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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Asleep -- not dead

I see they're putting an "open-air plaza" in where Hank Ashforth and the Hoffman Construction boys have been trying to force Portland-area taxpayers to build a white elephant Convention Center hotel. A nice, green plaza... that can easily be dug up and forgotten when they finally figure out how to get the hotel scam passed by their friendly politicians:

Stephanie Soden, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Exposition and Recreation Commission, which oversees the convention center, said the site could still one day serve as the home to a convention hotel. For now, the spot will become an "exhibition plaza" that serves as an extension to the center’s main plaza.
Uh huh.

Potter's PDC and Fearless Wheeler knocked it down for a while, but one kiss from Cogen, Kafoury, and Stacey and that hotel zombie will be rising from its slab. You can bet the Sam-Rand Twins and Judy Shiprack are still raring to go. Keep your jugular vein covered.

Comments (10)

What???...no nice pretty pictures?, no study?, no public process?, no stakeholder meetings?, no requests for proposals?, no mention of costs or cost overruns?...
Just as soon as the sod is laid, the behind the scenes dealings will begin again. The conversations at the Arlington Club have already started.

Wheeler should have followed Zombieland rule #4. Double tap: You think its dead, one more make it 100% sure.

"Potter's PDC and Fearless Wheeler knocked it down for a while, but one kiss from Cogen, Kafoury, and Stacey and that hotel zombie will be rising from its slab."

Comparing the plaza to a slab with a hotel zombie on it, is the second level of analogies. Dennis Miller gets away with having no connections between the things he's comparing. The audience laughs because the references are so obscure. But I always liked a secondary visual such as comparing the plaza to a slab. Both flat, basic, no frills, and bleak. It's a shot at the design and that works.
The highest level would have one more humorous twist and comparing Sleeping Beauty to a zombie covers that.
Translation: It's funny, Jack. Tell the IRS to stuff it, and go into the biz.

Isaac Asimov also would have liked it, Bill.

The most important question for any new Portland plaza is how many sleeping bums and pitbulls will it accommodate?

We should also congratulate the Portland Business Journal for their own terrific one-liner: "Space rentals and food and beverage sales will offset the plaza’s construction costs, according to the release."

That's comedy gold, baby. See, how they hold the qualifier punch line to the very end? ("according to the release.") It's not unlike the work of Rita Rudner. By now, I can't read anything like that without cracking up.

Let's be fair though: That also borrows a little from the great neo-con standup Paul Wolfowitz on Iraq: "'The cost of the occupation, the cost for the military administration and providing for a provisional [civilian] administration, all of that would come out of Iraqi oil.'"


Who needs "Saturday Night Live!" when we have this?

We need to organize our efforts here and become the place to be on any night!

Portland Standard Operating Procedures Manual:

1. Locate a business you do not like in an area you like.

2. Condemn it.

3. Let it sit vacant for years, so that the public thinks that "property owner has abandoned it" not knowing the public owns it.

4. Make big plans for the site.

5. If money is available, build big plan.

6. If money is not available, build a "public plaza" in the hopes of attracting people to just show up.

7. Ignore the loss of tax revenues that could have been earned had the process never started with step #1.

Actually, I figure that there's even more going on than you think. We had the same idiocy in Dallas: the Dallas Convention Center didn't have a hotel close by, and the "official" hotel was the Anatole, about a 10-minute drive away. A couple of developers started making noises about buying up one plot of land near the Convention Center, so suddenly the city decided, with a big push from the Anatole owners and the owners of the Dallas Morning News, to buy up the space and build a brand new park on the site. Naturally, with city funds. We got this monstrosity, with all of our local reporters fighting to gush about its greatness.

Fifteen years later, the city (meaning A.H. Belo and other big downtown property owners) discovered that conventions were bypassing Dallas because of a lack of suitable hotels. (By this time, the Anatole had switched owners several times, and apparently the current ones weren't willing to offer enough coke and hookers to keep the City Council sated.) In this case, though, the city just bought land that needed to be sold (Belo's currently hurting due to decreased newspaper and television station advertising revenues) and decided to build its very own Convention Center hotel. Naturally, they're privatizing the profits and socializing the risks, which is Dallas SOP.

That said, I'd recommend looking around for other possible sites. Considering the gibberish with Creepy wanting to buy the Post Office processing station, he's probably already found a really close friend who has an even better location for a convention center hotel, and he's just waiting for Creepy to hype that "there's never been a better time to buy this property." Naturally, it'll cost about ten to twenty times what the original lot did.

Don't forget room for the food carts. Then how about public facilities? You'll need 'em during Rose Festival parade and consistently if space rental to the public is planned. Lighting? Security? Hours of operation ... is this fenced in or not? Time to revisit this:


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