you wonder how many miles you'll be able to get out of that American-made E85 car you'll be buying in a few years.

Friday, October 27, 2006

New PDC commish

As expected, it's a union guy, John Mohlis. (It was Opie's nomination officially, and the guy's written for BlueOregon.)

But hey, try to find a decent photo of Mohlis on the web! I got only these:

I'm sure the PDC will have a fine bar mitzvah shot available soon. Anyway, good luck to him.

A well-named product

Here's an amazing item of junk mail that I fished out of the bottom of the old snail mail box this afternoon -- a cologne sampler card:

You want to smell like Puff Daddy? Unforgivable, indeed.

Tell me why

LogoThere is:
person with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Here's an odd service. Is this information that anyone really needs to know?

Besides, it says there's only one of me, but I know there's actually another Jack Bogdanski in Arizona. (Via TaxProf Blog.)

Cogen vs. Frederick: The video

The two candidates for Multnomah County commission did a head-to-head at the Rose City Park neighborhood meeting the other night, and that troublemaker Jim Karlock videotaped the whole thing. Check it out.

Maybe it really has begun

I feel like we're all in Chapter 1 of a science fiction novel. First there was this. Then this. Then this. Then this. Now this.

I'm locking our cats in the basement overnight tonight.

In the news

In today's O, ace reporter Maxine Bernstein fills in some of the details on the 2005 police brutality incident involving Christopher Humphreys, the Portland police officer who killed James Chasse on Sep. 17 of this year. Bernstein correctly points out that the victim's lawyer in the earlier case, Travis Eiva, posted about it on this blog a week ago.

The Trib also has a piece today, which includes this interesting statistic, along with photos of Humphreys and Officer Kyle Nice, who was there when Chasse was beaten and kicked:

Humphreys also has been the subject of seven Internal Affairs Division complaints — one for each of his years on the force — with two of those cases still open. One of those relates to Chasse. Such complaints and details of the ensuing investigations generally are not considered public records. Nice, a 14-year veteran, has had two such complaints, including the Chasse case.
I'm sure the mayor and the police chief are tearing their hair out. But if they continue to play this one like the many other cases of this type that we never hear about, it's only going to get worse.

He's doing a heck of a job, though

The commissioner of internal revenue has instructed the IRS's field people to go easy on taxpayers affected by Hurricane Katrina until after the election and the holidays.

He might have gotten a free pass if he had just mentioned the holidays, but altering enforcement strategies because of a pending election? Now, that's a big no-no.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Here's a wonderful story that proves how connected we all are.

UPDATE, 10/29, 1:46 p.m.: Forget it. It's a hoax.

Uptown Saturday night

Daylight Savings Time is about to end, and that long, dark, damp period that can drive Pacific Northwesterners to drink is nigh. So let's see... this Saturday night... turn the clocks back and catch an extra hour's sleep... check the batteries in the smoke alarms... and, er, check your toilet for leaks? For Pete's sake, Fireman Randy, get a life!

Potty pills.


Long week getting you down? Stop for a second and look at this guy.

'Nother hap'nin' gal

Here's a Portland blog that I hadn't picked up on before: Life in Mama Land. Motherhood, fabrics, Steven Bailey, oh my!

Aerial tram [rim shot] follies continue

Now the city can't even take a decent picture of the thing. Can't wait to see how it "works."

This stuff is really good

Dan over at Cafe Unknown put up another one of his illustrated Portland history posts earlier this week. As usual, it's fantastic.

While we wait

The Portland police bureau's official review of the killing by officers of James Chasse won't be finished for months. And so the final word from the bureau about what happened, and whether the officers broke rules and should be disciplined, won't be available for a long time.

I'm sure there will be some conflicts between that report and what the eyewitnesses said the day after Chasse's death. And in deciding whom to believe in the end, we'll be picking between contemporaneous statements of disinterested onlookers and statements by the accused parties that took many weeks, if not months, to prepare.

In any event, the website Mental Health Portland has now posted transcripts of the officers' initial interviews. The interview of Christopher Humphreys, who reportedly did most (if not all) of the "thumping," is here. (As is customary, the interview with Humphreys wasn't held until three days after Chasse's death.) The interview of Kyle Nice is here. (Nice agreed to be interviewed the evening after Chasse died.) The interview of Brett Burton is here. (Burton was interviewed two days after the incident.) The Mental Health site also has a fairly definitive collection of links to other materials connected with the case.

Meanwhile, we note in passing that Chief Rosie Sizer is lashing out at elements in the community who are posting photos of Humphreys and Nice on telephone poles and giving out their home addresses. I don't know, chief. People have a right to be absolutely outraged by this incident and by your and the mayor's typically defensive response. I'm not sure about the home addresses, but to me the photo posters are fair game. You've heard the saying: No justice, no peace.

Willamette Week has been asking, Why is the Chasse case getting so much more attention than, say, the killing by police of Dennis "Squeaky" Young back in January?

I think there are three reasons. First, Young was driving a stolen car, and for some people (not me) that was relevant. Second, the officer in the Young case was claiming self-defense (although he appears to have violated bureau policy by shooting rather than getting out of the way). And thirdly, there is a cumulative effect of multiple recent police killings, which many feel were not justified: Poot, James, Perez, Young, Chasse, and the list goes on before them. Portland is supposed to be a "progressive" town. "Progressive" towns don't just sit around and hold study groups when a pattern of police brutality is right in their faces.

How yoga is like vodka

Halloween gross-out

I know obscenity when I see it. (Via Cousin Jim.)

The better browser

I'm joining the instant chorus on this: The new Firefox 2 with spell-check is fantastic. My blogging software, Movable Type, doesn't have such a feature -- at least, I've never found it -- and so it's nice to have a spell-checking robot on duty as I compose these posts.

As much as I whine about my blog crash, it was that crash that triggered a chain of events that led me to ditch Internet Explorer. Firefox gives me tabbed browsing, better downloading controls, less spyware vulnerability -- I won't be going back any time soon.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Read 'em and weep

I was griping last week that Multnomah County doesn't post the campaign finance reports for county elections on the internet. But they do release them to the public in hard copy form, and one of the area's troublemakers has gathered them up for the current county commission race and posted them on a private website.

The Jeff Cogen reports are here.

The Lew Frederick reports are here.

If you don't think Cogen is the official candidate of the Old Boy Network, just take a look.

Apparently another round of reports must be filed by the candidates tomorrow, and my buddy promises to have them up on his site by the weekend.

But again, he shouldn't have to. Come on, county elections -- join the 21st Century.

Breaking news on Chasse

From Willy Week:

One of the two Portland police officers involved in the struggle that killed James Chasse Jr. is among the bureau's top users of force, a Willamette Week review of police department data has found....

...Humphreys, a seven-year veteran, has used force more often than almost all of the other the 785 officers in the database.

Read the whole thing here.

Write-in gets a right-on

Multnomah County Circuit Judge write-in candidate Charles Henderson gets a diary entry in Daily Kos today. That'll get the old hit counter zooming.

Same story, different spins

A story out of Bend got a slightly different play in two spots on the internet.

Here's the NPR version. Here's the blogger version.

I'm with the blogger. The salt was going to be only the beginning. (Via Butterbean.)

Who needs Homer?

LocalNewsDaily.com had a story the other day about how Portland developer Homer Williams was at one point talking to famed architect Frank Gehry about designing a building for "affordable" condos in Northwest Portland. Somehow Homer got busy making bigger bucks by grinding the soul out of the city, and gee whiz, the building never got built.

Well, why doesn't it? Gehry's still in L.A., and still active as best I can tell despite his advanced age. And Portland still says it wants to show the world how affordable housing can be done. To heck with Homer Williams, and forget about the condo concept for this. I think Erik Sten, Sal Kadri from the Portland Development Commission, and Richard Harris from Central City Concern ought to schedule a visit to Gehry right away and get cracking. Ask him to draw up something for families to rent.

You want cool? Frank Gehry affordable housing would be way cool. Seriously.


The hippie food co-op up at 15th and Alberta had a fire yesterday. The story says it started with an electrical problem, and there was $21,000 of damage. Sounds like it could have been worse. Hope they can work around it. It's a nice place.

Free streaming Sirius

Sirius satellite radio is giving away free internet feeds of most (or all) of its content today and tomorrow. For the price of accepting some spam in the future, you get free listens to all kinds of stuff. These are the folks who have Howard Stern, but there's a lot more interesting content as well. To sign up (it takes a couple of minutes), go here. (Via the Busblog.)

No greater joy

The Gus is walking.

It ain't Arthur Godfrey

Check out Jake Shimabukuro on ukulele. Wow.

(Via TRP, whom I still owe some World Cup pool drinks.)

Double duty

I didn't notice until now, but Aaron B. Hockley of Metroblogging Portland fame has also got his own blog going on. It's called Another Blogger, and it's tasty enough for any blogroll.

Saltzman's at it again

I see that Portland City Commissioner Dan (Big Pipe) Saltzman has got another neighborhood up in arms. Now it's Portsmouth in North Portland, where folks are more than a little upset that Danny Boy has already decided to give away a valuable chunk of city property to one of his pet causes without adequate neighbor input. They join the Mount Tabor neighborhood, who recently discovered that he's got the same kind of deal lurking in the shadows for their parkland.

It must be something to be part of a moneyed political machine so strong that you can get away with supremely arrogant conduct like this. And to think we just re-upped this guy for another four years. His next term doesn't even start for another couple of months.

