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Monday, February 9, 2009

Can't trust that day

Portland commissioner Nick "the" Fish has a busy day ahead: Mark Edlen and Sustainable Susan at 11, then Bruce Warner at 3:30. There ought to be enough linchpins there to accelerate the city's bankruptcy by six months.

Comments (10)

What an intriguing first 1-1.5 hours the Fish must have with his desk work each day. My guess is that at least ten minutes for hair and an additional five (5) on the teeth. Then there is the daily Sammy cover-up briefing and obligatory "people's work" and "city business" lexicon to refine for the sheep.

it is good to be Prince when the Sam-King is flailing on the bottom of the boat.

What, no "spawning in restroom" appointment?

Monday mornin'
you gave me no warnin'
of what was to be...

For those who are following my calendar today, here is a summary:

Paul Linnman interviewed me on KEX radio about budget and jazz.

Mark Edlen shared some ideas about 'workforce" housing--and how to stimulate construction of rental housing during the recession.

I am planning to address the stalled veteran's housing development in South Waterfront with PDC this afternoon.

Met with the Mayor to discuss mid-year budget cuts.

Parks wants to launch a conservation corps to put kids to work this summer maintaining our parks.

I am looking forward to joining Marcia on KMHD at 6:15. I have a few cds to share with her--and hope to plug the PDX Jazz festival.

Hair and teeth are fine--thanks "Z". No talk of "cover-up" yet.

Nick Fish

Thanks for being accountable, Nick.

Any news on how $85 million of taxpayer dollars for professional sports facilities is more important than maintaining our existing parks & recreation infrastructure?

I remain hopeful that you and Commissioner Fritz will provide something less than a rubber stamp for Mayor Adams most truculent spending on non-municipal functions.

Nick, thanks for your comment on "workforce housing" discussion with Mark Edlen.

I hope you have been informed by your staff and other SoWa developers, including OHSU and PSU, that they want a major redefinition of what meets the criteria for "workforce housing".

They have been lobbying PDC and you (Council) to increase those eligible for several taxpayer subsidies with incomes up to 125% of the MFI. That means someone making approx. $68,000 per year is eligible for subsidies. That's many of us.

Also lobbying has been made to add "student housing" to the definition of "affordable housing". Dorms/etc. built, renovated by our public institutions would be eligible.

These kinds of "discussions" have been occurring behind closed doors and once at a NM URAC subcommittee budget meeting. When comments have been made by committee members, League of Women Voters, and Affordable Housing advocates that these two redefinitions are monumental and need to be discussed fully throughout the many agencies that would have interest, the PDC staff have left it lying under the rug.

But I am sure you are aware of it. But shouldn't the consequences be openly discussed? The taxpayers will be footing the bill for the hundreds of millions of dollars this will cost-with no discussion.

I never imagined that "affordable housing" could benefit someone attending PSU or OHSU, etc.. Or someone making much more than the average citizen could get "workforce housing" subsidies. That means an intern doctor at OHSU could possible be eligible. We'll be lucky if 25% of the rest of us will be left to pay the bill. Shameful, isn't it?

"and how to stimulate construction of rental housing during the recession."

Why do we need to BUILD anything. Multnomah county has 4493 homes in foreclosure right now.(Realtytrac) Why don't you just buy them? Wouldn't that be a lot cheaper and more eco friendly than building more.

Hey, at least Mr Fish isn't rolling over for Sam and his lies like the rest of the council. Give him some credit.

The City should look more closely at managing and promoting the survival and maintenance of existing affordable apartments. And I mean TRULY affordable for the low or low-mid income worker.

That means rents that are truly 30-40% of the resident's income (the fairy story I hear, re. how much of one's income should go toward housing). Nothing like that exists in Portland anymore. Affordable apartment complexes are seen as investment opportunities and assets for those who used to build or manage more upscale complexes and buildings.

Because the City and State do little to protect low income renters, establishing no controls over the frequently and rate of increases in rent, placing no limits on fees, deposits and demands that the prospective tenant must make from 2x to 4x the monthly rent, demanding no improvements or maintenance concurrent with the increases except in cases of extreme neglect (and even then, owners and landlords continue to ignore problems for years after confronted with violations), allowing owners to evict good tenants with 30 days' notice and no assistance in relocating (except in the case of condo conversion . . . something that rarely happens in the current economy), etc.

More and more landowners are opting out of their Section 8 and affordable housing agreements with the City even though tax dollars were originally given to help in the building of some of these places. When the contract expires, they are under no legal obligation to offer affordable apartments . . . only a notice to the tenants that they must leave to make room for those who are wealthier.

There are few City subsidized properties with almost no openings. And when there are openings, they are usually for single chronic substance abusers or families with up to five children. Responsible low-income singles or couples need not apply.

I have been appalled to read that, in some cases nationally, people making $200,000 a year can apply for assistance in certain circumstances. If it is true that someone locally making $68,000 a year can qualify for subsidies, something is very wrong. From what I understand the MEDIAN income for Portland/Vancouver/Beaverton is $47,000 a year (as of Feb 2, 2009 per the feds) and that seems high to me, given that I know many who do not even make $20,000 a year.

It is a shame that the laws are made by people who don't understand what it is to struggle and who will probably never find themselves in the circumstances of many Portlanders and Oregonians who must rent.

"Parks wants to launch a conservation corps to put kids to work this summer maintaining our parks."

I do hope the Mayor is not participating in these discussions, given his, shall we say, alternative definition of both "kid" and "work."

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