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Thursday, February 26, 2009

It doesn't hold water

O.k., forgive me, I am a little slow on stuff like this. The City of Portland is going to let the Rose Festival Association fix up and use as its new headquarters the abandoned McCall's Restaurant building in Waterfront Park. So far, so good.

But in order to make that happen, the parks bureau has to turn the property over to the water bureau first? What possible business does the water bureau have playing landlord of a restaurant building in a park?

And the water folks have swapped over to the parks folks a couple of acres in Mount Tabor Park, where the city has several drinking water reservoirs. One can only imagine what dastardly plans the "privatizer" types at the parks bureau might have for that property. Maybe someone from Fireman Pele's or Nick the Fish's ample staffs could enlighten us.

Comments (11)

This is government in its purest form (not that Plato had one pertaining to government). It is amazing how the city filters budgets and oversight through a very complex tradition of charging rent to one arm of government that conducts business in a city-owned property. This process is employed with deliveries, office space, printing, and pretty much everything that government does. It does create lots and lots of jobs and lots and lots of waste.


You see that the city wanted to charge Katu $1.5 million for Trammy Adams' records under a freedom of information act request?

One might well also ask what business the city bureaus have in trading city property amongst themselves. Why does there have to be a quid pro quo even if it is necessary to transfer a building from the Parks Department to the Water Bureau? The more cynical might suspect that the city bureaus were acting in their own interests, like individual fiefdoms, rather than in the interest of the city as a whole.

Thanks for reminding me of the Warner Pacific College attitude "we will transform a piece of land that
has languished..." Where will Parks and Rec land swap to? I was counting on the new maintenance palace being shovel ready.

You expected transparency from the Fireman or Tramster or Big Pipe? Oh! Ask Amanda because as voters we own her. She'll explain it for us. Right?

A good friend of mine in the restaurant business tried to work out a deal with the city to take over that property and make something successful out of it. The city was so insistent on micro-managing the deal, right down to menu options and prices, that my friend threw up his hands and walked away.

The city knows as much about running a restaurant as they do about running a ball park or a convention center.

Dave Lister: Many thanks for bringing that restaurant issue up. The City could have been collecting rent for 1-2 years instead of having a vacant building on it's hands.

Here's my guess based on my dealing with the parks department: If they offer to lease it to the Rose Festival for $1/ year they have to make that same deal available to others by law. They could still do the deal with the Rose Festival, but they would be required to accept offers from and review their proposals. By transferring the property to the Water Bureau, I would guess they are circumventing that requirement. My personal opinion is that this is a good use for the building. The unfortunate fact is that it doesn't make a good restaurant site because of it limited parking.

I don't know why the city thinks it's in a good position to be charitable with a prime piece of city owned property.

They should be taking all bids to maximize the use of the property in order to generate revenue instead.

That would mean perhaps a use that isn't
special enough, but so what.

The 2 Daves:

The original rental deal was a disaster. The City handed it over to someone who had a hard time running a restaurant and and even harder time living amongst other humans.

Then it languishes for almost 5 years.

Then the City micromanages every potential tenant away.

Dave Lister: I'd love to hear the menu suggestions. My guess is (1) no foie gras, (2) at least three vegan options, and (3) everything must be free range, line caught, and sustainable.

Actually, this may have to do with governmental accounting - presuming there's an underlying reason for moving the property to the Water bureau. If the property moved without a similarly-worth piece of property moving in the other direction, the books are out-of-balance and there could be a need to do a cash transfer.

Parks alreadys owns a lot of property that is operated by others, though I don't know if it's technically leased. Think golf courses, community schools, the Delta Park sports complex.

Which Bureau will pay for the renovation?

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