But hey, you outraged neighborhood activists -- there's still a chance to vote no on Saltzman. His longtime right hand man is on a ballot on your kitchen counter now. Do you think the acorn falls far from the tree?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Cool mag covers of the year

The annual national magazine awards for best cover are out. The New Yorker won the top overall prize with this one. Check out all the finalists and all the categories here.

Another era

A reader who has been following the discussion on this blog of the Chasse-Humphreys case stumbled across a fascinating story the other day. It was a 1948 Oregonian article about the indictment of a Multnomah County sheriff's deputy for assault in the beating of an escaped prisoner. No word on how the criminal case finally came out.


Here's a homegrown talent who looks like he's going to make the Blazers' roster this year.

Great view from the aerial tram [rim shot]

You'll be able to look down and see all the crumbling bridges that there's no money to fix.

For the good of humankind

Speaking with authority

Here's a message for the neocons that we wish they'd clean their ears out well enough to hear.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Says it all

In all the internet turmoil I've been undergoing the last couple of months, it occurred to me that I might have to start up a completely new blog. It would need a new name. But what name to give it? Tonight it came to me: "Tantrum."

Convention Center hotel: Round 109

The Portland Development Commission has another report out about the White Elephant Convention Center hotel proposal. The PDC board will be taking it up on Wednesday. Check out the rosy financial projections on pages 9 and 10. Now there's some liars' budgeting at its finest.

And "HQ Hotel will be neutral or beneficial to competitor hotels." As the kids say, LMAO!

I can like Monday

It had all the makings of a rough midday: a trip to the dentist, and without the car, no less. Who knew what trouble awaited, either on the way or when I got there?

But it didn't turn out that way. My Tri-Met karma continued in the right direction. The online trip planner told me what time to be out at the bus stop, and the bus came about a minute early. Given the off-peak hour, it was uncrowded. The driver, a middle-aged white guy, was phenomenal. He announced every stop, including every possible connection, over the loudspeaker, which was turned on both inside and outside the bus. A few he did with style: "Connect here for NW Trendy-Third," he said. "Martin Luther King" got a full-name announcement. And when we got to Columbia Street, he pronounced it with a Latin accent that would have made Ricardo Montalban proud.

At one point, he had to enforce a bus rule. He did so with kindness but firmness.

Man, downtown is ripped up, and the transit mall re-do hasn't even really started yet. I get down there so infrequently any more, I hadn't noticed all the disruption. Good luck, folks, for the next couple of years. I guess it will be nice when it's done. But most of the work planned is still overpriced and oversold.

At the dentist's office, another bonus: The hygienist was running late, and so she didn't really have time to lecture me about anything. Plus, given that I was about 10 minutes early to begin with, I got in a solid half hour's snooze in the empty waiting room -- much needed.

It doesn't get much better than that -- except that on the way home, I caught the same driver, whose street-name poetry formed an excellent backdrop for a little time with this story.

The guy has every stop and all the connections memorized. A class act. Chalk another good day up for Portland.

Stay far, far away from WebHostPlus

It's been nearly eight weeks since I woke up one morning to find my blog completely gone. My web host provider at the time, WebHostPlus, then of Fort Lee, N.J., notified me when I called, and a few hours later by bulk e-mail, that the server on which the blog resided had been hacked, and that all the data on it had been lost. Within a day or so, they were breaking the additional news to me and to thousands of other customers on some 16 servers that there were no backups available. We simply had to start our sites all over from nothing, using whatever files we might have on our own home machines.

The story that WebHostPlus told us never rang true. A bit of internet sleuthing revealed that the server on which this blog resided was indeed still functioning, but in a crippled state. The idea that a web hosting company that advertised "secure" web hosting with periodic backups could forget to keep a secure copy of anything, ever, was incredible.

Within 24 hours of the disaster, they stopped answering phone calls and e-mails to their supposedly 24/7 support lines. The only people whom you could get to answer a call were the poor gals in the billing department, who of course had no help to give any of the frustrated and agitated customers who were ringing their phones off the hook. No one with any knowledge of what had happened was available, or would ever be available, to discuss the matter. And no, there were no backups anywhere, so please go away. When I mentioned toward the end of the last ridiculous conversation that I was an attorney and that I might have to take legal action to get my old files back from her company, one of the billing people responded, in a very neutral tone of voice, "Sir, you do what you have to do."

Since then, I've been consumed with the technical side of blogging as I've brought the site back to life. It's been a wonderful education, and some of my best blogoshere buddies have blessed me with their kind advice and assistance, but the restoration has come at an enormous logistical and emotional cost. And the hassles aren't finished yet. By converting my four-year-old blog with thousands of entries to new blogging software, I've created a serious drain on the server at my new web host -- so much so that I'm going to have to pay quite a bit more than before to keep this site in operation. Ad revenues, which have now started trickling in, should defray at least some of the additional costs, but it's not a happy subject for me to ruminate about. This is supposed to be a hobby.

Anyway, now's a good time to get off my chest what I've been carrying around since the fateful morning of August 30: You would have to be out of your mind to do business with WebHostPlus. They'll lose your data and laugh in your face. And even if you haven't already made the mistake of trusting your work to them, be aware that they're buying up many smaller web hosts and subjecting the hapless customers of the target companies to the same horrible service and security risks. If WebHostPlus takes over your web hosting service, heed the advice that I was too stupid to take back when they took over mine: Get on the phone, find a new host, and get your site off WebHostPlus as quickly as you can! Run, do not walk.

This is not just an angry customer lashing out with rash accusations in the immediate aftermath of a tech snafu. I have now had many weeks to think and learn about what they did to me and so many other former customers of an acquired outfit called Netbunch. It was an abomination -- an outrage -- and if you hang around for too long after they take over your host, you will learn their shortcomings the hard way, as I did.

To support these assertions, I'm going to bore readers with a couple of stories: one, as much as I can reconstruct of the chronology of what befell my account on WebHostPlus; and the other, a pointer to the many horror stories told not only by ex-Netbunch customers, but also by the poor clients of other companies whose operations WebHostPlus has absorbed and then wrecked.

Continue reading "Stay far, far away from WebHostPlus" »

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The rest of the story

I have gone through the rest of the pending ballot once again, and it's time to fill the thing out. Besides Frederick for Multnomah County Commission, Yes on 39, and None of the Above for Governor, here's the rest of where I'm headed:

For State Supreme Court, I'm getting ready to flip a coin, but leaning toward Jack Roberts. I know Jack a bit, and I think he'd be a refreshing change on the court. He's a former tax lawyer, and he had real clients once. But I fear he's not really interested in the high court job so much as he is in keeping his name in voters' minds for the day when he runs again for statewide office. Sort of like "Supreme Court Justice Kulongoski" -- a politician who hardly stayed on the bench long enough for a cup of coffee. Judge Ginny Linder, on the other hand, has spent way, way too much time in Salem for my comfort level; she's a government attorney at heart. They're both smart enough, but neither is all that attractive.

No on all the statewide ballot measures other than 39 and 44:

Measure 44 makes sense -- poor people should be able to get medicine, for Pete's sake.

Measure 40 (state appeals judges elected by district) is the wrong move. We shouldn't politicize the courts any more than they already are. This one will need a strong turnout against it -- it almost passed last time.

Measure 41 (tax deduction vs. credit) is preposterous -- let's start micromanaging the tax code at the ballot box. Measure 48 (state spending limit) is also bad policy, brought to you by the folks who brought you the kicker. No on both.

No on 42. I think insurance companies should use credit ratings in deciding whom to insure and how much to charge.

No on 43. Of course I'd want to know if my daughter was having an abortion, but if I can't get her to trust me enough to tell me about it, too bad. Kids aren't going to do what this law would require, anyway. They'll run away or wind up in an alley.

Term limits for legislators? It's tempting, but I'm going to say no on 45. There are some good people in there who aren't worth losing, and opening up an incumbent's seat doesn't guarantee an improvement. I would like to see a term limit for the state attorney general, though, who ought to be locking some of our more crooked legislators up.

Campaign finance reform? No on 46 and 47. The best remedy for influence peddling is publicity, and lots of it -- not mechanical limits that are going to be struck down as unconstitutional under federal law anyway. If a ballot measure comes up requiring candidates to file campaign finance reports daily in easily searchable databases, I'm all for it.

On the local measures:

Metro parks bonds: Close call, but I'm voting no. Until we stop handing public resources over to sleazy developers, I don't trust this kind of activity -- particularly in a body like Metro, which is full of Goldschmidt-style West Hills sympathizers. Use the money you're going to blow on the Convention Center Hotel on some parkland instead, folks. Or maybe Dan Saltzman and Jeff Cogen will trade you some of Mount Tabor Park.

Portland police and fire fighters pension and disability: It's a Band-Aid on a severed carotid artery, but at least it's something. Voting yes.

Schools and libraries: Yes. The politicians who decide budget priorities in this city, county, and state are doing a terrible job of it, but let's not take it out on education.

So much for the issues; on to the people:

Three of the four Multnomah County judgeship races are interesting. I'm going with Cheryl Albrecht in Position 31; she's the candidate I know the better of the two. And her opponent looks like a machine candidate, with Neilies like Hardy Myers and Mike Schrunk at the top of her endorsement list. You go, Cheryl.

In the nine-way dogpile for Position 28, none of the names is familiar, and I'm not sure I have the energy to weigh all nine. Somebody help me out here.

Position 37 is the real circus race, with Leslie Roberts running unopposed, or rather, running against herself. All the mainstream media are asking voters to write in Charles Henderson. Sounds good to me. Roberts gamed the system for her own advantage, and is that what we want in our judges? On the other hand, she's the only name on the ballot and will probably win. Good for bloggers -- there'll be lots of drama once she shows up for work at the courthouse.

