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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

We're drawing up a roadmap to steal -- you can help

Here's a focus group meeting that's darned troubling. They're inviting neighbors to come and talk about the processes by which Portland's developer scoundrels are planning to buy up public properties like parkland and old schools for a song, and turn them into enclaves for rich people, or garbage infill.

Whenever the city sets up something like this, smart people smell a rat. Will anything said at this meeting curb the inexorable trend toward giveaways to The Favored West Hills Few? I doubt it. Will what is said be taken by those folks and turned around into a weapon to be used against neighborhood opposition? Likely.

When you're fighting these people, the best tack may well be to stay home, lawyer up, and make their lives difficult, individual scheme by individual scheme. You'll need to be plenty ruthless, because so are the money-grubbers. Singing "Kumbaya" at a "neighborhood coalition" meeting, in front of all the developer plants, dupes, and shills in the audience, may be counterproductive.

Comments (15)

C'mon, you should know the script by now.
1) Govt official starts by saying we want to talk about something and he has no agenda, but just wants to listen
2) After a while, he starts planting questions and gets those who disagree with him to start in-fighting
3) Govt guy steps in and says: "With all this contention, have you considered >, it might be something worth looking at.
4) Most of crowd doesn't like fighting so goes along with this "solution"
5) Once he gets a half-hearted commit this is now cast in stone as what the community wants.

Dear god, I wish they would learn new tricks, but the old ones work so well.

I think this one was actually organized by civilians for civilians, it just has those sponsorships. I think there is hope of forming a citizens group to stop the kleptocrat - weasel alliance from their raids on the commons.

Shirley... when the notification for the meeting comes from a city email address I wouldn't call it organized by civilians for civilians... just sayin'

Southeast Uplift is not technically the city, but it's closely aligned. And you can be sure that the folks who want to grab the land will have their minions there -- if not running the meeting, then participating in it and trying to move it around.

If you want to fight this sort of thing, you need to do it without those people around.

"Turned around into a weapon to be used against neighborhood opposition? Likely."

You hit it right Jack...direct from the CoP Playbook.

Hey, at least give 'em credit for organizing it on a Saturday morning so that working people and parents might actually have a chance to attend.

That's a good point -- although the early part of summer vacation doesn't sound like the best time to bring in a big crowd.

Jack, you are absolutely correct. I can't say it anymore emphatically.

My list would be long naming all the so-called "neighborhood inspired" efforts that really were a product of the Planning Empire. I've had 40 years of experiences starting with being Clackamas Co.'s co-representative when CRAG (former METRO government body) first formed. I have come to the belief that if you want to shorten the slow kill, that many times legal preparation and follow through is more productive.

The "Planning" process is only 5% productive for neighborhoods and the donuts get really stale. And the majority of our citizens are understanding this, but there will always be the optimist believing in the Planning process as practiced around here. I hope their numbers are dwindling.

Jack and Lee,
You guys nailed it!
The developo-weasels want to 'pearlize' the inner south east and the trolley is only the beginning! The land grabs are probably already underway.
BTW has anyone but me noticed those newly laid tracks along MLK and Grand are very crooked?
go by swaying street car!

Jack:That's a good point -- although the early part of summer vacation doesn't sound like the best time to bring in a big crowd.

Just before holidays works well for the city too.

Living within the UGB as the density increases and open space decreases is not "smart growth" as they say.

Maybe the idea is that we can't have kids playing outside for free amidst nature.
We need to have them come inside so we can make it revenue generating for the "indoor parks" misting with scents of firs for special effects. The agenda might be that any open space must be used for only revenue generating sports. Disney like "play areas" pay to use kind of thing might be planned. Nothing like forcing people to live in small containers and then having to pay to play. Who is this "smart growth" plan for?

Why if the mantra that "millions" more are coming would we sell these public lands in todays market or at all?
. . . only to be then told in a few years that now we need to buy new land for new schools at very expensive prices?
. . . or would these new schools be built on contaminated parcels that we the public would also have to pay to clean up?

