This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 17, 2009 8:44 AM. The previous post in this blog was Why Sam can't pay his mortgage. The next post in this blog is Corporate Shenanigans of the Day. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Trust me

After months of sitting around with not enough work to do, about 90 bureaucrats in Portland's Bureau of Development Services (motto: Everybody Hates Us) are getting pink slips. This comes on the heels of a recent speech -- less than a month ago -- in which the management-coached director of the bureau said there'd be no layoffs. It's all perfect Portland -- a Fireman Randy favorite son screwing up royally. The story changes almost daily.

Go by streetcar! Try the Caesar's salad! And sing the little Timbers fight song all the way to bankruptcy court.

Comments (13)

Or was it 'go buy salad, put the little Caesar on trial, and fight singing "TIMmmmm-BERrrr" all the do-dah day' ?

The fact that the Bureau of Development Services has 90 expendable employees says more about how fat and overstaffed COP offices are than anything else.

It seems a bit curious (not!) that the Oregonian story included a quote from developer Mark Edlen:

"The layoffs, while difficult, are not unexpected, said Mark Edlen of Gerding/Edlen Development, one of the city's largest builders of office and condo towers.

"Unfortunately, in the current economy, there is not going to be a lot of demand for new construction for quite some time," Edlen said. "Tell me how fast our unemployment is going to turn around and when it's going to turn around. That's a question we're all asking ourselves."

Go figure...

___ora et labora___


Bureau of Development Services are still trying to hang onto every job they can.

Recently a client of mine took his plans for a small remodeling job in for permits on HomeOwner Evening at the Bureau. Usually you can get a permit that evening, or a few days later. The staff person even said a permit should be granted shortly after he checked the zoning issues. Two and a half months later a permit was granted after they decided to "take the plans in".

We had a builder chomping at the bit to begin working, financing was arranged, and an owner juggling schedules to begin work. But the city was creating "work" for themselves. Needless to say, the owner plans to write a terse letter to the city, but I told him to wait until after the completion because there is likely repercussions from the inspectors along the way.

I also told him if he ever planned future projects needing permits to consider that too. It is sad that we have to consider these kinds of retributions from our own city.

Dear BDS employees:

Sorry, suckers. I know we said there wouldn't be any job cuts last month, but that was just something we said that suited our political purposes at the time. You see, we had to take cover on all the other shady and reckless spending going on at the time, like the millions in "consulting" fees to our buddies on the CC hotel sham, and all our out-sourced studies on my best friend Merritt's new stadium (which I WILL shove through, one way or the other, damn it) and our $100M over-budget city computer system. Oh yeah, and the legal settlements from all that trouble Denise got us into. Anyway, at least I got my raise so eff-you. Oh and your director is on a cruise until the end of the month so don't bother calling him to whine.
Yours Truly,
Randy Fireboy Pele Leonard-Paulson.

It's hard to feel sorry for laid-off BDS employees. They bring a little bit of hell to a lot of good people's lives. It doesn't make sense because the BDS is affirmative-action central, so you'd think the employees would consider that they were hired despite not being the most qualified applicants, and would be kinder to the citizens of the COP. But they aren't. Flame away, but that affirmative action is probably a big reason the BDS loses $1 million every month, needs job coaches, relies on outside contractors, etc. lw is right about them delaying development and creating work for themselves. God only knows what new businesses and buildings would exist if we had a functional buildings department that helped builders. The BDS is one of the main reasons that the suburbs are a better place for business than the COP. What goes around comes around.

They bring a little bit of hell to a lot of good people's lives.

How nice--let's spit on the permitting staff for making an honest living. It's no cake walk working on that side of the counter.

Jimbo, you are right, there are good employees at BDS making an honest living. But if you grant me immunity and a witness protection plan, I could name several that are not good, obstructionists, power hungry and vindictive. Many are in the so-called management positions that constitute almost 1/3 of the whole bureau employment.

Jimbo -

BDS and other COP agencies are choking themselves and others in their own red tape.

I submitted a permit to BDS in February and have yet to receive a permit. It's true, they have "created work" along the way so they can justify time spent. The extra checksheets, bureaucracy, and general malaise at BDS has caused my already-negotiated construction contract to lapse and my contractor has had to lay off workers. In addition, some of the subcontractors have either refused to honor earlier quotes or have gone away altogether.

While BDS had a tough reputation in good times, I honestly expected that they'd man-up and become more customer service oriented in these bad times and do what is necessary to facilitate the building and construction process in the private sector. Just the opposite happened.

Just as the COP is raising permit fees and SDC's in these bad times, they've become even more difficult to work with; the COP just doesn't understand.

If I were the Mayor or City Council, I'd do what every private sector company must do to survive: I'd court customers through great (and fast) customer service, and I'd put things on sale. I'd tell contractors and developers that between now and Dec 31, 2010 all permits and fees will be 33% off, and I'd guarantee approval time. If the City did this, you'd quickly see the sentiment change in the development community, you'd soon see a stop to the hemmorraging of jobs in the construction industy, and things would change. But what does the COP do? They raise fees during the worst recession in our lifetimes, and they've become even more unresponsive and arrogant. Read "a little bit of hell" during a time when we need it the least.

Portland, what do we expect in City culture when we have a Mayor whose being investigated for sexual misconduct and doesn't even pay his mortgage? This City needs new blood, new leadership. If not, things will surely get worse.

Sam, I hope you're reading this. The recall effort is going to snowball on you.

Flame away, but that affirmative action is probably a big reason the BDS loses $1 million every month...

Got some pretty good documentation on this? Otherwise, it just sounds blatantly racist.

What do you call 90 pink slips to BDS staff?
A good start
When do they start getting rid of the 357 planners that infest our region’s governments?

The permitting job should be very simple:
1. Does it meet zoning?
2. Is it safe.

If both are yes you get the permit.
If either is no, the plan must be changed.

If an exception or variance is needed, then the rules need changing. (After all rules apply to everyone, INCLUDING Randy’ & Sam’s friends.)


Everybody who has problems with BDS - Realize they take the available work and stretch it out to make themselves look busy.

BTW, does this cut affect Randy's 3% raise or the $100M he wants to loan Paulson?

BDS is funded primarily from the permit revenues they bring in - natch, given the falling economy, they're not bringing near as much in right now. About a year ago I considered applying for a job there - had the chance to review their revenues and projections (I work in the finance/accounting field). This was several months before construction tanked, and even then I thought their projections looked over-optimistic. Thankfully, I did not apply for a job there, in major part because of concerns about their revenue streams.

And, Tensk - priceless!

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