My congressman and state representative are locks for re-election, and so they're not worth the bandwidth to write about.

I think that's everything, but I know that readers will point out what I've missed.

Population boom

Say what you want about gentrification in Northeast Portland -- what about equification?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The ballots are here

Here in Oregon, we all vote by mail -- even the dead people, and even Emlie Boyles's many supporters. And of the two ballots that come to this household, mine -- the independent one -- came today. So it's time to get serious about how I'm going to vote.

Governor: No vote. It really doesn't matter whether you get the Republican Goldschmidt or the Democratic Goldschmidt. It's four more years of West Hills Portland Big Money getting theirs, nothing else of any real consequence getting done in Salem (other than the usual stealing), and the little guy taking it in the shorts at the hands of the Tom Imeson types. I love this sentiment, which I'm hearing a lot of these days: "Vote for Ted, and let's hope he does better." I held my nose once -- but as John Lennon once sang, no no no, not a second time. If I don't sit it out, I'll vote for Mary Starrett in protest.

Multnomah County commissioner: Lew Frederick (pictured). Try as I might -- and we have good friends in common -- I can't pull the trigger for Cogen. All those years playing right hand man to Big Pipe Saltzman are about the worst thing you could put on your resume if you're trying to impress me. Screwing the neighborhoods (Can you say "reservoir covers"?), handing away our future to Homer Williams and the Boys, ignoring the killer cops... some list of accomplishments.

And not only does Cogen owe his paycheck to Danny Boy, but so does his spouse. Sorry, not gonna do it. Uh uh.

The cheesy mailer I got today from the Cogen camp confirmed my inclination to vote for his opponent. It's straight out of the Erik Sten-Mark Wiener playbook: "PROGRESSIVE" in giant letters. Hey, dude, everybody in Portland is "progressive," whatever that means. What, Lew Frederick isn't "progressive"?

Lew's a true northeast Portland guy who's put in the hours helping people around here. He's thoughtful, bright, and real -- not another Sam Adams or Dan Saltzman, which is where Cogen appears to be headed. So Lew gets my vote.

On the ballot measures, I'm yes on 39, as explained here. I'll take one last look at the rest and report back shortly.

Friday, October 20, 2006

About Officer Humphreys

Here's a comment that came in today that needs to be moved up to a post of its own. It's about Portland Police Officer Christopher Humphreys, the central figure in the violent death at police hands of James Chasse Jr. Portland attorney Travis Eiva writes:

Last year, I represented a young man in a Federal police misconduct case against the Portland Police. The claims in that case alleged that Officer Humphreys and three other Portland officers stood over a 19 year old man and beat him with a flashlight, a steel baton, boots, fists, pepper spray, and three tazer deployments. Officer Humphreys struck the young man across the shins and midsection with a steel baton about 30 times during the incident. I certainly would not object to someone calling Officer Humphreys "overzealous" in his use of force.

All the while the young man screamed for "help." Independent witnesses described the screams as horrific. Independent witnesses stated that the young man did not "resist" the officers and that the young man was simply trying to protect himself from the officer violence. By the way, it was a case of mistaken identity; the young man did not commit an underlying crime to lead to the officer melee.

In March 2006, the city took a sizable judgment against itself on the above case in return for dismissal against the individual officers. City Council reviewed the settlement before it was approved. For me, this settlement brings up two major points when thought about in the context of the Chasse incident:

1. Prior to the Chasse incident, City Council was on notice that there were serious allegations of excessive force againt Officer Humphreys; AND

2.The City has already taken a bullet for Officer Humphreys in the past, i.e. negotiated a deal that protected him from personal culpability for violent actions.

So now I have a couple of questions:

1. What does the City do when it takes a judgment against itself for its more "aggressive" officers? After the judgment, did the City require that Humphreys be re-trained on the use of force or did they just send him back on his next shift?

2. How powerful is the Portland Police Union? Too powerful?

One more thing: Portland Police are trained in many things. They are forced to take a number of mandatory classes, such as shooting guns, executing distraction strikes (i.e. how to make kicks and punches most effective), using steel batons, and using minor traffic violations as a pretext to stop young men who wear their pants too low. Every officer takes classes on the
above subject matter. There are also a number of optional classes. Many officers do not take these classes. As of last I was aware, there is an OPTIONAL class on officer contact with mentally ill individuals, that trains the officer in how to appropriately manage interactions with folks who suffer from mental illness. I would bet my dollars against anyone's doughnuts that our Chasse Officers did not sign up for that class. With a certain lawusit to follow the Chasse incident, I wonder how much the City coffers will have to bleed, not to mention mentally ill people brutalized, to make up for this lapse of judgment on the part of police officer training.

Too bad it came in late on a Friday afternoon, when all the dirt seems to come out and the fewest people are paying attention. But I'm sure you'll agree, it's interesting nonetheless.

Super Vicki does the math for you

Here's a press release that the Portland School Board issued today:

Portland Public School's property tax rate, at $5.28 per $1,000 of assessed value, is among the lowest being collected by 18 school districts in the Portland metro area.

Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties send property tax statements out in waves of mailing through mid-October, and bills continue to arrive in mailboxes across the area. Payments are due by November 15. The three counties have not formally published their rates, but preliminary information gathered from each county assessor's office yields this ranking for 18 tri-county school districts, from the highest to lowest school taxes:

Continue reading "Super Vicki does the math for you" »

Will that be cash or trade?

A reader writes:

I see Jeff Cogen got $1000 from Tracy Blakesee, the owner of Fantasy Video. Was this cash or an in-kind donation, I wonder?
An even better question: Why in heaven's name aren't the county commission candidates' campaign finance reports posted to the internet?

Lonnie, sisters -- please do us a favor. Take a break from scratching each other's eyes out for a minute, and scan those babies in for all the world to see.

Get off my cloud

Portland's romance with "free" public citywide wi-fi just gets funnier every day. Now it looks as though MetroFi, the outfit that Li'l Opie Sten has picked out to set the network up, is partnering in at least one other city with AT&T, of all people. MetroFi has been having a little trouble lately getting its own investors, because, well, some people (like I) have a few doubts about the soundness of its business model. So now to get the job done, suddenly it's riding in a sidecar alongside the AT&T tank. Some speculate that eventually MetroFi will be swallowed up, leaving the city with AT&T. Sounds logical to me.

But hey now, is that rich or what? Sten has spent most of his career on a vendetta against big private utility companies, and here his wireless toy may turn out to worsen the big-money stranglehold over Portlanders' access to high-speed internet. Chalk another one up for the Big Idea Guy.

Great news and terrible news

Bob Borden of bobborden.com has been promoted to writer at The Late Show with David Letterman.

The downside: He's shutting down his highly entertaining personal website as of the end of the month.

Bob's threatened to do this before and changed his mind, but now that he's officially writing for Dave, I'm pretty sure this is it.

Damn, this hurts, am I right, people?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Compounding the "tragedy"

It's not enough to beat and stomp an innocent man to death -- let's illegally withhold documents about it. Paging Mayor Potter -- is this o.k. with you?

What the...? (continued)

Our readers did quite well with this one the other day.

Now what about this one?

For no good reason

A post on Donutbuzz got me thinking about this great old show. Curiously interesting, and like Get Smart, you could never run it today.

One more reason to be careful on the beach

Very careful.

Come together

The Catholic Church hierarchy has probably been pretty relieved by the Mark Foley kiddie sex scandal. It's taken the glare of the spotlight off the Catholic priest kiddie sex scandals.

Well, not entirely.

Shades of Pulp Fiction: "Foot massages don't mean sh*t."


The O's got a nice little piece today on the latest City of Portland water billing controversy, which I blogged about on Monday. Apparently Big Pipe's a little testy about it.


My good buddies at Dagoba Chocolate have sold out to Hershey's.

Coming soon

Are you like me -- do you love the Christmas ornaments? Here's one I'd go for.

Starting early

Here's a little kid with a big future.

Do not miss this post

Bill McDonald at Portland Freelancer -- a very funny guy when he wants to be -- has something serious on his mind today. His post is a thing of beauty.

Today's equation: PDC mess = 39 Yes

Larry Norton, OregonLive's capable blogger from Old Town, says there's a war in progress between the Portland City Council and the Portland Development Commission -- and he's siding with the PDC. I share his amusement at the council's posturing around, acting as though they're not responsible for the PDC's failures. Come on, guys, you just appointed all of the PDC commissioners over the last year or two. They're all Grampy's people.

But unlike Norton, I derive great hope from the prospect of the council taking the reins on the farce that Portland urban renewal has become:

Commissioner Sten indicated he was going to put on the ballot a charter change that will, in effect, give city council control of PDC's budget. Adams and Leonard are clearly with Sten on this matter.
Elected officials actually deciding on the real estate pork levels, in a public budget process? Music to this old man's hairy ears.

While I'm on the subject, let me weigh in on upcoming state Ballot Measure 39: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I'm no property rights nut, but having watched Portland's future -- its financial destiny and its character as a place to live -- handed over to The Usual Suspects, I'm through with Portland-style condo tower ripoffs. The government should not be able to appropriate your homestead to satisfy some political crony's greed.

We already see West Hills guys like Big Pipe Saltzman getting ready to give Mount Tabor Park away to fat cats. Now they want to take your house and do the same thing with it. That's ridiculous.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Choose your story

"Maybe he fell."

"I didn't land on top of him."

"Oh, wait, yes I did land on top of him, and that broke 16 of his ribs."

This wouldn't get past a kindergarten teacher, but it gets past our criminal justice system. And to think our mayor is a career police officer.