The best use of these publicly purchased lands is to keep them as a public investment and for public use and for public decisions regarding the use.

This whole business of transfer/selling from public to private however the process of achieving it occurs is not always in our interest. I have written here before about dire times . . . how much will we have to sell to whom?

This meeting, in part, relates back to the sale of Mt. Tabor Park land for private development back in 2006. At that time, the city, without public knowledge, entered into a sale, which was stopped in the 11th hour by public involvement.

In the process, the Parks Dept. lost face because they blatantly lied to the public and got caught. In an odd turn of events, the Parks Director contacted the city ombudsman to broker a mediation with the community. Usually it's the public that contacts the ombudsman.

During the mediation that followed, one of the conditions set in writing was for Parks to write a land disposition policy that includes early and adequate public notification before park property is sold.

When Parks released it's new and improved policy, it moved the public only one step earlier in the process: second to last. Before that, notifying the public was the last thing that happened, generally after the sale was complete.

It didn't pass muster with the public that has remained involved; many of the same citizens who worked to stop the sale of Mt. Tabor Park property.

Try to attend. It likely won't be the last you will here from this coalition of concerned citizens. These folks are trying to keep ahead of the land deals. With the closing of schools. and the potential of disconnecting Mt. Tabor Reservoirs looming, the developers are lining up.

Just this week at city council, the Water Bureau (which also owns 50 acres of land in Mt. Tabor Park where the reservoirs are located) was selling "surplus" property with no advance notice to the public. That's city policy, whether it's an insignificant plot of dirt, or a piece of historic parkland.

Here's what's important to know: There is no city wide disposition policy, nor one that requires public notification before the sale. This is what people will be rallying to change on Saturday and in the months ahead.

Hey, Shannon.

Thanks for filling us in. Please keep the website updated with the latest info and ways to get involved. I'd like to help out if I can, but won't be able to make the Saturday meeting.

Big corporations that care about their futures LEASE land that they don't have an anticipated near term use for. What do our kleptocrats do? Either give it away to the weasels for free, or (FCOL) pay the weasels to take it.

Some smart person somewhere, please, please, please run for Mayor. Please!

This is funny! We're gov'ment agents! Or, not, but the gov'mint will take over the meeting! We're such wimps and sellouts we can't control our own agenda!
Actually --

We're an independent nonprofit -- and proud of it. This forum is a direct outgrowth of requests from our community members that SE Uplift step up and help the community become more effective on this subject. Pulling it together was a community endeavor. No one from Parks, PPS, Water or Planning will be presenting, nor have they been involved in the planning. In fact, they just found out about it yesterday.

We're big boys and girls. Should some bureau staff chose to attend, we'll be ok. Even if they ask a question or make a comment...

We put the notice out on the city e-news (and multiple other media outlets) because we actually want people to hear about the meeting...

We're doing it on this particular date because we've spent the last several months in research and planning to make this a meeting of consequence -- and this was the first date we could get a venue AND all the presenters were available...

This is the first in a planned series designed to help community members figure out what THEY want to see from the stewards of our public land -- and then how to make that happen. One thing we know -- we all must become better educated and more effective at the "front-end" of this difficult, "processy" subject - currently thoroughly understood by very few.

We will have community presenters with deep insight into these issues who have been as effective as its gotten, to date. Come hear their stories! This is not a one-off - rather a first step. This is not a subject that is time-constrained, nor will it become so, whether it's summer, spring, winter, or fall...

Join us?

Anne Dufay
Executive Director
SE Uplift

Thank you Shannon for your information.
Thank you Anne Dufay for your added information.

We need to be stewards of our public lands.
Unfortunately, some elected officials and decision makers now cannot be trusted on this.

This is perhaps why many here after observing city shenanigans may have jumped to conclusions and comments that the city was again "staging" a public meeting.

This meeting then as I understand it now is an effort by a coalition of concerned citizens to bring the information needed to other citizens and what to do to assure that our publicly owned lands remain secure within our neighborhoods. . and whatever else they want to share.

Good idea. We need more "independent" meetings by the people. Thanks to those who work so hard on important issues.

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