Konvention Center Kool-Aid

Our friends over in Boise have caught the fever. (Thanks, Butterbean.)


The kids over at the Merc have the latest on today's Portland City Council meeting. Apparently there was indeed quite a dust-up about the PDC affordable housing policy, as we had heard was coming.

And it looks as though the renaming of Portland Boulevard to Rosa Parks Way is going to go through. Big Pipe's got Sam the Tram and Fireman Randy on board.

Just like a-ringin' a bell

Happy 80th birthday to Chuck Berry, whose guitar style changed music history. A friend of mine used to say that there were only three guitar innovators in the rock era: Berry, B.B. King, and Jimi Hendrix. To him, everything else was derivative.

Anyway, Chuck is way up there in the R 'n' R pantheon -- in the Top 10 of all time. Hope he's having a good day, maybe even doing a little duck walk when the cake comes out. Later on maybe somebody will play with his ding-a-ling.

A day in the park

My guess is that if you walk in there with a copy of Cheap Trick's Heaven Tonight, you're not going to walk out of there with it.
Read the whole thing.

Total recall (eventually)

Our gal Karen just remembered another one. And I notice that our man Jeff just decided that he can put on a different hat when he goes to Israel on the lobbyist's dime, and then Jeff's not Jeff.

Sometimes I wish that some of these folks would take a one-way trip overseas. They are truly poster children for term limits.

No corruption in Oregon, though, folks -- everything out here's just a-ska-weeky clean! Hardy's on the case.

E-mails, we get e-mails

In my e-mail inbox yesterday came a note from one of those little birds who tell me things. She notes that at this morning's Portland City Council meeting, the commissioners are scheduled to consider the "recommendation" of the Portland Development Commission about the "Tax Increment Financing for Affordable Housing Policy and Implementation Plan." This plan would require that 30% of the money the city spends on "urban renewal" -- most of which is currently going for toney condo farms and gelato joints -- be spent on building housing for regular people.

Indeed, when one checks the agenda of the other day's PDC meeting (a document which came out awfully late this time around), one sees that the PDC was indeed scheduled to vote on a resolution that would make recommendations on the subject.

But according to my little bird (who is usually a knowledgeable little bird), that's not exactly what the PDC did. Instead of adopting recommendations, she writes, they adopted their own policy. "PDC is basically telling Council 'this is what we've decided, if you don't like it you'll have to challenge it.'"

My my, could that be? Especially with the mayor's appointees all in place on the PDC board, you'd think they'd play nicey-nicey. We'll see if her little story is true, and whether there's any pushback from the council members, today.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

No bill

There was never any doubt.

And of course, old boy Schrunk has to make sure we all know that the grand jury was "unanimous."

No kidding, Mike. You did your job well.

Now we'll have some more study groups, blah blah blah. So long, Jim Jim. You deserved better. The guys who did this to you will never get what they deserve.

UPDATE, 10/18, 12:48 p.m.: Beerdrinker has a pretty good post on this. He suggests that since the d.a. will never vigorously prosecute a police officer for brutality, the only solution is a civil suit. I don't know about that. Maybe if we had special prosecutors for these cases, you might see an indictment on occasion. But of course, that's a pipe dream. On with the study group.

A Slough of problems

The Portland Airport de-icing mess has been with us for years, and it seems it's never going to go away. Now it turns out that the "new, improved" system of getting rid of the de-icer once it's been sprayed was based on some faulty assumptions, and so guess what: They're continuing to muck up the Columbia Slough.

Now, we all know that the Port of Portland folks want to take over the Colwood Golf Course and run a new runway right over the Slough. They wouldn't mess up the water quality there just to make the sales job on the new runway easier. Would they?

PC all the way to the dump

The City of Portland will require all residential garbage and recycling haulers to use a biodiesel blend fuel beginning in March 2007.

Net neutrality summit

I don't usually run breathless press releases here, but I'm starting to sit up and take notice of the ongoing battles over internet neutrality. If it were up to the evil empire of cable and phone companies, they'd control how the internet looks. No doubt the cable companies would put different websites on different "channels," and you can bet the blogosphere would get relegated to something the likes of cable access.

So given what's at stake, here's an event that looks interesting:

PORTLAND -- U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden will speak about Network Neutrality and the fight in Congress over the future of the Internet at a press conference on Wednesday in Portland. He'll be joined by local business owners and concerned citizens, who will deliver more than 20,000 petitions from Oregon residents supporting Net Neutrality -- the longstanding principle that ensures all Web sites and services are treated equally.

WHAT: Press Conference on "The Internet at Risk"
WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 18, 11:15 a.m.
WHERE: Powell's Books, 1005 W. Burnside, Portland
WHO: U.S. Senator Ron Wyden
Michael Powell, Powell's Books
Alan Davidson, Google
Rich Bader, EasyStreet Online Services
Laura Etherton, OSPIRG
Bruce Fife, American Federation of Musicians and Oregon Alliance to Reform Media

Big telephone and cable companies like AT&T, Qwest and Comcast are spending millions lobbying Congress to eliminate Net Neutrality. This fundamental principle, in place since the Internet was created, prevents Internet service providers from discriminating against content or services traveling over their wires based on which companies pay them the most. Congress is now considering a major overhaul of the nation's telecommunications laws (H.R. 5252), which currently fails to protect Net Neutrality.

Senator Wyden has placed a hold on this legislation until clear language is included in the bill to protect Net Neutrality. In March, Senator Wyden was the first member of Congress to introduce legislation protecting Net Neutrality. He is also a co-sponsor of a bipartisan Net Neutrality measure offered this spring by Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.).

Net Neutrality is supported by a diverse, growing coalition of big and small businesses, unions, educators, thousands of bloggers and every major consumer group in the country. More than 750 organizations from across the political spectrum have come together as the SavetheInternet.com Coalition, including Free Press, U.S. PIRG, the Christian Coalition, MoveOn, Gun Owners of America, ACLU and the American Library Association. SavetheInternet.com has collected more than 1.2 million petition signatures, including at least 20,000 from Oregon residents.

For more information, please visit www.SavetheInternet.com

When MoveOn and the Gun Owners of America get together, it's like Howard Dean going on a hunting trip with Dick Cheney. Stay behind him, Howie! Anyway, it's an important issue, and it's good that events like these are happening.

Good eatin'

This week's tech stuff

Remember when I bragged last week that I was opening comments and trackbacks up all the way back to the inception of this blog? Well, I lied.

Having that many entries open (there are more than 3,000 here now) invites spammers to start blasting away with bogus comments and trackbacks. And while my blogging software, Movable Type, catches most of them, it uses up way too much memory on the server -- so much so that my new web host (who's been really great so far) has been growling at me.

And so it's farewell to trackbacks, again. What's more, pretty soon comments are going to have to get zipped up after a post has been around for 60 days or so -- more or less like in the old days. It's too bad, but hey, on these here internets, it is truly a jungle. Trust me on this one.

Monday, October 16, 2006

What the...

Anybody know what this is all about?

Alien boy

The witness that everybody's waiting for in the grand jury investigating the killing of Jim Jim Chasse turns out to be an expert witness -- an ex-medical examiner hired by the Chasse family. I must say, the family has more confidence in the grand jury than I would. If the district attorney wanted to, he could, as the saying goes, get the grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. But if the d.a. is not interested, the chances of criminal charges being filed are minuscule.

Bringing in the expert is a decision whose consequences the family's lawyers have carefully considered, of course. But given that the family may be suing the city eventually, putting the expert on the stand now is going to show the other side part of its hand.

In a related note, a reader dropped us a line the other day that included this. Before you click on that link, though, turn down your speakers, as some loud music may be coming out:

I think your Chasse coverage has been fantastic so far. I think this tribute by Greg Sage, the man behind Portland's legendary Wipers, is pretty amazing:


More so because Greg Sage basically lives the life of a hermit and doesn't make public statements. His song "Alien Boy," about Chasse, seems spookily prescient. The whole tribute helps to provide more insight into who Chasse was. He seems to have been a muse of sorts for Sage. Given the Wipers huge influence on many bands, including Nirvana, this is big.

With all the new information that comes out about Chasse, it makes me reflect on how easily we dismiss the people we see on Portland's streets everyday.

It appears that Chasse spent years and years basically hanging out within 5 or so blocks of Powells. If we had community policing, there would have been beat cops who knew him and this would never have happened. (Beyond that there is the specific problem of Humphreys, one of the officers involved, who is generally referred to by public defenders as "a thumper" because he has trouble making arrests without going overboard.)

Just wanted to throw a few thoughts out there, but really to direct you to the Greg Sage tribute if you hadn't seen it yet.

Indeed I hadn't.

Counting coup

Friday afternoon is when they pick up the edge of that big Portland City Hall rug and sweep stuff underneath. Last week it was at 3:38 p.m. on Friday that the public notice went out on this: an abrupt and startling switch of the city's water billing functions from the Revenue Bureau back to the Water Bureau.

In any other town, this wouldn't be news, but in Portland, where water billing has become one of the most expensive screwups in city history, it's worth noting (or covering up). Particularly since I seem to remember that the city had recently spent several million dollars on consultants who told them they needed to set up a unified "revenue bureau," and that these city workers should be under the city's Office of Management and Finance. The process of putting them there was quite a ways down the track... or so I thought.

Anyway, this is an apparent victory for Fireman Randy, who really seems to be relishing his role as the Water Bureau commissioner. I know he's never liked the way water is billed, and you can expect to see some changes now that he and the mayor have given him back the billing personnel. At some point, I suspect that your water bill and your sewer bill are going to be separate.

"Urban renewal" nears 21% of Portland city property tax

It's property tax time again. This year's tab is up 4.7 percent from last year, based on the resurrection of a Portland school district levy, I think. We're still down from two years ago, by 3.9 percent.

Over the last few years we have been keeping track of how large a chunk of the property tax dollars that we pay to the City of Portland goes toward "urban renewal" and the police and firefighters' pension fund. This time around, the "urban renewal" portion of the city's collections has gone up noticeably, from 19.17% last year to 20.53% this year, while the police and fire pension share dropped from 23.76% to 22.75%. Here's the tale of the tape for the current year, and the last two years:

"City of Portland" - 46.52% this year, 46.68% last year, 46.43% year before that
"City of Portland Child Loc Op" - 4.12% this year, 4.14% last year, 4.11% year before that
"City of Portland Parks Loc Op" - 3.99% this year, 4.01% last year, 3.99% year before that
"Portland Police/Fire Pension" - 22.75% this year, 23.76% last year, 24.30% year before that
"Urban Renewal - Portland" - 20.53% this year, 19.17% last year, 18.99% year before that
"City of Portland Bonds" - 2.09% this year, 2.24% last year, 2.18% year before that
Total - 100.00%

It's now nearly 21 cents on the dollar for "urban renewal," and down to under 23 cents on the dollar for bluecoat pensions and disability. Of course, all that could change with an upcoming city ballot measure. If it passes, future taxpayers aren't just going to pay for the current year's police and fire retirement benefits, but are also going to start socking away a fairly small amount toward future liabilities, which are expected to explode over the next couple of decades.

Anyway, as usual, this year's check is due November 15. Cue Donovan: You've got to pick up every stitch...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

"I don't"

Here's a cool, new-ish blog -- dedicated to the memory of the late Jim Pepper, one of the greatest jazz musicians I've ever seen and heard up close. Pepper lived in Portland for a long while, and he was playing around in the local clubs back when I first arrived here in the late '70s. He was a masterful sax player and he wrote great songs. Funny as heck, too, when he wanted to be. I'll never forget seeing him on a bandstand in the middle of the intersection of SW Broadway and Alder one early evening at an annual late-summer downtown festival called Artquake, doing a number called "Polar Bear Stomp." Included in the lyrics: "Does a bear sh*t in the woods? I don't. I'm a polar bear."

Glad it ain't me

Here's a Google search I want no part of for several more years...


From this week's bulletin at our church:

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Technical note

We've got a server move in progress. Comments left over the next few hours may disappear for a while, but I will do my best to get them back up tonight.

UPDATE, 10/15, 7:53 p.m.: It seems that everything's back up except trackback pings (more trouble than they're worth), and so we're good to go. Comments are still slow, though. Please click "Post" just once, and be patient.


A new logo for these guys:

With malice aforethought

I got another one of those shredder buster junk mailings from charity the other day -- the kind that will wreck your shredder if you don't open them and pull out the metal piece. Yeah, I'm a grouchy old coot -- guess I won't be giving any money to the St. Jude Shrine:

The great debate

Friday, October 13, 2006

Starting over from scratch

Rob over at AboutItAll says his server crashed and he's lost all his blogs. And although he's got backups, he's not going to restore them -- he's starting his blogging back up with a clean slate.

Can't say as I blame him.

Please note

Just for the record, I love animals and would never do anything to harm a chimp.

It doesn't grow on trees

That free wi-fi cloud that's supposedly going to cover all of Portland? The news from Silicon Valley is that MetroFi, the company that's supposed to build Opie's New Toy, looks shakier in the money department this week than it did before. Another great call by Portland City Hall, eh? Can you say "water billing system"?

Going, going...

Big Pipe Saltzman's plan to sell off property in Mount Tabor Park and move the parks maintenance operation out of there is already quite a ways down the track. If you don't believe it, check out the lead story in this Parks Bureau employee newsletter. Danny's new hit man, Robin Grimwade, is in charge of the "redevelopment" -- a.k.a. condo-ization. Already Randy Gragg's architect pals are crawling all over the project. Yum.

Why bother?

The City of Portland's about to embark on another high-profile, time-consuming, and no doubt expensive "planning process" for its downtown -- a blueprint, supposedly, for the next 30 years of development. The funny thing is, they're saying it's needed because the last such plan, from 1988, is so badly obsolete:

Kelley and McDonough believe that the 1988 effort now is out of date, however. For example, although the plan said the Pearl District should be considered part of the central city, it did not envision the dense housing that has been built there. Instead, it calls for the area – then known as the Northwest Triangle – to remain a warehouse and light-industrial district.

Nor did the plan understand how many people would want to live downtown. Although it called for housing in the South Waterfront area, the plan recommended that only low-rise buildings be constructed along the Willamette River. Instead, high-rise condominium towers now are being built throughout the area, including the lots closest to the river.

In other words, the last plan wasn't worth the paper that it was written on. When the condo tower money showed up, and Vera, Opie, and Big Pipe drank their Kool-Aid, the plan went out the window, and two concrete jungles emerged.

Given that's the way it works in the Rose City, you wonder why anyone would bother going through the motions yet again.

Watch your money swirl around in the porcelain bowl

Head on over and catch b!X's excellent slideshow of recent installation work on the Portland aerial tram [rimshot].

Free international phone calls?

Over your phone, no less?

So claims this story on a New York Times blog.

Real Estate Ad of the Week

Here's a sales pitch coming straight from the heart.

The boxer

Happy birthday to Paul Simon, one of the greatest songwriters of his generation, who turns 65 today.

Rocking his world

The same day that Neil Goldschmidt's old "consulting" firm is shut down, a 2.6 earthquake hits Dundee, where he's reportedly holed up. Coincidence? I think not.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Landing on his feet

If there's any doubt that the Rule of Goldschmidt is near its end, check out this news: Buddy Numero Uno of The Neil, Tom Imeson, is shutting down his and Neil's old influence shop and getting a regular day job. But don't worry, scam lovers, the fun days aren't completely over. Get this, he's the new public affairs honcho at the Port of Portland, where he's just now resigning as a member of the board of commissioners!

When Oregon Democrats talk about strengthening the safety net, I guess this is what they mean.

Not that a Saxton Port would be any different. Indeed, if Saxton wins, Imeson will probably head back down to Salem to run another transition team.

Where the ads come first

Looks like the KGW website has a new skin. Time for users to try to figure out how to find the old stuff, and to see what new stuff might be lurking. Here's a page I don't remember seeing before -- a compendium of links to recent press releases from local government agencies, particularly the police.

One out of 10

The League of Women Voters has this page up with its positions on the 10 statewide ballot measures pending here in Oregon. The League supports only one of them.

Note to self: Get a post up with some ballot measure rants.

Tagbuster's gone

That guy who was cleaning up graffiti in Portland and posting about it on his blog has taken my advice (and heeded the request of the city) and pulled the blog.

I still say three cheers for the man. I hope he'll continue to get out there with his paint and cover up the mess left in our public places by mentally ill people who think they're artists. Maybe he can do it by the city's rules, and maybe he has to take matters into his own hands sometime, but he's doing us all a service, and long may he keep it up.

Just don't engage the cockroaches in a discussion. They'll come by and see their handiwork gone, and that's message enough.

And keep taking the "before" photos, and send them to the city's graffiti abatement officer, Marcia Dennis. When they bust one of these people (and they do from time to time), a record of their "portfolio" will do wonders for their prosecution.

That's more like it

Central City Concern, the outfit that runs the Hooper Detox Center and gets addicted and homeless people back into the mainstream, is talking about building some affordable housing in the Pearl District and at its present site at Burnside and MLK. (The latter would be part of a teardown and rebuild of Hooper, with a tower above.) And unlike the local developer bigwigs who think that "affordable housing" means an $800-a-month studio, the CCC folks are talking about housing actual families who make 30 to 60 percent of the median income.

I can go for that. Let's see if our fine feathered friends in the development community are big enough not to get in the way. Hey, PDC, you want "vision"? This is one.

Meanwhile, the idea of a public market, which once was going to run the Saturday Market out on a rail, has now reportedly been reconfigured as a possible plug-in at Union Station. Also intriguing. Why not?

(Both stories via the O City Hall reporters' blog, which has a new address and a lovely McDonald's logo.)

This could get interesting

From today's O:

Foxworth contends he did nothing wrong because there is no city rule that prohibits personal relationships with co-workers, and that others in similar senior positions, including the top chief's job, have had their own romantic relationships with other bureau employees and were never disciplined.

His claim does not identify which police chief or other police brass engaged in romantic relationships with co-workers, but suggests that Foxworth is willing to drudge up other dirty laundry in the bureau to defend himself.

Mark Kroeker? Nah.

Charles Moose? Penny Harrington? Ron Still?

Know when to say when

I see that the Pearlies want to run their condo jungle all the way to the Fremont Bridge. More giant towers of unmitigated junk. And let's run out all the real businesses still left on the east side of 405. Give us Whole Foods and Starbucks!

I say let them build, provided that (a) the developers pay for the infrastructure up front, (b) the current zoning rules are enforced (I know, respecting other people's views, light and air, how inconvenient), and (c) no property tax abatements are granted. The City of Portland is facing bankruptcy over the police and fire pension fund, not to mention the wildly out-of-control boondoggle in the SoWhat district. The news is now dribbling out that the principal and interest on the city's SoWhat debt is now pegged at a staggering $400 million -- which as I understand it is more than double the last liars' estimate that the city planners and development gurus admitted to. Who knows where that number will stop.

This is simply not the time for the city to run out and sell another half-billion more in bonds to pay for fancy streets and totem poles for the Homer Williams types.

Here's a vision, Mayor: No more subsidies for condo towers! Hmmm, how shall I put this? Enough of this horse manure is enough.

So long, Ike

Here's a guy who loved his job.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Justice isn't blind

... but sometimes it's naked. (Via Butterbean.)

Tagbuster busted

KGW's reporting that the City of Portland is asking the fellow we blogged about here the other day to take down his website -- the one sassing the taggers whose work the guy's been covering up.

I suspected that's what the city would say.

They're also asking him to stop painting over graffiti. On that issue, I'm with "Nascar Dad." If the property owner won't take down the tags within the legal time limit (I believe it's 72 hours), then somebody else should. If the owner doesn't like it, he or she can paint over the paint-over, the same way he or she should have painted over the tags. No harm, no foul.

Anyway, the city's asking for the tagbuster's identity. No thanks, but I'm sure he'll get the message here if he has not already done so.

It will be interesting to see his response.

Like a fungus

It's everywhere.

The Squeaky case

While we've all been waiting for the official outcome of the grand jury inquiry into the Portland police killing of Jim Jim Chasse, I've been wondering whatever happened in conncetion with the police shooting death of Dennis Squeaky Young last January. Today's Willamette Week sheds some light on the status of that case:

[Craig Colby's] crusade [to have autopsies in such cases made public] can be traced to an early winter morning when Portland Police Lt. Jeffrey Kaer responded to a cell phone call from his sister about a suspicious vehicle in front of her Northeast Portland house, even though he was on duty in another precinct. Kaer, who didn't notify anyone he was leaving his post, confronted the sleeping Young in a 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass, and had him in a "San Kajo" wrist lock until Young tried to drive away, according to police reports cited by Colby in a July letter to local officials.

According to those reports, Kaer pulled his gun after the car's doorframe struck him when the car accelerated, hit a tree and then backed up. Kaer, who later said he feared he would be run over, fired the shot that killed Young. But Colby believes the car may have been going forward again, away from Kaer, when the officer fired.

In that July 31 letter to Police Chief Rosie Sizer, Mayor Tom Potter and District Attorney Mike Schrunk, Colby argues that the case demands not only departmental discipline, but criminal prosecution. The internal affairs investigation into Kaer is finished, police say, and the case will next come before the Police Bureau's use-of-force review board, which comprises officers and citizens. Earlier this year, a Multnomah County grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing in the shooting of Young, 28.

If, as expected, the grand jury clears the officers in the Chasse case, presumably it will queue up behind the Young case before the review board.

Bad news

Let's pray this wasn't what I think it was.

Chief Smoove strikes back

Like any victim, Derrick Foxworth's gonna sue. In a legal notice filed with the City of Portland today, the former chief stated that "first I am going to strip off every layer of pretension that you are wearing," and then "I am going to pull out my huge chocolate complaint and file it in a very appropriate jurisdiction." The letter went on to say, "I love the idea of taking your deposition wearing nothing but heels, stockings, and a cream lace teddy. I can think of nothing better than driving to a secluded park and having you reach over and open my discovery requests."

Memorable moments in cable access history

One of the joys of YouTube is its ability to capture and bring to the masses those priceless video clips that they might have missed if not glued to the set.

You bet your life

So who do you like in the Madman vs. Dummy contest?

Forgotten but not gone

Guess who's got his greasy little fingerprints on that plan to sell off part of Mount Tabor Park.

None other than The Scone himself.

It's why the people of this city love him so much.

The 3-Variable Funny Test

LeLo in NoPo's got it goin' on. Her keen eye picked up this test, wherein I scored as follows:

Your humor style: CLEAN | SPONTANEOUS | DARK

Your humor's mostly innocent and off-the-cuff, but somehow there's something slightly menacing about you. Part of your humor is making people a little uncomfortable, even if the things you say aren't themselves confrontational. You probably have a very dry delivery, or are seriously over-the-top.

Your type is the most likely to appreciate a good insult and/or broken bone and/or very very fat person dancing.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: David Letterman - John Belushi

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Parking meters on Hawthorne -- another done deal

Portland Commissioner Sam the Tram Adams says he's "asking" the merchants on Hawthorne Boulevard whether they want parking meters. Says he's trying to show them how they'll help business. But when you look at his slideshow on the subject, it's clear that the decision has already been made:

A reader rightly complains:

It's kind of annoying, especially the way he starts the entire presentation by declaring that "meters WILL one day come to Hawthorne" (emphasis mine), the only question is who they will benefit. Classic technique of starting a meeting in which you are claiming to discuss whether or not it will happen by declaring that it will happen.


In fairness to Adams, the statement in question is on silde no. 9 of 73, but it does give you an idea of how the arm-twisting is being done.

There are quite a few other appalling statements in the slideshow as well. His long history of working for Vera Katz really shows through. Some day he'll wake up and say, "Portland is now just like all the other West Coast cities -- my job is done."

Stop me if you've read this one

In the e-mail inbox today:

Subject: Newspaper Readership

1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.

3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.

4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.

5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country – if they could find the time, and didn't have to leave Southern California to do it.

6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.

7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

8. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

9. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.

10. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a country, or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions: if the leaders are handicapped, minority, feminist, atheist, dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy, provided, of course, that they are not Republicans.

11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.

PDC mission changes, slightly

Tomorrow the Portland Development Commission plans to tweak its mission statement, from:

To bring together resources to achieve Portland’s vision of a diverse sustainable community with healthy neighborhoods, a vibrant urban core, a strong regional economy and quality jobs for all citizens
To bring together resources to achieve Portland's vision of a diverse sustainable community with healthy neighborhoods, a vibrant central city, a strong regional economy and quality jobs and housing for all.
So what's new? You don't have to be a "citizen" for the PDC to be looking out for you any more, I guess, and now they're trying to get into housing in a more serious way.

That, and the "urban core" is now the "central city."

On a more substantive note, it looks as though they're going to get on with pushing Saturday Market out from under the Burnside Bridge and over into Waterfront Park. The "development framework" (no doubt the subject of many a "charrette") is here. The map that tells the story is Attachment A (page 8).

I just called to say I'm suing you

And the wind cries "lawsuit."

Right place, right time

This whole North Korea nuke-and-missile thing is kind of scary, isn't it? Good thing we have a foreign relations genius in charge.

New gig

Monday, October 9, 2006


At Pulse Saturday night, I got to hang for a few minutes with Chris Dudley. This former Blazer center is a gentle giant of a Yale man. He answered all my typical fan questions about the old days, and talked a little bit about his current life as a wealth management consultant. A big patron of juvenile diabetes causes, there he was at a Children's Heart Foundation benefit, stooping down so that he could look us little folks in the eye while we chatted.

Nice man.

What's next for Buckman

Let's not rest until every last trace of Portland's funky side has been San Diego-ized. Graggalicious.

Dear Mayor Potter

And as far as “cleaning up downtown” goes, I’d rather have piss in the streets than blood.
The whole letter is here.

Varsity loses!!! (J.V. wins)

New York has two major league baseball teams, and there's never any question which one is top banana. Today we have a perfect illustration. Over the weekend, the Mets won their playoff round, advancing to the league finals; the Yankees were eliminated, being trounced by the Detroit Tigers.

And here's this morning's front page of The New York Times sports section:

To see how what's-their-names did, you have to look way down beneath the fold:

Somewhere up there, Rodney Dangerfield is nodding his head.

Housekeeping note

As part of the ongoing blog restoration and improvement project, I've opened comments on all posts, whereas at one time commenting capability was closed after a week. Indeed, for the posts over the first year or so of the blog, comments haven't ever been available until now.

Of course, hardly anyone is going to read a comment left today on a years-old post, but if readers wish to leave them, now they can.

Similarly, I've gone back to allowing trackback pings on all posts, even adding that capability to posts that I wrote when I didn't know the difference between a trackback ping and a batch edit. Ditto on whether returning this feature will add much, but what the heck.

All of the previous cutoffs of feedback stemmed from massive amounts of comment spam and trackback spam that I was getting, and the inability of older anti-spam devices to cope with them. The latest version of Movable Type does a much better job, and so (knock wood) I'm going to loosen things up a bit.

O.k., enough of this -- what do you care that I just ran a couple of hot MySQL queries? And so we now return you to the usual blog content.

The way we were

It's hard not to like reading about the history of Portland, especially when the illustrations are good. That's why I'm adding this guy, whom I just discovered, to the blogroll.


I clean up graffiti in my neighborhood, and sometimes write about it here, but here's a blogger who's taken it a step further -- he posts photos of the site of the vandalism, before and after he cleans it up.

There's room for disagreement about this, but I'm not in favor of his approach. Any attention these folks get, positive or negative, feeds their mental illness. If you're bothered by their sick handiwork (as both he and I are), of course you want to strike back. But I think I'll just continue to send those "before" photos to the city's graffiti abatement officer, and forget about posting them on the 'net.

Go for the cleanup gusto, "Nascar Dad." But when you kill a cockroach, just throw it away.

Not really

It's not really Columbus Day, but today's the day it's celebrated.

His name was not really Christopher Columbus, but Cristobal Colón.

He did not really discover America.

The day is not really celebrated out here in Oregon.

But if you are in a place where it is a holiday, however called, my best to you.

Sunday, October 8, 2006


Some days there are things to be thankful for.

Sister Rosa

The lead story in the business section of today's New York Times is a must-read for those who are interested in the proposal to name a Portland street or other public property for civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks:

While the likenesses of historical and political figures, from George Washington to Ronald Reagan, are commonly plastered on all sorts of knickknacks, milking the image of Mrs. Parks offers a particularly resonant example of the fine line between good taste and bad, between memorialization and exploitation and between the positive and negative uses of hard-core business marketing.
Read the whole thing here.

I had no idea how good

Last year I wrote in this space about my adventures having the batteries replaced in my two old Timex watches. As it turned out, the Hollywood Fred Meyer store was the place to go.

The other night, the clip on the band on one of the cheap watches broke as I fiddled with it (typical me) while delivering a scintillating lecture on Corporate Tax. And so yesterday, it was off to the Freddy's I went.

Get this: Rather than sell me a new watchband, the guy fixed the clip on the old one. Two bucks, cash.

People, this kind of thing doesn't happen much any more. The man's a genius and a saint.

Saturday, October 7, 2006

She looks good for her age

It's Martha Stewart's birthday. According to this source, she's turning 84 today.

Hey, it's on the internet, and so it must be true.

Karen Minnis showing signs of Alzheimer's

Her memory's shot.

Have you ever done this?

I have, in an '83 Honda, sort of. The maker of that car was cocky enough to have a digit column for the 100,000s. Anyway, it felt great, as this fellow can attest.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Who needs a watch?

Here's an amazing video from Italy on a primitive, but very effective, method of telling the time.

The buck doesn't stop, apparently

It wouldn't be a Friday afternoon without some weirdness from Portland City Hall. The latest:

Regardless of what the Multnomah County grand jury decides in the death of James Chasse Jr., Mayor Tom Potter plans to ask the City Council to appoint a committee to study numerous issues related to the in-custody death of the man. Among those issues would be how the police can improve their interactions with mentally ill people and who in the community should be responsible for their care.

“We need to acknowledge that is a much larger issue than just the police,” Potter said.

Tell you what, Mayor. You do your job as police commissioner and make sure that justice is done with respect to the cops who beat that man to death. Then we can talk about "acknowledging."


Loaded agenda

The City of Portland "clean money" commission meets on Monday night. Maybe Emilie Boyles will show up and make a payment. Maybe they'll be announcing an indictment against her henchman for fraud.

Maybe the Easter Bunny will leave baskets.

You're on notice!

(Via Raging Red.)

Maui-Israel-Gate expands

The number of Oregon legislators who are suddenly "remembering" the fancy trips that lobbyists bought for them keeps expanding. Pretty soon they'll be in a majority:

Rep. Billy Dalto, R-Salem, reported to the state ethics commission a $5,000 trip to China in December 2003, sponsored by the American Council of Young Political Leaders, a bipartisan group based in Washington, D.C., that promotes cross-cultural political exchanges.

And Sen. David Nelson, R-Pendleton, reported a 2004 trip to a Maui conference, courtesy of the Oregon Beer and Wine Distributors Association. He had failed to record the $2,600 trip....

On Tuesday, House Speaker Karen Minnis, R-Wood Village, said she had neglected to report a $4,000 trip she took to Israel last year sponsored by the Portland Jewish Federation. And on Wednesday, Sen. Bruce Starr, R-Hillsboro, reported he was on the same $4,000 trip to Israel; last week, he disclosed that he, too, had attended the 2002 Maui conference, estimated at $2,500.

The pitiful excuses they offer keep coming as well. From today's latest batch:

"I just made a mistake, that's all," [Rep. Billy Dalton] said in an interview Thursday. "I don't think enough emphasis is placed on training lawmakers about these reporting requirements."

[Sen. David] Nelson, who could not be reached for comment, said earlier that he did not report the Maui conference because Paul Romain, the beer and wine group's lobbyist, told him it wasn't necessary.

Last week, [beer and wine lobbyist Paul] Romain sent Nelson a breakdown of costs for the conference, which included $1,000 for hotel, $940 for airfare, $350 for food and drink, and $290 for golf.

What sleaze!

There's really only one answer here, folks:

In response to the flurry of corrected reports, Oregon House Minority Leader Jeff Merkley, D-Portland, has urged the Oregon Law Commission, which is considering changes to state ethics rules, to ban all but nominal gifts from lobbyists to Oregon legislators. He also recommended raising the civil fine from $1,000 to $5,000.

"We do not need gifts and we do not need meals paid for us and we do not need entertainment," he said. "It breaks the social contract with a public that needs to know we're working for the best interests of Oregon."

No kidding. But in the black hole that is Salem, nothing sensible ever happens any more. So you can expect Merkley's idea to be DOA.

And they wonder why so many decent people around here just turn the whole thing off and throw the ballots in the garbage. Can you blame them? They want nothing to do with creeps like these.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Worst. Disguise. Ever.

I hope he didn't really do this for the disguise value.

Battle of the benefits

Saturday night, three worthy Portland-area causes want to see you (and your wallet). There's Pulse. There's the Cowgirl Ball. And there's Stargazing.

Attend all three? Probably not possible. But please don't stay home if you can afford to show up for at least one of these. Unlike the shinola typically sold you by the local politicians, this time it really is "for the children."

Up and coming

Have you heard Corinne Bailey Rae yet? I know nothing about her other than what I hear on her debut album, but it's so good.

Sacrificial lamb

They've actually brought criminal charges against a former Portland firefighter for disability fraud. Just in time for the vote on the ballot measure that will change (supposedly for the better) the way bluecoat disability claims are decided. It is quite difficult not to think that the timing of the criminal case is designed to call attention to the upcoming city charter change vote. It's like the IRS indicting some high-profile tax cheat -- often happens around April 10, a few days before tax returns are due.

Interesting way to run a campaign. BTW, the ex-fireman says he's innocent.

Rough night at Hanko's

I haven't been down to the Mountain Park watering hole since my Divorce Detention Camp days, and I'm sure glad I wasn't there the night this happened.

Just vote no?

Here's a wicked idea that I can't get out of my head:

Vote no on the Metro parks levy to protest the park giveaway planned for Mount Tabor and the $7 million patch of grass in the SoWhat district.

Vote no on the Portland police pension "reform" Band-Aid to protest police brutality.

Sure, it's irrational, but what passes for government in Portland these days is insane. And we all know "the issues we face" when dealing with insanity. Sometimes the innocent get killed.

Up in the air

Here are a couple of don't-miss stories that I almost missed in The New York Times the other day: one about how it feels to survive a mid-air collision, and the other about how monarch butterflies are so much smarter than we are (about some things, at least).

Cha-ching! Another $15 million for SoWhat

From today's O, we learn that the Portland City Council has --

[a]greed to spend $15 million in the 2008-09 budget year to help pay for a new Interstate 5 off-ramp at Macadam Avenue. The ramp will serve the South Waterfront district and downtown. The council had to commit to raising the cash Wednesday so it wouldn't lose a matching $15 million state grant. The city expects to raise its share from a variety of sources, including federal grants, the city general fund and new fees paid by property owners or developers. The total project cost could be $40 million.
When the Condo Jungle Masters need 15 mil, they just pick up the phone and pledge $10,000 for the police and fire pension Band-Aid campaign. Not a bad return on investment.

As for those monster potholes on your street, on the other hand, please hold, someone will be with you shortly...

Meanwhile, also from the O:

Southwest Macadam Avenue is a high-volume state highway between Portland and Lake Oswego. Could it become something more as it enters South Portland? The Portland Design Commission has approved plans for two condo projects near Southwest Boundary Street with pedestrian amenities and ground-floor retail.

"I think in the long run, Macadam will slow down and become more civilized," says Mike McCulloch, commission chairman. "More people will be living there. More retail will domesticate the street a little."

Translation: traffic at a standstill. And that's the official city goal. Thanks, Opie and Sam the Tram!

Love story

Here's something I love about Portland: pierogis!

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Killer cops as victims

The grand jury on the Chasse killing is adjourned until next week. Meanwhile, Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer has this for us:

"I ask that people be patient until we have the opportunity to provide this briefing and begin what I hope will be a broad-based discussion on not only the specifics of this incident, but also the issues that law enforcement and the community face in dealing with people who suffer from a mental illness.”
Oh, the poor, poor police and "the issues they face" when dealing with a mentally ill guy, unarmed, 5-foot-9, 145 pounds. Sometimes they have to beat the guy to death.

Oh, "the issues they face."

Busted for crime? Say how sick you are

The New York Times says that Patricia Dunn of H-P "pretexting" fame is about to be indicted. Yesterday, her camp announced that she's about to undergo chemotherapy for recurring ovarian cancer.

That timing is interesting. Reminiscent of Neil Goldschmidt laying out his heart condition less than a week before Willamette Week was set to bust him for statutory rape. Lots of mafia dons and other gangsters also seem to have their medical conditions "worsen" right before it's time for them to face criminal charges. "No sense locking me up -- I'm going to die soon anyway."

Then there's Ken Lay, who was right -- they never took him alive.

UPDATE, 3:02 p.m.: Just as I posted this, the news came in that she has indeed been indicted. An ex-H-P lawyer and some others also face charges.

Yeah, that's the ticket

Today's O reports:

James P. Chasse Jr., the 42-year-old man who died Sept. 17 after three officers struggled to arrest him, suffered more than a dozen fractured ribs, some that punctured his left lung and caused massive internal bleeding, according to an autopsy report released by his family's attorney Tuesday....

The state medical examiner, Dr. Karen Gunson, cited blunt-force chest trauma as his cause of death and wrote that the injuries were caused "by another person or a fall."

Sure. You fall to the pavement once and break 16 ribs. Happens all the time. Good call, Doc.

Speaking of comebacks

It looks as though Rob Saltzman is cranking his blog, About It All - Oregon, back up for a new series. And he's reporting that Donald Trump is trying to open a casino in Portland.

Whatever may happen with The Donald's alleged plan, I hope that Rob can find time to have a long and successful run with his revived blog. He's been missed.

We (heart) Fireman Randy

I give him a hard time on the internet, but he's a great guy. And so my very best wishes go out to Portland Commissioner Randy Leonard, whose heart is reportedly scheduled to get the shock treatment today. Get rhythm, guy.

More Goldschmidt on his shoe

Looks like the "governer" wannabe was in on the Texas Pacific-PGE scam, but only up to his eyeballs.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

The suck just got suckier

If you thought OregonLive was a bad website before, try it now with audio car dealer ads blaring out of your speakers at random. That's it, Newhouse -- keep driving people away...

Hava nageela

Guess who's the latest Oregon legislator admitting to taking a little lobbyist-sponsored trip and "forgetting" to put it on her gift report. And guess where -- to Israel, no less! Seven days in Israel, and she forgot to report it. "Gosh, John, honey, I've been so busy. Was that Cannon Beach we went to last month, or Israel?"

Uh huh. Or maybe the dog ate her report.

Trouble sleeping?

Here's a podcast of Ron Wyden talking about tax reform.

What not to do if you hit a deer

Throw it in the trunk and take it home. (Particularly if you're driving while suspended.)

A wonderful soul has left us

Our planet is a little poorer today. My friend Les Shapiro, known to the tax world as the longtime Director of Practice at the IRS, died yesterday.

Les spent his career helping (or forcing, if necessary) tax lawyers and accountants to adhere to some basic ethical norms. After serving 22 years as the IRS's gatekeeper for professionals, he moved over and served as general counsel of the National Society of Accountants and chair of the American Bar Association Section of Taxation Standards of Tax Practice Committee. He was also president of the Padgett Business Services Foundation. He enjoyed a long affiliation with the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA), most recently as the chair of NAEA's Government Relations Committee, and in 2003 he won the NAEA Founders Award.

I had the privilege of working closely with Les in the early 1990s, when I served on the IRS Commissioner's Advisory Group. It was the beginning of a long friendship. You simply will never meet a sweeter, gentler, wiser man. And tough as nails when he had to be -- which in his IRS job, was all the time. We shared a lot of laughs, and we had quite a few serious conversations about what it means to be a lawyer, a tax professional, and a human being. To say that I, like many others in the tax sphere, will miss him is, as they say in our trade, a "gross understatement."

From "accident" to "tragedy"

Today's the day that a Multnomah County grand jury will hear the story of the death of "Jim Jim" Chasse, an unarmed, mentally ill man, at the hands of Portland police on September 17. In theory, criminal charges could be brought against the officers involved in the killing, but let's face it, given the history of how these things go in the Rose City (and we get at least a couple of them every year, it seems), the odds against an indictment are 1,000,000 to 1.

Already the only guy who would be pushing for criminal charges, District Attorney Mike Schrunk, is using words that don't sound very prosecutorial. From yesterday, in LocalNewsDaily.com:

He predicted that 12 to 15 witnesses could be called to testify, adding that his office had invited Chasse family attorney Tom Steenson to submit the names of anyone the family thought should testify.

“It’s a tragedy and we want to present all the facts to the grand jury,” said Schrunk.

Catch that? It's not an "incident," not a "homicide," not an "event." Already it's a "tragedy." You can almost hear the justifications ready to roll out. Just as you could when the medical examiner called the death an "accident," despite the statements of the eyewitnesses who said the police needlessly brutalized Chasse.

I wonder if Schrunk's got another killer cop defender coming in as an expert witness, as he has in the past. I wonder if the original police story of why they chased Chasse down -- "strange behavior" and "possible public urination" -- will morph into something different.

Of course, we'll never hear most of what goes down today. Grand jury proceedings are secret, and although the eywitnesses will get their say, they won't be around when the police and the medical tech who let Chasse die get on the stand. You'll never hear their story in their own words. Defenders of the police in these cases always say, "Don't rush to judgment. Wait until all the facts are known." The problem is that they never are.

Barring the unthinkable -- an indictment -- the only way the officers will have to answer tough questions in public will be if the Chasse family sues the city and the case goes to trial. If the officers were in the wrong, the city will offer the family a big bucks settlement to go away quietly. It would be a great gift to the residents of Portland if they didn't.

We need to watch the mayor like a hawk on this one. Former police chief, commissioner in charge of the bureau -- even if no crime was committed, it appears that some fundamental principles of community policing were disregarded in this case, and he ought to have to answer to the public for that. Reporters Maxine Bernstein of the O and Jim Redden of the Trib can hold his feet to the fire -- if they dare.


Clang clang clang go the streetcars

Clunk clunk clunk go your shocks.

Monday, October 2, 2006

The little things

I've discovered an easy way to have "Today in History" and "Today's Birthdays" show up on this blog, and so over onto the right sidebar they go. On the main page, I've also picked up the latest Portland area headlines from LocalNewsDaily.com on that sidebar. As Dave would say, all free of charge to you, the home viewer.

Them internet robots is fun.

Can't wait for the special bankruptcy edition

You would think the City of Portland's Office and Management and Finance would be concentrating on the bottom line -- watching out for waste and frills in city operations. But you'd be wrong. Check out the latest publication from that office, bragging about free wi-fi, biodiesel, eco-roofs -- all the junk that keeps our elected leaders occupied (and the local media distracted) while the city's finances are run straight into the ground.

I love the fake picture on page 3 of the kids in front of City Hall -- they're running away, doubtlessly to their homes in the suburbs.

Need Monday motivation?

Jeremy Freese found this site, but I made it my own, and you can, too.

Minor detail

By now most Portlanders have heard that there are wonderful traffic improvements being planned for close-in East Burnside and Couch Streets -- the famous one-way "couplet." But have you heard that the plan calls for permanently closing Sandy Boulevard between 12th and 14th, and having the land that's right in the middle of Sandy there now handed to a developer for "infill revitalization"?

Mmmmm... public right-of-way... private developer... infill.


Words of wisdom

Gordy down at RoguePundit has some great insights on Maui-Gate, including:

If we just paid our legislators more, they'd still do stuff like this.
Like they say, read the whole thing.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

But she posted four and a half hours later

One Oregonian took a while off from blogging yesterday to do something special.


Well, it took just over a month from the Great Server Crash of 2006, but with a lot of help from my friends, we have now restored pretty much every word that I have written on this blog since its inception in July 2002. The complete archives are here. In a sense, they are a net improvement, in that before the crash wrecked everything, I still had quite a few posts left over from my old Blogspot days that I had never fully imported into the current blog. That's fixed now.

All that's missing now (as far as I can tell) are comments that readers left between July 3 and August 30 of this year. I think I have them all, but getting them re-posted will take some time. Once they're back up, they'll never look exactly "right" -- due to the limitations of the blogging program, and of the backup files I managed to salvage, there appears to be no way to date-stamp them 100 percent properly, or to give each old comment its own identity, the way my new software does. But at least we'll get the comments all restored -- here's an example of how the affected posts will look. In the end, a few comments will probably be omitted, but not intentionally.

Putting this beast back together has been a big project, and I'm sure many will wonder whether it is worth the effort. But to me, obviously, it is.

"Dirty money" is still talking

Now that we have taxpayer financing of Portland City Council races, the corrupting influence of big money is supposedly a thing of the past. (No, wait -- no one on the council admits that there was actual corruption in the past, but... er... well, having voters "own" the election process is the "progressive" thing to do.)

Anyway, there's no "clean money" system for local ballot measures -- no siree bob. And just take a look at who's bankrolling the campaign to place a Band-Aid on the massive hemorrhage called the city's police and fire retirement fund:

Williams & Dame Development (South Waterfront developer Homer Williams): $10,000
Russell Development Co. (Former PDC Chair John Russell): $10,000
City Center Parking (Parking magnate Greg Goodman): $5,000
Richard Alexander: $5,000
Oregon Steel Mills: $3,500
Peter Stott (ex-timber executive): $2,500
Friends of Randy Leonard: $2,000*
Wayne Kingsley (Portland Spirit fame): $1,000
R.B. Pamplin Corp. (Ross Island): $1,000
Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt: $1,000

* ... The union passed on donating to the FPDR campaign and instead sent Leonard $2,000 for his 2008 re-election. Leonard re-directed it to FPDR since that's what he hit them up for.

Nobody there who wants to curry favor with the the city commissioners, eh? Nobody who would want to help the incumbents posture around like they're doing something serious about the looming pension fund crunch. Just a bunch of selfless, civic-minded individuals.

Oh, well. We'll pass the Pension Band-Aid, and then everyone can go back to sleep while the city racks up more billions in unfunded debt to make sure our bluecoats are set for life -- starting with "old age," defined as around age 50. And I'm sure we won't forget these generous sponsors when the time comes for the council to wink at some more urban renewal budget lies.

Just look at that contributor list. If you don't think the Usual Suspects still have undue leverage over Portland City Hall, maybe you should run for state attorney general. (Via Ryan Frank at The O.)

Ignore my "biting parlance," people

Feel the love instead.

Ask around b4 U abbreviate

O.k., I was a little taken aback last week when a Catholic archbishop wrote "LOL." But I'm really surprised that a mainstream Illinois newspaper is now asking "WTF?"

It's October

It's not too early to get serious about how you're going to vote in the November election. Oregon voters, here's a sneak preview of your voters pamphlet -- the version sent to military and overseas voters. Multnomah County voters, here are the statements that will appear in the hard copy version of the county pamphlet.

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